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Green Schwinn Superior

Old 03-17-14, 10:26 PM
  #1  
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Green Schwinn Superior

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

A while back I acquired a '77 Schwinn Superior in Lime Green. Several projects have intervened (including a kitchen remodel- got to keep my wife happy), so I finally got around to unpacking it over the weekend. It's not complete (no wheels) and in rough shape, so this is going to be long and drawn out. I'm not interested in doing a 100-point restoration, I just want to have a nice, clean bike that's got some modern conveniences but is still unique.

Here's the whole photo album:
Green Superior - a set on Flickr

What came out of the shipping box:


A lot of the chrome is rusted through. I'll have to get replacement headset parts:


The Nervar crank is all there, but the right arm is bent and the chainring bolts are really rusty:


The SunTour V-GT Luxe rear derailleur is in better shape than the rest of the bike, and it came with the adapter washer for the Huret dropout:
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Old 03-18-14, 04:41 AM
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Very nice and reminds me of my first new bike - a Schwinn Varsity in the same green, same epoch. I mowed a LOT of lawns and raked a LOT of leaves to save up for that bike. It was probably the first major purchase of my life - paid for it on my own, took care of it on my own. My father was from the south so he never said so but I'll bet he was very proud. He was an engineer too so I had access to all the tools I needed. My Schwinn is long gone as I focused on kids and motorcycles and jobs.

You could restore that bike to honor all us old fools who let those great bikes go - ignorant of what we had. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 03-18-14, 05:23 AM
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Jeff,

Nice find. You probably followed the thread back in February about how many of us are great fans of the Schwinn fillet brazed frames of the 1960s & 70s. But don't be surprised if a few naysayers stop by and drop a negative bomb or two. I haven't quite figured out why a few C&V members feel they have to do this, but oh well!

Maybe you know I picked up a lime green '75 Sports Tourer a couple of years ago that was in about the same condition. Mine had wheels, but they had been replaced with Continental wheels with their steel rims and the hubs were beyond salvage. I had lots of rusty bits as well. Some were salvageable and some I replaced.

I didn't realize the style of the Nervar cranks had changed so much in the 2 years between our models. A source for new bolts is Velo Orange. I did have to add washers under the 50.4 bolts. This is mine after I sanded and polished everything and added a granny to convert it to a triple. I was also fortunate that even though the wheels had been replaced, it still had the original skipped tooth, "mega range," Schwinn Approved, Shimano freewheel. It was in horrible shape to begin with, but cleaned up and serviced nicely.



There have been other threads, but there is always a curiosity about the serial numbers on the Sports Tourers and Superiors. What letters does your SN begin with?



As mentioned mine is a '75 model. This is determined by the color, and the use of the Shimano Le Tour RD and Nervar (instead of a TA) crankset. But every Schwinn fan knows a SN that begins with "GJ" means the frame was made in July '73, so about two years before my model was sold. You can read more about all of the various SN inconsistencies in my old thread.

Anyway, it's hard to see your SN in one of your album pics. Care to share it to see how it might, or might not, line up with a 1977 model Superior? Thanks and can't wait to see your progress on a restoration.
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Old 03-18-14, 05:28 AM
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Great bike Jeff.

That Superior is a top notch bike. What are some of your secret plans for this bike?

This kind of underscores the problem of Schwinn's Fillet Brazed Line. It looks like a Varsity or Continental. But so VERY far removed from those.
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Old 03-18-14, 07:07 AM
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Man, I missed one of these on CL last month. Black. You never see black ones. Real cheap, just missing the wheels and I've got the perfect set that I've been hoarding. I fixed up a yellow one (an ST) several years ago and finally flipped it after riding the heck out of it. It was my daughter's favorite bike. She still scolds me for selling it. Don't know why she'd remember that one out of all the bikes I've flipped. Why not the orange Continental? She's got a good eye.
Great looking bike. Have fun!
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Old 03-18-14, 12:57 PM
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I've got a green 77 as well - nice riding bike. I love the color, some don't...
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Old 03-18-14, 01:22 PM
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It's too bad about the crank. There's a chance you could straighten it, but I'd understand if you didn't want to do that. You should be able to get a replacement just like it, though. I think nlerner had one. Not sure if he still does.

You can probably just scrape the rust off most of the parts, especially the headset. If the internals aren't rusted, just reuse the whole thing. Keep the outer surfaces oiled so the rust doesn't return.
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Old 03-18-14, 08:21 PM
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There are tools for straightening crank arms. I picked one up recently at a swap meet. I assume they are for steel cottered cranks, but if the alloy is not too bad, worth a shot??
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Old 03-18-14, 09:03 PM
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The above '77 Superior is currently on ebay. As you can see it has a GJ SN like my '75 Sports Tourer. This is one of those examples of funky Schwinn SNs.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:17 PM
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Many '76-'78 Superior frames started out as left-over Sports Tourer frames. I've recorded a difference of over *6-years* between the frame and bike build dates on some Superiors. Because of this the best way to date a Superior is by the 4-digit number on the headbadge, and if that is missing then you can go by things like the paint color and date codes on any original components.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
It's too bad about the crank. There's a chance you could straighten it, but I'd understand if you didn't want to do that. You should be able to get a replacement just like it, though. I think nlerner had one. Not sure if he still does.

You can probably just scrape the rust off most of the parts, especially the headset. If the internals aren't rusted, just reuse the whole thing. Keep the outer surfaces oiled so the rust doesn't return.
I recall bending the Nervar crank on my original Superior when I crashed on the right side. That was back in, um... 1982? I replaced it with a Sugino Mighty Tour triple. (I think the Nervar cranks are made of brie.) I may try to straighten it, but I'd worry about passing it on to another rider after that.

Schwinn headset parts should be easy to find at the local co-op. The correct parts will be tougher, but I like running my fingers through old bike parts.

I'm a little disappointed at how much of the chrome has rusted through. Way back when I used to use Quick-Glo on Schwinn chrome and surface rust would come right off.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
Many '76-'78 Superior frames started out as left-over Sports Tourer frames. I've recorded a difference of over *6-years* between the frame and bike build dates on some Superiors. Because of this the best way to date a Superior is by the 4-digit number on the headbadge, and if that is missing then you can go by things like the paint color and date codes on any original components.
I went hunting for the date code on the head badge. I can't find it. It could be that it's a replcement, but who would go to the trouble when the rest of the bike is in poor shape?

The serial number on the frame is AM800107.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
That Superior is a top notch bike. What are some of your secret plans for this bike?
Parts-bin special:
Straight handlebars (titanium- a $4 find at the co-op).
First-generation XTR brake/shifters (8-speed, standard brake pull)
Ultegra hubs, 700C Sun CR-18 rims
Shimano 600 cranks with 39/48 chainrings.
Polished stainless fenders.

Clearly I'm not after anything "normal". But then, when I was finished with my original Superior back around 1983, it had Shimano Deore Dyna-Drive cranks, an original King headset, and cantilever brakes. I wish I still had it.
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Old 03-19-14, 05:25 AM
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Jeff, how'd you manage to add cantilever brakes? Did you add braze ons?
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Old 03-19-14, 05:56 AM
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It took a while to register- after you said "parts-bin special."

That looks cool as all get out!

As Bob mentioned- the canti posts are a cool idea- and those brakes are among the prettiest.
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Old 03-19-14, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
I like running my fingers through old bike parts.
Sounds kinky.
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Old 03-19-14, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Man, I missed one of these on CL last month. Black. You never see black ones. Real cheap, just missing the wheels and I've got the perfect set that I've been hoarding. I fixed up a yellow one (an ST) several years ago and finally flipped it after riding the heck out of it. It was my daughter's favorite bike. She still scolds me for selling it. Don't know why she'd remember that one out of all the bikes I've flipped. Why not the orange Continental? She's got a good eye.
Great looking bike. Have fun!
Funny, but my youngest daughter was upset when I sold a red Peugeot. It was a P-8, but it had a nice red metallic color and she apparently had grown fond of it. Still mentions it from time to time.
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Old 03-19-14, 07:25 AM
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Looks like your Superior and my Sports Tourer share the same color green....
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Old 03-19-14, 09:27 AM
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Color is the second most important factor in bike selection, after size.
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Old 03-19-14, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The serial number on the frame is AM800107.
That dates the frame to Jan. '76: THE SCHWINN DATE CODES BY YEAR,MONTH AND DAY

I went hunting for the date code on the head badge. I can't find it. It could be that it's a replcement, but who would go to the trouble when the rest of the bike is in poor shape?
I suppose it's possible it wasn't stamped, but it's not very likely. Schwinn started stamping headbadges in '76 and was pretty religious about it for tracking and potential recall purposes. Consider that replacement (unstamped) badges were readily available, very inexpensive, and could be changed in about 2 minutes with a small screwdriver. Sometimes the date stamps were ugly, or the badges slightly deformed. If I had one of those bikes at the time I might have purchased a replacement badge from the dealer over the counter just to have a "clean" one.

Just about all of the remaining original parts on that bike will be date-code stamped, including the crank arms, bottom bracket spindle, derailleurs, shifters, stem, handlebars, brake levers and calipers.
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Old 03-19-14, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Color is the second most important factor in bike selection, after size.
So, where does brand come then....
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Old 03-19-14, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Color is the second most important factor in bike selection, after size.
You're telling us that size matters?
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Old 03-19-14, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
You're telling us that size matters?
Of course it matters! Mine's a 26-inch... frame... umm...
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Old 03-19-14, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Jeff, how'd you manage to add cantilever brakes? Did you add braze ons?
The braze-ons were added by a local (Pasadena) framebuilder. Then I redid the frame in pearlescent orange and added the Deore Dyna-Drive crankset. Like I said... I ain't normal.
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Old 03-20-14, 04:29 AM
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How was the Schwinn Superior Marketed? For example did they bill it as a a tourer, racer, recreation? Just curious if it had a designed purpose?
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