Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electric Bikes
Reload this Page >

Schwinn Continental

Notices
Electric Bikes Here's a place to discuss ebikes, from home grown to high-tech.

Schwinn Continental

Old 08-02-23, 09:18 AM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
Schwinn Continental

I own a classic Schwinn Continental circa 1975 in excellent condition.

Is it possible and/or advisable to add a mid drive e-bike conversion such as the one offered by Bafang
hbarbee is offline  
Old 08-02-23, 04:34 PM
  #2  
Junior Member
 
Fendertele's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 142

Bikes: Trek Domane SL5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 28 Posts
Canít answer your question but I remember riding mine along the lakefront in Chicago.
Fendertele is offline  
Old 08-02-23, 08:16 PM
  #3  
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 12,691

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 52 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4012 Post(s)
Liked 3,538 Times in 2,364 Posts
There are actual e-bikes that exist I would get one of those. An ancient Schwinn is not designed for being an e-bike and probably won't be very compatible with what you need and everything on it will be insufficient for being a good reliable e-bike.

Anything is possible but practical and advisable not at all. If you want a good long lasting durable and reliable bike look for a Bosch system. If you want lightweight look at Specialized SL or Fazua. Otherwise make a dart board for the various online things and they have motors and batteries.
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 08-02-23, 08:31 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
I had a blue "72" (AIR) that was a fine steed. The conversion is feasible with two considerations: 1) fitting the display and throttle (if you use it) on drop bars will require some ingenuity & 2) AIR those bikes had one-piece cranks, so you'll need to get an adapter to convert to English BB. However, unless you love the bike and/or it fits you perfectly, you'd be better off finding a 90's MTB and converting it.
2old is offline  
Old 08-03-23, 10:10 AM
  #5  
Commuter
 
Smaug1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 295

Bikes: 2023 Trek Domane AL3, 2022 Aventon Level.2, 2017 Trek Verve 3, 1972 Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Liked 192 Times in 104 Posts
Originally Posted by hbarbee
I own a classic Schwinn Continental circa 1975 in excellent condition.

Is it possible and/or advisable to add a mid drive e-bike conversion such as the one offered by Bafang
Possible, yes, but it would be a labor of love. The old Schwinns had proprietary sizes on a lot of parts. For example, wheels were 27" and everyone else was 26". I've read that control cables and seat posts are smaller. Brakes need to be compatible with steel wheels, etc.

Keep your vintage continental nice and original and if you want to save money, find a sturdy, used steel-framed mountain bike at the local thrift shop for your conversion project. Make sure you have plenty of time and mechanical competence, too. (otherwise, it's better to buy a purpose-built eBike, IMO. They're made in a wide range of budgets starting at about $350. Decent ones can be had for $600-800.)
Smaug1 is offline  
Old 08-03-23, 11:36 AM
  #6  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
Thanks for all of your inputs. I did not think this would be a good choice. I also have a Mongoose Malus Fat Tire Mountain Bike that would probably be more appropriate for the mid drive Bafang system.
hbarbee is offline  
Likes For hbarbee:
Old 08-06-23, 09:27 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,367

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 656 Post(s)
Liked 523 Times in 349 Posts
The bafang mid drive would work fine with the old Schwinn. Can't say I agree with the majority the exceptions raised in this thread. More a list of personal biases. Converting that bike is really no more work than any other bike you are going to find.

Having said all that I would find a different starting point. There are better geometries that weigh a whole lot less.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 08-06-23, 12:18 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
I'm a big fan of BBS02's and have converted three (me, wife, son), but you can't ignore the fact that a one-piece crank creates a BB problem and the flat area at the bottom bracket means the motor will be hanging down like a cow's udder. These can be circumvented, but why do it unless you love the bike (an inexpensive 90's hardtail is so much more accommodating)?
2old is offline  
Old 08-06-23, 10:20 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Yolo County, West Sacramento CA
Posts: 509

Bikes: Modified 26 inch frame Schwinn Varsity with 700c wheels and 10 speed cassette hub. Ryan Vanguard recumbent. 67cm 27"x1 1/4" Schwinn Sports Tourer from the 1980's. 1980's 68cm Nishiki Sebring with 700c aero wheels, 30 speeds, flat bar bicycle.

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 130 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 97 Posts
One always has to keep in mind that your standard bicycle whether in steel, carbon or whatever is designed for a human output. That means for the vast majority of us less than 3/4 hp and usually much less. When you add the Bafang motor you just doubled or more the hp that will be put through a frame/fork/wheelset meant for 3/4hp at best. This means short life on wheel bearings, cracked frames and forks, generally a worn out bike measured in days/weeks/months rather than years. I know a few guys who do the 50-80cc two stroke gas engine conversions. The bicycle frames almost always bend fairly quickly and the bicycle rides sideways down the road until it breaks completely. Doesn't take very long for all that to happen. If you want to see what it takes to put 1hp electric motors on bikes and have them do well look at a RAD or Aventon type of bike. These bikes hold up well to the hp being put into them. When you look at them you find a 70lb+ bike with heavy duty frame, heavy duty wheels with 12 gage spokes. Everything has been beefed up to take the extra hp. I don't know how the lighter Specialized, Trek and such electric mid drive bikes hold up. I suggest you look at a dedicated e-bike meant to take all the extra power to have a good long term experience. I'm in the third year with a RAD City model with 26" wheels and it has been a stellar performer with no real failures of any sort. 3400 miles so far and counting.
tallbikeman is offline  
Old 08-07-23, 08:50 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
I'm in a different camp in regard to longevity of "e", since my eight year old BBS02-equipped, steel framed bike has survived eight years of pretty rough off road activity. It's now being piloted by my son for the bike path since he's not an off-road rider (except mild trails). I'm expecting similar service from the 18 year old full suspension Trek that was recently converted with another BBS02. Although it won't get much use, the Specialized MTB with almost 2Kw of rear hub power should last for a long time since its predecessor did as an errand bike before I gave it away..
2old is offline  
Old 08-13-23, 06:51 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,367

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 656 Post(s)
Liked 523 Times in 349 Posts
Originally Posted by tallbikeman
... I suggest you look at a dedicated e-bike meant to take all the extra power to have a good long term experience. ...
Well not trying to pick on you today but have to call you out on that post. From what I can see the majority of commercial ebikes aren't built to be strong so much as inexpensive. That and to appeal to the masses.

Old bikes take ebike conversions very well. Lots of real-world experience posted online supporting this conclusion. Your post is the first I have read speculating the added torque shortens wheel bearing life.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 08-13-23, 03:29 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Yolo County, West Sacramento CA
Posts: 509

Bikes: Modified 26 inch frame Schwinn Varsity with 700c wheels and 10 speed cassette hub. Ryan Vanguard recumbent. 67cm 27"x1 1/4" Schwinn Sports Tourer from the 1980's. 1980's 68cm Nishiki Sebring with 700c aero wheels, 30 speeds, flat bar bicycle.

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 130 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 97 Posts
Originally Posted by Pop N Wood
Well not trying to pick on you today but have to call you out on that post. From what I can see the majority of commercial ebikes aren't built to be strong so much as inexpensive. That and to appeal to the masses.


Old bikes take ebike conversions very well. Lots of real-world experience posted online supporting this conclusion. Your post is the first I have read speculating the added torque shortens wheel bearing life.

This might be a hard set of data points to find out how regular bicycles hold up to e-bike conversion. Just guessing here but a 250 watt motor conversion probably does the least amount of damage to the donor bicycle. All mid drives are going to wear rear hub bearings at a much accelerated rate than just human power. Rear hub motors of course would be much stronger in their axle and bearing designs and should hold up fine. I also notice bicycle frames that are motorized crabbing down the road. This probably means the frame bent under the torque loads. Higher hp motors whether electric or gas hasten the demise of bicycle components and the bicycles themselves. If a person wants to see an engineering solution to 1hp gas motor driven bicycles then look no further that the classic moped design going back decades. This will give you some idea of a motor vehicle design with very few hidden faults for the power application. I own a 1 hp. RAD City bicycle and it is built very similarly to the Moped designs of the past. Plenty of frame and wheel reliability built in with big bearings in the wheels with 12 guage spokes and extra material in the frame. I believe hub motors would be the best solution over mid drives for putting the least torque loads through bicycle frame components. Either way the bicycle frames and forks are really not designed for motors to be installed. I'm no engineer and don't recommend putting any motor on bicycles meant for human power only. I have also read of many successful e-bike conversions of regular bicycles but I have also seen many ruined rear wheels, mostly bearings wearing out, or in some cases someone put too much hp through the rear hub and destroyed it. I have also seen broken frames from conversions, both electric and gas. I know this is about electric but there are plenty of electric conversions that put out several hp just like the gas ones.
tallbikeman is offline  
Old 08-13-23, 07:54 PM
  #13  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: middle of the Great Corn Desert
Posts: 408
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 72 Posts
Just restored a 1972 Schwinn Varsity. Same basic bike as the Continental. The conti had a few upgrades: tubular fork, alloy bars & stem, center pull brakes, quick release wheel axles. The oem rims are very heavy chrome plated steel, combined with these old school brakes equals poor braking, especially when wet. The Varisty/Conti are quite heavy, about 40 pounds stock depending on frame size. (my 22" frame is 38 pounds!). So more weight to accelerate and slow down. The bottom bracket shell is for the 1 piece ashtabula style cranks. I think that alone would eliminate most mid drive motors sold today.

A decent mountain bike with 26" wheels would be a better starting point. Good brakes, smaller wheels that will get you up speed quicker, sturdy frame, threaded bottom bracket, etc. Just avoid any boxmart bike. Trek, Giant, Specialized are the 3 major brands to look fork. Entry level models are the Trek 800 or 820, Giant Boulder, or Specialized HardRock. All good urban bikes.
rickpaulos is offline  
Old 08-13-23, 08:04 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
Well, for all their weak parts and overall unfitness for conversion, I've built about 20 bikes for myself, family and friends on both steel and aluminum frames without any problems. I'm sure if I look for a broken e-bike (or pedal bike for that matter) eventually I might locate one. There are individuals putting 10Kw (about 13 HP into bikes without failure).
2old is offline  
Old 08-13-23, 10:19 PM
  #15  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
I certainly appreciate all of the inputs received on this discussion. It appears that even though the Schwinn could be used, with some effort, it would not be a good choice. I will leave it as stock as it is currently in excellent condition. The decision now would be whether to build using a kit such as Bafang or just purchase a purpose built e-bike.
hbarbee is offline  
Old 08-14-23, 12:43 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
If the REI bike that I referenced in another thread is suitable, IMO it beats anything out there for a 20 mph bike; the Bafang motor and battery alone would cost almost as much as the bike. Normally I'm a proponent of DIY, but not when this bike is available.
2old is offline  
Old 08-14-23, 06:40 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,367

Bikes: 1982 Bianchi Sport SX, Rayleigh Tamland 1, Rans V-Rex recumbent, Fuji MTB, 80's Cannondale MTB with BBSHD ebike motor

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 656 Post(s)
Liked 523 Times in 349 Posts
Originally Posted by tallbikeman
This might be a hard set of data points to find out how regular bicycles hold up to e-bike conversion. Just guessing here but a 250 watt motor conversion probably does the least amount of damage to the donor bicycle. All mid drives are going to wear rear hub bearings at a much accelerated rate than just human power. Rear hub motors of course would be much stronger in their axle and bearing designs and should hold up fine. I also notice bicycle frames that are motorized crabbing down the road. This probably means the frame bent under the torque loads. Higher hp motors whether electric or gas hasten the demise of bicycle components and the bicycles themselves. If a person wants to see an engineering solution to 1hp gas motor driven bicycles then look no further that the classic moped design going back decades. This will give you some idea of a motor vehicle design with very few hidden faults for the power application. I own a 1 hp. RAD City bicycle and it is built very similarly to the Moped designs of the past. Plenty of frame and wheel reliability built in with big bearings in the wheels with 12 guage spokes and extra material in the frame. I believe hub motors would be the best solution over mid drives for putting the least torque loads through bicycle frame components. Either way the bicycle frames and forks are really not designed for motors to be installed. I'm no engineer and don't recommend putting any motor on bicycles meant for human power only. I have also read of many successful e-bike conversions of regular bicycles but I have also seen many ruined rear wheels, mostly bearings wearing out, or in some cases someone put too much hp through the rear hub and destroyed it. I have also seen broken frames from conversions, both electric and gas. I know this is about electric but there are plenty of electric conversions that put out several hp just like the gas ones.
Thanks for the reply.

Lot of speculation in your post. But like many others have said lots of conversions out there. I don't see the trends you are speculating on.
Pop N Wood is offline  
Old 08-15-23, 11:48 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,182
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 73 Times in 57 Posts
Originally Posted by hbarbee
I certainly appreciate all of the inputs received on this discussion. It appears that even though the Schwinn could be used, with some effort, it would not be a good choice. I will leave it as stock as it is currently in excellent condition. The decision now would be whether to build using a kit such as Bafang or just purchase a purpose built e-bike.
My concern would be the adequacy of center pull brakes and strength of old wheels. I have a bbshd and itís more than most folks need for regular pavement riding. You might research midrive kits further for torque sensing assistance instead of cadence sensing. My bbshd is more of a scooter than a bicycle.
LeeG is offline  
Old 08-15-23, 10:32 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 4,113
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 558 Posts
I wasn't a fan of through axles until this year when the heavy rains caused a proliferation of foliage that eventually died leaving the trails inundated with heavy brush, that in one instance caused my front QR to dislodge, but not causing a problem since the lawyer lips did their job. Now I like through axles.
2old is offline  
Old 08-24-23, 09:44 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Doc_Wui's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chicago Suburbs
Posts: 1,377

Bikes: GT Transeo & a half dozen ebike conversions.

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 334 Post(s)
Liked 254 Times in 178 Posts
I converted a Raleigh Mixtee, very similar to a red one my wife had in 1975. except her bike had dropped bars I installed a $260 TSDZ2 mid drive motor. Spent some money on alloy rims and new tires. Upgraded to Shimano Integra Calipers. They don't work any better, but look nicer The battery is 48V 7AH that I made myself and put inside a water bottle. Similar batteries are available commercially for about $300,

It's not a monster ebike, like it would have been with a Bafang mid drive, The TSDZ2 is half the power but it's torque assist so the power is proportional to how hard I pedal, and on which of the four assist levels are chosen. Without power, I can pedal comfortably at 10 mph in high gear, and speed up to 13 mph in level one assist. The small battery should be good for 40 miles, and if the land is flat, I can make it home w/o power anyway. I've ridden it w/o power often,

It's grown on me. I have an old Trek 800 with a hubmotor that is more comfortable and easier to pedal. I have a Diamondback Wildwood hybrid with a Bafang BBS02 that goes faster. This one has the old hard seat and rides stiff over the asphalt bike paths, Brakes aren't as good, and the 40 year old derailleur needs to be replaced. I just feel good on this bike.
.
Doc_Wui is offline  
Likes For Doc_Wui:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.