This, according to the Schwinn Lightweight Data Handbook, is a 1974 Schwinn Continental. She’s painted Kool Lemon and has a 58cm seat tube. I spent a few hours this weekend tearing her apart and shining up various unpainted bits just to see if I could get the rust off. (It came off!) She was given to me by a very generous individual. The string was tied around her to check frame alignment, which turned out to be straight. Woohoo!

The Continental, like the Varsity, was a low end electro-forged bicycle manufactured in Chicago. These bikes have some really neat (cheap) features that I’m starting to like a lot. For example, I pulled the bottom bracket apart in about 2 minutes with a single headset wrench. Any wrench that opens up to about 30mm would have worked fine. Same for the headset. I did have to pound on the stem bolt a bit to get it free, but the seat post came right out. Now if I could just figure out how to get the bottom bracket cups out without damaging them…..

Haven’t decide yet what to do about the paint. It’s rough, and looks like it’s been banged around and left outside for a long time. If she does get new paint it will be as close to the original color as possible. I’m also leaning toward turning her into a fixie, which will be surprisingly easy to do with a one piece crank. The Raleigh Clubman bikes are inspiring, and she’ll probably end up with a fixed/free rear end, 46 tooth chain ring, tires that aren’t too skinny, and brakes front and rear. A path racer, if you will.

More to come!

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