Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1973 Schwinn Super Sport

Like the Ladies' model that I acquired two years ago, I am again the recipient of a old Schwinn. It's the companion to the previous bike from the same owners, I presume stored in a barn because of similar rusty condition and rotted tires. When my husband saw the bike he said, "What, are you crazy?"

I intended to pass it on to Bike Recycle...

I don't want to fix up an old bike, nor do I need to add another one to our fleet. But...there are many things that I find attractive about this model. It has a Brooks saddle, albeit in terrible shape. There's a one inch cut near the holes.

The head badge is sweet. The frame is made in Chicago, one of the many fillet-brazed models fabricated from 1938-1978. I like the lines of this bike. It's a step up from the Varsity and Continental that I had as a teenager.

I'm such a softy.

I really like the red color. Red speaks classy, though there are several rust spots on the frame.

Ugh, big pie plate. I would definitely remove that heavy thing. The freewheel has some life, though every thing would need to be taken apart. I'm not sure I'm up to the task.

Yes, lots of rust.

The bike is in original condition. Original poor condition. But, dig the stem shifters! I love this and downtube shifting, primarily because it frees up handlebar real estate. The "S" detail on the lever is lovely.

The fork is gorgeous. I see potential in this bike, to be a single speed, a second bike for my husband, growing boys (like they'd want an antique) etc. But, I'm grasping for straws, for a reason to fix this thing up. Emotion is running high.

The downside of this model is this heavy crank, which puts the bike in the 34-35 lb. range. I have an old Peugeot crankset. It's anyone's guess whether it would fit, the French being French, with their unique threading in the 70's—the reason my husband got rid of his frame and kept all components.

I love the center pull brakes. Fortunately they are still operable. Pedals spin well. This gives me hope. I have extra tires and tubes. That's the easy fix. I'd need to purchase cables, housing, and chain. I've done some preliminary work. The saddle absorbed mineral oil like a sponge. Someone recommended oiling the frame then attack the rusty chrome with aluminum foil and lemon juice.

On the other hand, I could try selling it through Craig's List. I'm afraid its sad condition wouldn't fetch a dime. I've considered giving it away, though with my current view, it should go to someone that could muster some TLC. Heaven forbid a person might strip the bike for parts! Or, I could keep it for the winter and putter, which I'm inclined to do. Not that I don't have a growing list of repairs and upgrades for my current bikes...

Oh, the angst and indecision of a hopeless bike romantic!


  1. Oh Annie, this so reminds me of the Bennett I was given almost a year ago and which I loved doing up, though it took much longer than I thought. This Schwinn has many more lovely details than my Bennett, it is worth giving it a go, I think.

  2. Hugh's Bike Blog did a conversion on the crank. It is not a task for the faint at heart since you will need a conversion kit or have the bottom bracket threads recut. Hugh's conversion story, including photos is at

    1. Yeah, I was going to mention how much of a PITA a crankset/BB conversion on this will be. The fillet-brazed Schwinns were such a mix of parts, some very good for the time, some not so.

      I would love to find a nice old Super Sport for a reasonable price someday. Right now, I need more garage space!

    2. Thanks Steve, for the crank information. After reading Hugh's conversion description and all 21 comments, I would clearly be in over my head to even attempt what he did to lighten the weight of this bike. This will influence how I view this bike from now on. I guess I need to figure what I want from it, or whether it's best to donate it. My best bet is to fiddle with everything else first, keep cleaning, give it some love and dry storage.

      Adventure, thanks for confirming the bottom bracket problem. Hmmm, wish you lived closer. I'd give the bike to you!


Due to increased Spam, I am moderating comments. Thank you for your patience.