1960 Schwinn Continental—Finished and Loved.
My last report on this bike found it coming together nicely, but with many small details still undone. It has been finished for quite a while now. I’ve been waiting to do this write-up until I could get it to the local Velodrome for some ‘hot laps’ (turns out not as hot as I thought) and a photo session. The day was fun and now I will get a chance to show and tell you about my new favorite bike.
In my last post on this bike, the major pieces where shined, lubed and assembled. (See my two previous articles on this Schwinn to get caught-up). I still had a ways to go with lots of small parts awaiting their turn for cleaning and the such. The brakes were next on the list. Hand polishing takes time. I rubbed and rubbed each part with compound and finished up with wax. Someday I might outfit my grinder with a polishing wheel, but for now it’s all by hand.
The brake arms needed a little reforming at the cable attachments. I was careful not to damage the finish and successfully got them straight. New cables and pads rounded out the project here and the brakes work and look nice. I did a full article on these side-pull brakes, so have a look if you are interested.
A full cleaning of the chain and other drive train parts was next. More polishing and attention to detail paid-off here too. The new cable and adjustments brought this important system back to life. I used White Lightning on the chain, Slick 50 spray lube on the derailleur and Tri-flow clear synthetic grease on the cable and some of the pivot points. (These are the lubes I use on all my bikes.) The shifting couldn’t be any better now.
As I worked to get this bike the way I wanted it, I polished every nut, bolt, washer and misc piece. A coat of wax was added for some lasting protection. I did my best to keep it close to original, but did what it took to make things work correctly. On all the cables I made sure ferrules were in place and the routing was short and neat. Smooth performance was key on my mind, but correct aesthetics figured in as well.
On the bars I added a foam type tape. I did a reverse wrap to keep the clean look. My feel on the handlebars would be better with a standard wrap and I may redo that in the future if I decide it is better. A sweet sounding vintage look bell tucks in nicely on the stem. My Planet Bike computer doesn’t look too out of place and keeps track of many things I like. The front and rear lights are something I never needed in my youth, but are required in today’s world.
The final item I dealt with were the pedals. They weren’t too bad, but needed some major shining. I actually rode the bike quite a bit before I took them back off and put in the time it took to make them sparkle. They too appear to be the originals, like most every part on this classic ten-speed. With wire-brush, tooth brush and polish in hand, they now look awesome (and work good too).
So I have been loving my new / old Schwinn. It is a true time machine and makes me feel like a kid every time I throw a leg over the saddle. It is the largest framed Continental they made back then, but it could stand to be a little bigger to fit me right. The shifting is not as convenient as newer bikes and the brakes are not as strong, but I mention this not as a complaint, but as a note. This bike is a keeper.
I did not stick with the original color combo on the bar wrap and cable housings. I like the blue / black look just fine though. It is now a mix of the old and new, but is close to all original in many ways. The vintage saddle bag helps bring the complete package together and holds misc tools, tube, flat repair items and a map of all the local bike trails and paths. This baby is ready for the open road just like when it was brand-new. I have many fun rides awaiting me in the years to come.
It was recently featured on the Old Ten-Speed gallery website and Facebook page. I was proud to see it on their pages. I did all the rework for myself, yet it is great to be able to share it with other like-minded riders and enthusiasts. Below is a link to that page. Take some time to check out some other great bikes pictured there.
So I finally got out to the Velodrome to play speed racer. It turns out I may not have the oomph I had as a teenager. Still, it was great to hit the banked turns and let my imagination run wild. I brought a friend to help with the camera and also the IZIP Express E-bike I had been doing an extended test on. On the Express I got to really bank into the turns, but on my Continental, I wasn’t nearly as fast. Not to worry, as the day was great and my 50 year-old Schwinn took to the track like a champ.
I posted some videos of the visit to the Velodrome on my You-Tube channel and you will find a link below to guide you there. Several videos got posted, so search around on my site there to see them all.
All in all, this project has been great. I learned some new stuff, relearned some old stuff, had a ton of fun and ended up with a bike from my dreams. Sometimes life can take you in circles, this one has been awesome.
I hope you can build the bike of your dreams, Turbo Bob.
“I ride for passion. Cycling is too hard to do just for the money.”—Paola Pezzo.
The link to see my bike on the Old Ten-Speed Gallery website
The link to the Old Ten-Speed Gallery Facebook page
The link to my You-Tube video of the day at the San Diego Velodrome