Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

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SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:06 pm

At the beginning of this year, I picked up a bike that had been sitting in a "friend of a friend's" garage. Research showed that it was a 1971 Schwinn Super Sport. The Super Sport was the entry level of Schwinn's lightweight bicycles. Their main feature were fillet brazed frames, and they were some 8 pounds lighter than the standard Schwinn Varsity -- which was Schwinn's top seller.

Here's what the bike looked like when I brought it home. Not in bad shape overall -- just very dirty and needing a top to bottom overhaul of all of its components. But, the bike was almost entirely original, had its original components and even a couple of period correct options like the water bottle cage and a wheel mounted odometer:
Image12440512_10207824220500623_4755872664543830033_o by David Cohen, on Flickr

First thing was to completely strip the bike down to the frame. At this point, I also cleaned a lot of the gunk off with 409
ImageDSC_0001 by David Cohen, on Flickr

I decided to preserve the original finish, with scratches, chips, etc. I wet sanded the frame, added reproduction, but correct, decals and then clear coated it.:
ImageDSC_1009 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Cleaned and smoothed out the bottom bracket bearing cups. Modern bottom brackets on higher end bikes now use external bearings -- much easier to maintain and much smoother:
ImageDSC_1017 by David Cohen, on Flickr

This is what the crankset looked like when I pulled it off the bike --
ImageDSC_1020 by David Cohen, on Flickr

I took the crankset apart, hit it with a wire brush followed by 1500 grit sandpaper and then a coat of polish after that. Almost factory fresh!
ImageDSC_1027 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Unlike my other projects like the Electric Bike and the Austin Healey which had some degree of time sensitivity to them, there really is no rush on this project. I work on it a couple of nights each week. Should be fun once its done:

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:46 pm

Time for some updates. The project is progressing fairly well. I'm finding that this bicycle was stored in a fairly dry location and was well preserved. All the mechanical parts are moving smoothly once they were cleaned up and lubricated.

Crankset mounted back into the frame:
ImageDSC_1032 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Headset cups cleaned and reinstalled:
ImageDSC_1039 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Even the built-in kickstand cleaned up well
ImageDSC_1047 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Stripping the original handlebar tape off the handlebars:
ImageDSC_1104 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Cleaned up and ready for re-taping:
ImageDSC_1108 by David Cohen, on Flickr

I was able to obtain New Old Stock Schwinn Handlebar tape:
ImageDSC_1114 by David Cohen, on Flickr

The shifter cluster. Primitive by today's standards, it really reminds me of an aircraft's throttle quadrant:
ImageDSC_1115 by David Cohen, on Flickr

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:53 pm

And still some more:

Front derailleur cleaned up and reinstalled, although not hooked up yet:
ImageDSC_1123 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Rear derailleur, same status:
ImageDSC_1130 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Front brake arms reinstalled. These are center pull brakes. There is a piece that goes in the center of the top cable, which then hooks up to the brake cable. It was an early attempt at better braking, and in later form was a fully cantilever brake set, but ultimately was a technological dead end.
ImageDSC_1135 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Rear brake arms reinstalled with period correct reflector
ImageDSC_1138 by David Cohen, on Flickr

This is the front wheel, with the tires long since dry rotted and spolied. The wheels will likely be the most labor intensive part of this project as the wheels have to be completely torn down and rebuilt.
ImageDSC_1142 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Sediment deposit inside the tire -- disintegrated rubber. Surprisingly, the tubes are still holding air!
ImageDSC_1146 by David Cohen, on Flickr

While this looks like rust, it isn't. This is the residue the tire left behind on the inside of the rim.
ImageDSC_1147 by David Cohen, on Flickr

One thing I can appreciate is how over-engineered Schwinn bikes were. This made them heavy, but it also made them nearly indestructible as this 45 year old bike is proving.

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Tue May 24, 2016 11:03 pm

Time for another update:

Disassembly of the front wheel. Despite missing all these spokes, the wheel still maintained its rigidity. This is another example of how this old Schwinns were over-engineered. It made the bikes heavy, even by contemporary standards, but it also made them nearly indestructible:
ImageDSC_1156 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Rim completely disassembled and polished up:
ImageDSC_1161 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Working on the seat rails and the seatpost clamp
ImageDSC_1184 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Tire and tube off the rear wheel. Needed to order a tool to remove the cassette / freewheel. It is a threaded mount, but requires a splined tool to remove:
ImageDSC_1188 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Top of the seat. This is a Brooks B15...a very valuable seat. It has more wear than the metal parts of the bike. I got some leather care products from my equestrian friends. Well see what that is able to do for it:
ImageDSC_1192 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Right pedal, which has been polished, compared to the left pedal. Leather strap on the right pedal has been removed for the cleaning / polishing.
ImageDSC_1193 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Cassette / Freewheel removed from the rear wheel. Now I can start tearing the wheel down. It takes about six hours to remove all the spokes, polish the spoke nipples and polish each individual spoke:
ImageDSC_1196 by David Cohen, on Flickr

This is the chainguard that is supposed to keep the chain from getting caught in the spokes. This is plastic on modern bikes, and many serious cyclists simply remove it from the rear wheel. Note the difference between the outer section, which has been polished, and the inner section which was "As is".
ImageDSC_1197 by David Cohen, on Flickr

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Fawteen
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Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby Fawteen » Wed May 25, 2016 5:32 am

Wow. You have WAY more patience than I do. 6 hours for ONE wheel?

Looking great tho, your time is well spent.
What do you mean I can't do that?

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:01 pm

Time for a long overdue update!

Cleaning up the rear cassette:
ImageDSC_1198 by David Cohen, on Flickr

You can tell the difference of what a little elbow grease can do. This was all polished with 1500 grit sandpaper:
ImageDSC_1263 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Maybe the most valuable part of the bike is the Brooks B15 leather saddle. Here it is after being cleaned with leather soap and protectant added to it. It's good to have friends who ride horses!
ImageDSC_1271 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Pedals, cranks and front derailleur reinstalled - Yes, that is the Austin Healey Sprite in the background:
ImageDSC_1273 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Starting to look like a bike again:
ImageDSC_1277 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Cleaning the chain -- each link had to be cleaned individually:
ImageDSC_1378 by David Cohen, on Flickr

The period correct odometer. Fully mechanical it works by a screw which attaches to one of the spokes. It makes a terrible "tong tong tong" sound while you're riding. It would have driven me nuts.
ImageDSC_1382 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Cables plumbed. I couldn't find the exact Schwinn gray housings, but the Shimano housings look perfectly fine on it:
ImageDSC_1387 by David Cohen, on Flickr

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:06 pm

The rebuilt wheel - I had a friend show me how to lace up the wheel. It is painstaking work. It probably took another 3 hours per wheel to get it back together and running true and balanced:
ImageDSC_1392 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Wheel in the truing stand:
ImageDSC_1394 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Front derailleur connected:
ImageDSC_1421 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Front wheel with new Kenda tire and tubes:
ImageDSC_1424 by David Cohen, on Flickr

A period correct water bottle cage. I cut up an old inner tube and used it as the backing for where the cage attaches to the seat tube to keep it from gouging the paint:
ImageDSC_1429 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Rear wheel with new tire, cleaned up cassette and cassette ring:
ImageDSC_1431 by David Cohen, on Flickr

The finished product! It rides as good as it looks!
ImageDSC_1441 by David Cohen, on Flickr

Another angle:
ImageDSC_1444 by David Cohen, on Flickr

I'm going to ride it for a little bit and then put it up for sale by the end of summer.

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Fawteen
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Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby Fawteen » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:08 am

Nicely done, David.

Do you expect to be able to sell the bike for what you have invested in it (not counting your time)?

I'm trying to sell two motorcycles I overhauled, and I'm going to lose my shirt.
What do you mean I can't do that?

SaxMan
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:12 am

Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby SaxMan » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:07 pm

My financial outlay was about $125 - $150. The bike itself was free. Tires and tubes were about $50. Cables and housing were another $30, replacement decals $25, probably around $20 to $40 in shop supplies. All the rest was elbow grease. These bikes are pulling between $250 - $400 on eBay. The Brooks saddle alone is worth around $100.

In terms of hours, I spent just under 50 hours restoring it. That's roughly equivalent to what I spent on the Electric Bike, and there was no motor or wiring to deal with on this bike. My "typical" bicycle overhaul usually is in the 10 hour range. My goal with this bike was to create a museum quality restoration.

The real question is who will buy it? Unlike vintage cars or vintage motorcycles, there really isn't a huge vintage bicycle following. I'd keep it as part of my own collection, but I'm flat out of space.

I have two more bike builds scheduled for the fall. These were the two kids bikes that I had to take in order to get the Schwinn. Both will be cleaned up, rebuilt, and donated to underprivileged kids as Christmas gifts. I don't mind taking a loss on those.

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Fawteen
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Re: Schwinn Super Sport Restoration

Postby Fawteen » Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:07 am

Yup, it's all about finding the right buyer. Good luck!
What do you mean I can't do that?


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