17 December 2012

Lightweight With A Straight Face

In my post "Beauty Among The Ruins", you may have noticed a bike I haven't previously mentioned or shown on this blog.

It's a 1966 Schwinn Collegiate.  So what was it doing in that post?

You guessed it--I now own the bike.

This bike comes with a Bendix coaster brake.  Now, if you know anything about Schwinns from that period, you'd know that is unusual.

You see, Collegiates came as three-speeds (with a Sturmey Archer hub) or five-speeds (with a Schwinn-approved rear derailleur, which was a rebadged Huret Allvit).  In 1966, nearly all derailleur-equipped bicycles came with downtube shifters.  That is the reason for the boss on the downtube--which can be used only with Huret shifters.

At some point, someone turned it into a single-speed.  Interestingly, the wheel is what would have been stock on the Schwinn Breeze, which was, in essence, a Collegiate with a single-speed coaster brake.

It even has the chainguard!  And, in those days, Schwinn welded on fittings for accessories like chainguards--as well as cable guides (which are found on this bike), shifter bosses--and kickstands!

The bike is a tank.  I'd forgotten how heavy these Schwinn "lightweight"  models were.  Even at that time, I still don't understand how Schwinn could have called this--or almost any bike in their lineup save for the Paramount or Superior--"lightweight" with a straight face.  This Collegiate must weigh at least twice as much as my heaviest Mercian!

But I think I'm going to keep it for local errands or as a loaner. I'm probably going to put a basket on it.  And I'll definitely change the seat: It's something I'd never ride, and it's not the original, or anything like it.

I didn't pay much for it.  And, if you've been reading this blog, you know the answer to this question:  Would I turn down a bike with a color like that?

It's a bit small for me. But at least there was enough seat post to get something like a fit.  If I keep those bars (the originals), I might go for a stem with a longer extension.  And I'll need to change the tires:  The current ones are dry and cracking.  But I don't want to change much else: This bike is made to take a beating.  And, although I don't intend to do a perfect 1966-style restoration on it, I don't plan on turning it into a Frankenbike, either.


  1. What a find! I had a Schwinn Starlet (I think - newsboy style frame but step-through) back in 1966 that was the same color. It had a battery operated headlight and a battery operated buzzer whose D cells fit in a tank on the downtube. It probably weighed more than I did at the time.

  2. Given the likely use, what would be the new seat?

  3. Steve--Someone has a seat that would have been standard equipment on this bike or the Breeze: a Schwinn sprung vinyl saddle. I think I'm going to try that. I'm tempted to go for a Brooks B-72 or 67. I'm still thinking...

    Unknown--I remember those buzzers built into the "tank" on the frame. Tanks they were. So were those bikes.