03 February 2013

Her Long-Lost Brother

It's probably a good thing I haven't named the Schwinn Collegiate I got just before Christmas.  Something happened that might affect the way she sees herself--which, in turn, could influence the name I choose for her.

You see, as she was made in 1966 in Schwinn's old Chicago factory, she has lots and lots of siblings she's never met.  Some of them may be lost to this world.  But it probably had been years, or even decades, since she'd met any of them.

Did you notice the verb tense shift in the last sentence of the previous paragraph?  There's a reason for it:

I asked, and she believes that this Collegiate in the same, similarly-faded, shade of violet she wears, is her older brother. 

There's a good reason for that:  According to the Schwinn Lightweight Data Book, the men's (diamond-frame) version of the Collegiate came with its shifter on the top tube in 1965.

Like most Schwinn shifters and derailleurs of the time, it was made by Huret and rebranded as "Schwinn Sprint".

I apologize for the poor angles of these photos:  I took them while standing between the bike and a parked car!

Anyway, the placement of the shift lever posed some interesting problems in routing cable:

There are also other things that make this bike specific to its time period.  Take a look at the engraving on the rear, which Weinmann made for Schwinn in Switzerland:

I mean, who does anything like that anymore?

One other interesting feature--albeit one that doesn't affect the bike's functionality--is the chrome "cap" on the front fork:

My Collegiate doesn't have it.  Those caps were removable, so it may be that someone lost it after overhauling the headset.  Or, the fork may have been a replacement, though it doesn't seem likely as the paint on the fork is chipped and faded in much the same way as the frame.

From what I could see, only three parts of "Big Brother" had been replaced:  the seat (which had a Huffy emblem on it) and the rear wheel (although the five-speed freewheel looked like it could have been the original) and the rear tire.

On the other hand, my Collegiate has original Schwinn parts from that period, though the rear wheel has a Bendix coaster brake and Schwinn rim (which would have been original equipment on the "Speedster," which had the same frame and wheel size as the Collegiate.  

It's a good thing I wasn't in a hurry when I spotted my Collegiate's long-lost brother.  As you can imagine,they had a lot to talk about!


  1. What a great post, and what surprisingly beautiful bikes. (New to cycling, here -- since childhood, that is -- and never really paid any attention to Schwinns, so the "surprise" is perhaps all my fault.) What a serendipitous encounter!

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