Bicycle Outtake: 1973 Schwinn Speedster–Kool Lemon for the Long of Leg


Almost 10 years ago, I began collecting antique bicycles.  It made no sense that I rode around on a modern Huffy when most of my cars were built during the Johnson administration.  As is my usual MO, I’ve taken things a bit far, and now my collection usually numbers about a dozen, give or take.  Selling a few dust collectors this summer has freed up some space for new favorites, one of which I picked up at the Ann Arbor Bicycle Swap Meet this past spring.


 Photo courtesy of

“Lightweight” Schwinns and Raleighs are my two-wheeled weak spots: I love them, especially in green.  I already have a green ’71 Racer and a green ’72 Raleigh Sports (which is my perfect bicycle), so my different-to-me Speedster stood out, even though Schwinn also produced them in Campus Green.

Notice that Schwinn offered Speedsters in four frame sizes, ranging from 17″ (measured from the bottom bracket to the bottom of the seat post) to 24″.  My Speedster is a 24″, which is pretty uncommon.  Luckily, at six feet tall, I’m just big enough to ride it, although I’d prefer a 22″.


Another curious thing about my Speedster is that it has a single-speed Bendix hub.  Most of my lightweights rock the Sturmey-Archer AW three-speed hub (or the neat coaster-brake Sachs hub on my Austrian Sears).  So we have an original owner who was tall and lived on flat ground.  If the dealer sticker on the frame is correct, it was sold in Livonia, MI, which is as flat as a board to my knowledge.

My bicycle addiction has escalated to the point where even my exercise bike is a ’68 Schwinn Exerciser.  Next year, I’ll try to sell another bike or two when I go down to Ann Arbor, but the scary thing is that I may come home with one or two more.