I started looking on Craigslist for a Schwinn Super Sport as I was working on the other two bikes. Located one 60 miles north but was unable to get there before it sold. Wouldn’t you know it in that it was opaque blue like the one I had. Then I saw this Sports Tourer located 2 miles away from me and it was $75 less so I arranged a meet up in a grocery store parking lot.
The name Sports Tourer didn’t ring a bell. I knew of the Varsity, Continental and Super Sport but that was it. Some research expanded the line upwards to Sports Tourer and the highly desirable Paramount. When the seller arrived she had a helpful neighbor get the bike out for her. This was in June and I could see that she had medical issues so I stayed a little farther away as she could not afford to get the virus. This was strongly reinforced the Thanksgiving weekend when my wife tested positive because of an outbreak at work and a few days later I did. While my wife had noticeable symptoms I had absolutely no outward symptoms of any kind.
I noticed right away that the Schwinn was a 22″ frame. Close examination showed that this was the project I was looking for. Every system needed restoration and cleaning of the noticeable corrosion on the chrome everywhere.
This original Brooks saddle has seen better days. Both from England.
Crank set from France
Derailleur by Shimano out of Japan
Schwinn approved bike rack stays
Schwinn approved lights and generator will be boxed and not re-installed
My favorite part of the bike is this decal for Berkeley Cycle now long gone
Now time to dis-assemble the entire bike
Here are the small chrome parts cleaned up. The Schwinn freewheel of course needed another special tool to remove so now I have three different removal tools. I was told by those in the know at the Schwinn Bike Forum that one didn’t disassemble it but instead soaked it in lacquer thinner and then drained to remove old oils, grease, and debris. After that was done one was to oil the inside by letting oil leak inside by placing it on the outside perimeter. That is where the Nyoil, I use on fine moving parts as in a camera, came in handy.
The rims, and especially the spokes, needed a lot of work to clean up. First 0 steel wool, followed by 000 steel wool, and lastly my special auto metal polish. The spoke protector was replaced by an OEM one off eBay whose cost out weighed working on the old one. Exact same tires here as on my Univega. Hub bearings all cleaned and re-greased as seen previously.
Crank disassembled into separate pieces in order to clean. The crank bearings inside numbered seven in a plastic cage which was cracked on one side. I decided to ditch them all and used new loose bearings which now numbering eleven giving me a very smooth crank.
Bearings cleaned and re-greased in the pedals
Time to re-assemble the bike and lay out the new cables. Decided not to replace the gray cable housings with correct gray cable housings but instead high quality red cable housings and coated cable. Ebay helped again by having correct Schwinn red handlebar tape, brake pads, and a Brooks saddle in brown.
Didn’t try to clean the metal rings given the more delicate nature of the plastic like material surrounding them
New Schwinn decal
Have only been able to take the bike on one 20 mile ride when I had the free time. It is without a doubt a very smooth riding bike as some have said. When stopped in Walnut Creek along the bike trail it garnered some attention. Must be the “resale” red color of the bike which is very striking in person. One person even offered to buy the bike while there but it will never be for sale. My 11 year old is not quite able to get on the bike and when he tried the result was not pretty so he will stick with something smaller for now.
Great to see the Schwinn love here. Been a big fan and collector since ’03. Had a few Paramounts but never the lovely and rare Sports Tourer…
Superb! I had the 1973 Schwinn catalog but recently sold it. I looked for it in my 1976 Schwinn catalog but no luck.
I had one of these back in the 1980s. Mine was the Varsity I think. Rode the wheels off of it.
I don’t remember what I did with it. A few years ago, I bought another a few years ago. Tough bike.
I divide my time between it and my ebike (Lunacycle Bafang BBSHD 1500W middrive). We live in a hilly part of the country.
The pedal bike is fun but a pain to ride very far. The ebike is a transportation tool.
Wow! Berkeley Cycle (which I remember as Berkeley Cycle and Toy, and my memories were confirmed with a quick Google search) was one of the local shops which sold Schwinn and other all-American stuff, as opposed to the fancier shops which sold European and British bikes. It may even be the shop from which my parents got me my unloved Schwinn Racer in 1964. I got my own Schwinn 10 speed, a Varsity, in 1969, at Red’s Cyclery, on the other side of town, which also sold and service lawnmowers. I started at Cal in 1973 and soon thereafter reconditioned the Varsity, using parts and know how from the campus bike coop, The Missing Link, which is still in business after 50 years, as a worker-owned coop, though now off campus. My 1973 rebuild was primarily intended to disguise its Schwinn-ness; little did I know that 50 years later it would be collectible in all its metallic paint, chrome and Ashtabula crank goodness.
Great article. I think these bike postings are a great addition to CC. I’ve done some light refurbishings of vintage bikes but hope someday to find the time to get into full restorations like this. Finished product looks fantastic.
Cars and Schwinns. Add vintage Tonka trucks, Matchbox cars, and Hot Wheels postings, and you will have covered my entire lifetime of wheeled obsessions. Children of the ’60s into the ’70s were, unknowingly, living in a wheeled golden age of sorts.
I am a 60s child and absolutely agree with your assessment. I commute with my sports tourer everyday, but, it needs some tlc
Ah! Craigslist Parking Lot Commerce! Nothing like it… just bought a used, mint Taylor GS mini in a parking lot for a birthday present. Beauty job on the Schwinn. Don’t know much about bikes, but they have wheels and old ones look great when spruced up. Nice!
Great looking bike! I’ve made the decision to use loose ball bearings when Schwinn cages were broken a few times. This is my favorite era for Schwinns – mid-’60s to mid-’70s. The colors were interesting and the bikes were built well; I ride mostly old Schwinns all summer with the exception of my ’72 Raleigh Sports. Nice job getting this one back on the road.
Excellent post! Did you have to do any reconditioning of the handlebars? I didn’t see that aspect in your feature. The results are eye popping!
Just saw this after spending the day at Hoover Dam. All I did was strip that gooey black remnants and then located the correct Schwinn tape on eBay
Lovey job and beautiful bike. Do these have the smooth welds at the gussets?
Very good work! I love doing this too but have never found a Sports Tourer (nor a Superior).
The Schwinn color of your bike is “opaque red”; it is beautiful and rich. I like that it is non-metallic. I have a ’74 Speedster in opaque red.
The crankset on your bike is good looking. I can not read the script. Is it Nervar? Anyway it cleaned up great and is eye catching to me.
Your rear rack is a Pletscher – though it says “Schwinn Approved”. It is very common and very useful; I buy any used one I find at one of the various bike co-ops I frequent for parts.
I had a hand-me down Varsity from about the same year. Built like a tank (and weighed as much as one). Orange (not sure what color they called it)
Had the Generator and speedometer. Those double-handled brakes (one handle for the top of the bar and one on the curved part below) were very handy.
Those old Schwinns were very well-made.
I wish I knew someone like you here in Indiana who could do the same magic on my 1986 Schwinn Collegiate!
Then move to the Bay Area. Then again maybe not.
By the way I had four film cameras with me today. Minolta 700si, Maxxum 70, Pentax zoom p&s, and a Zeiss 6×9 folder shooting 2 in color and 2 in B&W.
Nice job – a bike worthy of your attention. Thanks for sharing this.
If you haven’t read it already, there’s an article on the Sheldon Brown website you might find interesting which gives a history of Schwinn fillet-brazed frames.
I have a 22″ Sports Tourer of my own, but my increasingly rigid body won’t tolerate my riding it much.
Hey, good job. Just went for a ride on my blue Suburban today.
That is a nice looking bike. Most of what I see around here are Varsity bikes for sale at a higher price then I deem them worthy of. I would like a Suburban if I could find one worthwhile?
It’s a fun bike. The only thing I personally don’t like about the Suburban is the cruiser bike handlebars.
Nice work! Bikes are more fun to pilot on city streets than cars. They’re definitely riskier and require more skill to keep from getting squished. No airbags, no crumple zones…that’s one reason why I annually put more miles on my bike than my car.
I have a World Voyager and a lot of the parts and details look the same. The gear mechanism is a bit different on my bike and the shift levers are on the handlebar ends. Wonder what the original price difference was?
Three freewheel tools? I’ve got at least fifteen, some of which have been out of production for so long that these were the one item I determinedly retrieved from the ashes of the garage/shop fire, and installed a media blasting cabinet in the new shop to save them.
Loved the Sports Tourer, it’s the one fillet brazed Schwinn I never owned, although I did come close by installing a conversion bottom bracket on my hot-rodded Super Sport which allowed my to use a Nervar crank. Amazing the improvement over the boat anchor Ashtabula crank.
Nice job refurbishing all that bright work. That should inspire me to tidy up my Kalkhoff and my Nishiki. I really loved my Schwinn Varsity and kept it in good condition. Unfortunately it was stolen out of my garage one night. I always wondered where it went and if it still exists. Probably not after 50 years. Everyone rode a Schwinn back then but lots of them were tossed out when the more refined European bikes became popular in the 70s.
I did a lot of tinkering on bikes growing up that later segued naturally into cars. Started by swapping parts and then stripping down and re-painting steel framed bikes to be fitted with what I considered the choicest parts and accessories. My first lesson about sports cars came when I got a Gardin with an alloy frame and rims shod with narrow high pressure tires. I had always been fond of things like trip computers, fancy lights, and even a stereo system whereas the Gardin was an minimalist exercise in weight reduction and structural rigidity. Riding it was a revelation that re-defined everything I considered desireable in a bike. I’m pretty sure I had bikes that weighed more than that Gardin and a second even lighter model put together. It taught me a lot about the effects of weight, geometry, and stiffness on performance and handling.
I worked in bicycle shops while in college in the mid nineties. At that point many of these were pretty much thrown away if they needed any investment to keep going. They kind of reminded me of old trucks, crude and way overbuilt, and of course slow. Nice to see that some of these candy colored throwbacks are getting love.
Beautiful restoration. Is the freewheel a thread on? I remember the struggles to get those off. I love that you rebuilt the pedals. That is not possible on most new bikes. Disposable pedals is dumb. What are you going to do to replace the bearing cap? I remember using the top of a milk jug and some duct tape. It didn’t work well, but it was better than nothing!
I am keeping my eyes open for caps.
Bought one, an orange Sports Tourer with the same components. Clean-lube-adjusted everything. It was completely worn out; its earlier owners used it up well. It rode well when I was done & everything worked. I was considering modernizing it, but found the frame was a size off & I wasn’t comfortable on it. Passed it along.
These are special bikes in Schwinn-land. Low production. Fillet brazed chro-moly tubing with internal lugs, much unlike the cheaper flash-welded hi-ten steel bikes that Schwinn cranked out by the millions, although the external appearance (of being fillet brazed) was similar.
Nice write-up. My buddy upgraded to a Sports Tourer from a Varsity Sport around then. If I recall correctly, his derailers were Campagnolo (not the pricey Nuovo Record Campy, but I can’t recall the model.) The Shimano on this one may have been a later replacement.
I still have my old Raleigh Grand Prix from that era. I need to dig in and restore it.
Nice work. I just stumbled upon a ’74 lime green Suburban on Craigslist. $25! I’m about to start restoring it, to the extent that I can. I have the “want to” just lacking the “know how”.