One thing I'm hearing from a lot of people during the COVID-19 shutdown is that there are a lot of bike projects getting done. I was just nearing completion of my Sequoia project when the shutdown happened and won't be starting another bike anytime soon. But I did recently get an email from Steve A. from Papillion, Nebraska about a project he was just finishing: a 1970s vintage Schwinn Super Sport.
I've written about bikes like the Super Sport here in the blog before (HERE). It was one of the lovely and under-appreciated hand-built bikes from Schwinn. Unlike the bulk of Schwinn's bikes of the time, which were welded together with heavy seamed steel tubing (made in-house at the Chicago Schwinn factory), the Super Sport and its stablemates, the Superior and Sports Tourer, were fillet brazed by hand from straight-gauge chrome-moly tubing in the same corner of the factory that produced the top-of-the-line Paramounts. The Super Sport was placed above the welded Continental model in the Schwinn model lineup, but below the slightly more upscale Superior or Sports Tourer (depending on the year). With its Ashtabula one-piece crank and Huret Allvit derailleurs, many customers probably didn't know what set the Super Sport apart from the cheaper Varsity and Continental models, and many dealers probably didn't do a good enough job explaining what made them worth the extra money. In any case, people who know how to spot them in the wild can sometimes get a good bargain on them and end up with a very attractive and sweet-riding bike.
That's where this example comes in. Steve found it on the Omaha Craigslist for about $20 and then did a complete down-to-the-frame restoration. Here are some before and after pictures.
|The bike was complete and original - but obviously in need of a lot of TLC. At first glance I see a lot of rust, and a very dried out Brooks saddle. Otherwise, it looks to be all there.|
Some close ups:
|A very rusty crank and chain.|
|Gleaming. He had the crank re-chromed, and I see he added some period-correct-looking toestraps and clips - a nice upgrade. The pedals were able to be cleaned up and re-used.|
|Lots more rust, and lots of chips and scratches in the paint.|
|Another look at the bottom bracket area and that very rusty crank (and integrated kickstand - also very rusty).|
|Brakes were replaced with correct vintage parts (with new pads added), and he was able to find a nice-looking vintage replacement for the head badge on eBay to replace the beat-up original.|