Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Before Photos of the "Mystery" Schwinn Racer

I took these the day it showed up.


  1. It's me again.

    It occurred to me that you might not know about Schwinn serial numbers.

    Raleigh serial numbers CAN be worked out. There are ways of de-coding SOME Raleigh serial numbers. When it works, it's fun!

    Schwinn serial numbers, in the time period 1948-1966 are the BEST and the most fun!

    You were smart to check the rear hub for the Sturmey Archer date. On a Raleigh, that's generally accepted as the date of the bicycle. For one thing, Raleigh got the hubs as quickly as they were made! For another, Raleigh serial numbers can be confusing.

    Most Schwinn serial numbers in the years 1948-1966 will give you the DAY your frame was made! If you are clever, you can figure out morning or afternoon. You will know the actual birthday of your frame!

    If your Made-In-USA Schwinn were from 1967-1983 then the best you could do would be month and year.

    There are many-many places that list the numbers. Here's an easy one:


  2. More Serial Number...

    I can't quite see the month number, in the photo of that Sturmey Archer hub.

    On a Raleigh, you can figure the bicycle was made within a week or two of the month and year on the original rear hub. Raleigh owned Sturmey Archer (from the first day in 1902). They got hubs quickly, and used them quickly!

    On a Schwinn, there was a long ship voyage, across the Atlantic. Don't forget, Chicago is a big Atlantic seaport! Something about the St. Lawrence sea-way...

    However, Schwinn also made frames ahead of time, and stored them, usually without the final paint and decals.

    A frame made in January might sit in storage until early Summer!

    And, the first frame into a big store-room, was usually the last frame OUT of that store-room!

    It's fun to compare the day the frame was made, with the month the rear hub was made. Usually the hub is something like 3 months older. But, things happen...


  3. Another fun little detail...

    Your right brake lever is original.

    The left brake lever is a replacement.

    The company that made the original brake calipers and levers, was Weinmann, originally in Switzerland, and later also in "West Germany".

    Weinmann licenced their designs to DiaCompe in Japan (Nippon).

    The brake calipers mostly say "Schwinn Approved". But the country of origin will tell you something!

    Back to your 2 levers!!!

    At some time in the middle-late 1960s, somebody decided that sharp point at the end of the lever was a safety issue. The levers suddenly grew big round balls at the very end. Less likely to poke a hole in you!

    Today, the earlier levers are worth at least twice as much as the more modern levers!

    Danger costs more!

    (by the way, there are many other tiny differences, that help date the levers... I'm not in THAT deep!)

    Just part of the history of your machine.


  4. The hub is August, the frame is February, according to the serial number. In fact, if the date on the link you provided above is correct, it was made on Valentine's Day, 1962.

    Thanks for that link, I discovered it a while ago when I was trying to get a date on my wife's Schwinn Suburban (1977), and I could never find it again.

    Also, thanks for the detail on the brake levers, I knew one of them was probably original. I've got some other old ones sitting around that match the replacement, so for the time being, it has matching (if incorrect) levers on it. I'll save the original one and try to find a match for it down the road.

  5. More Serial Number Fun...

    Frame was made on Valentine's Day!!! And it ended up being painted red!!! Fun!!!

    And yes, this was almost certainly one of those... first one into the storage warehouse... last one out of the storage warehouse... situations.

    That would explain the frame being made 14 February 1962, and the hub being made August 1962.

    It was probably put together at the factory in Chicago, boxed, and shipped, sometime like maybe September-October.

    Now that I think about it more, I've seen 3-Speed Schwinns with frame-&-hub dates that seemed about 6-weeks apart.

    It might have been sold as a back-to-school bicycle. It might have been sold as a Christmas bicycle. It might have been sitting around a bicycle shop until Summer of 1963.

    Fun to play with history!

    And yes, it deserves the old-style pointy brake levers... (you could poke your eye out! ;^)


    Your wife's Schwinn!!! Take a really close look at the headbadge. Does it have little tiny numbers stamped into the aluminum headbadge? Those tell you when it was ASSEMBLED at the factory. Here is the confusing part. If I remember correctly... Those numbers are the year, and the WEEK of the year, like 1 - 52. I know hubs and cranks were stamped with week-of-year.


  6. Can somebody help me decipher my Raleigh serial #? It's stamped on the seatpost lug, OB21302. The "O" might be a ding, it looks like a backwards c. The Sturmey Archer Hub is stamped AW-9 (1939) Thanks for your help.