Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Schwinn Cleanup

I'm working pretty quickly on the Schwinn Project. Yesterday afternoon I took the whole thing apart, cleaned and polished the frame, cleaned and repacked the bottom bracket and headset, and polished up the crank and handlebar chrome.

I'll get some more photos this afternoon, but here's the top part of the headset after cleaning. I didn't get a before photo, unfortunately, but I had to show y'all how well this came out.

The bottom bracket was the same. Once I got the grime and old grease cleaned up, the internal works are in nearly pristine condition. I'm thinking that this old fella didn't see much use in its day, because there is virtually no wear on any of the bearings or cones. Still working on the wheels, but they're also cleaning up nicely.


  1. I don't want to be too much of a nerd here. But... Aren't those older Schwinn bearings just fun to work with?

    They are well-made, from heavy chunks of high-quality steel, with thick chrome plating. They are carefully designed to be fully serviced by the most basic of simple tools.

    They last forever.

    And they sparkle in the sun when they're clean!

    Beautiful photo, nice work!

    Did you notice? Did you notice what's odd and weird... and BETTER... about the design of this headset? It's easiest to see when everything is off the frame except the 2 parts that are pressed into the head-tube of the frame.

    Regular headset - 2 cups in headtube of frame.

    Vintage Schwinn headset - 1 cup and 1 cone, in headtube of frame!



    Rainwater can't get in.

    It's wearing its own little umbrella. It sheds rain, instead of capturing it.

    Rainwater is also the reason for big gaps in the bottom-bracket / crankset area.

    The rainwater can escape the bottom-bracket very easily!

    Those Chicago-factory-made Schwinns do NOT rust from the inside due to trapped rainwater.

    I've opened up the tight cranksets of several bicycles, over the years, and had a half-pint of dirty water come pouring out!!!

    That can't happen to your red Schwinn.


  2. I must say, after working on three bikes with loose bearings, it's nice to work on some good ol' caged bearings again. I had noticed the headset configuration, but just peripherally. Rainwater--makes sense!

    I really like that the "insides" of this bike are so very sound (so far, knock wood), while the outside looks a bit rough. All the haters can just judge as much as they want (and the bike thieves stay away), 'cause my ugly bike has some serious inner beauty (I don't really think it's ugly, mind you).