Old school Chicago Schwinns...

OP
FolderBeholder

FolderBeholder

Senior Member
This is a 1940-something Arnold Schwinn which I restored for my little sister....she’s 5’1” tall (my sister that is)
The frame, wheels, fender stays and chain-guard are powdercoated. The fenders are painted do due filler needed. The chrome, which is all but unavailable in California if not sent south of the border, cost as much as the rest of the finishwork combined. Observant forum members will note this was taken prior to me installing the chain.

DB547AEF-DFFF-4CFC-A4E1-F60349DF1F9B.jpeg
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Nice bikes. This style never came to the UK, maybe we have too many hills.
Bikes like that were sold, but I agree were not very common. When I was a kid one of the other locals had one with two top tubes very similar to the first picture. It was a battered old thing with no decals left, so I have no idea if it was a Schwinn, or indeed who did make it. I do know it was bloody heavy and hard pedalling compared even to my own all-steel Raleigh.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
When you're a kid and the choice is either an old heavy single speed or no bike at all, you ride the single speed and you don't know any different. It's only once you've ridden bikes with several gears and less weight, that you realise how hard work those single speed balloon tyre bomber bikes are. They serve a purpose though, being pretty much indestructible and requiring no care whatsoever. The nearest modern equivalent would be a 26" rigid MTB with all the gear mechanism bits removed just run as a single speed. Those old bomber bikes are their ancestors.
 
OP
FolderBeholder

FolderBeholder

Senior Member
Do they have coaster brakes?
Yes. Bendix brakes in the case of these Schwinns.
 

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Location
Land of Lincoln
Pretty common in this area. The thing with Schwinn in the States was that they had a national network of dealers and ad campaigns, and did a good job of hawking their wares. They built a very reliable and heavy bicycle. Near indestructible. But they never got into the idea of lightweight, technologically current bicycles until it was too late. They are still sold, but only because Dorel owns the name, and produces them in China for the likes of Wal-Mart. They made a line of bicycles called Paramount, however, which showed what they could have done and been. They are now called Waterford, and I believe a Schwinn family member is still in charge. In the mid-80's, they made some fine mass market bicycles from True Temper and Columbus Tenax steel tubing. I believe @Cycleops bicycle is a Schwinn Traveler from that era.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
So they were a big manufacturer, maybe on a par with Raleigh in the UK, although Raleigh always produced a pretty wide range of models, not just heavyweights. Sadly, Raleighs sold now in the UK are also made in the far east and badge engineered, although all my ones were built in Nottingham and were deliberately acquired as such.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Schwinns must be pretty uncommon in the UK. I certainly don't ever recall seeing any dealers that sold them when I was a youngster, and I never came across anyone riding them back then either. Maybe some came into this country via US military personnel stationed in the UK?
 
Top Bottom