Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1976 Schwinn Continental

Over the winter I was given a frame for a 1976 Schwinn Continental. Actually, it included the fork, stem and handlebars, seatpost, crankset, and an old rusty chain. At first I was tempted to just pass it on but decided to keep it after seeing occasional favorable references to the Continental pop up on the web from time to time.

The frame as I got under way - note chrome fork

The decals are getting chipped away

The frame was in great shape but the paint was less than dazzling and the decals were starting to flake a bit. I figured I could do something with it at some point but had plenty of other projects lined up at the time. I brought it inside the house to my office where I occasionally fiddled around with the silver paint trying to see if I could improve it without a total respray. I did find a close match for the paint at the Hobby Lobby in the model department. Testors makes a silver paint that you can get in either a small bottle, a felt tip enamel paint pen, or spray can. It is actually a pretty close match but I just don't seem to have the patience for it.

A better look at the chrome front fork and other parts as I cleaned them

I had some decisions to make regarding the missing parts. There was a decent set of alloy wheels laying around that would work but were not going to keep the bike "original". If that was going to be the case, then I had plenty of other non-original parts I could use. 

I kept the bike as a 10 speed but used a 5 cog freewheel from a 1980 Schwinn Sprint along with the Shimano Lark II rear derailleur from the same bike. The brakes were "Schwinn Approved" side pulls from the Sprint instead of the center pulls that were standard at the time. I kept everything else original including the 4" tall Schwinn Approved stem mounted shift levers.

Drive train

I added new handlebar tape, seat, cablehousing, and cable and she was ready to roll. 

Still a great looking bike!

The final step was to take it for a ride. According to the brochure the bike weighed in at a hefty 39 pounds. I'm sure the alloy wheels, newer derailleur, and brakes lightened that somewhat but it still is a substantial bike. Surprisingly, when I got the bike out on the road the extra weight was barely noticeable. The steel frame gave it a very solid but smooth ride that I found very agreeable. This is a bike people will enjoy riding!

1976 Schwinn Continental


  1. Nice job, it's always great to see a Schwinn Conti refurbed.

  2. I have the exact same bike.It is original except,quite possibly the brake pads and the tires, everything works and it is rally pretty. It is the best bike I have ever had. I am wondering how much it would cost me to have you put it as pretty as the one you have shown here. It has some small issues wth the wheels being untrue and I think the crank berings need repacked plus it needs a couple of new cables and it has the same paint issues yours did. Please Email me @ zepaholic69@hotmail.com

    Thank You
    Bob Young

    1. Anybody know Mikes decal source? I need the Same ones only white.

  3. I just got one, Hasn't been ridden since 1980 but it's SPOTLESS. You can just feel how good of a bike this is after 37 years it's still looks and feels like a quality bike. Heavy? sure but if a car hits me it will do a lot more damage to the car than a carbon fiber road bike would!

  4. Schwinn continental is one of the popular cycle. I heard about this cycle but didn't know enough. After reading your post, I know a lot about this cycle. Thanks for sharing with us.