Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mystery Schwinn Build & Upgrade

Mystery Schwinn - Bicycle as Found

I have had this mystery Schwinn around the shop for a couple of years.  I got it from a guy at a flee market, he said he had it for sometime but could not remember how he acquired it.  The bike consists of a frame, front wheel, headset, seat, seat stem, crank, peddles, shift levers, derailleurs and chain.

With this bicycle I want to show what can be done with saving a bicycle like this.  I want to show how an old heavy bicycle like this can be turned into a lighter, useful and practical bicycle.  To give it a second life.

I think this is a Schwinn Suburban, maybe a continental.  At some point someone removed all the paint and never repainted it.  Considering how long it has been bare metal and sitting around there is very little surface rust, it is pretty amazing the little amount of rust there is.

I plan to repaint the frame and turn this bicycle into an upright city bicycle.  The bicycle will receive new alloy wheels and tires, new cables and housings, new handle bars, brake levers, grips and a new saddle.

Mystery Schwinn - Components - Before
I started by giving the frame a cleaning with steel whole and mineral spirits and then taped off the kick stand. With that done I hung the frame from the stand and gave the frame a coat of sandable primer.  It took two coats of primer and lite wet sanding to get a smooth surface.
Mystery Schwinn - Frame Cleaned

Mystery Schwinn - Frame Primed
If this was summer I would have set up a paint booth in the garage but being winter I did the painting the shop.  I taped and laid newspaper everywhere but the paint sprayer and compressor still gets paint over spray everywhere.

With a nice primed surface I sprayed the first coat of white hard enamel and hung the frame in front of a ceramic heater.  I do not recommend the heater part unless all precautions are taken to keep all combustibles  away and never leave the heater unattended.  I am very pleased with the first coat of white.  After a couple of days to dry I wet sanded the white enamel smooth.  Next I will add a coat of clear.  This will be the last time I do any painting until summer when I can set up the paint booth in the garage.

Mystery Schwinn - White Enamel
Mystery Schwinn - White Enamel
I have wheels and handle bars on order, next I will clear coat the frame, bake it and let it sit for a week or so and polish out the clear coat.  While I wait I will clean, polish and lubricate the components.  I will update with photos soon.

John Z.

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