1946 Schwinn Continental...maybe '47 or '48...


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HARPO

I live for the CABE
Dec 28, 2010
1,082
797
Floral Park, NY, United States
#1
I just picked this up a couple of hours ago! I'm thinking it's a '46 (first year of the Continental) due to the fact it has the sought-after dual neck like on the Aerocyles, etc. If I'm wrong, please let me know!

The bike, with the exception of the tires, is all original (and missing the wheel for the cable for the shifter). Even the "toupee" seat...I call it that because the top is no longer connected to the frame...is all there. Decals are in pretty decent shape also, but the shifter is frozen shut in its present location. The rear rack appears to have been added a long time ago, possibly when the bike was new??
It isn't without the dings in the fenders and of course the rust, but wow. I love it!!

Condition is the opposite of the one @SirMike1983 has, but at least I now have one to work on. I love owning a bike older than I am, especially an early Schwinn. What do you think of this find @bulldog1935 ?

More BEFORE photos to come!

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SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
2,881
2,257
United States
#4
Mine with basically the same set up is a 1947 based on my hub date code. The dateless Sturmey hubs are from right around WWII, some from right before and some from right after. The tapered kickstand on the Continental is a red herring - tapered stands are used to date ballooners to 1946, but the Continentals used a tapered stand at least into late 1947. 1946-48 would be my guess. Eventually the quadrant was replaced by the Silverface click shifter on the handlebars. That seems to have happened over the course of 1948-49, at least based on the ones I've seen. That project should clean up fine and is pretty much all there. I love mine but am looking at selling it because I may have to move later this year (some serious belt tightening to get everything into the pod and moved, I would think). We'll see how it goes.

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SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
2,881
2,257
United States
#7
Hopefully these notes are helpful to you/anyone else interested in these bikes. They're what I have in a notepad file (I have to look to see if I have any other notepad files on Schwinn lightweights, I may have others I put in different folders).

Cottered Bottom Bracket:

-The bottom bracket uses British-type equipment at 24 threads per inch. Schwinn-made parts are scarce. I've used Birmingham Hercules and Phillips parts in the past as substitutes when needed. There are cheaper, oriental parts made today that some low end bikes use. These will often fit, but the hardening and tolerances are poor compared to old stock US or British production.

-The spindle is not a standard 16GC size, but is a smaller size in terms of length. An English production #16 plain or non-GC should be close. A 16GC will work OK but will be a bit long and may have trouble over shooting the chain guard. Again, Schwinn-made parts are scarce here. Look for non-GC #16 spindle as a replacement.

-The bottom bracket lock ring metal is softer on the Schwinn than on the Raleigh or Birmingham production. Be very careful trying to loosen a seized Schwinn locking. Apply gentle heat and Kroil if needed. They don't respond to a forceful shot from punch and hammer as well as the English parts (notches tend to shear).

-The Schwinn cranks are of a unique profile (small oval). Closest are old-type Birmingham Hercules cranks (slightly larger oval). Cranks are relatively soft and can be bent using a vise and frame straightening arm or appropriately sized steel pipe.

-Drive side crank is swaged/pressed to the chainring (similar to Raleigh 3-speeds). If it is very loose, it can be tightened using an anvil and hammer banging on the inner swaging lip. Always double-check for tightness before re-attaching to the bike and using. The chainring is detachable from the spider but make sure your socket/wrench fits the chainring bolts/nuts snugly (they are usually stubborn). It's a good idea to remove the chainring before banging on the anvil to tighten the spider to the arm. Most chainrings are 46 teeth, but other sizes were available.

-Old Continental chainrings have no trouble with modern SRAM-type bushingless chains. They run smoothly when set up properly with a fresh chain.


Brakes:

-Brakes are unique to the early Schwinn. There are actually a couple types - some with spring stops on the brake caliper arms, and some with no stops that instead use a "hooked" spring in the style of an English 3-speed. The Continentals usually appear with the arm-stop type brakes, whereas the New Worlds usually have the "hooked spring" type.

-Stock brake set up was the same on female and male frames, where the rear brake cable ran down and clipped to the top of the chain guard. I see this as a production convenience only so the factory could do both male and female frames the same way. I recommend converting to standard routing on the men's with new cables and housings as a safety precaution. The issue with the Schwinn-style set up is that water tends to run down into the rear cable housing/cable because it's upside down.
 

SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
2,881
2,257
United States
#12
1936-39 would be single digit code for year. A 1935 model K would have "5", and a 1936 AW would have a "6".

At some point around the start of WWII, they dropped the date code. They resumed it after the war. No date code would be a hub from around WW2. That would be consistent with an immediate post war bike: 1946 or early 47.
 

mbstude

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 22, 2012
270
188
Gainesville, FL
#14
Harpo.. Those early post WWII Continentals are my favorite bicycles, period. I've got a black tall frame '47, and it looks like I just bought SirMike's blue '47 (this makes the second time I've owned that one.)

Looks like you've got a nice one. Keep up the good work.
 
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Likes: HARPO

SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 27, 2008
2,881
2,257
United States
#16
It cleaned up well. The Continentals are great bikes, as are the New Worlds. These bikes are among the few light roadster-style bikes that can go head-to-head with a Raleigh or Hercules or Phillips. The graphics on these (and the 1950s-era bikes with winged graphics) are great.

The English were generally more serious about their adult sporting and utility bikes than the Americans were, but Schwinn soldiered on producing some really good 3-speed bikes into the early 1960s.

The collectors seem to favor the pre-war Schwinn Superiors and Paramounts, but my personal opinion is that Schwinn's golden age for lightweight 3-speeds started right after the war, and into the 1950s (I also think this is true of Raleigh). They offered some neat choices - New Worlds; Superiors; Continentals; and the Paramounts. You'd expect that kind of choice from someone like Raleigh or Hercules, but not so much an American company (the automobile ruled America in that time).
 

HARPO

I live for the CABE
Dec 28, 2010
1,082
797
Floral Park, NY, United States
#17
More to do (like maybe trying to "pinch" the rear fender tighter in the back) and add the reflector off of the rack that came on the bike. Next is to pull the wheels off and clean under the fenders and the drops. Of course I still need to add the proper oil to the wheels and bottom bracket. It's not smooth moving, even a bit stiff, holding the bike up and turning the crank, but once up on the rack and I can see how it spins.

So...more photos coming soon...:p
 
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