Convert 1973 Continental to Town Bike?

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Martin Bike Nut

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Hi All!

I just bought a 1973 Continental that I want to convert to my reliable, less-likely-to-be-stolen town bike. It's far from pristine - perfect! - but it's pretty damn nice, and I love the color and those wheel hubs!

I'm going to
(1) replace the (original!?) tires and tubes,
(2) swap the drop handlebars for Suburban/Speedster upright 'bars (and brake levers),
(3) remove the front derailleur and large chainring,
(4) swap the Twin-Stik shift levers to a single friction, thumb shifter.

I'm also going to do some maintenance/restoration of the wheel hubs, headset and bottom bracket, if necessary. (I was also thinking about converting the bottom bracket to a sealed-bearing, cartridge type, but that's probably just silly)

Do you have any other ideas about making this a short-trip, daily driver?

Thanks!

Schwinn,Continental,1973 (1).jpeg
 

Schwinny

Wore out three sets of tires already!
That is what I do to them, but out of necessity.
You can remove the five bolts from the chain ring and it removes the chain guard and large ring. It leaves the small one attached to the crank. Remove the front derailleur, and it's a 5 speed. At that point you can add a 5 spd trigger shifter.
Also lose a couple pounds.
Depends on where you live for the theft deterrent though. With tourist bars it does make it less desirable for theft but shiny clean attracts theft...

It's a nice looking bike
 

Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
It it your bike, and it's yours to do as you want so please dont be offended by my thoughts.

To me it is way too nice still to be torn apart to make something it wasnt intended to be.

Change the bars to tourist if you need to for comfort. The seat as well. Save them because if you sell it it would be more saleable with those parts included.

You can replace the tires with whatever you want that fits the rims, but from experience if you do replace the tubes buy good ones. Otherwise you are better off with the originals. Most of the department store tubes will not hold air if you put an icepick to their stems.

Those shifters are friction shifters. Much cooler and more durable than the plastic things available today.

The stem is not that long, I have seen the city bikes with stems that long and even drop stems.

Don't change out the crank assembly for cartridge type bearings. That is a waste of time and money, unless you are Mountain Biking or on dirt, water and mud a lot. I believe you could find a way to seal up the bottom bracket some without the expense of a sealed cartridge conversion. If you are interested I would do the legwork on how to do it and what to use.

Or tune it up and ride it as is, it will grow on you if you do. I rode those bikes and Krates through high school in the 1970s and really didn't like tourist bikes then. I am ok with them now but still prefer older road bikes (and Krates and the occasional Balloon tire bike).

On a side note, a 5 speed cruiser bike would be way more comfortably (pronounced
com for TOB lee) if you are riding a lot. You can buy those in a wide range of colors. They have comfortable upright bars and large padded seats. Index shifters but they usually look like the older friction shifters or you can get thumb shifters or Grip Shift which is amazingly comfortable to ride around town with and you never have to take your hands off of the handlebars. Heck, most of the time they even have a cup holder for your Starbucks (or 7-Eleven or whatever).

You could also tune and clean it and sell it. Then buy a City Bike you can like. Then two people (you and the buyer) both win.

Last thought. Invest in a good lock no matter what way you go. A 6 foot coated cable (or even a 6-8 foot coated cable dog leash) and a decent round body lock would be a good choice. Where I live the gangbangers will even steal a sidewalk bike and ride it across town to drop off "deliveries". They dump them a block or two away and usually destroy the wheels by then or at the drop point to be spiteful. I pick them up a lot, but the owners rarely even file a theft report or even write down the serial numbers so there is no way to find them. Police here will not even come for them if you call and the scrappers (I was one myself) will take them to the yard without hesitation.

Like I said though it is your bike. Dont let me rain on your parade.
 

Martin Bike Nut

'Lil Knee Scuffer
It it your bike, and it's yours to do as you want so please dont be offended by my thoughts.

To me it is way too nice still to be torn apart to make something it wasnt intended to be.

Change the bars to tourist if you need to for comfort. The seat as well. Save them because if you sell it it would be more saleable with those parts included.

You can replace the tires with whatever you want that fits the rims, but from experience if you do replace the tubes buy good ones. Otherwise you are better off with the originals. Most of the department store tubes will not hold air if you put an icepick to their stems.

Those shifters are friction shifters. Much cooler and more durable than the plastic things available today.

The stem is not that long, I have seen the city bikes with stems that long and even drop stems.

Don't change out the crank assembly for cartridge type bearings. That is a waste of time and money, unless you are Mountain Biking or on dirt, water and mud a lot. I believe you could find a way to seal up the bottom bracket some without the expense of a sealed cartridge conversion. If you are interested I would do the legwork on how to do it and what to use.

Or tune it up and ride it as is, it will grow on you if you do. I rode those bikes and Krates through high school in the 1970s and really didn't like tourist bikes then. I am ok with them now but still prefer older road bikes (and Krates and the occasional Balloon tire bike).

On a side note, a 5 speed cruiser bike would be way more comfortably (pronounced
com for TOB lee) if you are riding a lot. You can buy those in a wide range of colors. They have comfortable upright bars and large padded seats. Index shifters but they usually look like the older friction shifters or you can get thumb shifters or Grip Shift which is amazingly comfortable to ride around town with and you never have to take your hands off of the handlebars. Heck, most of the time they even have a cup holder for your Starbucks (or 7-Eleven or whatever).

You could also tune and clean it and sell it. Then buy a City Bike you can like. Then two people (you and the buyer) both win.

Last thought. Invest in a good lock no matter what way you go. A 6 foot coated cable (or even a 6-8 foot coated cable dog leash) and a decent round body lock would be a good choice. Where I live the gangbangers will even steal a sidewalk bike and ride it across town to drop off "deliveries". They dump them a block or two away and usually destroy the wheels by then or at the drop point to be spiteful. I pick them up a lot, but the owners rarely even file a theft report or even write down the serial numbers so there is no way to find them. Police here will not even come for them if you call and the scrappers (I was one myself) will take them to the yard without hesitation.

Like I said though it is your bike. Dont let me rain on your parade.
No offense taken at all, and I'm considering everything you've mentioned here.

Thanks!

Martin
 

Oldbikeguy1960

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Thanks man, you would not believe the reactions I can and have prompted with my opinions and suggestions so I appreciate your polite acceptance of my post.

I am searching the one piece crank seal idea with no results but I have a couple ideas of my own I will test soon and if they work I will share them.

Good luck with your bike, no matter which route you take.
Rob
 

Martin Bike Nut

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Thanks man, you would not believe the reactions I can and have prompted with my opinions and suggestions so I appreciate your polite acceptance of my post.

I am searching the one piece crank seal idea with no results but I have a couple ideas of my own I will test soon and if they work I will share them.

Good luck with your bike, no matter which route you take.
Rob
You're welcome, and I really meant what I said. I'm an "OldBikeGuy", too, but my last Schwinn was a 1969 3-speed Speedster, and I have PLENTY to learn about old bikes!

Here's a search I could use help with, Rob:

Can I simply replace the 1-piece crank with a vintage spindle - like a Le Tour or Sports Tourer? (And use all the existing bearings, cups and races?)
 
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