Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Memorial Day was my twin daughters' birthday. We started the day out by going to one of their favorite restauraunts, IHOP, with my folks along. After we ate we went back to my parents' house and I loaded up my Dad's old Schwinn Suburban. It's been hanging in the rafters of his garage for probably 20+ years, and he was thinking about getting rid of it. I invoked the Law of Bicycles (the number of bikes you need is equal to the number of bikes you have, plus one) to silence my wife's protests. When I got it home I took a good, hard look. It's a project, all right. But I'm looking on it as the restoration of a family heirloom. And, once it's complete I think it will be an extremely utilitarian bike that will get some use.
The drivetrain is in great shape. There's no surface rust on the chain or any of the drive components. The derailleur seems to shift smoothly, and the brakes don't even appear to be too bad.
I was doing a little research on the web last night. Based on the serial number, this model was manufactured in March of 1974. It still has the sticker for the Hazel Park Schwinn Cycle Center on White Bear Ave and Highway 36, a shop I remember going to even in high school. There's a Goodwill in that building now.
The old school, non-magnetic odometer reads 688 or 677 miles, depending on how you choose to look at it.
This model has a couple unique features. The first is that it has a handlebar mounted thumb shifter. From what I've read, this was a one-year only feature for the 5-speed version of the Suburban. All other years had a single stem-mounted shifter lever. And it may be that even some of the '74 run had the stem-mounted levers as well, due to supply issues with the thumb shifters.
Schwinn also made a slight departure on the graphics for 1974. Most Suburbans have decals with two-tone lettering, normally black with a white border. This model has the less common all black Schwinn script with matching starbursts and pinstripes. It's a nice look, in my opinion. And dig that Lime paint.
The paint is starting to chip away in places, along with some surface rust not only on the frame but on nearly all of the chrome.
My goal is to get it in rideable shape by the end of summer. Check back for updates on my progress.
06/15 update: Front rim cleaned and hub repacked, tire mounted