Schwinns are dear to me, in a way. I have a certain connection to Schwinn. Schwinn’s factory was in Chicago, where my family is from, and where I was born. The factory was actually not far from where my father lived as a boy. And then, later as a young adult, I spent a couple of years in Chicago, after being away for many years. And I could see the old Schwinn factory out the window of my apartment. It was abandoned and empty by then.
My first road bike was a Schwinn Superior. These were wonderful bikes. They were Reynolds 531 frames equipped with Campagnolo Gran Sport Components. It looked like this.
I picked my bike up used, through a local classified paper (remember when there was no internet or craigslist?) I got it for an amazing price too, considering in 1981 it retailed for $700 or more. It was about 1989 when I acquired it. For some reason, the orange didn’t agree with me (now I like it!), and I decided to repaint the frame. I don’t remember, but maybe I saw this somewhere (another Schwinn).
So, I proceeded to strip that beautiful pearl orange paint, and repainted the bike in the colors of Italy. Well, I crashed that bike, ruined the fork, bent the frame, repaired it, but eventually lost it to a thief.
Fast forward to 2010. I discovered the Schwinn Peloton, (and later the Circuit, same frame, different components). The Peloton was an Ultegra equipped bike, the Circuit 105. These were only made for a few years. Previous Peloton and Circuit models were typical lugged steel frames. This is the Peloton in Yellow.
The Peloton and Circuit shared the same frame, Reynolds 853 main tubes, unspecified curved seat and chain stays, coupled with an aluminum fork. The main difference was the component level, the Peloton having a higher level. The Paramount of this year was offered in titanium, and steel. The steel version of the Paramount shared some of design, but used lugs instead of Tig welding, and used Reynolds 725 steel for the stays.
I no longer have this bike. I picked it up as a frame from Ebay. The very nice Look carbon fork was included. I already had a road bike, which I actually liked just fine. But I was interested in the ride of the 853 steel. I tore down my Motobecane and built up the Peloton. This was the final form before it sold. It was a wonderful bike to ride. But I don’t miss it! Because I replaced it with something better!
I found a Schwinn Circuit locally through Craigslist. It was in almost unused condition. It couldn’t have been ridden more than 25 miles. It was different than the photo above, it had a 3×9 Shimano 105 drivetrain, CXP21 105 wheelset, and that dreadful aluminum fork. Threaded headset. It was a nice bike in its original form, don’t get me wrong, but I decided to rebuild it my way.
I took the bike completely apart and basically sold everything. All the components were essentially new, so I didn’t have a lot of problems finding interest. The proceeds of course were used to get the components I wanted. And then, I came full circle, from the days of my Superior to now, the present. I decided on Campagnolo. A high quality steel frame made by Schwinn with Campagnolo components.
I found an affordable carbon fork and wheelset, and a mixture of different components to round it out. This bike just rocks. It is equal to my Peloton, but I really have come to appreciate Campagnolo. Their stuff works great, and it rarely breaks. It lasts a long time, too. And they offer good warranties, and have lots of spare parts available when you need them.
I just added a Veloce crankset to this bike yesterday. This bike is just so much fun to ride. The frame is really exceptional, comfortable, stiff, light. Handling is superb. Pairing with a carbon fork really enhances the whole experience in my opinion. My ’99 Schwinn Circuit. A keeper.