Schwinn Circuit 1999

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.  81 superior

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.

99 pelotonThe 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.

This was my Peloton. 

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.

The components are Campagnolo Veloce, and I couln’t be happier.







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.


5 thoughts on “Schwinn Circuit 1999

  1. Hi. Love the Schwinn Circuit! I have the same bike, and am looking to upgrade it. This year the fork and headset, and next year the drive train. I’m just a low level bike mechanic, and the headset is a bit daunting to me, especially since I’m not just replacing like for like. I just ordered a 1 inch threadless carbon fork, and now I need to decide on a headset. Looks like you got a Cane Creek. Was it just a 1″ traditional headset? Any problems with the install? Any more info or help you can provide me? Thanks!

    • Hi,
      It’s cool to hear you have the same bike. I actually have never seen another one. Except around when I got mine, there happened to be two on Craigslist around the same time.

      Anyway, as far as the headset, it is a typical external cup threadless headset. Have a headset press now, but at the time didn’t, and would tap in headset cups with a plastic head hammer, you could use a regular hammer with a block of wood, too. Just be careful that they are going in straight is about all the warning I could give, and try to be sure they are seated fully. Don’t remember any problems, and have had zero issues with the headset since, haven’t even serviced it yet. I think getting the crown race on is actually a little trickier, and a proper tool makes a big difference. I did practice these things on less important and less expensive bikes before this one, so maybe that helped, too. But I don’t think it is a really difficult thing to learn if you feel pretty confident with your mechanical abilities in other ways.

      If really in doubt, you might want to just take your frame and fork to a shop and have them install the cups and race, and you could do the rest.

      I think the carbon fork is a great addition to this frame, although “steel is real”, I think a light carbon fork can really compliment the way this frame rides and handles. I do love my Circuit.

      Let me know how it goes if you get a chance.

      • Hi again. My upgrade is complete. I ended up going for it all – new fork, headset, stem, crankset, bottom bracket, and derailleurs (Shimano Ultegra 6700). Also some cool bottle cages. She looks great and I can’t wait to get her out on the roads (we’re all snow-covered here in MN now, so I’m not ready to take her out). I learned a lot about wrenching doing it. And thanks for your help and advice!

        I don’t think my frame is as clean as yours…she’s had a lot of miles put on her over many years as my commuter bike and has her share of nicks and scratches. But she still looks great and some more touch-up will help.

        Can send pics if you like, but don’t see how I can post them here.

      • That’s funny that you are in MN. I am, too. I’m in the Twin Cities.

        Sounds like some nice upgrades. Glad it all worked out for you. I think well worth it, for a really nice riding frame. Maybe I’ll see you and your bike riding around somewhere in our state.

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