How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame

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How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
Use as many original parts as possible. (decayed bicycle image by Christopher Martin from

Schwinn has been making bicycles since the late 19th century. There are many classic models, such as the Sting-Ray, Continental, Varsity and Aerobike. Schwinn has changed ownership several times and they often used non-standard-sized parts on their frames. Building a Schwinn bicycle back up from the frame may require finding original Schwinn parts. Some parts can be substituted with standard parts made for current bicycles. Measure the fittings on the frame and decide whether to go with original or aftermarket parts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Calipers
  • Bike tools

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  1. 1

    Install the headset. The headset is the set of bearings and races that fits the front forks into the frame. These have to be installed with a special tool known as a headset puller/installer. If you have the original headset, examine the races for dimples and the bearings for wear. If the races are smooth, use them. It is usually a good idea to replace the bearings with same-sized new bearings. If you need a new headset, use calipers to find the right size that will fit your Schwinn frame.

    How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
    The forks fit through the front tube and headset. (bicycle wheel image by Wendi Evans from
  2. 2

    Install the bottom bracket, front crank and pedals. The bottom bracket is the axle and bearings that will hold the front crank and pedals. Find the correct size by checking the diameter and width for the bottom bracket with calipers. Install original equipment or find a new bottom bracket with the same dimensions.

    How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
    The pedals and front crank fit on the bottom bracket. (accéssoires 156 image by Jacques Ribieff from
  3. 3

    Install the forks and handlebars. The forks fit through the headset and are locked in place with the top nuts on the headset. Some models of Schwinn frames have unique handlebar post tube sizes and will only fit original equipment handlebar posts. Determine the tube inner diameter with calipers and find a handlebar post that will fit. Install the handlebar post and handlebars.

  4. 4

    Install the wheels. Different Schwinn frames take different size hubs, rims and tires. Make sure the hubs fit the forks and hangers for the front and back wheels. For single-speed bikes, the rear wheel hub should have a coaster brake. For multi-speed models, make sure the freewheel (gears) on the back hub fit into the rear wheel hangers.

    How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
    The wheels are a certain size for each type of frame. (bicycle wheel image by jimcox40 from
  5. 5

    Install the brakes. The brakes have to fit into the frame so they will contact the wheel rims properly. Install the brake handles on the handlebars, and run the cables and wires to the brakes. Adjust the brakes so they contact the rims correctly.

    How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
    Adjust the brakes to contact the side of the wheel rims. (bicycle image by Sergey Danilov from
  6. 6

    Install the seat post and seat. Use calipers to determine the inner diameter of the seat post tube to find a seat post that will fit, or use original equipment for a seat post. Install the seat post and seat.

    How to Rebuild a Schwinn Bicycle From the Frame
    The seat is held by the seat post and inserted into the downtube. (sitzgelegenheit image by Steffbiene from

Tips and warnings

  • Use original equipment to build up the bike when possible. Rust can be minimised by soaking parts in phosphoric acid commercial solutions. Adjust bearings so they are not loose but not so tight that you dimple the races. If you are going to paint the frame, do it before you start adding parts.

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