Peoria’s Illinois Cycle sold this Schwinn Corvette in 1964. The bike probably spent most of the past 30 years rusting away in a basement.
In 2013, Erik Reader, now president of Bike Peoria, was rehabilitating a $5,000 house just off Monroe Street. That’s when he asked me whether I wanted a bicycle he had found stuffed in a corner of the basement. I said sure. And I didn’t change my mind when I saw its condition.
The original wheels were trashed (though I may eventually resurrect the rear hub). The paint was and still is largely theoretical. The saddle was gone, and the saddle clamp, a famously non-standard Schwinn part, was missing as well.
It may have been the missing clamp that led to the bicycle’s consignment to storage. The owner–or whoever had possession of the Schwinn at the time–probably couldn’t figure out a way to attach a new saddle to the old post.
I, on the other hand, decided to attach an old saddle to a new post. Economically, you can consider that to be the first of several mistakes. Because there’s no way it makes any sense to return this bike to the road.
Except for the fact that it was a lot of fun to work on.
You have to work to rebuild a bicycle this obsolete. Fortunately, there always seems to be a source for 26 x 1-3/4 tires on the Internet. And no, 26 x 1.75 tires won’t fit.
Economically, it doesn’t make any sense to fix a bicycle that was as far gone as the Corvette. Here’s a list of the parts I kept through the rebuilding process: frame, fork, headset, cranks, bottom bracket, fenders, chainguard, seat post frame clamp, coaster brake strap and Peoria bicycle sticker.
Nothing wrong with the old handlebars and stem, but this set was a little wider and a lot shinier. No idea why I still had Schwinn handlebars in the junk box.
Everything you’ve read about the SRAM Automatix 2-speed hub is correct: 1) For some bizarre reason, it doesn’t come with a brake strap, 2) It should come with a larger cog because high gear kicks in early, and 3) It’s nifty as all get-out.
This bicycle originally came with a sidepull brake. I filed the dropouts just enough to accept the drum brakes’s non-flatted axle. Note: It was easier to adjust the front brake than to interpret the instructions for it.
The new seat post is compatible with standard saddle clamps. The Brooks B15 saddle is another junk box find.