The day I brought it home




Though now long overdue, here, as promised, are pictures of the finished  (more or less) 1973 Schwinn Suburban. I’ve been hesitant about posting them because (i) the chain guard isn’t on the bike yet (paint issues), and (ii) I still can’t get the derailleur adjusted quite right (mechanic issues). I think the bike needs a name. Anyone care to toss out some ideas?

This was my first build (not counting the refresh I did on Hannah’s bike). I’m really happy with it in some respects. The point was to get my feet wet, to learn my way around an old bike, to put together a fun ride from something destined for the trash heap. The project definitely accomplished all those things. However, I still have a lot to learn. More importantly, perhaps, the project only made me want to do something bigger, better, classier.

finished-suburban-0061finished-suburban-0031I’m debating how far to go with it, and how much to invest in  it. To get this far, I spent roughly $150. So, for instance, in addition to the chain guard, should I add a rack, a classy saddlebag or handlebar bag, and upgrade the saddle and grips? Or should I leave this as it stands and find a better candidate for the keeper? If I move on to something else, it doesn’t really make sense to keep the Suburban, so what should I do with it? The thought of selling it outright doesn’t excite me much, but I’m not really sure who I might give it to. It deserves a good home, you know. I wonder if I could find a good trade on craigslist. That’s probably a long shot.

As for taking on another project, I totally dig the look of fixed gears but I don’t really have any interest in owning and riding one. Should I make one anyway with an eye toward selling it? What if I get attached? (That’s always a risk one takes when once you begin nurturing a beautiful but neglected old machine back to life.) I have to say, I took this bike out for my first real spin this evening and it felt absolutely great (derailleur issues notwithstanding). I mean it just felt really, really cool. I am positively certain that I need some kind of classic, vintage (i.e., 70s or 80s era), steel, upright, euro-style, town bike like this. Any suggestions?


8 responses to “suburban

  1. What a beautiful job! I recommend a mixte, of course. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Trisha.

    But of course you’d recommend a mixte. Truth be told, I’m quite fond of mixtes. I’d be keen on the idea of going with something other than a diamond frame (though a frame by some classic European manufacturer would be cool, too, were it not for the racing geometry). It’s tough finding stylish town bikes that aren’t either new or else already restored.

  3. Sounds like you should keep the Suburban, at least for now! Rides great, plus looks awesome – that blue color is really top notch. If you build and then fall in love with a single speed, then that would be fun. A new kind of bike to love. I say go for it all, since you have the storage space. 🙂

  4. It actually interestingly. Good job! I wish successes!

  5. You know what the best part about the color is? It’s “GM Blue” purchased from a local auto parts store. It’s for engine blocks. Irony is beautiful.

  6. So are you keeping it? 🙂

  7. Ha ha. Uh, I guess so, for now at least. But that’s mostly due to (1) the bike not being quite ready to hand off, and (2) my not having yet found another suitable project. Besides, I need something funky and stylish to ride around while I’m working on that other project, right?

    Here’s one idea I’ve been kicking around for a while: one of our neighbor’s kids has an old Ross Europa that he was given by a custodian at his school after it had been abandoned for some time. Everything on it is original, and neither he nor the family really have the time or the means to fix it up. There’s nothing special about it, and it’s probably a little too small for me, but I was thinking about riding down there one day and offering to trade him the revamped Schwinn for that old beater.

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