1966 Schwinn Hollywood

This is a 1966 Schwinn Hollywood. It belongs to my friend Mike. He’s pretty good at finding old gems with no fatal flaws for me to fix up for his collection. A fatal flaw would be a bent frame or a wheel set that wasn’t in good shape. Other than that, these old single-speeds are simple and last forever. They’re built like playground equipment.

There are a couple of reasons for posting about this bike. Firstly, I’d like to say a few words about the rust on something of this vintage and level of corrosion. The rust on this bike is a cosmetic characteristic that we need to live with. If I were to remove the rust from all of the chrome surfaces, the rust would return with a hurry and a vengeance. So what you have to do is steel wool the really gritty rust from the wheels and other components. Make it flat. High rust acts like a sponge to water. Once relatively smooth, work in some marine grease on all rusted surfaces, like you would season cast iron after cooking with it. This will protect it from future corrosion. Any bubbling up of corrosion on the frame itself on these Schwinns is to be handled differently. I just clean it and season it like the chrome. No sanding. You’ll lose paint and value. In short, leave the patina on these things.

I cleaned out the headset races pretty well. The rust on the frame is still there, but I ensured that it’ll take a long time for it to become worse. On these old Schwinns, it’s best to leave the rust alone, aside from seasoning it with some marine grease. The bearings in this headset were in bad shape, so I replaced them. They turned out to be 3/16′, which is the same size as most vintage front hub bearings. Nothing difficult to find.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to point out that if an old hulk like this one comes to you looking down in the dumps, remember the playground equipment comparison. When you open up the headset, hubs and bottom bracket, clean everything, replace bad bearings, apply marine grease and reassemble. It’s going to work right. I was happy to give myself some new practice overhauling the Bendix coaster brake on this one. As complicated hubs go, these aren’t too bad. There are no springs to deal with, and you can’t really put them back together wrong.

I replaced the tires, tubes and rim strips on this one. The Schwinn S-7 type 24″ tires were a little hard to find, and a little pricey when I did. They were available through bmxguru.com, shipped for $84.78. The tread matched the originals perfectly, and I’m pretty happy about that.

The Bendix coaster brake hub innards
There’s part of the braking mechanism. When you pedal backwards, these threads thread towards the center of the hub, driving the brake shoes (IDK what they’re really called) against the inner surface of the hub cylinder. Bike stops.
Here’s the inside of the bottom bracket. The bearings used in these are so big and tough, I rarely have to replace them. The races are usually in great shape too. So with these, it’s a cleaning and an application of new marine grease that makes them roll perfectly once more.
It’s not going to turn heads with all of these cosmetic battle scars, but this bike is a super solid rider.

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