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 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.