Matching 1980 Schwinn Collegiate 3′s
I have been looking for a matching set of men’s and women’s vintage Schwinns for quite some time. Why? Well, mainly, because I’m obsessed with Schwinns, and a matching set is one of the odd categories of bike(s) that I don’t yet own. I suppose, too, that the romantic in me is enchanted by the notion of a young, or not so young, couple going to a bicycle shop together and buying matching bikes. Until today, the matching sets had eluded me for various reasons: wrong color, poor condition, I can’t afford it, the bikes are in Waco, etc. But yesterday, in Ft. Worth, TX, I hit the matching Schwinn jackpot:
I found them on Craigslist.
They were both manufactured in 1980: the girl bike in April of 1980, and the boy bike in August of 1980. Some of the last of the Chicago made Schwinns.
Here’s the deal: it was 3:30 p.m. I had come home to let my dogs out. I was contemplating heading back to my office, and looked on CL at the bike listings. These bikes had just been posted minutes earlier, but the photos were the usual poor quality. And they were in Ft. Worth. Christ! Why can’t these bikes ever be in E. Dallas?
I called the number in the ad. A very nice older man answered. The ad actually stated that the bikes had been “only ridden four times”. I asked about that, and he chuckled and said that that was an exaggeration, but that they had barely been used and had been stored for “some years in a garage”.
I started asking the usual questions. Are the decals in good condition? He replied, “Huh?’. …You know, the things that say, “Schwinn’…and he replied, “They’re perfect!”
Any rust? “Like I told you, they’re perfect!’.
Now, I’m a cynic, and I’ve gone to see a lot of bikes whose condition has been misrepresented. But this gentleman’s voice (and he did turn out to be a true Texas gentleman) had what I call the ring of truth to it. So I got his address, jumped in my car, and I hauled my ass to Cowtown.
So here’s the story with these time-machines:
The man that sold them to me was a Ft. Worth dentist in his late 80s. He was very nice, and in great health. His current wife had purchased the bikes new with her previous husband. They had gone on four or five rides, and he had then died of a heart attack (not while riding the bike!). She had then hung the bikes on bike hooks in an air-conditioned garage. Until I came to see them, and he rolled them out of his garage.
I couldn’t believe it. I have never seen Schwinns this nice. They look brand new.
They even have these perfect Mesinger seats that I have never seen before…the girl seat:
And the boy seat:
They are not the usually hellishly uncomfortable Schwinn seats. Both bikes have Sturmey-Archer 3 speeds, and they both ride and shift well. The original gum-wall tires look brand-new, and they hold air. The photos that you see are before I have cleaned the bikes. I’m still shocked that they are so nice. They look like museum pieces.
Now, I’m always annoyed when I read these stories and the guy with the great deal doesn’t tell me what he paid for the bikes. So I’m going to tell you. The man had them listed for “$100 for each bike, or $150 if you buy both of them.” I thought, you got that deal backwards, sir. And I talked him down to $100 for both.
Theyr’e still out there, folks.
Michael W. Hubbard
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Tags: Schwinn Collegiate