This early 1960s Schwinn Continental is an early attempt by Schwinn to make a multispeed bicycle using derailleurs rather than internal hub gearing. The Schwinn Paramount was available in the 1950s with European derailleurs, but it wasn’t until 1960 that Schwinn put a derailleur geared bicycle into mass production. That gear it came out with an 8speed Schwinn Varsity and 10 speed Schwinn Continental.
It was outfitted with a Simplex hand operated front derailleur that had a braze on tab on the seat tube. That was soon changed to a normal cable operated front derailleur, and these Schwinn “lightweights” soon became Schwinns most successful selling models.
here is an outline of the parts from Schwinn Lightweight Data Book–
“First year for the derailleur Continental. 10 speed. Stronglight 47/50 chainset. 15-17-19-22-25 Atom freewheel cluster. Simplex Competition front derailleur and Simplex Tour de France rear derailleur. Weinmann side pull brakes. Tubular painted fork with chromed tips. Forged alloy stem with double clamp bolts. Steel? drop bars. Tire size is listed as 27 x 1 1/4 (correct) in the consumer brochure, but as 26″ (incorrect) in the model and price sheet. Rims were Rigida steel with knurls on the sides. Hubs were alloy high flange (Normandy?). Yellorex chain. Ideale saddle (#43). Colors were Radiant Red, Radiant Blue, Radiant Green, Radiant Coppertone, and Black. Options included thorn-resistant tubes at $2.00 extra cost and southwest tires and heavy duty tubes for $4.50 extra cost. Frame sizes were 19″, 21″ and 23”. $86.95 “
Here are some pics of a Schwinn Continental we have lurking in the woodshop at the bike shop. A customer called and was interested in seeing photos of it, so I emailed them to him, and here they are for you too. Sorry they are not the best, lighting is poor there, and it is packed full of bicycles. Funny, not that much wood in the woodshop, mostly bicycles.