How to Buy a Vintage Schwinn Bicycle


Collecting Schwinn Bicycles, particularly the classic Chicago-made Schwinn, is a hobby that captures many bike enthusiasts' attention. The vintage Schwinn, in mint condition, is a beautiful sight on the street, often turning heads. Identifying a Schwinn before you purchase is very important, however. Schwinns were made in several parts of the world, and not every factory produced a bike as renowned or expensive as the vintage Chicago Schwinn.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet connection
  • Cleaning tools

Identifying and Purchasing A Vintage Schwinn

  • Find the serial number on the Schwinn. From 1960-69, Chicago Schwinns had their serial numbers on the right rear axle mount. From 1970-79 the Chicago Schwinns had their serial numbers on the lower end of the head tube. After that, most serial numbers were stamped into the bottom bracket shell. If the left rear axle mount is stamped with a serial number, then the bike was made in Taiwan in the 1980s. Pre-1960 Schwinns had no real system for serial numbers, so you will have to look around and compare them to a database. There is a link to one at the bottom of this page that also provides additional make and model designations.

  • Check the serial number to find the date of production. Up until the 1960s there was no system but afterwards you can typically find the month and year of production located in the serial number, as well as the plant at which it was produced. The various number systems all designate what country the bicycle was made in.

  • Compare the date of production, the model, and the condition of the bike with one of the pricing tables at Old While these aren't all-encompassing guides, they are certainly places to get general ideas regarding prices. Typically, a Chicago Schwinn will be more valuable than any of its foreign counterparts.

  • Do an image search online to get pictures of the make and model you are considering for purchase. There were many imitators, so double-checking color, lugging, and other features is always a good idea before finishing the sale.

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  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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