I picked up a 24" Schwinn uni on the way home today. Got it for $20 bucks, and i was thinking of buying a 24 sometime soon anyway. I like the idea of fixing this one up and making it all shinypritty again.
It clearly wasn’t ridden much, few scuff marks on the pedals or tire or seat perimeter but it’s obviously “old”. The chrome is uniformly pitted with those classic little pinholes.
Chrome i understand. Cottered cranks i understand. (I have am old Triumph 3 speed bicycle). Spokes i understand… i don’t have any real reservations about going at it.
The seat will need to be replaced (it feels like a deflated orange), and I also understand Schwinn wheels are particular as to what kind of tires they accept. I’m do wonder if i could/should give the pedal tread blocks any kind of treatment. I’d hate to see them just crumble into crumbles.
I’d be happy to listen to advice from those who have gone before. are there any special things that need to be done/avoided?
The chrome is easy to get shiny again with 0000 steel wool and some non-abrasive stovetop cleaner…worked like a charm for me. The other stuff leads me to believe that you’ll end up with a Schwinn frame with newer stuff around it if you actually want to use the unicycle for riding. Now that I’ve ridden mine into oblivion (with the purpose of upgrading…it worked!), I have started to believe that I will take the suffering thing and restore it; for its historical meaning to me (it was my first “real” unicycle).
With all the stuff you’re comfortable with in the restoration process, maybe you should consider replacing the wheelset (it involves opening up the frame a tiny amount to accept the new hub). That would solve the future problem of tire size, too…the new Schwinn wheelsets have standard sized tires. But…that would probably be as expensive, if not more expensive than buying a new uni…those Schwinns have that allure, though.
Take a look in my Gallery (in my Sig) at my vintage POS 24.
The rim is an S7 type, so any tire you like that fits a S7 24" will work. I went to the local bike shop and looked in a catalogue, and at some tires ‘in stock’.
(That was after trying to find another ‘Schwinn Unicycle whitewall’ … like in my gallery)
Use some turtle wax chrome polish on the frame and rim.
(Personnally … I wouldnt use steel wool)
I don’t know if you can find a seat for it.
Call Darren at Bedford, or Email him.
(He knows all about finding stuff)
If the seat is’nt ripped or torn to bad, (stays on the seat frame OK) ,then find some replacement foam for better cushioning.
If the cover is still in good shape, you should be able to just replace the foam. Try Semcycle or Unicycle.com for replacement insert for what is today known as a Semcycle Deluxe saddle. Also, if you look around you might be able to find a replacement cover that still says “Schwinn” on it. eBay maybe.
Shwinn’s chrome was super-hard and durable. You can’t hurt it with steel wool so don’t be afraid. I recommend Naval Jelly to reduce the rust, steel wool if it still needs help, then some wax or chrome polish to protect it when finished.
These came with a very light plating of some sort, that would usually turn gray pretty fast. For best results, get the thing chrome plated. Or for much cheaper, you could steel-wool and then paint it with some sort of sealer (so it doesn’t rust). Or you could try painting it silver.
If they’re still good, don’t worry. If they start falling apart you can likely find some similar ones somewhere.
Yes, 24" to fit Schwinn S-7 rim. I don’t know if they’re being manufactured any more, but you should be able to find some. Beware of old Schwinn “Unicycle” tires, any you find will be at least 20 years old. No whitewalls were made after 1980 or earlier, and they stopped selling the old-style unicycles in 1983.
You might be able to find these tires on eBay, but they may suffer from age-related problems. However I still have a few 20" whitewalls (which I’m hoarding for my Giraffe). They show cracks, but they still work.