Author Topic: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?  (Read 884 times)

Offline BikesUnite

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Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« on: July 31, 2013, 03:32:25 PM »
Hi I came across an awesome old woman’s Schwinn.  The bike was found in the rafters of a Wisconsin barn. Tucked away and forgotten about.  I bought it from a friend of the farmers who discovered the bike while helping the friend clean out his barn.
I did some research on it. I’ll tell you what I think I know.  I’d love if the experts would confirm what I’ve found out about the bike and also share any further information anyone may know about it.  I’m really excited about this find. I love the history and beauty of these extraordinary old bikes.
Below is a photo of the bike sitting on my kitchen table being photographed.  I photographed it in dirt, rust, dust, and grime just the way it was found. I think it makes a nice centerpiece for my kitchen table! lol

20130727_212451 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Here is the bike a bit closer.

20130727_211331 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
I've identified the bike as an Excelsior. Below are some photos with identifying marks:
Here I can make out the lettering located on the very top bar of the frame.

20130727_211658 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Below is the head badge. Underneath the large X reads Excelsior followed by Arnold Schwinn. Chicago USA is inscribed on the bottom in all caps. I have read some postings across the net that state that the badge on this bike was only made one year in 1936. I am lead to believe that the bike is from that year. Does anyone know if this fact about the badge being from the year 1936 only is correct? Also, please help me to find other identifiers on this bike that will help verify the age. Am I correct to say that this is a pre war bike?

20130727_213647 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Here you see the Serial Number located underneath the bike on the bottom bracket. It reads D87981. What can the serial number tell me about this bike? Anything? I know a lot of Schwinns serial numbers for older bikes were destroyed.

20130727_214058 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
One of the cooler things about the bike is that it is equipped with a front Spring and a lock. Cool! I believe that these were both options that could be put on the bike. So it is kind of special that this bike has these two things.

20130727_211634 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Here is a closer look at the springer. Does a springer bike really absorb shock? Was it effective for a smoother ride. Why don't we see springer bikes manufactured today? What technology has replaced this?

20130727_212206 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Notice that the bolts in this photo are engraved with the letters SD. There are bolts throughout the bike stamped like this. Anyone know what the letters stand for? I'm guessing Schwinn something?

20130727_212104 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
I love the lock and key. I think that it is one of the coolest things about the bike. It's awesome that the key is still in it but it seems to be stuck! I'll try degreesing and see if I cant wiggle it lose. From what I read you could lock the bike so that it would not role. Then someone could not role it away. I imagine that may have been pretty effective security for this type of bike. I would have liked to see someone try to carry it off. It's quite heavy! Ha! This side of key reads: MADE IN U.S.A. FOR ARNOLD SCHWINN & CO CHICAGO

20130727_214352 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
This side of key reads: THE YALE & TOWN MFG. CO YALE AN252

20130727_212044 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
I'm not sure about this next photo. Looks different from any Schwinn set up I've seen.

20130727_211744 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Notice the peculiar holes along the sides of the back fender. I looked into this and it seems the there would have been strings threaded threw the holes of the fender to create a guard in order that the woman's skirt would not get caught up in the spokes.

20130727_213833 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
The skirt guard would have looked something like the photo below:

skirt guard by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
I noticed the the frame joints are not smooth. I wonder if the frame was hand welded together?

20130727_211922 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Side view of pedal 

20130727_211717 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
The design of the seat is very interesting. I wonder if the spring on the tip of the seat was there to absorb shock as well?

20130727_213849 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
This is the stamp on the cushion of the seat. It reads MESINGER B DE LUX 4 NO. 15854105 (from what I can make out)

20130727_212330 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
I wonder if the tires are original. They say US ROYAL MASTER MADE IN USA

20130727_212142 by Bikes Unite, on Flickr
Thanks for checking out my bike. I really hope to hear some of your comments about it. If you want to look at additional photos, they can be seen on my flicker page.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/41637726@N02/sets/72157634831456400/
Also, would any know what the bike is worth and is there a market for this bike?
Thank you,
Amanda Martinez

Offline 57 spitfire

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 03:36:42 PM »
what do i know,its very cool.it is prewar for sure,1936-1938.nice.

Offline island schwinn

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 04:08:11 PM »
prewar,springer first came out in 38/39.the key stays in the lock and is only removed when the fork is locked.try turning it to the left while turning the key.you'll feel the lock engage and then the key should come out.don't lose the key though ;) the excelsior badge was used for a few years in the 30's and 40's.looks like it has a forkstop on the downtube and some say it was 41 only,but i've seen them on 39-41 frames.wheels look like the correct dropcenter style.the bolts are actually stamped AS or arnold schwinn.the pedals aren't correct,but a nice period correct replacement set.seat looks correct.tires are period correct,but i'm not sure if they would be the original tires that came on the bike new.schwinn used several different manufacturers in those days.
value is hard to determine,but if it were mine,i would clean it up,grease all the bearings,and ride it.a restoration would be cost prohibitive.you'd be amazed at how these old bikes clean up after years of collecting rust and dust.
jeremiah 10:23



Rust Never Sleeps

Offline Bikes42

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 08:36:24 PM »
Welcome to the forum Amanda!

Congratulations on a nice find.  I'm with Island Schwinn..........clean it up, ride it, and turn some heads!

Nice research too!

Tad
Collegiate: 1966 Coppertone
Continental: 1972 Burgundy; 1973 Opaque Blue; 1973 Sunset Orange
Corvette II: 1965 Coppertone
Panther: 1966 Coppertone
Paramount: 1967 Sky Blue
Suburban: 1971 Burgundy; 1973 Campus Green
Super Sport: 1971 Burgundy; 1972 Opaque Green; 1973 Opaque Blue
Tiger: 1959 Green
Typhoon: 1967 Coppertone; 1974 Opaque Blue
Varsity: 1966 Coppertone; 1970 White; 1975 Lime

Offline GTs58

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 09:11:05 PM »
That one sweet Ladies ride. I assume there are holes in the front fender for a light? My guess would be a 1940 model looking at the fenders. REC is building a serial number base and I'm sure he can date that number. The crank may have a two digit number cast in and that might get you close to the year it was built.

There was another member here a couple years ago that had a pre war lady's barn find but not as nice as yours. I believe it sold for just under $250.
53 Black Phantom
58 Black Corvette. 
61 Red Corvette 5 Sp.
(2) 61 Black Corvette 5 Sp.
62 Blue Corvette 5 Sp. Unrestored survivor.
(2) 62 Red Corvette 5 sp.
61 R. Red Continental Tourist. 284 miles
62 RB Varsity
(2) 63 Lime Varsitys
63 SB Varsity
64 Lime Varsity
64 Terra Cotta Varsity
64 Copper Conti
65 Copper Varsity Tourist
66 Blue Varsity
79 Black Spitfire 5

Offline BobHufford

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 09:32:49 PM »
Great first post Amanda -- welcome to the forum.

Congrats on your barn find!

Bob

Offline BikesUnite

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 09:03:04 AM »
I appreciate all your great comments about the bike! Bob and Tad thank you both for the welcome. I did go and try what island schwinn suggested and try turning the wheel both ways. I'm still unable to wiggle the key free. There are holes on the front fender yes GTs58. Also there are marks where there may have been a light mounted on the handlebars. Also I assume that there would have been a chain-guard? I'll definitely be looking in the crank for that a two digit number like suggested. Do any of you have examples of this bike that I could look and compare? Was there a catalog for this bike?

I started reconditioning. This baby is going to turn some heads for sure. Imma bring the sexy back. Check it out:

rim by Bikes Unite, on Flickr


Offline GTs58

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2013, 07:43:53 PM »
Here is the 38 Hollywood. http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1893_1940/1938_07.html

Once we figure out the model year it will be much easier to figure out what it was. It may have had the springer option added which wasn't that uncommon.


Here are Schwinn brochures and catalogs, 1893 - 1940............... Have fun!  ;D
http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1893_1940/index.html
53 Black Phantom
58 Black Corvette. 
61 Red Corvette 5 Sp.
(2) 61 Black Corvette 5 Sp.
62 Blue Corvette 5 Sp. Unrestored survivor.
(2) 62 Red Corvette 5 sp.
61 R. Red Continental Tourist. 284 miles
62 RB Varsity
(2) 63 Lime Varsitys
63 SB Varsity
64 Lime Varsity
64 Terra Cotta Varsity
64 Copper Conti
65 Copper Varsity Tourist
66 Blue Varsity
79 Black Spitfire 5

Offline REC

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 06:38:11 PM »
I have added this serial number to the growing list of pre-war bikes, and it fits in between several 1940 bikes - most of which belong to other members of this newsgroup.
Next number above is D96486, below is D31787.
The next Excelsior is E72721, and was also a '40.

REC
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Offline Ozark Flyer

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2013, 08:01:58 AM »
Great old ballooner.
When you rob from Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on having Paul's support.

Offline JPSensiba

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Re: Schwinn Excelsior ~ What do you know about this bike?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 01:34:27 AM »
VERY COOL!!! Amazing this has survived! Hold onto & ride it for 20 years and it'll have over $1million in sentimental value~! We been holding onto EVERYTHING from this era and finding very remarkably how well they ride! VERY FUN! Rolling Americana! :)          Congrats!!!
s/w Chicago area !
ENJOYING CYCLING with my family is GREAT!