What a find! Picked up this vintage Schwinn Exerciser bike at Savers (one of our local thrift shops) for $14.99. It’s in awesome condition, and works just fine. Just needs to be cleaned and lubed.
I initially picked this up for “TBD” project. I say “TBD” because my shop is full of found bikes, wheels, bed frames (for the metal), and assorted other items that will be chopped, hacked and utilized for future builds. …even if, at the time of acquisition, I have no idea what I intend to do with the specific item.
Because building mutant and custom bikes is simply a [self-funded] hobby, I strive to pick-up most items or materials at no [or negligible] cost. This means for free, or for few bucks at most. I rarely will pay over $10 for an item unless the parts total much more than that.
The other instance of when I might pay more than $10 for an items is if it is unique enough to warrant it. Such was the case when I spied this vintage Schwinn Exerciser bike
What drew me initially to this beauty was the sheer size if the chain ring. At 65 teeth I have nothing that large in my parts chest. Imagine the outrageous gear ratios that can be achieved with that monster. [Indeed, later while researching this bike online I found that someone had actually built a grain mill by modding their Schwinn Exerciser bike. Check it out at Baking, Biking, and the Country Living Grain Mill. – Ed.]
In my attempt to determine the age of this vintage piece, here’s what I’ve found by going through the Schwinn Catalogs of past…
- 1966XR1 Schwinn Exerciser …. $66.95
- 1967XR2 Schwinn Exerciser …. $59.95
- 1968 XR3 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $71.95
- 1969 XR4 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $81.95
- 1970 XR4 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $82.95
- 1971 XR5 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $94.95 From the catalog: “New 1971 model equipped with an improved gearing and weighted tire to provide smooth pedaling action.” Getting closer to mine.
- 1972 XR5 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $94.95 From the catalog: “Colors: Coppertone or Sierra Brown”. No pics of the exerciser in this catalog.
- 1973 XR5 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser …. $96.95 From the Catalog: “Convenient control panel with speedometer, mileage indicator, timer, adjustable pedal resistance control dial”. This control panel looks very close to the control panel on mine.
source: 1973 Schwinn Catalog
- 1974 XR5 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser. Here we go! Getting closer. Chainring looks a little different than the one on mine though.
source: 1974 Schwinn Catalog
- 1975 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser Model XR-5 Chainring still has open circular cut-outs. Mine is solid.
- 1976 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser Model XR-5 No change in the catalog photos from 1975. Chainring still has open circular cut-outs.
- 1977 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser Model XR5 …. $148.95 This one has the correct style chain ring. I think this is it.
source: 1977 Schwinn Catalog
- 1978 Model XR6 …. $156.95 Same solid chainring; this could be it as well.
- 1979 XR6-0 …. $169.95 The control panel is different on this one. Nope.
So, from the above catalogs I can say, with a high level of confidence, that the model I have is either a 1977 Schwinn Deluxe Exerciser Model XR5 or a 1978 Model XR6.
Found this awesome build, on the Rat Rod Bikes forum, utilizing a Schwinn Exerciser frame: A New Twist On The Schwinn Excersiser..WOW!