I know I have already talked about Schwinn Paramounts on the blog before but for some reason, we really have an affinity for them here. They were the pinnacle, or paramount(ha!), of an American made assessable bikes. Sure there were other high quality American frame builders- Brennan, Drysdale, and others, but they were much harder to buy and somewhat unknown outside a small elite circle. Many Americans were importing and racing on European lightweights. Schwinn really threw their hat in the ring coming out with the Paramount, on the heels of the Schwinn World. They imported on all top of the line parts and even used produced many parts themselves.
This Paramount is from the turning point with Schwinn. They had just recently started importing some derailleur gear stuff, releasing 5-10 speed derailleur geared Paramounts. This 1959 model is right around the cut off date when Schwinn was discontinuing their proprietary cranks, hubs and stems, for those made in Europe by Campagnolo and Cinelli, that would become ubiquitous on the racing circuit even to this very day. Campagnolo had been producing parts for about two decades at this point and had recently developed and produced their own line of cranks, seatpost, bottom bracket, headset, pedals, and hubs. Almost a full group, minus the brakes. With this, a Paramount could be outfitted with the latest Italian components from front to back.
The frame shows progression from the earlier Paramounts as Schwinn started to import French Nervex Professional lugs, found on all the high end European lightweights. Also Schwinn’s use of chrome reflects upon the European influences. Schwinn did not use Campagnolo dropouts on this bike, but I have seen road racing models from this time that did.
The bike has Schwinn Paramount hubs, bottom bracket, crankset, handlebars, adjustable stem, and capped off seatpost. The rims are made by Weinmann. The saddle is a Brooks b-17 swallow. The color of the bike is Radiant Coppertone, a translucent copper color sprayed over a silver undercoat.
This bike had very little use, if any when we got it, and we have only cleaned it up. It is a rare time capsule piece that shows an original finish, box-lined, Schwinn Paramount in it’s glory.