1976 Schwinn Bantam - Blue

1976 schwinn bantam - blue - side view
Clunker

Back in the '80s, there was a cartoon called The Smurfs about little blue people who lived in giant mushrooms. It was a goofy show that came on after all of the good cartoons. Like Bugs Bunny. That rascally rabbit was a dick. But his shenanigans were hilarious. Or that big doofus chicken Foghorn Leghorn. I always hated that guy, but was I really going to change the channel and miss the next round of Bugs vs. Elmer? No, because Bugs would tie Elmer's gun in a knot and Elmer would blow up his own face and it was awesome. Changing the channel meant standing up, walking across the room, turning the knob on the TV, and hoping I didn't lose reception, because we lived in the woods and our rooftop antenna was no match for the towering pines. Cable hadn't come to town, and there were only three channels, so I could watch cartoons, or Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Or I could get off my ass and go outside. But there was a whole weekend ahead of me to do that. So I went with the cartoons. And after the good cartoons, there was The Smurfs.

1976 schwinn bantam - blue - angle view
The rule of thirds, sorta

Outdoors, there were trees. Most of them had pine needles, but a few of them had leaves. One leaf is just that: a leaf. More than one leaf, is "leaves". But while one Smurf is a Smurf, more than one Smurf is apparently "Smurfs". It should have been "Smurves". Most kids would have been confused by that, but I would have loved it. The Smurfs was an afterthought that I watched reluctantly while waiting for my dad to finish cooking bacon for breakfast. The Smurves would have been a religious experience. TV executives don't know shit about marketing to kids.

1976 schwinn bantam - blue - handlebars
Two yellow whale tails

In 1976, Schwinn sold a little blue bike called the Schwinn Bantam. Since The Smurves were also little and blue, maybe Schwinn should have called the Bantam "The Smurf". The 1976 Schwinn catalog could have had some fantastic copy. "Hey kids, check out the great new Schwinn Smurf! Yes, each bike this year's line-up of Schwinn Smurves features a rugged steel frame, bright metallic paint, 20-inch wheels, a reliable Bendix coaster brake made by our friends in Mexico, a Smurfy blue-and-white Schwinn seat, flashy chrome fenders to keep mud off of your bell-bottom Toughskins, and a frame conversion bar so little boys and little girls can ride the Schwinn Smurf in comfort and style! So head to your local Schwinn Dealer to see the full selection of Schwinn Smurves today!"

1976 schwinn bantam - blue - right grip
Should have put a nickel in there

But The Smurves was a 1980s show. And the Schwinn Bantam was a 1970s bike. It was little, it was blue (unless it was red, or green, or not blue), and you could have parked it inside a giant mushroom. It really was very Smurfy. Unfortunately it was also eight years too early for a cartoon merchandising tie-in. So Schwinn never produced any Schwinn Smurves. And if you were a kid in 1976, you had to settle for a 1976 Schwinn Bantam instead. Like this one.

1976 schwinn bantam - blue - seat - top view
The top of the Schwinn seat
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - fork crown and serial number
Plenty of fender clearance
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - head tube badge
We need a Sharpie
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - front fender
Yes, it's backwards, get over it
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - frame detail
Two-piece frame
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - chainguard
Shark's fin
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - stem
Apparently Junior went through a growth spurt
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - bolt-on top tube
Anyone remember King Missile?
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - seat tube decal
Nine-sixteenths
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - cockpit view
Comfy ribs for little hands
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - rear fender
You might need, like, a bolt or something
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - seatstay junction
All aboard! Next stop Seatstay Junction
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - chainguard grapics
Mid-century modern
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - front sprocket
Swiss sprocket
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - left side view of seatstay junction
The fender bone attaches to the frame bone (usually)
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - bottom bracket
Larry's Cycle Shop, Brooklyn
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - coaster brake
Bendix Mexico
1976 schwinn bantam - blue - team cycle grips
Team Cycle grips sucked in the '80s but these are cool now