Bicycle Mechanics - old aluminum frames
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I have a 93 Schwinn 974 that I really like. I found it in a pile of huffys and paid a dollar for it a year or so ago.
It was a very ridden bike, from the cogs wear and some light scratches, the wheels are in great shape and everything was lubed. It has a steel fork. I am kind of nervous riding it due to the age of the frame, and stories of old alloy frames breaking. It would take some effort to get the fixed cup out and some money to put a modern drivetrain on, so I am not sure if its worth the trouble. I weigh 220 and ride pretty hard on rural Arkansas roads, so that is a factor.
this being a neat, one of the last american schwinns, should I ride it or what? I realize everything is a risk, but gimmee some odds...
09-27-08, 04:21 PM
To be honest, I would not bother. I have fixed up old bikes and not worth it generally. Do it if you want a project but better use ebay and a more modern frame and build up something more decent
Joshua A.C. New
09-27-08, 04:23 PM
You're heavy, but the bike's made of aluminum, not Fabergé crystal. If you like the frame, build it up!
09-27-08, 04:26 PM
Yeah, if you don't mind the labour to overhaul, go for it!
09-27-08, 04:27 PM
I agree. Fears of aluminum frames fatigueing with long use seem to be unfounded.
Try the Sheldon Brown bolt/washers trick to remove that fixed cup; works great and it's cheap.
Joshua A.C. New
09-27-08, 06:26 PM
I have fixed up old bikes and not worth it generally.
My favorite bike (http://velospace.org/node/9336) is a '92 Cannondale frame, built up as an 8-speed.
I'm trying to get a deal on one of these (http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sctm/v185/244/83/565297862/n565297862_285355_4544.jpg), too.
"Old" often means "People stopped paying attention to it." For you, that means "I got this for a dollar!"
Make sure it's worth your dollar, but dude, bike frame for a buck. That basically means that you get to build a bike for the price of other nice, used parts. Nice work. Put all the love you can into it! If the frame cracks, transfer the love over to a new frame!
09-27-08, 06:34 PM
Mass produced Al frames (i.e. not exotic racing stupid-light frames) tend to be overbuilt just for the reasons you state, the worry about fatigue failure. Schwinn certainly wasn't on the frontiers of light frame development back then.
I have a '92 Trek 1420 with well over 20,000 miles and it is completely sound. And, these were bonded, not welded, so the bonded joints are even more suspect than welds.
09-27-08, 08:51 PM
Trigger50 has it right. Move on. bk
Trigger50 has it right. Move on. bk
So trigger and bk. is your objection due to the idea posed in my actual question about the potential durability of the frame material or the fact that it is not the newest technology?
I generaly read vintage forums, should have perhaps posed this subject there. I like the bike frame. I hit 64 mph on a hill and it handled perfectly, it is a faster sprinter than the 06 Felt that I got rid of last year and it simply feels better than most of my other go fast bikes. I have no problem putting money into something that works for me. so again, if your objection is to the age of the bike and the fact that I may not be able to sqeeze a ten speed cog in there at least list those as objections. if you feel that it is a danger due to age, materials, or whatever, then I am interested in hearing that.
I guess that I did not mention that I have already ridden it about five hundred miles, and love the thing. I am just wanting some opinions on frame safety.
thanks to everyone for responding.
09-28-08, 01:23 AM
If you like it go for it. I would have no concerns about frame safety. Ebay as you will know is a great source of second hand used parts.
From everyones opinoin looks like I will go for it.
09-28-08, 09:45 AM
I think Hillrider nailed it above with the comment about the more mass produced models vs the "bleeding edge" racing frames of the day.
I've heard that early on Canondale was nicknamed Crack'n'fail and I assume that was for a reason. And there's lots of stories about bonded high end bikes failing when the old joints finially turn to peanut butter for some unknown reason. But it sounds like you've got a more solid frame than these other high tech options.
One of my own regulars is a rather chewed on and ratty looking Canondale touring bike from the early 90's or late 80's. It's still going very strong with no sign of failure although there's a spot of rust on the forks here and there so I may need a new fork some day.
And if some where along the way it does crack then at least it went out doing what it was intended for and you got a lot of joy out of it along the way.
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