Classic & Vintage - 1977 Schwinn Speedster Alterations
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08-14-09, 12:13 AM
I need help. I need to alter the 1977 Speedster I have into something that will accomodate my build. Is there a way to put wider tires and straight MTB handlebars on this bike? I know nothing when it comes to bikes other than in its current state it is really uncomfortable to ride. Also, I don't want to make any irreversable changes. Help please. Thanks
08-14-09, 12:22 AM
Yeah it can be done. You may need a new headset and a fork to accommodate the flat bar and wider tires. If you are after a retro mountain bike then perhaps the Speedster frame was not such a good choice.
This might give you some more inspiration:
08-14-09, 12:57 AM
My Speedster had cruiser style bars. I'd go for Nitto Albatross but if you're seeking to put on wider tires, in the 700c size, you can go up only to 35" sans fenders. You can go up to 42" in the 650B size. I recommend you put the money in a real MTB. My current Super Sports is set up as a fun city bike. What do want to do with your Speedster?
08-14-09, 09:54 AM
Yeah, newguy, the C&V hivemind needs to understand why you want to modify this particular bike in this particular way.
Sounds like you want mountain bike features, and a speedster certainly does offer the solid frame. Bars can probably be done without much trouble (at max with a stem change, though you have to know that Schwinns use a less-common smaller stem size).
Tires may present a problem in that this model used weirdo Schwinn proprietary-sized rims (out of lovely chromed steel that can't be stopped in the rain). So you might need new rims/or wheels.
By this time, you have put a lot of effort into changing a bike in order to get features that could be had directly just by buying a different bike. And you've contributed to the entropic destruction of (what I presume is) another perfectly good originally equipped classic American bike.
I don't begrudge you setting up your bike the way you want it. I just would like you to ask yourself if the speedster is the right platform for getting what you want.
This might give you some more inspiration:
One of the best clunker sites online period.
08-16-09, 12:46 AM
First thanks for the quick replies. I guess I didn't explain myself. The only reason I am thinking of altering it is because I am 6'3 and 300 lbs. I like the height and sturdy nature of the frame. I don't want to permanantly disfigure this bike, just alter it in a none permanant way. I want to commute to work and maybe hop a curb or two (hence the tire thing) and I am open to changing the wheels to accomodate. As for the handlebars, I just don't like the feel of them. I always had bikes with straight bars.
I need to know if there are pics of speedsters that have been altered and wheel and tire specs...I feel like I'm trying to find out where the bathroom is in a country where I don't speak the language. Bear with me...
08-16-09, 07:02 AM
Well you're still in the right place.
The handlebar clamp is 25.4 mm -- 1" -- still the most common size now. Shouldn't be any trouble matching that. I've ordered from bikepartsusa, niagara, aebike, and others -- there are many good web-order shops -- or go to your LBS and ask.
I have a Wald-made bar similar to the 'Velo Orange Milano' -- http://www.velo-orange.com/milanbar.html -- a bit more forward than your original bars but preserves the look.
The handlebar diameter (other than at the stem clamp) is 22.2 mm -- 7/8". The brake lever and shift trigger clamps require this size. This is the same as normal MTB size so you should be OK with the clamps. May need to shorten the cables & housings then. For the 3-speed cable, may then need a replacement anchorage: http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1096 .
Will you be OK with the same stem? The stem diameter where it inserts into the steer tube is 21.1 mm. Slim pickings in this size, but still some available. There should be at least 2" inserted into the steer tube.
Getting the grips off the old bars: I have success forcing a screwdriver underneath & then squirting some 3-in-1 oil in there & working it around. Maybe the easiest is, if you have compressed air, to use a blowoff chuck in one of the little holes in one grip while plugging the hole of the other grip.
HTH - Good luck & keep us informed!
PS - If the following has never been done -- I'd recommend going all the way -- clean & lube the headset, bottom bracket, wheel bearings. True the wheels and tension the spokes -- a must especially given your size. Not rocket science but especially for a newby will take some time. Oh -- serviceable pedals! -- do the same for the pedals. These Schwinns require a minimum of special tools. This will help your ride live up to the Schwinn reputation for pedaling efficiency and bullet proof reliability and longevity.
08-16-09, 08:05 AM
" I want to commute to work and maybe hop a curb or two "
Worst thing you could do. If you ever tried to true a dented steel rim, you would know what I am talking about.
The Schwinn "proprietary" stuff, as already mentioned, can be a major hassle.
08-17-09, 09:43 PM
Thanks for all the replies. To answer a question to one of the posters, yes, I think I can live with the same stem and to reply to the comment of another- "Hop a curb or two" was probably a bad choice of words. My point in writing that was simply to illustrate that I want to be able to manuever the bike evasivly(sp?) if I need to. I don't plan on making a habit of hopping curbs. Anyway- I'll keep you folks posted-Thanks again for the imput. I will be checking the forum soon in case anyone has any further comments.
08-18-09, 03:43 AM
OK, put me with Roll-Monroe-Co on this one. Good luck to you. I like my old Speedster but I'm glad I have other bikes.
One weakness that may be a deal breaker for you is the unusual diameter S-6, 597 mm rims. There is only one or maybe two (Kenda, Cheng-Shin) tires (in two colors) made for this rim, and they both compete on low price. They're a little narrower than the original Schwinn tire & I find that they're marginal even for me at 210 lbs. I keep them at 70 psi; a little bit less risks a pinch flat. Regarding max inflation, have to be concerned not only with the strength of the casing but with the bead blowing off the straight-sided rims. And the steel rims give poor braking when wet. There are no modern hook-bead extruded aluminum rims available in the 597 size.
You could put good-quality 590 rims (world standard 26" utility bike size) on the bike, but that's a major expense buying new wheels or still a major expense plus a big job relacing the old hubs to new spokes and rims. And if the brake calipers don't have 3.5 mm additional travel in the slots, you'd have to do something about that too.
What I'm getting to is, you might rather find a good no-suspension mountain bike is a more reasonable basis to start from.
You would be way ahead cost wise just buying an older rigid frame mountain bike. The mountain bike will have the flat bars you are looking for, much better wheels, standard part sizing, endless tire options, etc. You can find them around here for $100 to $125. And they come in all kinds of sizes.
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