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  1. #1
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    trying to repair old schwinn

    I just registered here, not sure if this is the right forum, but I'll try. I don't know much about bikes but I want to learn more, and I have a crappy old bike to work with.

    I recently moved with an old Schwinn road bike that I bought for $25 at a salvation army. It was in pretty good shape for a while, but it isn't anymore and I need a reliable bike, so I'm trying to figure out my options. I don't really mind buying another bike, whether its a decent new one, or a used one in good condition from craigslist. I want to avoid that if possible, however, by repairing this old Schwinn as best I can. I believe it is a "world tourist" - it looks a lot like this: http://www.bikecollectors.com/files/...ld_tourist.jpg except the frame is the normal size, not taller like that. I've been told by several friends and bike shop employees that the freewheel mechanism is really strange, both on the rear wheel and the pedals. I don't have anything to compare mine with, so I'm not sure what makes it strange, but the gears on the rear wheel are fixed, relative to the wheel itself, and theres an inner axle that spins freely. I'm not entirely sure whats weird about the pedals.

    There are a few things that need to be fixed on the bike - I was out riding it today and I blew an inner tube, and I think it gave out because the tire is starting to fall apart - I just noticed the rubber is separating from the bead in a 3-4 inch area, and the hole in the tube is in the same place as that. So I was riding on bad tubes and tires, and it doesn't help that the wheels themselves are completely bent out of shape (front and back). These are the parts I want to replace first, and I think replacing these will make the biggest difference in how smoothly and reliably the bike rides. The problem is, because of that strange freewheeling mechanism, I'm afraid to just buy a random set of wheels online. I went to a bike shop today and they didn't even have the size I need, because I guess the 27x1 1/4 wheels aren't sold anymore?

    So I guess my first question is, does anybody know about this freewheeling mechanism that I'm talking about, and if it has a name (mainly so I can search online for replacement wheels)? If not, does anyone know if I should be able to buy a "normal" 27x1 1/4 wheel and use that? Would I then have to buy new gears, derailleur, pedals? Does anyone know of a good place online to buy specific parts for older bikes? I'll do my best to answer any questions anyone might have, and I can post photos (or videos) if necessary.

    If that whole operation ends up being unreasonably expensive or just impossible, can I get some recommendations for a new bike, or even a particular brand or model to look out for on craigslist? The biker friends I have aren't too into buying new bikes, they just collect old ones and repair them, but I don't really have the same time and resources they do - if I can fix my old broken bike in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of money, I'll do that, but if not, I just want a new one that's in good working condition. If I'm getting a new bike, I think I'd like to keep the cost around $400 for the bike itself.

    I really appreciate any help I can get.

  2. #2
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    It's possible that you've got a front freewheel system. I've never seen one, but I've heard of them on this board. The freewheel is on the front of the chain instead of on the rear like most bikes. It would be difficult to find replacements for them. However, I'm willing to bet that the wheels are the same as on most bikes and that only the sprocket cluster is different (i.e. I suspect that the hub is still threaded the same way as most wheels back then were). Does this seem right:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/35.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_freewheel
    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t-99473-15-1.html

    If this is your situation, you'll likely need a different crankset, freewheel, and bottom bracket right off the bat. If you can score some wheels with a freewheel still on them, then you'll be one up.
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

  3. #3
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monguin61 View Post
    I went to a bike shop today and they didn't even have the size I need, because I guess the 27x1 1/4 wheels aren't sold anymore?
    27 x 1 /4" wheels and tires are still available, they're just not as popular back when your World Tourist was built. You should be able to find them at any decent bike shop or even at Wal-mart.

    If your bike shop doesn't have them and are unwilling to get them, you need to find a better bike shop.

    The freewheel can be removed and transplanted to a new wheel fairly easily. It does take the right tool, though... another reason to find the right bike shop.

    FWIW: I did time as a mechanic in a Schwinn shop back when your bike was new. I worked with the Shimano FFS (Front Freewheeling System) occasionally- it never really caught on, though.
    Last edited by Jeff Wills; 09-01-08 at 08:44 PM.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    First, if you have a "Made in Japan" Schwinn World Tourist, that is a nice bike and worth repairing. New tubes and tires and even new wheels are cheaper than getting a new bike.

    If I were you, I would scout the thrift shops and garage sales for bikes around $15 to $25 and take the 27" wheels off from it. You can use the bike for other parts too. Who knows, maybe even the tires and tubes will be good.

    The front coaster crank sprocket, or whatever it is called is not familiar to me, but I have heard of them. Looks like SturmCrow (above) pointed you in the right direction.

    Get yourself a bike repair book at the library or go to http://www.parktool.com/repair/ for a good guide to typical repair items. The Schwinn has old school bearings, bottom bracket, and head-tube, but that is good because you can repair and relube them rather than replace.

    Hey, fix the bike you have now. It will shouldn't cost you a lot of money and it is a good reliable bicycle.
    Mike

  5. #5
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    When you say the wheels are bent out of shape, I assume they need to be trued (which isn't that tough). Tires and tubes can be had for $30 and some time and effort on your part can probably get that bike running nicely. Also, check in on the C&V (classic and Vintage) forum here. Lots of knowledge on the old stuff there. Just be prepared to post some pictures. We like seeing the old stuff there.

  6. #6
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    I have a World tourist out in the wood pile. Nothing special going on there, freewheel with a single up front. If you want to switch out rims it should be no problem. You may want to try an older bike shop with the right removal tools.

  7. #7
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    Sturmcrow: Yes that looks like what I have - when I stop pedaling, the chain keeps going.
    So if I understand correctly, it is reasonable to think that I should be able to make it work with any 27" wheels? Though it seems like opinions differ as to whether I should try to switch the freewheel, or use a normal wheel, and replace the crankset (? is this the pedal assembly?). Is one of these significantly easier than the other? I'd like to buy the necessary tools and replace the parts myself. Is that reasonable?

    mike: This one was actually made in Taiwan, but it still seems like its a solid bike that's worth repairing. Can you clarify what exactly you mean by "shouldn't cost you a lot of money" ? I've been looking at some ads on craigslist and people are regularly selling bikes for upwards of $3000, and individual components (pedals, handlebars) for several hundred dollars. "Cheap" seems to have a wide range of meanings in bicycle parts. I don't have any problem with spending some money, but if its going to be $50 x6 parts, plus tools/labor costs, then it definitely seems like I would do better just to buy a new one - I'd spend nearly the same amount, but get something more reliable.

    CACycling: I rode over a huge pothole in the rain and both wheels have huge divots in them (I don't know if there is a better term - they're like really sharp bumps that are maybe .5" wide and stick out about .25" from the curve of the rim). The wheels need to be trued as well, but even if they were, I don't think these bumps would ever go away completely. I've tried banging them with a mallet and I couldn't make any improvements myself, and if I could, I still don't think I'd ever really trust these wheels again. The roads aren't great in my area; I feel like I'm taking a chance just riding a road bike around here. If/when I start making repairs, I'll probably need a lot of help, so pictures will be forthcoming. I think it was a really nice looking bike when I got it... I wish I had been more careful with it.

    I've been trying to go around to nearby shops and get an idea for how much it would cost to buy this stuff, but I get the feeling the places I've been going are a little higher end than is really appropriate for me. That bike is my only personal transportation right now, and its currently unusable, so my options are a bit limited.

    Thanks for your comments. I hope I don't seem too whiny, its just that I'm kind of indecisive and I want to make sure I know all my options before I make any big investments.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monguin61 View Post
    Sturmcrow: mike: This one was actually made in Taiwan, but it still seems like its a solid bike that's worth repairing. Can you clarify what exactly you mean by "shouldn't cost you a lot of money" ? I've been looking at some ads on craigslist and people are regularly selling bikes for upwards of $3000, and individual components (pedals, handlebars) for several hundred dollars. "Cheap" seems to have a wide range of meanings in bicycle parts. I don't have any problem with spending some money, but if its going to be $50 x6 parts, plus tools/labor costs, then it definitely seems like I would do better just to buy a new one - I'd spend nearly the same amount, but get something more reliable.



    .
    By "not a lot of money", I mean around $30 bucks or so for a bike you can part out. I just bought a Fuji in good shape with good wheels and useable tires for $8.00 a couple of weeks ago. The most challenging thing about parting out bikes is deciding which bike to keep.
    Mike

  9. #9
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    Don't worry about sounding unknowledgable. We were all beginners once.

    You should probably start by replacing the tires and tubes. As was said above, even Walmart still carries 27" tires. They aren't all that good, but they'll get you from A to B. A better suggestion is Panaracer Pasela tires. My GF has got them on her singlespeed, and they work great for only $12 apeice when she got them this Spring. You could go with 27 x 1 1/8 tires, but you'd be best off with the 27 x 1 1/4 tires for the bad roads.

    I'd recommend reading up on wheel truing at sheldonbrown.com or parktool.com and giving it a try. You probably won't be able to get that dent out entirely, but you should at least be able to get it rideable. That will give you time to look for a decent priced wheelset without being desperate.
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

  10. #10
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    my goodness..... to tell you the truth if you dont want to get dirty and you dont like physics and you dont want to spend money..... go to a workshop or a good cheap bike shop and get a newer used bike.... we all want you to be safe and enjoy the ride---- get a price on something off the internet--- have it shipped 200.00-300.00
    you'll be happy--- or wait and shop the garage sales or craigslist-- it hurts my eyes to see such in depth stuff
    on a 40 year old bike worth... 15 dollars....

  11. #11
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    It is a good looking bike. Where do you live? Maybe we can find you a bike kitchen in your neighborhood.

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