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Old 10-22-08, 06:11 AM   #1
Michcruiser
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Upgrades for older bike.. wanted for touring

This year was my first year back on my bike. I have a 1984 Schwinn World that I really enjoy riding. I've been riding longer distances and have been thinking of doing some touring with it. (~100 mile trips) I'm not able to get a new bike and would like the do a couple of lower buck upgrades to mine.

First I'd like to get a new aluminum wheel set around 150 bucks. I think I know what I want but not sure of the size. The wheel set I'm looking at is 130mm. I guessing that is the inside measurment of the frame. I'm thinking my bike is a bit smaller then 130mm. I haven't measured yet but I'm thinking it 's around 126-127mm. Can the frame be pulled apart enough for a wider wheel to fit properly? Then add a 6 speed cassette, to be determind later.

Second, is my pitfall. I really have no knowledge of BB's and cranksets. With all the miles I have put on the bike this year I have now acquired a thump while in a hard peddle. I'm thinking I may need the bearings changed and/or cleaned. I can have my LBS do that but would it be to my benifit since I want to tour with this bike to change it out and add a triple crankset? I'm thinking it would help while loaded with gear. Is there a triple crankset still out there for me?

I really like the fit and ride of my bike and would like to do these upgrades on the lower end if possible.
Thanks for any help.

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Old 10-22-08, 07:10 AM   #2
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For rear spacing, 126 was a common size for road bikes of that era. You are correct that the measurement refers to the span between the rear dropouts. On a steel frame, you should be able to spread the rear drops by 4 mm without problem -- the process is called "cold setting". Check out Sheldon Brown's site on the procedure for doing this.

Changing the crank should also be do-able, but may be more involved. You will probably need new derailleurs -- a triple front that can handle 3 rings, and probably a long-cage rear that can take up the extra slack in the chain when you're down on the granny ring.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ginsoakedboy View Post
For rear spacing, 126 was a common size for road bikes of that era. You are correct that the measurement refers to the span between the rear dropouts. On a steel frame, you should be able to spread the rear drops by 4 mm without problem -- the process is called "cold setting". Check out Sheldon Brown's site on the procedure for doing this.

Changing the crank should also be do-able, but may be more involved. You will probably need new derailleurs -- a triple front that can handle 3 rings, and probably a long-cage rear that can take up the extra slack in the chain when you're down on the granny ring.
For a 4mm difference, you can easily spread the stays by hand and not have to cold set the frame. There's more than enough flex in the stays for that small of a difference.

For a crank, you could go with a Sugino crank. Since your current crank is a double, you'll need a new bottom bracket for a triple but those are cheap. On the plus side, new bottom brackets are much, much better than your old loose bearing crank.

You may need new derailers but I'd try the old ones first. If you stay with friction, they should work fine. If you want index, that's a whole other can of worms
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Old 10-22-08, 07:38 AM   #4
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I would focus first on the wheels, as the alloy rims will give you much better stopping power. Are you going to stay with 27" wheels, or have you considered going to 700c? If your brake calipers have enough adjustment, you can easily go to 700c, which will give you more wheel and tire choices. It sounds like you will have to spread the stays a little no matter which way you go.

I changed over an older Schwinn Prelude (27" to 700c) and the whole process took about 10 minutes to lower the brake pads and get them finely adjusted.

If you change out the crank to a triple and need to replace the derailleurs you might want to consider the Shimano Deore models. They are from a 'mountain' group, but are good quality and reasonably priced. Another possibility would be to change out the rear derailleur when you swap out the wheels and put on one of the 'mega-range' gear clusters. That would give you a very low bail out gear if going up hill with a load.
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Old 10-22-08, 08:03 AM   #5
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Man fast replies. I plan to continue running 27" rims and use friction derailers. I'm thinking they would be easier to learn on. The Sugino and Shimano Deore cranks are exactly what I'm thinking of.

Thanks again this has been a big help.
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Old 10-22-08, 10:08 AM   #6
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A few years ago, I began refurbishing my 1983 Schwinn le tour luxe, a somewhat similar bike to yours. Original gearing was a double crank with a six speed freewheel. I really like the frame on that bike ('83 was the first year all the le tour models had full chromoly frames), and the geometry is ideal for touring. I went all out, and spent a lot more money than most people would deem practical for such a project. I've played around with it and actually have more or less done a couple of rebuilds in the process.

The current configuration includes a Nashbar Trekking crankset (and I agree with the above recommenation for a Sugino triple as well), Shimano 9 speed bar end shifters, a modern wheelset I built using Mavic A719 700c rims (Mavic's top of the line touring rim) laced to XT hubs, and a nine speed mountain bike cassette. Current gearing is 46/36/24 up front with an 11 x 32 cassette. The bike's equipped with a rack, fenders, Conti 700 x 28c Ultragatorskin tires, and rides like a dream. It still has Dia Compe centerpull brakes on it (although they're replacements), which allowed me to easily reach the 700c rims. The bike was originally equipped with 27's of course. I use Kool Stop salmon v-brake pads on it, which are the best pads out there. I rode it for thousands of miles in its current configuration, and have recently purchased a new Surly Long Haul Trucker and handed the Schwinn off to my teenaged son who rides the heck out of it as a commuter.

We have tentative plans to do some real touring on the bikes someday, all we need is to find the time.

BTW, current rear spacing on my Schwinn is 135mm to match the XT hubs, originally it was 126. Cold setting is no big deal and you can end up with a frame that's better aligned than it was originally(this was the case for me) if you do it right. Or just squeeze the wheel in if it's just 4mm or so-

Last edited by well biked; 10-22-08 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 10-23-08, 04:00 PM   #7
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I did a cheap upgrade on my 81 mixte. Found a MTB from the same approx time in a dumpster, hardly used. Kept my wheels and chain, transfered front and rear deraiieurs, shifters and crankset. Works fine. Will transfer the BB later but not nescesary on this one. The gearing now is better suited for my use and looks good, at least in my eyes!
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