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Thread: 117 mm Spindle

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    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    117 mm Spindle

    Hey Guys-
    I just picked up a vintage schwinn for a fixxie project and I have been experiencing some major resistance in the BB. I pulled it apart and sure enough one of the plastic cages on the old cone and cup style BB was completely shreaded and burned into the cups and the cages on the other side. So Im going to be going with loose balls as Ive heard that it is more effective and more importantly cheaper than purchasing a cartridge. My problem now is that I have a 117 mm spindle and want to upgrade my crank arms from 170 -175mm. How do I find a crank arm suited for this application. Should I purchase a shorter spindle. Is there a more universal size, that works well with some more mainstream crank arms? Thanks

  2. #2
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Many would say a longer crank is the opposite of an upgrade on a fixed gear.

    That said, the length of the crank is independent of the spindle length. If you can get the same model crank you won't need to change the spindle. If you wind up getting a different crank (which I assume will be the case unless you have a very well stocked parts bin) then while there's a chance it might work out, you'll likely need to buy the correct spindle length for the new crank.

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    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvin17d View Post
    Hey Guys-
    I just picked up a vintage schwinn for a fixxie project and I have been experiencing some major resistance in the BB. I pulled it apart and sure enough one of the plastic cages on the old cone and cup style BB was completely shreaded and burned into the cups and the cages on the other side. So Im going to be going with loose balls as Ive heard that it is more effective and more importantly cheaper than purchasing a cartridge. My problem now is that I have a 117 mm spindle and want to upgrade my crank arms from 170 -175mm. How do I find a crank arm suited for this application. Should I purchase a shorter spindle. Is there a more universal size, that works well with some more mainstream crank arms? Thanks
    You should be able to salvage your current BB by replacing the bearings. Use loose bearings if you can't find good retainers (look for 11-ball retainers).

    Chainline is the important thing with a fixed gear. Your 117mm spindle will probably work if you run your chainring on the inner plateau of a double crank, otherwise you'll probably need something shorter. Some cartridge BBs allow you to adjust chainline by moving the whole cartridge one way or the other in the BB shell. This can be handy for a fixed gear bike.

    I'd hold off on longer crank arms until you've determined that pedal strike isn't an issue with the arms you currently have. Remember, with a fixed gear you will be pedaling through corners, and the longer the arm the more likely it is to hit the ground while leaning. If you use too long an arm, you'll find you'll have to slow to a crawl for corners to avoid hitting your pedals. This is particularly an issue with road bike conversions, since frames designed for fixed gears tend to use a higher bottom bracket to provide more clearance.

    What year/model Schwinn do you have?

  4. #4
    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
    , you'll likely need to buy the correct spindle length for the new crank.
    Haha, Yeah! This is what I keep hearing. Ive been searching online for the suggested spindle lengths on various crank arms, and its not something they like to include in the specs. Thats my problem!

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    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    buy the crank, try it with the spindle you've got and adjust accordingly (if you need to)

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvin17d View Post
    Haha, Yeah! This is what I keep hearing. Ive been searching online for the suggested spindle lengths on various crank arms, and its not something they like to include in the specs. Thats my problem!
    That's because there are really 2 seprate requirements. The bike frame and drive train require a certain chainline so the crank manufacturer can't say what you need and crank arm offsets aren't all the same so the bike frame manufacturer can't either. I suppose there's a way to calculate what you need but I've always had to resort to trial and error. Buy the crank that you like, trial install it with some bottom bracket that you already own and figure out what you have to do from there.

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    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    You should be able to salvage your current BB by replacing the bearings. Use loose bearings if you can't find good retainers (look for 11-ball retainers).

    What year/model Schwinn do you have?
    Its a 1973 Paramount

    Ive been calling all the local hardware stores. Any suggestions on how to locate said bearings?

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You're converting a 1973 Schwinn Paramount to a fixed gear?

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    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvin17d View Post
    Haha, Yeah! This is what I keep hearing. Ive been searching online for the suggested spindle lengths on various crank arms, and its not something they like to include in the specs. Thats my problem!
    Crank arm length has nothing really to do with BB spindle length. It's more about your leg length (shorter legs prefer shorter cranks), frame geometry (will your pedal strike the ground in corners?) and riding style (mashers prefer long arms; spinners prefer short arms).

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    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvin17d View Post
    Its a 1973 Paramount

    Ive been calling all the local hardware stores. Any suggestions on how to locate said bearings?
    No bike shop? A '73 Paramount is a very nice bike and deserves better than hardware store bearings.

    You can get the proper retainers here, but if you don't know what you're doing, take it to a good bike shop. You really don't want to ruin a '73 Paramount!
    Last edited by JohnDThompson; 02-08-09 at 11:48 AM.

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    Crank arm length has nothing really to do with BB spindle length
    But, as the OP said, spindle length has everything to do with which crank you use. I'd recommend going with a new Bulletproof or Origin 8 crankset, which will tell you the spindle length. It's almost impossible to find the stats for old cranks, unless you want to guess and check. I assume you've found Sheldon's page.

    If it's a Paramount you're building up, though, I think you owe it to yourself to just shell out the $25 for a cartridge BB, and never have to think about it again.

  12. #12
    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    Thanks you guys. I went ahead and went with the loose Bearings in the BB (rides much better)for now until I decide which crank to go with. I learned a lot in the last 24 hrs.

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    Senior Member tradtimbo's Avatar
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    1973 paramount converted to a fixed gear. If you respect quality craftsmanship, and want to treat this bike proper, and you MUST convert it (as opposed to repairing/restoring). try to follow these simple vintage bike conversion rules:

    1)DO NOT HACK/GRAND ANYTHING OFF THE FRAME.

    1) Keep everything you take off and keep on what you can. Clean the removed parts, and put it in a box somewhere where it won't decay. Later in life, you may want to restore it to its original setup. You should find lots of Campagnolo parts, and Cinelli handle bars on that bike.

    2) Use high end componets. This is one of the best bikes of its time, and is still a very nice bike. It deserves the best. Think about a Phil Wood BB, and Campagnolo pista cranks. Keep the headset/stem/handlebars/brakes on the bike. They will look fantastic after you clean them up.

    3) Keep the original paint unless its too far gone. If it can be salvaged, keep it. It would be a shame if you bead blasted and powder coated a 73 Paramount.

    4) If you don't like the sound of this, please please consider selling the Paramount and buying something with less value to convert, like a Univega, Nishiki, other schwinns, and on and on. there are thousands of frames out there just waiting to be "fixed".
    Can anyone give me a ride from Monterey to Big Bear on Wednesday or Thursday?

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  14. #14
    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tradtimbo View Post
    1973 paramount converted to a fixed gear. If you respect quality craftsmanship, and want to treat this bike proper, and you MUST convert it (as opposed to repairing/restoring). try to follow these simple vintage bike conversion rules:

    1)DO NOT HACK/GRAND ANYTHING OFF THE FRAME.

    1) Keep everything you take off and keep on what you can. Clean the removed parts, and put it in a box somewhere where it won't decay. Later in life, you may want to restore it to its original setup. You should find lots of Campagnolo parts, and Cinelli handle bars on that bike.

    2) Use high end componets. This is one of the best bikes of its time, and is still a very nice bike. It deserves the best. Think about a Phil Wood BB, and Campagnolo pista cranks. Keep the headset/stem/handlebars/brakes on the bike. They will look fantastic after you clean them up.

    3) Keep the original paint unless its too far gone. If it can be salvaged, keep it. It would be a shame if you bead blasted and powder coated a 73 Paramount.

    4) If you don't like the sound of this, please please consider selling the Paramount and buying something with less value to convert, like a Univega, Nishiki, other schwinns, and on and on. there are thousands of frames out there just waiting to be "fixed".

    Commandments of Vintage Owning
    '08 Santa Cruz Heckler
    '73 Schwinn Superior **Single speed Project**

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    Yes, yes, yes...
    Especially #4.

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    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Of course, it's your bike so you can do whatever you please with it....

  17. #17
    projektbike calvin17d's Avatar
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    Was partially modified to a cruiser of some sort when I got it. I feel like im doing a good job of returning her function to a similar sort!!! Cant beat a 50 dollar bike!
    '08 Santa Cruz Heckler
    '73 Schwinn Superior **Single speed Project**

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