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  1. #1
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Fixing up an older Schwinn MTB

    Hi All,

    Looking for some guidance regarding fixing up an older Schwinn MTB. This bike is nothing special, but it has some sentimental value in my family. It was originally my Dad's and now I'd like to modernize it a bit and give it back to him...better than ever!

    I have a mostly complete SRAM x.7/Shimano 9 speed MTB group. (shifters, derailleurs, cassette, chain, crank + BB).

    Here's my "plan". I was hoping to get some input on whether or not some of this stuff will not work because I'd hate to spend the cash and find out the hard way!

    1) Replace current stem/bars with a quill-to-threadless adapter, threadless 31.8 stem, new alloy 31.8 handlebar

    2) Brakes -- Need help on this.

    Can I use these? http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEKTRO-930AL...#ht_676wt_1119

    We've got that style of brake on 2 other bikes and man, they haul the bike down quickly. Or must I stick to cantilever style brakes like this?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Tektro-B...#ht_623wt_1353

    I'd probably get something better than the Tektros, but the above illustrate the general idea.

    3) Replace wheels with something that has a Shimano/SRAM compatible freehub (to accept the 9 speed cassette). Looks like rear spacing is 135.

    4) Crank -- Can I use my Shimano crank with BSA bottom bracket? Not sure if the BB threads are the same?

    I think that pretty much covers it. Advice/input greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Bob
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    Two different style brake levers for the two different style brakes. Lets see your current levers, the ones that you are going to use.

    In a nutshell, cantilever brakes have a hi tension, short throw style levers and the v-brakes have a low tension, long throw levers. Some mechanical disc brake hand levers are the same as v-brake levers.

  3. #3
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Sram X.7 stuff generally doesn't work well with Shimano stuff.

    I personally don't like threadless adapters. Still plenty of decent 25.4 bars to choose from. Seems like adaptor + 31.8 bar/stem would be just different than better.

    I think I'd just stick with the cantis in brake land. At least they're not the ugly black plastic XCMs.

    Frame will have 68mm English threads, so BSA bottom bracket should work.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Senior Member Chris Chicago's Avatar
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    those brakes will polish up nice, might need new pads but should work well if properly adjusted

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Not sure what you're trying to accomplish with the threadless stem/bar combo. Plenty of nice 25.4 bars out there, I'd just leave that alone.

    Those V-brakes should work (with the appropriate V-brake levers) but why not just get your cantis working properly? They'll stop the bike just as well, or very close.

    The drivetrain upgrade is the most significant IMO and the most worthwhile, as long are your components work well together (SRAM/Shimano??? possible issues there.) 135mm spacing = virtually and cassette hub MTB wheel you buy will fit.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    Not sure what you're trying to accomplish with the threadless stem/bar combo. Plenty of nice 25.4 bars out there, I'd just leave that alone.

    Those V-brakes should work (with the appropriate V-brake levers) but why not just get your cantis working properly? They'll stop the bike just as well, or very close.

    The drivetrain upgrade is the most significant IMO and the most worthwhile, as long are your components work well together (SRAM/Shimano??? possible issues there.) 135mm spacing = virtually and cassette hub MTB wheel you buy will fit.
    So, I've done this on a few old MTB, one coverted to a tourer and one to a commuter. I switched both to V brakes, I just like the stopping power. But, it gets a little pricey getting new levers, cables and the v brake itself. Good kool stop pads on the cantis will get you close. Otherwise, I prefer the quill over threadless, but what might tip the scales is deciding to go to a nice, new rigid fork...which I did twice, essentially changing the entire front end. Overall, I would probably make decisions that resulted in the bike getting lighter, not necessarily "modern" looking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    I'll try to keep things concise here:
    1- you can definitely replace the quill stem and 25.4 bar with a quill-to-threadless adaptor, new 31.8 stem, and 31.8bar. However, this would be needlessly expensive, and weigh a lot. you'd likely need a shim for the stem, too. Better to run what you've already got, or get a new stem and bars if you like. There is a quill stem with a 31.8mm clamp out there; a friend of mine used it on his old litespeed, and it actually looks alright. If it were me, I'd either clean up the original stem/bars and run those, or get some nice bits from nitto.
    2-As others have kinda said, you'll need long-pull levers to run v-brakes. Personally, I think V-brakes are more awesome than Cantilevers. However, many MTBs from the cantilever era have cable routing that is optimized for use with centerpull cantilever brakes, and if that's the case with your frame, I'd scrap the v-brake idea and just tune up the cantis. A picture of the brake cable routing on the top tube by the seatpost would help us determine what we're dealing with.
    3-take your wheel out and measure the distance between the drop-outs. "Looks to be" isn't as precise as "measured at". If it is indeed 135, any q/r mtb wheels will do. If it's 130 or 126mm, you might want to get a set built up around some road hubs, like shimano tiagra or suchlike, to run the modern cassette.
    4-Your BB shell is english threaded, or "bsa". Basically, any of the common shimano mtb Bottom brackets will fit, from square taper to octalink to the somewhat new outboard-style hollowtech II. That will be no problem; you'd need to run some of the included spacers if you're going with hollowtechII. Depending on which cranks and the width/angle of your chainstays, you may have clearance issues. This isn't likely if you're running a "standard" mtb triple, with the 44/32/22 rings, but something you should be aware of if you're thinking about running some less-typical cranks.
    **Above, someone said that sram x7 and Shimano stuff won't work well together. In my experience, assuming we're talking about 9speed stuff, it'll work fine so long as you're running the sram rear shifter and the sram rear derailer, OR the shimano rear shifter with the shimano rear derailer. The cranks, chain, cassette, front derailer, and left shifter will all play nice between sram 9speed and shimano 9speed. With the 10speed stuff, Shimano decided to screw the pooch with some aberrant cog spacing, as well as with derailer pull ratios. If you have ten speed stuff, you may wish to revise your componentry.
    hth
    -rob

  8. #8
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for all of the advice! Much appreciated.

    Attached is a pic of one of the brake levers. I'd prefer to run the V brakes, but I'm not sure if the attachment point is too high/too low. If it may not fit, I'll stick with the current Cantis and clean them up + new pads.

    The crankset in question is a Deore 44-32-22 triple with Shimano BB. Derailleurs, shifters, cassette and chain are SRAM.

    I know this is an adjustment issue more than anything, but the cantilevers always seemed to rub on one side. I've noticed that the newer/nicer stuff seems to have a "sheath" down one side of the cable that connects the cantilever arms. This bike didn't have that, so it was hard to get it to stay centered.

    Looks like I need this!
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Generic-Moun...#ht_500wt_1353

    I'll stick with the current bar and quill stem.

    Bob
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    Edit: The following info is incorrect, read down 2 posts for proper info-

    Ahh, so you want to use the original brake lever. Well those levers look like cantilever/caliper pull levers and won't be usable easily with v-brakes. If you use those levers with v-brakes, you would have to squeeze the death out of them to stop on a downhill run. You just would have to purchase new brake levers to go along with the v-brakes.
    Last edited by bobotech; 05-01-12 at 05:05 PM.

  10. #10
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Sounds similar to riding carbon clinchers in the rain.

    No thanks to the death squeeze. I'll stick to the cantilever brakes.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    Sounds similar to riding carbon clinchers in the rain.

    No thanks to the death squeeze. I'll stick to the cantilever brakes.

    Thanks,
    Bob
    LOL I didn't mean to imply that v-brakes required the death squeeze. Wait, now i think I have it backwards.

    In a nutshell:
    if you use cantilever/caliper brake levers with v-brakes, even if you adjust the pads so they are very close to the rims, when you squeeze the lever, it will pull all the way to the handlebar and probably won't stop (not enough cable pull to properly apply full tension on v-brakes).

    If you use v-brake levers with cantilever brakes you will have the opposite problem. You will have to do the death squeeze in order to stop. The v-brake lever doesn't apply enough tension to the cantilevers to properly stop them, hence the death squeeze. (too much cable pull to properly apply full tension on the cantilever brakes).

    if you use v-brake levers with v-brakes, you will get great stopping power with normal squeezing pressure. if you use cantilever brake levers with cantilever brakes, you will get great stopping power with normal squeezing pressure.

    The important key is to always use the proper brake handle with the proper brake system, cantilever to cantilever or v-brake to v-brake, just don't mix and match.

  12. #12
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Bobonker and bobotech...are you guys related?

    Your levers are short-pull, for use with short-pull brakes. If you truly wanna run v-brakes, you'll want to get long-pull levers. Avid fr-5 levers are thoroughly awesome and totally cheap.

    However, you really might want to take a look-see at how your rear brake cable is routed. It might be a hassle to run the cable to the v-brake's noodle.

    If the main thing troubling you about the cantis is the straddle cable, why don't you just buy some trick new straddle cables and save a pile of money? Get yourself some mean kool-stop pads, while you're at it. you're still saving money with the straddle cables/pads versus new v-brakes and new long-pull levers. The straddle cables you linked to look fine, but you'll want to be sure they're big enough to clear your tires. Looking at the pic of your cantibrakes at the top of the thread, I'm guessing they would be...

    But that's just a guess.

  13. #13
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Haha...no, we're not related (that I know of??).

    What do you guys think of this wheelset?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/270968411367...ht_2117wt_1348

    It's actually kind of hard to find a decent inexpensive pair of 26" RIM brake wheels. Most everything is disc these days. Since this bike is rigid front and rear, I'm thinking that those low spoke count wheels will probably not work out very well.

    Bob

  14. #14
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    I'd avoid the off-brand low spoke wheelsets if at all possible. Generally much lower quality hubs, and less durable than a 32x3 or 36x3 wheelset with Shimano hubs. Plus I have no idea what that auction will end at. IMO, low spoke wheels have no place on a MTB. They aren't lighter, and they don't need to be aero because well, it's a MTB....

    I'd recommend something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/26X1-50-MTB-...item519f094555

    Better yet, if you look on craigslist you can probably find a pretty decent MTB wheelset with a cassette freehub for maybe $50.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    I see 26" wheelsets all day long on CL for pretty cheap. Usually around 50-75 dollars. And they are usually attached to a bike frame with all the extra parts needed to make a complete bike. And they are usually ridable. LOL

    For example, I paid a guy 20 dollars for a late '90s Specialized HardRock frame with a Suntour crappy suspension fork, front and rear wheels with 8 speed cassette, handelbars, stem, seat, seatpost, front/rear v-brakes, and crankset. I was going to part it out but the frame, wheels, and parts were really nice so i ended up just throwing a set of Shimano V-brake 8sp index shifters and a set of derailleurs on it and the bike is now great. The rear wheel is a shimano hub laced to an Araya rim and is a freehub with 8-9-10 speed sized hub on it.

    What I'm driving at is that you really don't want to be spending large amounts of money on the Schwinn, it really doesn't make money-sense to do so. If you are patient, you can find a parts bike like I did for cheap on CL and upgrade your schwinn with those parts.

  16. #16
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    So the main reason I wanted to use the quill to threadless adapter is so that I could use my old Cannondale riser handlebar. There's a straight bar on the bike right now, but having the bars come up and back a bit would be nice.

    Them stem clamp is a single pinch-bolt style clamp. I'm assuming I can remove the bolt and spread it open enough that I could shoehorn in something like this?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MOUNTAIN-BIK...#ht_554wt_1114

    I got a lead on some wheels on craigslist!

    Thanks,
    Bob

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Shouldn't have to shoehorn anything. If that bar has the correct clamp diameter, it should slide right in with maybe a bit of effort around the bends. Still probably way easier than putting a drop bar though a quill stem.

    Was listed at 25.4 in the ebay ad so I think it should work.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  18. #18
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    I picked up a new rear wheel at Performance Bike this afternoon. Alex rim laced to a Shimano hub. 36 spokes. $39.99

    I figure it's an entry level wheel at best, but they have a pretty awesome return policy should I need it.

    Bob

  19. #19
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Bob,

    Dude above is correct; with a little bit of turning, you should be able to fit that 25.4mm riser from ebay into your stem without any heroic efforts.

    Your $40 entry level 36h rear wheel should serve you fine, especially if you're not trying to ride any extremely rough trails on this thing. It is likely machine-built, and may get whacked out of true rather quickly. If it does, a competent shop could easily true it up and fix any tension issues for you, for far less than the cost of a wheelbuild. I think you've likely done fine.

    -rob

  20. #20
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Update: Wheels/tires/cassette are on.

    Shifters (SRAM X5 3x9), rear derailleur (SRAM X7) on the way. I have a Deore M542 crank and bottom bracket ready to go in. I haven't measured the seat tube yet, but it looks like I'm going to have to shim whatever front derailleur I get. The seatpost is 26.4.

    Compared to my other MTB (which is very comfortable), I need to get the bars further away from my by about an inch and I need them to come up about an inch. The riser bar should take care of the coming up part, but looks like I'll need a different stem that is longer without as much rise. Time to bust out the protractor.

    Bob
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    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    lookin good. Ride it a bit before you make decisions re: fit. Longer stem seems likely, but not necessarily less rise...you can always just put more of the quill deeper into the steer tube...
    Either way, you won't know without more saddle time, especially with the new bars

  22. #22
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Update: Got a bunch of parts to install, but have been super busy.

    What type of bottom bracket tool do I need in order to remove this bottom bracket (pic #2 in first post)? Park makes a bunch and I have the one for Shimano Hollowtech II/SRAM GXP, but I'm not sure which one I need for this setup. I've seen people remove them using a chisel and hammer, but I don't want to go there.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  23. #23
    自転車整備士 oldskoolwrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    Update: Got a bunch of parts to install, but have been super busy.

    What type of bottom bracket tool do I need in order to remove this bottom bracket (pic #2 in first post)? Park makes a bunch and I have the one for Shimano Hollowtech II/SRAM GXP, but I'm not sure which one I need for this setup. I've seen people remove them using a chisel and hammer, but I don't want to go there.

    Thanks,
    Bob
    If you have a Park CCP-22 Universal Crank remover that's fine. You also need a Lock Ring Remover and either a 26 or 27mm open end wrench for the LH Adjustable Cup. You'll also need a Fixed Cup Removal Tool to pull the RH Fixed Cup out of the Frame. Remember that the Fixed Cup is opposite thread from the Adjustable Cup.

  24. #24
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    How about a picture of the complete bike? You might just want a rebuild. I'll bet the wheels are 126mm based on your picture. You're looking at putting a set of 135mm on it. Good luck
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Made some progress. I'm waiting on an new front derailleur and I need to get some brake cables. The new 135mm rear wheel wasn't a perfect fit (a tad wide), but I squeezed it in there.

    The old square taper crankset/BB combo weighed 1395g. The Deore crankset + BB combo that I put in weighs 950g. Nice savings there!

    Bob
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