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Old 09-19-05, 09:52 AM   #1
As You Like It
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Sheldon Brown's website basically exploded my poor, scalding brains, so I wanted to come here and ask around a bit.

I've got an old Schwinn Suburban which is darn near roadworthy after a thorough cleaning and bearing-repacking binge. I'm down to the remove-and-replace portion of the game, and I need tubes and tires, as well as shifter and brake cables.

The tires on the bike now are labelled 27" X 1 1/4" I'm pretty sure they're the original tires, too. This is a fairly standard size, right? I've heard all sorts of dire things about Schwinn wheels being all proprietary in size and impossible to find tires for, but then I get on Nashbar and see these $13 tires which seem like just the thing I need. Will these work with my stock wheels, or am I just chock full of insane wishful thinking?

While I'm asking about weird-sized bike parts, does anyone know where a person could get hold of some 4mm shifter-cable housing? Or am I going to have to jury-rig modern 5mm cable-housing with some zip-ties or the like?
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Old 09-19-05, 10:09 AM   #2
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I have an early 80's era Schwinn Voyager (cromo, sweet) with the original 27 x 1 1/4" Shimano wheels. New 27 x 1 1/4 wheelsets are a little hard to find; my LBS said they would have to order them, and it would take about 2 weeks. I didn't have any trouble finding tires, though; I bought a set of 27 inch Specialized Armadillos at my LBS. 27 is a rare size, but you can still get tires sin problemas. I'm in Chicago, though, I don't know how your local shops work.

Take note, however!: If the wheels are original, they may be 'hookless', meaning they don't have a little lip that holds the bead of the tire. When this is the case, you can't inflate the tubes to anything like their recommended pressure, as they'll bulge out and blow. See this post for my travails with this issue...

How my LBS screwed me
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Old 09-19-05, 10:16 AM   #3
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I put Nashbar-brand $3 tires on my Schwinn... they are OK. These will work for you, too. Goop tip on keeping the psi under 80 if your rim isn't hook-beaded.

Low-psi tires will give you that "sweet steel ride"...
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Old 09-19-05, 10:43 AM   #4
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Low-psi tires will give you that "sweet steel ride"...
Works for aluminum too.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:19 AM   #5
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27 X 1 1/4 tires are still commonly available at reasonable prices. All road bikes, not just Schwinn, used this size up to the late 1980s.

Your Schwinn probably uses "S-6" type steel rims -- they will be marked as such, inspect them closely and you should be able to find a "S-6" stamp. When you mount new tires on these rims, do not inflate them past 75 psi or they will blow off -- do not use the max inflation pressure indicated on the new tires.

Tubes are easy, buy schrader valve tubes that will fit 700X32 tires. Tubes for 700 tires will work on 27" tires provided you buy the correct valve type for your rims.

The worst part about the old E-F Schwinns, are the original steel rims -- which are crap and make the bike ride, and stop like crap. The only good thing I can say about the steel rims is that they are bulletproof.

After you finish putting together your old Suburban, I wouldn't be surprised that you find it to be an excellent beater for urban commuting -- save your good road bike for the weekend. If you decide to make the Schwinn your primary commuting bike, I strongly suggest that you replace the steel 27" rims with alloy 700c rims. It will totally transform the way the bike rides and stops -- you won't believe it's the same bike.

I know a source for 4mm cable housing, but I'm busy with work right now, so it will have to wait until tonight.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:23 AM   #6
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i usually just enough enough of the outer casing of 5 mm housing so it fits inside the housing guides and stops.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:33 AM   #7
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27x1-1/4 were very common into the early '80's. I just bought a new tube (Continental) from my LBS for my 1981 vintage 27x1-1/4 wheels, they showed me the box which listed the compatible sizes: 700C, 27x1-1/4, 1-1/8. etc. Mine are presta valves. Tires are harder to find, but not rare in most cases.
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Old 09-19-05, 02:37 PM   #8
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I've seen 27 x 1 1/4 tires at Walmart (and I must admit I bought a pair because I was putting them on a bike I paid $5 for). I recently replaced them (after about 500 miles) with a pair of IRC road winner II's on Nashbar (in the 1 1/8 width). If the wheels are not the schwinn 'oddball' S-6 size then you should have no problem going to full PSI, but take the above poster's advice if they are. If you plan on keeping the bike long term - 700c alloy or even 27" alloys are out there. Keeping with 27" will keep any problems with brake reach at bay.
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Old 09-19-05, 02:56 PM   #9
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Schwinn used to do some 'weird' stuff in sizing or marking things 'Schwinn Approved"; sorta made folks go back to their Authorized Schwinn dealer to spend $$$.
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Old 09-19-05, 06:02 PM   #10
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bvancouv is correct. If you have smooth-sided rims, use lower-pressure tires. I have had very good luck with 27x1-3/8" knobbies on my UO-8, which I inflate to or a few PSI above their 70PSI sidewall rating.
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Old 09-19-05, 07:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
Schwinn used to do some 'weird' stuff in sizing or marking things 'Schwinn Approved"; sorta made folks go back to their Authorized Schwinn dealer to spend $$$.
Not true, in any sense.

"Schwinn Approved" parts were parts that were tested in Schwinn's labs for durability and reliability. A "Schwinn Approved" part, in the 1950 to 1980 era, was a part that was superior in quality to the run of the mill parts used on other mid-priced recreational parts.

That is a different issue than Schwinn rims. Sheldon Brown does a good job of detailing the wide variety of rim designs that were used in the 1960's and 1970's. Schwinn designed some of its own rims, because the company engineers were fanatics about safety and durability. Some competing rim designs provided neither.

By 1975 or so, all of the bikes using 27 inch clincher tires in the USA were using similar rim designs, but the rims do vary in width. Schwinn rims designed for 27 inch road tires in the 1970's were designed for tires marked " 1 1/4" in width. (27 x 1 1/4). A tire marked (27 x 1 1/8th) will usually fit well on such rims. DO NOT use a super narrow tire though, such as a (27 x 1), as you may not get a good fit.

Folks sometimes assume that because a 27 x 1 1/4 size tire is marked 85 PSI or 90 PSI that it is a "soft" tire, compared with a 700c 23mm tire marked 140 PSI. That is not true. The 90 PSI setting is the level that provides a firm/hard tire under the weight of an adult rider. If you press your thumb down on these tires at a 90 PSI setting, the tire will be firm.

This is a terrific size of tire for recreational riders. It provides a bigger, better air cushion against rough pavement than the super-skinny tires used by racers and "pretend" racers. You can come backe from a fifty mile ride feeling better than when you started.



During the period from 1970 to 1985, about 70 million bikes were sold in the USA that used the (27 x 1 1/4th) inch tires. As a result, you can find these tires are hardware stores, at Wal-Mart and K-Mart, and a sporting goods stores. BUT, the best quality tires in that size are the Continentals that good bike shops stock. Far superior to the $10 Wal-Mart tires.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:54 PM   #12
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In Jakarta, Indonesia, southeastasia, it is much more easy to find 27x1 1/4 than 700c.
local manufacturer is making it here, but looking at the sidewall stickers I am sure they are for export. Rp20,000. equals 2 american dollars each, for tube, and one dollar for the inner tube. the 2 dollar price does include the fitting job, at the local repair kiosk.
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Old 09-19-05, 09:59 PM   #13
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Awesome! I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped me sort out the tire question.

Back when I got this bike, I thought that the 27" wheels were nothing that rare, and that it shouldn't be a big deal to get some tires, but a couple of people I know who are a bit doom-and-gloom were on about how "weird" Schwinns are, and muddied the waters for me. Glad to know that I did know what I needed in the first place! Also glad to know that 27" X 1 1/4" are not terribly hard to come by. There are quite a few old roadies still rolling around, it would seem.

It's getting closer and closer to seeing the streets again. I'm getting pretty charged up about this whole endeavour. I've turned every screw and nut on this darn bike. Not too many women out there can say they've completely torn down, greased everything that could be greased, and re-assembled their own bikes.

Big ups to Cruentus who gave me some invaluable pointers on taking apart a few bits that I would not otherwise have been able to figure out easily.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:11 PM   #14
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We'll be expecting pictures.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:48 PM   #15
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[ I've heard all sorts of dire things about Schwinn wheels being all proprietary in size and impossible to find tires for]

That would be their 26 1 3/8 size. diameter of the rim is odd. I would think that a suburban would have those but maybe the later ones came with 27.

One thing about the schwinn 27 inch is that some of these rims are very wide. Choose accordingy. Regardless the diameter of both the schwinn made and schwinn approved rim 27s are the same as the standard.
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Old 09-20-05, 12:47 AM   #16
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Meatwad got pretty close to the answer.

Schwinn did make the 26" wheels an odd diameter, so you had to buy Schwinn specific tires for Schwinn wheels.

However, the 27" wheels were made standard, so you can buy just about any standard 27" tire and it will work on a Schwinn 27" rim.

JohnE's reminder is also good to check to make sure the rim has a flange for the tire wire.
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Old 09-20-05, 03:26 PM   #17
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Just got my first taste of riding on 27" wheels, and I love it. They are just an old set of Varsity wheels that I grabbed off the parts pile and swapped whole onto a modded three-speed's frame, but they transform the bike. Wonderful ride, and an eager, love-to-roll feel to them.

Now I'm thinking about lacing a three-speed hub into one, and finding some decent tires, like the Contis. I wonder how the difference in overall diameter will influence the gearing.
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Old 09-20-05, 08:13 PM   #18
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schwinn wheels can only take schwinn tires from that eray
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