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  1. #1
    Senior Member baltazar's Avatar
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    Another Old Bike Thread

    I have in my hands an old Schwinn road bike, the emblem reads:
    Capitol Schwinn Cyclery
    927-1997
    ... Florida Blvd
    Baton Rouge, LA

    It's in bad shape - bent and rusted front and rear wheels, missing larger chain ring in front, rusted chain and sprocket hub (5 gears), bent rear deraileur, and some frame rust. It doesn't look like the frame and fork are bent - it seems like a fairly heavy and solid frame.

    I don't know a lot about bike mechanics and I've started reading some manuals due to my desire to learn - rebuilding the Schwinn may be a good opportunity. Also, I would like a road bike (with nice components) for commuting. At the moment I'm using a Specialized mountain bike.

    Is it worthwhile to rebuild this road bike and learn from it. If so, which components do you recommend I keep and replace? At the moment I'm thinking of keeping the just the frame (after painting it), the fork, handle bar, stem, and seat post. :confused:

    Also, for around $200 US, I could pick up a 12-yr old, fully functional Raleigh road bike. If I go this route, I'd be getting old components and wouldn't learn the rebuilding process. :confused:

    Any recommendations?. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Toss the rusty old Schwinn in the trash. Even if it were something that was once valuable (such as an old Paramount-not likely, but possible), from the description of it's condition, it is worth nothing. Don't even waste your time on it (especially if it has the old 1-piece cranks and suicide levers on the brakes). Toss it on the curb. Even junk pickers look for bikes that are in better shape than this.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  3. #3
    Canadian eh?
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    I agree. If its in the bad of shape toss it.

  4. #4
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    As a learning tool, the Schwinn would be Ok if there wasn't so much wrong with it. You'll easily spend $200. in parts and have a very heavy, but comfortable bike, --IF it fits you. In the end, it will be better than that rideable Raleigh is now.

    Your idea of building and learning is a good one. I think, though, that checking yard sales and the Salvation Army or Church stores, might get you something with a little less challenge and still allow for a learning experience. Also, it will get you riding the bike sooner and probably with less expense. Good Luck!
    ljbike

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Your Schwinn sounds like a bike boom era Varsity or Continental. These bikes have two advantages over all other road bikes: 1) virtual indestructibility; and 2) mechanical simplicity. If you can fix the Schwinn cheaply with scrounged parts and hobby-time labor, it could make a reasonable, theft-resistant beater, to protect that $200 Raleigh from being stolen. As the others have noted, the Schwinn's excess weight will always make it somewhat less efficient and fun than a lightweight import, so do not put alot of money or energy into it.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  6. #6
    usnagent007
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    good coffee table candidate?

  7. #7
    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    It's probably got at least $50 in good collectible parts on it ya know.

    Why not:
    1) strip it and then throw it in the landfill
    2) keep it as a beater bike
    3) get it roadworthy and sell it or give it to someone who needs a good cheap bike.

    Bikes are for transportation and calm recreation, too.
    They are not just for riding 3 abreast blocking traffic on a country road while you're wearing clothes that are too tight.

    - Vin
    Menotomy Vintage Bicycles, Inc.
    http://OldRoads.com
    Vinny - Menotomy Vintage Bicycles - OldRoads.com
    BUY/SELL forum (no fees) - Price Guides - 19 years of archives

  8. #8
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    Toss it.It's trash. Besides Schwinn used alot of non standard sizes,which create headaches.Get your headaches from cheap whiskey,not cheap bikes.

  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pokey
    Get your headaches from cheap whiskey,not cheap bikes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    Before you toss your find:
    You may want to keep it if-
    The tubes are about 1" thick and ahve a high pitched "ping" when you flick them with your finger
    The bottom bracket shell is about 1 1/2 " in diameter
    The frame is "lugged" and the lugs are niceley finished
    The dropouts are about 3 or 4 mm thick, have a machine like finish were the quick release would clamp and if it has Campagnolo or possibly another name stamped on them.

    Ride Informed
    Pat
    Pat5319


  11. #11
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    Should work with new tyres and tubes shouldn't it ?

    You can try to work out spoke tuning on the wheels (that's not expensive - need a spoke tool) - don't bother getting new ones.

    WD40 and engine oil should do the chain.
    OK for riding to shops but probably beyond a transcontinental ride.

    Don't bother rebuilding - a $50 Huffy is probably better.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by john999

    Don't bother rebuilding (the Schwinn) - a $50 Huffy is probably better.
    This is certainly not true. An old Scwinn is better than a new made in China Huffy - or any big market made in China bike.

    I am not just saying this for old Schwinn nostalgia sake. Anybody who works on bikes will tell you that the old Schwinns were built better and had better components than most of today's made in China 'big-market' bikes.

    (John, are you trying to start a fight?!)
    Mike

  13. #13
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    Early Schwinn MTB frames/bikes can definitely be collector items. While not well known, Schwinn had one of the earliest rear suspension frames on the market. Unfortunately for them this was happening at about the time they were going out of business (late 80's - early 90's). So I certainly wouldn't toss it based on the feedback you have gotten above.

    Their better MTB frames were, in a sense, Paramount MTB frames as they were made in the Waterford plant, where all later Paramounts (until Schwinn went belly-up in '92) were made and where Waterford bikes are now made by Richard Schwinn.

    There is quite a bit of history on on the Waterford website, which includes the Paramount story from begining to end. Also, you can send them an e-mail and they (Richard Schwinn) will generally respond with the info on your bike. Sometimes they are slow to respond, but I have never had them fail to do so.

    Am not sure why there seems to be so much bashing of Schwinn above. They made fine bikes at the high end and were as good as anything from Europe during their time. At least Sheldon Brown thinks so and says same on this website. There were a full spectrum supplier and also made a lot of lower quality stuff. But, they offered what the buying public demanded/bought. Certainly doesn't make their good stuff bad. And most of us that are 40 or older probably started out as a kid on a Schwinn of some sort. I know that all of us in my family did until my older brother bought a 3-speed Raleigh with his paper-route money.

    So you might want to do a bit more research on your frame and see if it is something you want to put some time, money and effort into. If not, you will have learned something. If it is something you restore, you will have fun and like riding around on something you have done yourself. At least that is the way I feel about my '87 Paramount.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by pat5319
    The tubes are about 1" thick and ahve a high pitched "ping" when you flick them with your finger
    Pat
    I'm sorry, but what does this imply?

  15. #15
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    I'm no Schwinn expert, so I'll defer to others on this thread. You should be aware, however, that older bikes often have idosyncratic threading and sizing problems. For example, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Raleigh you mentioned has a JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) fork crown race, measuring 27.00 mm as opposed to the standard 26.4 (I wouldn't be surprised because I have a Raleigh from around this same time period, and the fork crown race is 27.0). This becomes problematic with certain manufacturers (for more on this, I suggest going to Sheldon Brown's site and poking around).

    If you decide to inhabit thrift stores and yard sales looking for a bike to work on, I suggest familiarizing yourself with some of the standards and bikes that use them. Otherwise, you may find yourself on a quixotic quest for a Swiss-threaded bottom bracket or something similar, spending more than you initially thought. I'd also pick up a set of metric dial calipers, as things like dropout spacing and seatpost diameters can be radically different on older bikes than the modern standards. You can work around many of these issues (often via an ebay search), but it's best to know them going in, as if you choose to work on older bikes, your LBS will likely be of limited/no help to you. Or at least that's what I've found.

    Those of us foolish enough to enjoy older bikes invariably wind up with full parts drawers. I've got enough French threaded bottom brackets and headsets in mine to mount an entire racing team.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

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