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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    Updating Old Schwinn

    I have a 1989 Schwinn Spirit 10 speed which I've been riding as I get back into cycling. The components (Suntour) work okay given the age of the bike but I've switched out the stem and the seatpost to get a good fit. My original thought was that I would ride this while looking for a new roadbike. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why not upgrade this bike so that it would last me a while until I have the cash (and the riding experience) to justify getting a much better 'first' bike.

    I was thinking about swapping out the old 27" wheels and getting newer, better but not extravagant wheels. Would that require updating the drivetrain? If so, would getting a used but more up-to-date group that wouldn't break the bank be feasible? Does this idea make any sense or am I looking at something that would be cost prohibitive to make any real difference? Thanks

  2. #2
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Nola Gal,

    Welcome to C&V where we believe that being nice and doing anything to save a bike from the scrap heap is a beautiful thing!

    Just a guess, but you sound as if you been hanging around the other forums quite a bit. If this is so, you need to loose their competitive mentality and ask more appropriate C&V questions. Such as;

    Q: "Any suggestions on how to change the gearing around? It's __-__ in the rear and __&__ up front. It's flat where I live so I don't need such a range."

    A: I'd swap that wide range freewheel for a 13-21 five speed or one of the vintage Suntour Ultras (closely spaced) 6 speed freewheels. Who needs 9-10 gears on the rear?

    Q: "27 inch wheels seem out of date. Do any of you still use them and what about tires?"

    A: Keep the 27 inchers. While not as numerous there are plenty of great tires available. Spend your money on more important things like a good Brooks saddle.

    Best of luck and we're here to help you the best we can!
    Last edited by pastorbobnlnh; 10-22-07 at 07:01 AM.
    Bob
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  3. #3
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    I owned and rode quite a few steel framed 10 speeds with 27 inch wheels and SunTour components back in the 1980s. Recently I've started to track down bikes similar to those I rode back then and I'm more than happy to keep them virtually standard. SunTour Vx and Spirit derailleurs work very sweetly and I certainly don't see much point in replacing them on any of my bikes. They're easy to adjust and maintain and they are pretty much trouble free. As Pastor Bob says there's no real point in changing out 27 inch wheels if they're in sound condtion. I love riding my old lightweights and the only improvement I've found necessary is to fit them with good saddles.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. Pastor Bob, I didn't realize I had taken on that competetive mentality but re-reading my post, I see what you mean. I guess I'm feeling a little 'insecure' about the bike because I'd like to get to the point of being able to ride with the local cycling club (not a racing club) and I want to make sure the bike will be up to it when the time comes. Right now, I'm working on getting the rider up to the "35-40 moderately paced miles" they often ride out in the country...

    The bike has 2 chainrings on front and 5 cogs in the back. I guess it's what they used to call a ten-speed. Today, would it be referred to as a 5 speed? I did replace the seat a while back but not with anything as nice as the Brookes. I'll give that some thought.

    Sharon

  5. #5
    Senior Member Business810's Avatar
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    I agree with the good Pastor. I would make sure everything is tuned up and in good condition. While it's a good idea to keep the Sprint in good working condition (and out on the road where it belongs!), however, I wouldn't spend a whole lot of money trying to update it. As Pastor Bob said, a good upgrade might be a different freewheel to better suit your needs, but aside from that, just ride it, enjoy it, get your endurance up, and then when you know what you want go ahead and get that newer road bike. Besides, there's something fun to me about keeping up with (and passing) guys on fancy new carbon road bikes when I'm on my old Schwinn World ten-speed...
    Jon

  6. #6
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Let me give you a little food for thought... If something truly will add pleasure for your riding, don't hesitate to upgrade.

    Before you upgrade, you should realize that the bike isn't what will make you keep up or fall behind. A rider from the Tour de France would take your bike, and ride faster than the fastest rider in the group you want to join on the best bike in the group... A better bike will make a slight difference in your ability to keep up, it won't make a world of a difference, as long as your bike is well maintained.

    I am taking a nice 1986 Schwinn and updating everything, but staying with 27" wheels because the brakes won't allow the reach for 700c. The bike will end up costing as much as a new bike, and weigh more, so it won't be worth as much as I will be spending to most people, but it is worth it to me.

    So for cost/benefit, you need to be somewhat cautious about whether updating a vintage bike is worth it financially. If what you are looking for is a modern road bike, you will get more modern road bike for $700 by buying an entry level road bike than upgrading a vintage bike. However, for $700, you can take a vintage bike and get something that nobody else has. ;-)

    Whatever your decision, just have a goal of enjoying riding the bike! It is never too late to try taking a different direction in your cycling adventure, and learning your specific preferences along the way.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Nola Gal, you have a golden opportunity to appreciate the slower pace of life here in C & V. As my friends here have said so eloquently, an upgraded bike may make you faster, but perhaps not...

    You will find that people here are interested in your bike, not about how fast you are, or how much you spent. We even like knowing more about YOU (although we still want to know about the bike first ).

    If we get you well and truly hooked, you may look at this thread:

    Show us your mixte (mhendricks' new happy place)

    and gasp in appreciation of how beautiful some of these bikes are.

    Or, you may read this thread:

    Bicycles saved from the Dump (rubbish tip).

    (Sianelle put it up as a sticky, but I like to think that she saw my suggestion and thought it was a good idea )

    and agree with Pastor Bob that a good bike should never be sent to such a horrible fate, but like a good cat or dog rescued from a shelter, returned to live a good and fulfilling life amongst people who appreciate it.

    Or, perhaps you can just enjoy riding, and contributing to this ongoing thread:

    Where'd You Ride Today?

    Because what we all have in common here, is a love of bikes.

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Hey Pastor Bob,

    Where can I find one of those narrow range 5 or 6 speed cassettes?

  9. #9
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtipton View Post
    Hey Pastor Bob,

    Where can I find one of those narrow range 5 or 6 speed cassettes?
    Try this link:

    http://search.ebay.com/search/search...tra&category0=

    But if you are interested, I have narrow range 5 & 6 speed Reginas that are of no use to me here in the NH mountains. I'll make you a good deal. PM me if you are interested.

    Best of luck whichever way you go!
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  10. #10
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post

    Or, you may read this thread:

    Bicycles saved from the Dump (rubbish tip).

    (Sianelle put it up as a sticky, but I like to think that she saw my suggestion and thought it was a good idea )


    East Hill
    Yes I did see your suggestion and being the tip rat that I am I thought it was a really good idea so I created that sticky thread.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  11. #11
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    Yes I did see your suggestion and being the tip rat that I am I thought it was a really good idea so I created that sticky thread.
    hehehe...to me it's an inspiration to see how people here come together and get those bikes back out on the road, just for the love of bikes (and being thrifty minded folks too ) .

    Nola Gal, I hope we have gotten you inspired!

    One last thing:

    Check out stringbreaker's work on his Schwinn Continental in these threads:

    Continental final assembly begins

    Continental complete (enough to ride)

    and tell us that you don't just drool over that .

    East Hill
    Last edited by East Hill; 10-22-07 at 09:18 PM.
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  12. #12
    Old Fogy
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    Continental has a nice Ultra Sport in the 27"x1 1/4" size. I picked up one at REI. Kenda and Chen Shin make serviceable tires, also, but not as nice as the Continental. It seems to me that they roll a little better than the 700C tires, but it may just be my imagination.

  13. #13
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    The tires on my Continental are Panaracer Paselas in the 1 1/8 size they roll like a champ and are supposed to be pretty tough and they have either the gumwall look or blackwall. They also make them in the 1 1/4 size which is what I have on my Varsity

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    Okay, I think I'm relating now! My first car was a 1961 Chevy. It was older than I was. My dog and cats have all been rescues from the street. When I bought my house, it was 80 years old and had been vacant for 5 years.

    As for my Schwinn, I think this was the first 'real' bike my ex and I bought. It was for him since he rode more than I did but we both rode it some. I say I think because years later, after we divorced, I came outside one day and found it on my driveway. I asked neighbors etc and no one knew who it belonged to...it was only later that it occured to me that he probably dropped it there instead of just throwing it away. I've seen him a couple of times since then but never thought to ask. For that reason, I guess I feel like I have some connection/responsibility for this bike

    Stringbreaker's Continental is beautiful! Yes, that is what I'm after...the idea of taking something that others might not find valuable and making it beautiful...having something unique, as Little Darwin said, something no one else has.

    I have a lot to learn about the whole mechanical thing though if I want to get the bike into that kind of condition, but then again, I have time!

  15. #15
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Oh Nola Gal thats what we are here for. I have gotten some really good tips and ideas just reading some of these posts. That old American iron rides so nice very solid not twitchy at all and parts are easy to come by its like rebuilding a Chevy or any General motors car from the late 50's till the mid to late 80's there are so many parts out there its unbelievable. New old stock and reproduction stuff. Those decals on my Continental are reproductions of the originals and you can't tell them from the originals. Its a lot of fun to take something near a basket case and rebuild into a thing of beauty.

  16. #16
    Bottecchia fan
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    Hi Nola Gal, welcome aboard. Glad to see you're riding. I brought one of my bikes with me when I was back home about 3 years ago for my sister's wedding and I really felt like the Lone Ranger. Even riding the Lakefront on Sunday I hardly saw another cyclist. I rode with Crescent City Cyclists back in the 90's before I moved to Colorado and they were a good group if that's who you're riding with (I'm guessing you aren't riding with NOBC). I would not do anything to the bike beyond maintenance items and getting the fit right which it sounds like you are already taking care of. I like Pastor Bob's suggestion of changing out the freewheel. I rode a 13-21 for years until I moved here (OMG was that a rude awakening. Now I ride a 13-28 or lower ) though you might want something a little lower if you're riding north of the lake where there are a few hills. My '88 Panasonic has 27" wheels and they work just fine as does the old Shimano 6-speed index shifting. No pressing need to upgrade. Just tune it up and enjoy the ride.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldowales View Post
    Continental has a nice Ultra Sport in the 27"x1 1/4" size. I picked up one at REI. Kenda and Chen Shin make serviceable tires, also, but not as nice as the Continental. It seems to me that they roll a little better than the 700C tires, but it may just be my imagination.
    I'll second this recomendation. I have the ultra sports on both my Sprint and LeTour and have no complaints.

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