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Old 04-22-08, 06:59 PM   #1
el twe
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1972 Schwinn Olympic Paramount track - a piece of history

Just felt the need to show this off. This past weekend, I bought myself a new frame. Not just any frame: a Schwinn Paramount custom built for American John Vande Velde for the 1972 Olympic pursuit race! It was hand built in Chicago by George Flagle, who apparently had built a few Paramounts in the past during a shift in builders. It had been crashed (post-Olympics, AFAIK), and the seatstays and bridge were replaced by Bernie Mikkelsen using the period correct Reynolds 531c tubing.

The Nervex lugs have been filed down beyond recognition, the Campy track ends drilled a total of 30 times, both sets of dropouts filed paper thin (well, that's an exaggeration), and there are 4 large cut-outs on the BB shell; all in the name of weight savings. Apparently, the frame and fork alone weigh around 3.6 lbs! Included in the purchase was a Campy NR (I think) headset, pista BB, and high flange Record Pista hubs. On top of all that, I have photos of Vande Velde racing on this particular frame in Munich, including one signed photo. Needless to say, I'm very excited about building this up.

Now, without further ado...















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Old 04-22-08, 07:34 PM   #2
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Very cool bike, and always nice to have real racing provinance. But is it really a "Paramount", or more a George Flagle?

I can't tell from the original racing photos but the bike does not appear to wear a Schwinn badge or lettering? Was it built for Schwinn and badged as such?

It would sure look nice painted in a early 70's Schwinn color and decaled as a Paramount. That one deserves an expensive paint job!
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Old 04-22-08, 07:41 PM   #3
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Congratulation! Beautiful frame.

What type of wheels are you planning on building up? Campy Record Pista group for the balance of the build? Nice!!!
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Old 04-22-08, 07:43 PM   #4
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That's a Paramount. The ridge on the headlug is unmistakably Nervex, and the track dropouts as they join from chainstays to dropout are finished in the unusual characteristic way you would find on a stock Paramount Track.

-Kurt
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Old 04-22-08, 08:15 PM   #5
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Congrats El Twe,

I can't wait to see the end result
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Old 04-22-08, 09:08 PM   #6
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My circa 75 has circular cutouts on each side of the fork chrome, but none on the bottom bracket or holes in the dropouts. I don't see Nervex in the lugs, but maybe they were the basis.

As far as being a Paramount, certainly it is, but being a custom order for the Olympics, anything was possible I'm sure. Maybe they didn't use builder brands, don't know.
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Old 04-22-08, 09:09 PM   #7
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Otis - the bike never had nice paint, and was never branded as a Paramount, however, Schwinn provided Paramounts to all of the team. This is just a very modified Paramount built to Vande Velde's specifications.

GeraldChan - the current plan is to lace the hubs to a set of black Open Pros I have sitting in Santa Cruz. Unless anyone has any 32H MA2s for me . Record Pista cranks and chainring, Cinelli bar/stem, MKS Sylvan pedals with MKS clips and Toshi double straps (at least for now).

bigwoo - me too!
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Old 04-22-08, 09:10 PM   #8
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My circa 75 has circular cutouts on each side of the fork chrome, but none on the bottom bracket or holes in the dropouts. I don't see Nervex in the lugs, but maybe they were the basis.

As far as being a Paramount, certainly it is, but being a custom order for the Olympics, anything was possible I'm sure. Maybe they didn't use builder brands, don't know.
I have a CD with pictures from an auction of a '72 Olympic Paramount built for the sprint race, fully decal'd.
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Old 04-22-08, 10:04 PM   #9
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this is similar to another pursuit frame I have seen for the '72 games, word on the track by 1974 was that the reason they were so ugly was that the seat stay bridge was missing, I suspected this a bit, my guess was the chainstay bridge was left off due to rush to finish them off, the bikes got bad reviews the story goes, and were modified offsite. The '72 team selection was pretty late by modern standards, so once the team was selected it was a mad dash to provide bikes.

The "official" color was the opaque blue for the team, each rider got a road bike too, if they raced the track.
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Old 04-22-08, 10:16 PM   #10
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Very nice. Would it originally have been red? It looks to be a dark colour in the old photos. Are you going with gold deep-Vs or an aerospoke
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Old 04-22-08, 10:20 PM   #11
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It was originally the silver as pictured. The white rear triangle is just primer from the seatstay repair.
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Old 04-23-08, 02:01 AM   #12
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word on the track by 1974 was that the reason they were so ugly was that the seat stay bridge was missing, I suspected this a bit, my guess was the chainstay bridge was left off due to rush to finish them off, the bikes got bad reviews the story goes, and were modified offsite.
Can you elaborate on this? This frame obviously had a seatstay bridge in Munich (though it has since been replaced), and I imagine there was a chainstay bridge as well.
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Old 04-23-08, 03:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Can you elaborate on this? This frame obviously had a seatstay bridge in Munich (though it has since been replaced), and I imagine there was a chainstay bridge as well.
The chainstay bridge can be clearly seen in the first vintage photo. Looks as if the frame originally had both bridges.

Great bike el twe! Wonderful piece of history! This will be a great project to see you complete. I take it John Vande Velde is related (the father?) to Christian, one of our current American riders?
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Old 04-23-08, 04:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
this is similar to another pursuit frame I have seen for the '72 games, word on the track by 1974 was that the reason they were so ugly was that the seat stay bridge was missing, I suspected this a bit, my guess was the chainstay bridge was left off due to rush to finish them off, the bikes got bad reviews the story goes, and were modified offsite. The '72 team selection was pretty late by modern standards, so once the team was selected it was a mad dash to provide bikes.

The "official" color was the opaque blue for the team, each rider got a road bike too, if they raced the track.

Repechage, can you make your explanation a little clearer? You seem to have first hand info about the '72 games bikes such as the original colour, and an interesting observation that they were regarded as ugly. Who reviewed the bikes and were they modified prior to the games? As Pastorbobnlnh observed, the bike seemed to have the bridges in the photos.

Great bike el twe, I hope you can bring it back to it's olympic persona.
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Old 04-23-08, 07:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
The chainstay bridge can be clearly seen in the first vintage photo. Looks as if the frame originally had both bridges.

Great bike el twe! Wonderful piece of history! This will be a great project to see you complete. I take it John Vande Velde is related (the father?) to Christian, one of our current American riders?
Yes, that is indeed Christian's father.
John (goes by Jay) posts regularly on Classic Rendezvous.
El Twe you might join up (if you haven't) and post there about the bike
and get the full story on the bike from Jay
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Old 04-23-08, 08:54 AM   #16
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That is a beautiful piece of history, el twe. I can't wait to see it built up.

Sure sounds like you should join Classic Rendezvous and contact the man himself for more details.
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Old 04-23-08, 09:43 AM   #17
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Very nice. Would it originally have been red? It looks to be a dark colour in the old photos. Are you going with gold deep-Vs or an aerospoke
Haha that sad thing is there are 1970s paramount track bikes on the street with such set-ups.

This bike need super champions, fiamme red labels or NISI rims.
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Old 04-23-08, 11:59 AM   #18
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It's going to be built up with clincher rims to save myself the tubular hassle on the street. I was thinking MA2s. Suggestions?
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Old 04-23-08, 03:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el twe View Post
It was originally the silver as pictured. The white rear triangle is just primer from the seatstay repair.
Re: the color - I recall reading an article about the 1972 Olympics bikes when I first started getting into cycling (in 1973, when I was in high school), and have a clear memory of the article saying (1) that Schwinn privided bikes to all the 1972 Olympic cycling team members and (2) that they were all painted the same color. I also have a clear memory of a photo of at least one such bike in the article, and it was a light blue - not quite a baby blue, but pretty close. I also clearly remember thinking that I would not have chosen that color, although if I had an 1972 Olympics Paramount, it would not be allowed to be any other color, even if I had to repaint it, for historical reasons. (Sort of like why I think all high-end Bianchis ought to be celeste even though I hate the color on pretty much anything else.) I do not recall anything about decals, head badges, or the like, one way or another. I believe the article was in an issue of "Bike World," but I am not certain about that. There was nothing in the article about how they handled that I can recall.

So I do not have first-hand knowledge about the machines, but I do have a clear first-hand memory of contemporary reporting and photos of the 1972 Olympic Schwinns, and the reported and photo'd color was light blue.

EDIT: To the OP - very cool find. Many congrats. I'm glad it's in the hand of someone who appreciaties how unique such a machine is.
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Old 04-23-08, 06:57 PM   #20
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I remember seeing that frame on eBay. I think it was about a year ago. I know it's the same one because the ad included the old pictures and the history of the frame
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Old 04-23-08, 07:02 PM   #21
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Yep. Came from eBay. When I get un-lazy I'll post up the original auction info.
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Old 06-07-08, 04:58 PM   #22
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Bump! Finished the bike about a week ago, the ride quality is amazing. No idea on the weight, but it's probably somewhere around 17 lbs.

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Old 06-07-08, 05:14 PM   #23
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Damn, that's a nice bike - all business.
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Old 06-07-08, 07:46 PM   #24
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Amazing! Interesting how the lugs and seat stay caps are so different from the normal '70s Paramounts.
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Old 06-07-08, 08:03 PM   #25
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Wonderful, wonderful bike. Congrats El Twe.
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