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Old 03-12-09, 03:14 AM   #1
lifeasparadox
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Schwinn Paramount worth saving?

Ok so heres the deal. I just bought a 80's (I think) Schwinn Paramount from a guy locally to use some of the parts for a fixie I am working on. Now the issue with the frame itself is that there is a crack in the head tube. I have done a little bit of research about the Paramount and see that its a popular bike so I was curious if you guys think its worth the money to get it fixed or not. Thanks!

P.S. I will try to get some pics up soon.
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Old 03-12-09, 03:32 AM   #2
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Depends on the year, the model, and the rest of the condition of the Paramount.

The other question I would have is, "What cracks a headtube?" My only guess would be a front end collision, which if it did this there might be other issues with the frame which you can't see. But I'm no expert on this sort of thing. Only a frame builder could determine if this is worth your effort.

Have you found the serial number? In the early '80s it was located on the left rear dropout and consisted of a Letter which equalled the month, followed by two digits for the year, followed by the number of the frame built that month. Thus; E83016 = May 1983, the 16th frame. By the mid '80s the serial number moved to the BB shell, was considerably longer, told a great deal more information, and I'm no good at deciphering them.

Even if you decide to not attempt a fix, don't throw the frame away until a C&Ver local to you has a chance to take it off your hands. Sounds like you got the bike at a bargain for the parts. I'm certain someone would be willing to help offset the cost.

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Old 03-12-09, 10:40 AM   #3
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Well I found the serial on it. It was made in Sept. 1984 and was the 96th in line at the factory. Does that help at all for the value?

I am a bit sketched out by the crack on the frame. I would guess that it was hot on the side being where the crack is. I mean it is a beastly crack. I starts in the front then starts to go around the back and follows the joint piece on the down tube. I mean the frame is really light and nice but I just dont know if its worth the money to save.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:21 AM   #4
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Do the downtube decals look like this one?


Paramounts only came with these decals for about 18 or so months in '83-'84 and only about 350 framesets were ever decaled in this style. If it is, it could well be worth the money to restore. You could have it done by Richard Schwinn at Waterford, or any reputable frame builder. There might be a way to do so and then creatively repaint just the repaired area.

Can you post some pictures? Specifically of the crack, decals, serial number, etc.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:23 AM   #5
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Please post photos when you can. If it's just the head tube and the crack hasn't propagated to the top tube or the down tube it can be repaired. HERE's a photo sequence of a head tube being replaced by Yellow Jersey.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:19 PM   #6
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So I just remembered this after I did some searching about Paramounts and such. When I was getting it from the guy he said that the person who had it made for him originally had it modeled after a Paramount in a high end bike race. The reason im saying this is because the decals on my bike dont seem to be like those on the other Paramounts so I dont know for sure if this is or not. Here are some links to pictures that I just took of it.

Bike as a whole
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

Beginning of crack
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

Middle of crack, you can see it goes along the joint piece
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

End of crack
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

Paramount decal
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

Schwinn decal
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

Best shot of serial I could get, it reads 600D then below is J8496
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthurj...7615087166531/

So pretty much im not sure if this is actually a Paramount or just something someone made to look like one. Let me know your thoughts tho.

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Old 03-12-09, 05:34 PM   #7
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Those are circa 1992 decals, so maybe it's a repaint. You say the serial number dates it to September, '84. Could you post the serial number?

The details in the photos (lugs, pump peg, BB shell cable guides) lead me to believe it's the genuine article (mid-eighties Waterford Paramount) repainted with early nineties decals.

Here's what the 1992 decals looked like on a 1992 Waterford Paramount (650C) with the True Temper OS tube set:

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Old 03-12-09, 05:54 PM   #8
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Ya that would make sense I guess. The serial is J8496.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:03 PM   #9
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definitely worth replacing the headtube, I had to replace the top-tube on my bike and it only cost 200 bucks... so even if it means a cheap powdercoat till you can afford a real paintjob its worth it. I would very definitely have the frame carefully for any other repairs that would have to be done.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:06 PM   #10
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Ya that would make sense I guess. The serial is J8496.
Well, I believe it's real. The question is whether it's worth replacing the head tube. Frankly, it's doubtful you'd be able to recover the cost of the tube replacement and repaint if you decided to sell it.

For some reason, the mid-eighties Waterford Paramounts sell for substantially less than the sixties and seventies Chicago Paramounts, even though the Waterfords are arguably much better bikes (lighter, investment cast lugs, tighter manufacturing tolerances, etc.).

The sixties/seventies Paramounts had chrome-plated Nervex Professional lugs, chrome-plated fork crowns, and chrome-plated rear triangle and fork tips, so there was a definite "bling" factor compared to the Waterfords which didn't have any chrome.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:32 AM   #11
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I'm guessing repaint as well. The right chainstay should be chrome. Waterford should be able to tell you which set of decals were original to a September '84 Paramount.

Stan is correct about the lower prices. A Paramount identical to mine, offered by the original owner, did not meet the reserve, and ended at $405, earlier this week. Granted the seller had few feedbacks and did not do an adequate job on his description and photos.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=290299449940

Interesting aside about early Waterford built Paramount Serial numbers: My May '83 Paramount has the serial number stamped into the left rear dropout, just like the Chicago built ones, albeit done with a smaller set of stamps, and is much neater. Yogurt has one with the same rainbow decals, and there is no serial number any place on the frame. The OP's was built in September '84, the number was moved to the BB shell, BUT, Waterford still used the old Chicago system.

When did they start using the elongated numbering system?

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Old 03-13-09, 07:47 AM   #12
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When did they start using the elongated numbering system?
Bob, I'd like to pin down the date Waterford began using the "self-describing" serial numbers, too. The Waterford website isn't much help as it says the change was made "...during the mid-eighties."

My October, 1987 Paramount has the self-describing serial number: 620E WK 87077.

Self-Describing Serial Numbers

This system started in use during the mid-eighties to 1994. It consisted of six components:

Size Code: The size code represented the center to top seatmast measurement, rounded to the nearest 5mm. For example, a 55cm frame had a serial number starting with 550. Mountain bikes required rounding since they were built in one or two inch size increments. Occasionally, custom frames might not have the same size as indicated by the serial number.

Product Code: This was not applied consistently. Up to some point in the early 90's, it designated the fork length with forks short bikes getting an "A" progressing to large forks getting an "E". Later, it was used to designate the kind of frame: A=Road, B=Off-Road, C=650C Road, E=Track.

Company Code: In the 80's the code indicated the type of bike, where K=road bike. Later, especially after the formation of Waterford, this letter indicated the company. K was for Paramount and L was for Waterford.

Factory Code: A W followed to indicate a bike coming from the Waterford factory.

Month Code: This one letter code corresponds to the month with A=January, B=Febuary and so on. Because I is not used, September=J and December=M.

Year Code: This two digit code is the last two digits of the year - 96 is 1996.

Sequence Number: This three digit number represents the nth frame and/or fork scheduled during the month.

Example: 540AKWE91042 was a 54cm road racing Paramount built at the Waterford factory. It was the 42nd frame built in May of 1991.
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Old 03-13-09, 09:17 AM   #13
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Paramounts from the 80's onward with original paint and decals are common enough that I wouldnt have the headtube repaired.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:03 AM   #14
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You might offer the frame for sale "as is" with good clear pictures of the crack. For someone with the skills, it might be worth rebuilding as a rider.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:26 AM   #15
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Ya I think thats what I am going to do. Being that its meant as a somewhat low cost project its not worth it to me, especially with no sentimental value behind it. Thanks for all the help guys, I appreciate it. Anyone got any good frames they are selling
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Old 03-13-09, 10:27 AM   #16
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Please post photos when you can. If it's just the head tube and the crack hasn't propagated to the top tube or the down tube it can be repaired. HERE's a photo sequence of a head tube being replaced by Yellow Jersey.
I suspect the OP's frame has the same problem of a frame with a built in unrelieved stress. I have seen a posting of a couple bianchis with the same problem. The OP's bike has the extra problem of the pointed lug which provided a stress riser. Not a problem normally, but with unrelieved stresses, that would be a failure point.

I'm conflicted about repairing it. Seems to me that as long as used ones are out there cheaply available, buying another is a better idea. If the price of steel frames holds up, a repair will become economic. A head tube is a relatively easy repair in comparison to the top tube or some other tubes that would be hard to match. But with the price of the repair, plus the price of a relatively inexpensive paint job, the op would be over $400 in a heartbeat.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:44 AM   #17
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Paramounts from the 80's onward with original paint and decals are common enough that I wouldnt have the headtube repaired.
So save the frame as a long term investment. Just think, 30 years from now, people will give their first born for an '80s Paramount! Even one with a cracked headtube.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:49 AM   #18
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So save the frame as a long term investment. Just think, 30 years from now, people will give their first born for an '80s Paramount! Even one with a cracked headtube.
I'm just finishing a frame I built 30 years ago. Girlfriend made the mistake of dumping me before her frame was done, and I never had any incentive to finish it. I'm sure the sad fact is that a lot of people are sending nice frames to the trash for very little reason. I'd certainly be willing to purchase a frame like this since I can repair it myself.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:58 AM   #19
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Off topic: Pastor Bob, is the bottom bracket on that bike really that close to the ground, or is that just an optical illusion?
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Old 03-13-09, 11:16 AM   #20
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Off topic: Pastor Bob, is the bottom bracket on that bike really that close to the ground, or is that just an optical illusion?
Optical illusion. In fact, I believe the BB is slightly higher then the one on my '66 Paramount. Does this help?

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Old 03-14-09, 06:39 AM   #21
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I wouldn't repair the frame. Period. Find another and simply swap the components. WAY cheeper, and you wind up with the same thing.
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Old 03-14-09, 07:41 AM   #22
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Ya I think thats what I am going to do. Being that its meant as a somewhat low cost project its not worth it to me, especially with no sentimental value behind it. Thanks for all the help guys, I appreciate it. Anyone got any good frames they are selling

What size is the Paramount?
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Old 03-15-09, 10:05 PM   #23
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Its a 60 cm I believe which is just a little tall for me.
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