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  1. #1
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    My 45 dollar Schwinn Circuit

    A friend of mine challenged me and a bunch old friends to join him in a sprint triathlon. I have an old bridgestone mb-3 that I bought in college, but decided to take the chance to find a road bike. My friend rides some absurdly expensive cervelo, so I decided to go cheap as a counter balance.

    I started checking CL, and found an ad one morning that just said "schwinn road bike". I decided to check it out as it was on my way to work. The bike was clearly light, and it seemed like it might be close to the right size, so I bought it. After getting it home and figuring that out "ircui" was part of the name "circuit", and doing a little searching I discovered that I had actually purchased a pretty nice bike-- even if it was a little beat up. I think it is a 1987 bike.

    I have since bought a 5 dollar used seat from a friend, and paid 20 bucks for wellgo pedals from REI. I had to fix the brakes, and change a tire, but that is all I have done so far. I have been riding it several times-- nothing real long-- 15 miles tops. It seems to work just fine. It shifts nice. Brakes work, but are noisy.

    I really only have two problems with the bike. First, the handlebars. It has old scott aero bars on it. The bars are kind of cool, and I would not mind keeping them, but I have not really found them to be very comfortable. I can't figure out where to put my hands for long periods of time.

    Second, the bike is really too big for me. I have measured it about 10 times, and I am pretty sure it is a 24 inch (61 cm) frame. I am 6 foot, and really think that a 58 cm is the size I want (and even that is probably a tad large). But to be honest, it does not really feel like it is too large when I am riding it.

    I am really torn here. I want to buy some nitto noodle bars and just ride it. But those bars would cost what I paid for the bike. And I am not sure if I should keep the stem on the bike-- it seems short, but that might be good for me considering the size of the frame. And it seems dumb to put that much money into a 45 dollar bike with a beat up frame-- even if it is a good one. Especially since if I actually find a bike in the right size I will probably end up giving the bike to another friend who is even cheaper than me. OTOH, if I end up keeping the bike I would not mind putting money into it-- even getting it powder coated.

    I also have two specific questions-- where can I get brake hoods? The brakes say "aero comp" and I think they are diacompe levers. I have seen hoods that say they are for "aero" brakes, but I am not sure if they would fit.

    Second-- is something missing from my rear wheel? It looks like there should be something else in the center of the cogs.

    Thanks

    Jared

    PS: I would obviously be interested in getting some used handlebars if anyone has them. I think I need 44cm or 46cm bars. The stem is 26mm. I have some "system component" bars and stem made from 6061 heat treated aluminum, but they are 40cm width, and I think they came from an old trek. I have the aero bars as well, but I might want to keep those.

    PSS: My other new bike is a centurion pro tour. That will be my next post.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Caferacernoc's Avatar
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    I'm 6'1" and I did my first 3 sprint triathlons on a 24" '81 Schwinn Traveler. I now have a 57cm Peloton, which is better, but the bigger bike was fine. I'd put a post in the WTB section for some standard road bars. Someone will come through with something cheap. Other than that your bike will do fine. Just make it comfortable.
    1988 Waterford built Schwinn Paramount, 1985 Schwinn Peloton,
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    And for my wife: Green '70's Motobecane Mixte and a Gitane Mixte!

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  3. #3
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    1987 Schwinn Circuit riders must done some long rides on their bikes.
    I got one about a month ago with very similar bars.

    I did a total overhaul, changed the bar and stem, new tires. The chrome has a little pitting but it's still a pretty bike. It also rides really nice.

    Here's a pic of when I got it.
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  4. #4
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    I road a tall schwinn of the same era.Don't worry if your private parts are close to the top tube. Its not a big deal as long as the top tube is okay. You did excellent for 45$.

    Try using a kitchen pan cleaner called Bar Keepers friend. It has oxalic acid in it and will take the rust bubbles out. Use water, dab it on thick, let it sit over night. Rub it off with a cloth and it ought to look new. Enjoy.

  5. #5
    Buh'wah?! Amani576's Avatar
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    If you want to keep the bars (good for a sprint tri) look for some clip on armrests. I did a quick search, but didn't turn up much, though I didn't check eBay...
    Anyways... After the oxalic acid, wipe it down well with WD-40 (works wonders and will remove grime you didn't know was there) give it a good bath with a car type wash, then wax it. Bike will likely look better than you think it will.
    I wouldn't worry about brake hoods as you arent resting your hands on the tops of them. I'd also rewrap the bars (I recommend PlanetBike tape as it has a nice soft feel) as that will do alot for riding comfort.
    As far as what's missing at the freewheel, it looks like a dustcap *might* be missing. If there is, it's no big deal. Though that cluster probably could use some oiling/cleaning.
    You've got a good bike there. Take care of it.
    -Gene-
    Last edited by Amani576; 03-17-09 at 09:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Latvietis Ablaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amani576 View Post
    If you want to keep the bars (good for a sprint tri) look for some clip on armrests. I did a quick search, but didn't turn up much, though I didn't check eBay...
    Yep, I recently saw a cheap set of these for about $25 somewhere, I thought about buying them 'cos I had the same bars as the OP. Thought I saw them at PBK, but they're not coming up there... if I find them, I'll let you know. As for comfort, you also have those bars turned up pretty steep.

    Concerning drop bars, check your PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Herneka's Avatar
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    I'll second (third?) the recommendation for elbow/arm rests on the aerobars. I have old set of Scott clip on bars, and the weight resting on the forearms gets annoying. You could try wrapping extra bar tape where you would rest your arms, even contouring it a little for comfort, if you can't find arm rests.

  8. #8
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    I'm 6' and I ride 60cm frames. However, I don't race and I don't have my rides set up for maximum aerodynamics. If you want a greater saddle to bar drop, you get a smaller frame. However, if it doesn't feel too big, it's probably a good fit for you.

    The reason the stem is so short is that those bars have a very long reach. Where have you been placing your hands when you ride? That'll help you decide whether the top tube + bar reach is too long.

    If the brakes are loud, get new pads. Kool Stop salmons. And check to make sure the rims are running true.

    Oh, and the finish on your Circuit is better than any of my bikes. Don't worry about repainting it. Just ride it.

  9. #9
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    Second-- is something missing from my rear wheel? It looks like there should be something else in the center of the cogs.
    It's a freewheel. It might look different than your friend's cassette, which slides onto a freehub body attached to the wheel.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the replies. I really don't mind the fit of the bike, and I guess that is what matters. I like the idea of finding clip on arm rests for the aero bars. Do you know who makes something like that?

    Ablaut says I maybe have the bars turned up to high. How much should I lower them? Should I move the brakes?

    Jared

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
    The reason the stem is so short is that those bars have a very long reach. Where have you been placing your hands when you ride? That'll help you decide whether the top tube + bar reach is too long.
    I have tried putting my hands all over those bars. Nothing feels real bad, but nothing feels great. But it may just take some getting used to. The reach feels the best with my hands in the bottom of the "loops"-- but that results in my hand being squeezed kind of funny. I am not sure if I am describing that right.

    Jared

  12. #12
    Latvietis Ablaut's Avatar
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    Sorry, ignore what I said about those bars being turned up too high. I thought the forward extension should be more parallel to the toptube, but I found two other pics with the angle pretty much the same as yours.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Herneka's Avatar
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    If you do replace the bars, you can always get clip-on aerobars with armrests.

  14. #14
    Retro Grouch in Waiting geekrunner's Avatar
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    Nice catch! Just my size too. Let me know when you don't want it anymore

    Dave
    Flipping bikes sure beats flipping burgers!

  15. #15
    WNG
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    I'd ditch those bars for a conventional drop bar. And add Profile aero clip-ons. Those levers are indeed Dia-Compe. And just about all aero replacement hoods will fit.
    You found yourself a more than competent bike to challenge your friend. I'm looking forward to reading about you trouncing him and his Cervelo.

    (ps. I have nothing against Cervelos. Happen to like them a lot.)
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekrunner View Post
    Nice catch! Just my size too. Let me know when you don't want it anymore

    Dave
    Blarg! I was going to say the same thing. Wish I had something slightly shorter of similar quality to trade.


    Quote Originally Posted by WNG View Post
    I'd ditch those bars for a conventional drop bar.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by WNG View Post
    I'm looking forward to reading about you trouncing him and his Cervelo.
    +12. I think it can be done. If you spend any money on this bike, spend it on wheels. Course that might make you want to switch the drivetrain, but you can run casette hubs with a spacer and a 7-8 speed downtube friction or indexed shifter setup with little to no modification. Some Mavic Open Pros w/ butted spokes and 105 or Tiagra hubs should be worth every penny, and not break the bank too terribly. Heck, I'll even build the wheels for you if you send me the parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    I have tried putting my hands all over those bars. Nothing feels real bad, but nothing feels great. But it may just take some getting used to. The reach feels the best with my hands in the bottom of the "loops"-- but that results in my hand being squeezed kind of funny. I am not sure if I am describing that right.
    Jared
    Sounds like you could use a longer stem if you're not comfortable riding upright on the flat part of the bar, and need to be more forward. That top tube is pretty short. You can also try moving the saddle back to sort of mimick what a longer stem would feel like. You don't want to do that permanently, just long enough to know if a longer stem would help you. First thing: replace the bars with drops.
    Last edited by krems81; 03-18-09 at 04:07 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNG View Post
    I'm looking forward to reading about you trouncing him and his Cervelo.

    (ps. I have nothing against Cervelos. Happen to like them a lot.)
    Thanks for the support, but you guys are overlooking rider skill and preparation here. My friend rides all the time, trains with a triathlon team, and all that jazz.

    My training peaked when I printed out a free training guide from the internet. And at my current level of skill I will never get to the ride-- because I won't make it through the swim.

    Jared

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    Thanks for the support, but you guys are overlooking rider skill and preparation here. My friend rides all the time, trains with a triathlon team, and all that jazz.

    My training peaked when I printed out a free training guide from the internet. And at my current level of skill I will never get to the ride-- because I won't make it through the swim.

    Jared
    It is now your duty to train so that you can prove its the rider, not the bike. I think I have an Eye of the Tiger tape around here somewhere that I can send you.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for "eye of the tiger" encouragement-- I need it.

    And one more question-- I asked a similar question in my centurion thread, but I might as well ask it here as well.

    What size is this bike?

    I swear I tried to follow the instructions on how to measure-- and measured from the center of the BB to to the top of the top tube and got 24 inches. Or just about 61 cm.

    But now I see Robbie selling these other centurions here:

    Several Centurion bikes....

    And it looks to me like my bike is closer to the size of the 58 turbo. Am I just measuring wrong?

    Jared
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    Thanks for "eye of the tiger" encouragement-- I need it.

    And one more question-- I asked a similar question in my centurion thread, but I might as well ask it here as well.

    What size is this bike?

    I swear I tried to follow the instructions on how to measure-- and measured from the center of the BB to to the top of the top tube and got 24 inches. Or just about 61 cm.

    But now I see Robbie selling these other centurions here:

    Several Centurion bikes....

    And it looks to me like my bike is closer to the size of the 58 turbo. Am I just measuring wrong?

    Jared
    I really would like some input on this-- any input. Can you help me determine what the size of this bike really is?

    Jared

  21. #21
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    I really would like some input on this-- any input. Can you help me determine what the size of this bike really is?

    Jared
    He may be measuring to the center of the top tube, rather than the top. Also, don't worry about headtube length, all sorts of frame geometry differences can influence that (top tube length, BB height, etc.) What is important is how the frame fits you, and/or if you can make some changes (stem length, saddle height, saddle setback, bar reach) to make it fit comfortably.

  22. #22
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    "Somebody else's 220 dollar Schwinn Circuit" on Craig's List (Hudson Valley NY)
    schwinn circuit road bike - $220 (highland falls)

    Reply to: sale-ecwzz-1086336233@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
    Date: 2009-03-22, 8:40AM EDT



    14 speed schwinn circuit road bike 21 lbs. from 80's. rigida hand heat treated racing rims spin true. 700x23c armadillo tires.all sante components. shinano quick release.rico sport seat. less than normal wear to orange paint. frame 22.5"cc, top tube. 22.5"cc,standover 32.5". brake pads were added after pics were taken. will consider trades for older bikes.$220 obo 845 446 5258

    • Location: highland falls
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  23. #23
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjpitts View Post
    I really would like some input on this-- any input. Can you help me determine what the size of this bike really is?

    Jared
    Yours is a 24 or 25 measured C2C. A top tube C2C of 580 would be 24" anything longer would be a 25.

    I'm fairly certain the fork is stamped as well.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  24. #24
    Buh'wah?! Amani576's Avatar
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    I found these a few days ago but just kept forgetting to post them.
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=2680
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=2680
    Those are for the Deda Elementi Armrests, the armrests don't come with pads, which is why there's a link to them.
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=2680
    Then there's the Profile Design armrests. Those have adaptors for larger bars, but, they still work as just the rests. I like the idea of these personally, just because they fold up and "out of the way" when you're not using them, giving you your handlebars back, though that's less important for you as you have less "bar top" than traditional drops.
    They're both about the same price.
    -Gene-

  25. #25
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    Ok, a fellow C&V guy offered me a pair of 46cm drop bars, and I bought them. I figured it was probably a better plan than spending money on armrests. They should get here any day.

    I have noticed that my stem is rather short. According to the schwinn catalog I found online, a 24 inch circuit should have come with a 100mm cinelli stem. I don't know how long this one is, but it looks shorter than that. In fact, I know it is, because I have seen the catalog picture. See attached.

    So I was thinking of replacing the stem with something closer to stock when I put on the new bars. Seems like it would be easier than doing it twice.

    And I found a guy in scottsdale who claims to have several stems, in several sizes, all for relatively cheap.

    I was thinking that since this bike is theoretically 2cm to big for me, that maybe I should get a stem slightly shorter than what would have come on it stock. Maybe a 90mm or even an 80mm. A 90mm is what would have come on a 22 or 23 inch Circuit.

    Does that sound like a good plan? Again, I am just a newbie, trying to find my way. I realize that there is no way to know for sure until I ride it with the new bars and stem, but I want to start from a logical place.

    Any advice is appreciated

    Jared
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