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  1. #1
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    Vintage Schwinn needs tire help

    Hi. I'm riding a vintage Schwinn (ladies 3-speed) over some paths that include a rough section pretty much daily. With the original skinny 27 1/4 inch wheels and tires I am getting a lot of slow leaks ... I'm getting frustrated with the endless tire pumping and such. I love the bike's look and I'd like to put some time into restoring it. But if I can't solve the tire problem I think I'm better off selling it to someone who will ride it more gently, and get another bike : (

    So what are my options for getting tires or tubes that resist flats? Will Mr. Tuffy or another kind of liners fit these vintage skinny tires? I've been told "no" and I've also heard "yes." Any other options? The extra thick tubes that I've seen seem to come in 26" sizes only at the local retail level... it would be a nuisance to order a 27" 1/4 pair and then have them not fit. I've also heard that Mr. Tuffy can slip out of place or pinch the tubes... that doesn't sound too good.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazyweather View Post
    Hi. I'm riding a vintage Schwinn (ladies 3-speed) over some paths that include a rough section pretty much daily. With the original skinny 27 1/4 inch wheels and tires I am getting a lot of slow leaks ... I'm getting frustrated with the endless tire pumping and such. I love the bike's look and I'd like to put some time into restoring it. But if I can't solve the tire problem I think I'm better off selling it to someone who will ride it more gently, and get another bike : (

    So what are my options for getting tires or tubes that resist flats? Will Mr. Tuffy or another kind of liners fit these vintage skinny tires? I've been told "no" and I've also heard "yes." Any other options? The extra thick tubes that I've seen seem to come in 26" sizes only at the local retail level... it would be a nuisance to order a 27" 1/4 pair and then have them not fit. I've also heard that Mr. Tuffy can slip out of place or pinch the tubes... that doesn't sound too good.

    Thoughts?
    It depends on what the problem is. Do you find the bike completely flat after a day or two? Have you taken out a tube and examined it? Find where the damage is. Overly narrow tires used on rough ground suffer from snakebite flats. That's where a sharp bump pushes the tire deeper into the rim, causing the beads of the tire to unseat and come together in the middle where they pinch a couple of holes in the innertube.

    Try taking the tube out and finding the damage. wet or submerge it if you have to and look for the bubbles.

    I find the kevlar belted tires work great if punctures are really the problem. The Bell Streetster is pretty good and is available at Wal-Mart.

    If you have snakebites, though, you ought to make sure the tubes are new or well patched, keep the pressure at the max recommended level, and avoid the sharp bumps such as misaligned sidewalk sections.

    If that doesn't do it, you could go to a bigger tire like the Michelin. Or, provided your bike has hook bead rims, you could get a folding tire like the Panaracer Pasela (which is also available in wire bead) which will not pinch the tubes so bad.

    Also, make sure your rim strip completely covers all spoke nipples.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 06-20-09 at 09:31 AM.

  3. #3
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    more tire help

    I'm not getting total flats, just slow leaks. Sounds like the snake-bite thing.

    I was a bit confused by your post. My bike shop told me that my only options for tires for this bike were the ones I have.... I had to special order them because of the not-standard-any-more size. I was told nothing else was available that would fit my wheels. Was the shop wrong? I can switch to a different kind of tire? I should switch bike shops?

    The largest size I've seen at Walmart for the Bell belted tires is 26" ... my tire size is 27 1/4 " ....

  4. #4
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    Wal-Mart has them for sure, but maybe not all stores at all times.

    27x1-1/4 has been totally replaced on new road bikes by 700c, but lots of companies still make them. If it's a high-end bike shop, they may not be too interested in supporting older bikes.

    I don't know whether you ought to be able to walk in to a bike shop and get them because I get parts for my old bikes online.

    Now, I assume you're not just assuming it's 27X1-1/4 because that's what a lot of old bikes had. Some old Schwinn 3-speeds had an unusual size called 26X1-1/4. Check your sidewall and find the metric size because the English size is just a name. There are at least eight different rim diameters called "26Xsomething". If it says 32-630, it's a 27x1-1/4. If it says 597-dash-something, then it's the old Schwinn size, and it IS a special order tire which is only available from a few sources. Please find the metric rim diameter size and post it. The number should be prominent and may be next to the English size.

    A slow leak can mean a crappy valve or a pinhole as well as a snakebite. You just gotta look. If it is a snakebite, you wouldn't benefit much from flat protectors like kevlar belted tires or mr. tuffys but just have to keep the pressure topped up and take it easy over sharper bumps.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 06-20-09 at 10:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    If it's really a 27x1-1/4, and they really said there's only one available, do a search on this forum or amazon..com for 27X1-1/4 tires. Also try "27 inch" on the forum or 27_X_1_1/4 or other variants on Amazon. You will see why I think it may be a different size, if they said you could only get the ones you had. There's still dozens of 27x1-1/4 types in production.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 06-20-09 at 01:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    You could have recurring problems because you need new tires, or because there's something rough inside that's biting into the tube, or if you ride on rough roads a lot, you could be getting the snake bite thing because you''re not inflating the tires with enough pressure. Solving the problem require properly diagnosing it first.

    One thing to possibly consider - some of that spray that seals leaks. Don't know if you've tried it, but it could help.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  7. #7
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    I always check my road tires for embedded glass after a ride. A small piece can get in there and eventually chew its way through even a kevlar belt, and it will keep puncturing tubes until you take it out.

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    Thanks all. I thought they were probably 27 1/4 inch because I measured.

    The tires say "Bontrager Sport B 27 X 1 1/4." I'll do more research and see what I can turn up. I've already done a fair amount and just got more confused...

    These are new tires, so I am assuming the problem is not that they are just old. I think I can also assume the tubes are in correctly, because I didn't do it myself.

    Sadly, if there is any taking apart the tires and checking for whatever, it will have to be done by the bike shop or wait until my kids are in college ... let's see, sigh, that will be thirteen years from now. I had time to do stuff like that when I was childless and lived in an apartment. But, no more. Now I have a list of 300 things to do ranging from catching up at work to sawing holes in the plywood in the attic because it isn't vented correctly and almost no time to do any of these things in.

  9. #9
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    I'm going to experiment a bit with thornproof tubes. They aren't discussed very often here, but my hope is that their thicker walls will help keep air in the tire. They are heavier than normal tubes, if it matters.

  10. #10
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    Now I've had a SECOND bike shop (the really good one) tell me that a) these are 27 1/4 tires and b) that I am stuck with the tires and tubes I have, I just will have to pump them up a lot. Plus the guy had an attitude, which in retrospect I should have called him on; very stupid of him, I ride cheap bikes but my kid gets a new one almost every year. This is becoming annoying. Do I have time to acquire yet another ream of do-it-myself skills to figure out what is going on? I so don't. So I guess I get another bike, de-rust, prime, and repaint the damaged spots on this one, and hope I can sell it for about what I've invested in the vintage parts so far. Though if I put any more work into it, I suppose it will be stolen, because that is what happens to anything whatsoever that I put any effort into, it's like a curse. At least when I finish tiling the basement, I don't think anyone can steal that.

    Thanks all, cheers

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    Thing is, though, that's pretty much something you need to know anyway. What do you do if you break down 10 miles from home? If you ride on a flat, you'll damage the bike.

    lay the bike on its left side, deflate, unbolt the wheel, pull the tire off with tire levers, pump up the tube, and find the leak.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/630.html This link should put the lie to your bike shops. also try nashbar, performancebike, niagaracycle, bikepartsusa for some lower priced selections.

    Of course, you may just need new tubes. If they didn't swap out the tubes, the valves may be old or dirty.

  12. #12
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    Okay, more research. I'm pretty sure these would fit, so I can keep my insanely electric blue bike:


    1) Panaracer Extreme Light:
    <img width="10" border="0" height="1">
    <img width="10" border="0" height="10">
    27x1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4
    2) Thorn-Resistant Tube (Presta) (700 x 25-35c or 27 x 1-1/8) (except I have Schrader valves, not Presta), so maybe

    3) Thorn-Resistant Tube (Schrader) (700x25-35c)

    4) Panaracer Pasela Tourguard 27 x 1-1/14

    5) Continental Ultra Gatorskin.

  13. #13
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    >Thing is, though, that's pretty much something you need to know anyway. What do you do if you break >down 10 miles from home? If you ride on a flat, you'll damage the bike.

    I rarely go that far... I have been know to get lost : ) However, you're right, of course. I'm doomed to acquiring bike-related skills. Oh why oh why did I marry an agoraphobic software guy who can't manipulate objects in physical space? Maybe I can train my son. Or at least get him to let go of my leg for long enough for me to

    >lay the bike on its left side

    "Mommy What are you doing? Can I help? Ow, it pinched me. Mommy What is that called?"

    >deflate, unbolt the wheel,

    "I wanted to do that! Ewww. Mommy, it's dirty. Help me take my shirt off. I need a bandaid. No, a batman bandaid, not a transformers bandaid."

    >pull the tire off with tire levers,

    "Ummmm Mommy I'm telling you used a bad word. No, you can't have it back. I'm using it now. What's that black stuff? Mommy, it won't come off. The soap isn't working."

    pump up the tube, >and find the leak.

    "Can I run the water? The sink is getting dirty. Why are there bubbles? No, I don't ever stop talking, there are things I have to tell you. You hurt my feelings."

    >http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/630.html This link should put the lie to your bike shops. also try >nashbar, performancebike, niagaracycle, bikepartsusa for some lower priced selections.

    Thank you.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazyweather View Post
    Okay, more research. I'm pretty sure these would fit, so I can keep my insanely electric blue bike:


    1) Panaracer Extreme Light:
    <img width="10" border="0" height="1">
    <img width="10" border="0" height="10">
    27x1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4
    2) Thorn-Resistant Tube (Presta) (700 x 25-35c or 27 x 1-1/8) (except I have Schrader valves, not Presta), so maybe

    3) Thorn-Resistant Tube (Schrader) (700x25-35c)

    4) Panaracer Pasela Tourguard 27 x 1-1/14

    5) Continental Ultra Gatorskin.
    Try new tubes and a set of tire levers from Walmart first. That might fix your problem.

    Don't buy a tire without contacting the site's tech help. Many of those like the Pasela Tourguards are not for rims without a little ridge inside the rim (hook bead). If your wheels are chrome steel, they probabaly don't have it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    A ladies 3 speed Schwinn with 27" wheels? I thought all of the Schwinn 3 speed bikes had 26" wheels and used the funky Schwinn size tires -- 26" x 1 3/8 S-6.

    If the bike does take 27 x 1 1/4 tires I suggest the Schwalbe Marathon. Heavy and tough tire. I have a set on mountain bike commuter and after 2600 miles that included plenty of rough terrain and more than its share of glass, no flats.

    Here is one place that have them in stock:
    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product.a...S&currency=USD

    If you do a google search you will find other places that have them -- prices seem to run the range from mid-20 to mid 30 dollar range.

    If the bike is the Schwinn 26" S-6 it looks like there is only one choice:
    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1836

    Last edited by sonatageek; 06-22-09 at 05:37 AM.

  16. #16
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    I don't like bike shops with " attitudes !" I tell them so before I leave & never go back. They are running off a potential future customer who may want to buy one of THEIR bikes.
    That said, there are plenty of 27" tires on the market at different prices. Below is a link to just a few. Other retailers will have some too.
    http://www.niagaracycle.com/index.php?cPath=131_167
    I would , or have someone, disassemble & check the tubes, inside of the tires, rim strips, & rims to look for anything causing leakage or damage to the tubes. Then properly mount the tires. You have gotten good advise from others above as well. You do need to learn how to do this ,yourself, if you are going to ride a bike.
    By the way, I live on rough, limerock roads & have ridden old Schwinns, etc., bikes all around here without ever having a flat.

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