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  1. #1
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    N00b With Old(er) Bikes

    Hi!

    When I got out of the Army I bought a mountain bike from a friend of mine- thinking I would be riding it to class when I went to college. When I got home I realized that I lived far too far to conveniently ride to school, or work in the years after. Consequently, my bike had pretty much sat in my parents' garage for the past 18 years.

    When my sister was a kid she had a 10 speed road bike. But it was far too big for her (because she wanted a "big kids'" bike), so she rarely ever rode it. By the time she was big enough to ride it, she had gotten a much cooler bike. Consequently, that bike spent most of the past 25+ years hanging in my parents' garage.

    When my sister was in college she got a cool bike, but when she moved in with her husband, they both got really fancy pants bikes and made the cool bike obsolete. Consequently, that bike has spent most of the last 15 or so years in my parents' garage.

    My wife and I have picked up recreational bicycling in the past couple of months.

    When we got the idea of it, I grabbed my bike and my sister's "newer" bike and got them sorta fixed up- new tires because the old ones were dry rotted out. We did a little riding and decided we liked it. It's really great because there's some really cool trails around here- out of the way of traffic, some are pretty far out so that you're not hampered by a lot of runners/walkers. And most of them around here are paved. We also ran into that "uncomfortable seat" problem. At one point, my sister in law had borrowed my bike and she had gotten a cruiser bike type seat for it- and it was more comfortable than the original seat- when I got the bike back we got these Schwinn cruiser seats- even though I've been told by experienced riders that the cushy, springy seats aren't good for riding- we both find them very comfortable for what we're doing.

    I had this idea of getting our bikes fixed up and kind of moderninzing them. I wanted to get shocks on the front, just because the gravelly trails kind of kick my ass. Someone on another forum suggested against it, and the more I realize the kind of riding we're doing, the shocks are not only overkill, but completely unnecessary. We're on pavement 90% of the time. So not only the cost of shocks, but also the pain of trying to install them and the unnecessary use of them...

    When we were riding, we took our daughter out with us, and we discovered she's a bit to big for her little girl's bike, and so I went up to my folks' house and got my sister's old road bike and got the dry rotted tires on there replaced... That's a great rider-

    We have sorta decided to get new bikes. My wife is really liking the Trek 7200. I think it would be a great bike for her.

    I still am entertaining fantasies of making my bike more useful for what I'm doing with it. And you're thinking, "you're using a 1987 Schwinn High Sierra- what do you want out of it?" First, it's got a really cool color. It's called "black chrome." It's kind of a black/brown/bronze color that changes as you look at it. It's really nifty in person. It's got the old Schwinn CroMoly frame, which appears to be relatively highly regarded. I've fixed up the brakes- it's got the old "roller cam" brakes, which I guess were an experiment during the 80s. What I'd like to do is get some more "road-y" tires, ones with less knobs. I understand the more tread you have on the tire, the more resistance you have on the pavement. I'd also like either get a new gear cassette or wheel/cassette for it. Right now it's an 18 speed, with the lowest gear being a little bigger or the same size as the 2nd lowest gear on the old Trek- just to make it a little more effective as a "hybrid" bike. I don't want to get a road bike, with my back problems I want to retain a bit more of a sitting position than a leaned over racing position.

    All in all- we're really liking riding- we're making some headway into getting a little more in shape.

    And now the bike pr0n...

    My bike- the 1987 Schwinn High Sierra-



    The "roller cam" brakes-



    The late 80s/early 90s Trek 820-



    And the early/mid 80s Schwinn World Sport- dig the 80s graphics and colors...



    And the last of the Chicago Schwinn logos...


  2. #2
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    That High Sierra is a great bike, I love the brake calipers.
    |^^^^^^^^^^^^^^| ||
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    That High Sierra is a great bike, I love the brake calipers.
    Thanks! I'm digging it!

    Any idea why there's so many people that would tell me to get a new brake system?

    Any idea where I can find higher gears for this bike?

  4. #4
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
    Thanks! I'm digging it!

    Any idea why there's so many people that would tell me to get a new brake system?

    Any idea where I can find higher gears for this bike?
    Those people are nuts get a good tune up on that bike and if you want to ride it on the street put some tires that have less agressive tread like an Armadillo from Specialized. The trek is a great bike get the same treatment for it those are all nice bikes and unless you plan to do some criterium or road racing they are great for just about everything, including commuting
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

  5. #5
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    Tire recommendation, I'm really, really liking the Kenda K-Rad for my former mountain bike, nowadays fetch, fun, JRA bike. They're mostly smooth, with a light block tread that rolls smoothly on pavement and gets traction on light trails and won't dump me on the occasional patch of sand or leaves on the road. They come in 1.95 and 2.25. I've got the 1.95s and they're probably perfect for road and path work.

    The fat(ish) tires at a reasonable pressure is all the suspension you need for gravel and dirt roads.

    Don't change those brakes. Or if you get the idea you must, send them to me and I'll trade you a set of something modern and have the better end of the deal.

    Look into saddle adjustment. It's only what I see, but nose up isn't usually good for anything except Brooks. If you get it at the right height getting out of the saddle for bumpy stuff is easier. As well as being easier on the knees all the rest of the time.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronsonic View Post
    Tire recommendation, I'm really, really liking the Kenda K-Rad for my former mountain bike, nowadays fetch, fun, JRA bike. They're mostly smooth, with a light block tread that rolls smoothly on pavement and gets traction on light trails and won't dump me on the occasional patch of sand or leaves on the road. They come in 1.95 and 2.25. I've got the 1.95s and they're probably perfect for road and path work.

    The fat(ish) tires at a reasonable pressure is all the suspension you need for gravel and dirt roads.

    Don't change those brakes. Or if you get the idea you must, send them to me and I'll trade you a set of something modern and have the better end of the deal.

    Look into saddle adjustment. It's only what I see, but nose up isn't usually good for anything except Brooks. If you get it at the right height getting out of the saddle for bumpy stuff is easier. As well as being easier on the knees all the rest of the time.
    Thank you very much!

    I'll check out the tires-

    I really don't think I would change out the brakes unless there was a good reason to actually change them out (ie- 'not working'). I understand the 'complicatedness' of the design may lend itself to being more prone to failure- more parts=more chance for something to go wrong or break. However, with what I've looked at it- there's not a lot to go wrong. The left rear arm had an issue where it wasn't snapping back out after the brake was applied- I took it apart and reseated the spring. It's golden now. So to speak...

    From what I've looked at on the intArwebs, people have complained that the rollers get clogged with mud. At this stage in the game, I'm not all that interested in being a mudder.

    As far as the angle of the saddle- the angle is fixed on the post- there's not an adjustment. I haven't had much of any problem with... umm... circulation or chafing or anything in that... ummm... area...


    As far as gearing- is there a way to get higher gears for it? When I see my wife pedaling along on a smaller bike, in what appears to be a lower gear, and she's going the same speed as me, but pedaling less...
    Last edited by The Golden Boy; 08-21-09 at 02:35 PM.
    *Recipient of the 2006 Time Magazine "Man Of The Year" Award*
    You are not one of us. Your pipes are leaking. You are an ocelot. What are you seeking?

  7. #7
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    Gears is pretty easy. Takes a special tool or two but it isn't rocket surgery. The cassette is a wear part, they're meant to be replaced. Which tools you need depends on which hub you've got. Any bike shop can get you sorted after you convince them that you really will not spend $400 to buy a new bike that will do exactly what this one already does and will do better with a cassette and tire change.

    Nashbar can sell you a new 6s cassette for like $15 that will even shift better. If you come upon a worthy 7s wheel it'll slip right in, flip the lever on your shifter to friction mode and don't look back.

    The tools aren't expensive. If you're going to get into this to any extent you might want to pick up one of those semi-crappy $40 tool kits that'll do ya until you see what tools you need the good version of.

    A new chain goes with a new cassette. You'll want to shorten the old one anyway to install a smaller set of cogs. You can get the cheap KMC or Sram chain and be good.

    I see no reason to replace something that works. You've got a decent 80s MTB which means it's a decent all around bike for almost any purpose other than racing. Or fast road riding.

    So what's the cute 4x10 brown amp costarring with the Trek?

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronsonic View Post

    So what's the cute 4x10 brown amp costarring with the Trek?
    I was waiting for *someone* to ask...

    It's a 62/63 Fender Concert, sitting on top of a mid-late 90s SWR Redhead combo.

    Thank you very much for the advice on the tires and the gear! I figure one of these days, more towards fall, I'll be in a little better shape and think about tackling the 18 mile ride to work.
    *Recipient of the 2006 Time Magazine "Man Of The Year" Award*
    You are not one of us. Your pipes are leaking. You are an ocelot. What are you seeking?

  9. #9
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    That explains it. That's not a normal combination of parts.

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