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Old 02-18-11, 10:55 PM   #1
BGBeck
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Electra or Schwinn? (Moved from Utility Forum)

I stopped by a LBS last Sunday and looked at the Electra Amsterdam Original 3 speed and the Schwinn "Willy" 7 speed. The shop was busy and I didn't get a chance to ride either of them. What opinions are there related to these two bikes? I'm interested in some to ride for fun and errands. I'm also trying to recapture my youth when I had a 3 speed Dunelt. (I wanted a Schwinn, but the Dunelt was what I got for my 9th birthday. Sadly it was stolen when I went to high school.)
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Old 02-18-11, 11:21 PM   #2
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if you want to recapture your youth, you'll be better served getting a used 3-speed on craigslist and pocketing the remaining $400.
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Old 02-18-11, 11:22 PM   #3
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Not sure how this relates to "Classic & Vintage" ?? I'd say, buy another Dunelt or the vintage Schwinn you wanted in the first place and leave the new junkers in the box where they belong.
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Old 02-18-11, 11:35 PM   #4
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If I were set on a new IGH bike in the European roadster tradition and only had those two options, I'd go with the Electra. Otherwise, I'd exercise patience buy a vintage Dunelt and recapture my youth in a historically accurate manner.

If your criteria are more flexible, consider the Torker Graduate and the Origin8 Cykel.
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Old 02-19-11, 03:06 AM   #5
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if you want to recapture your youth, you'll be better served getting a used 3-speed on craigslist and pocketing the remaining $400.
That must mean some one will give me a dollar to take a 3spd off their hands since the "Willy" is $399 MSRP.

Not sure how this relates to "Classic & Vintage" ?? I'd say, buy another Dunelt or the vintage Schwinn you wanted in the first place and leave the new junkers in the box where they belong.
Well, I got 50 looks but no comments in the Utility Forum, so I thought this forum might get some comments.

If I were set on a new IGH bike in the European roadster tradition and only had those two options, I'd go with the Electra. Otherwise, I'd exercise patience buy a vintage Dunelt and recapture my youth in a historically accurate manner.

If your criteria are more flexible, consider the Torker Graduate and the Origin8 Cykel.

Thanks Chris. I'll look into that Torker Graduate
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Old 02-19-11, 03:42 AM   #6
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Beck it's not really a C&V question, but it is a fair one, and if you need a "vintagist" or just fellow old coot assessment, we are mostly it for old coot bikes. For just plain old coots, you need the 50+ forum. But it's about aging, not about aged bikes.

I agree that if you want a bike to recapture your youth, search for that bike in good or restorable condition. I don't know if you were your own mech back then, but it really isn't rocket science, plus there are a lot of good guides to maintainance and repair. For our old-days bikes, Glenn's and Anybody's Bike Book are good choices.

If you want to recapture your youth by getting a nice bike to ride, you should probably buy new, from a local bike shop rather than a big-box store, even a sporting store. Bike shops are still the best at keeping your bike running and always ready for you. You might pay more, but the machine will be more maintainable. It will probably NOT be the same bike you could get at K-mart or Costco.

Not too familiar with Torker. If it's a house brand I'd stay away. But I'm also not a cruiser freak. If you used to like to go fast, you'll probably outgrow a cruiser in your first few months. Probably won't satisfy.

Looking at modern Schwinn's just keep in mind the company is a now just a brand of a gigantic Asian bike corporation that owns at least dozens of brand globally. Plus, your old Dunelt was superior to most Schwinns of its day, in the first place.

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Old 02-19-11, 06:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
If I were set on a new IGH bike in the European roadster tradition and only had those two options, I'd go with the Electra.
Well, sure, no question - since the Willy 7 has derailleur gears, and is in the American lightweight tradition.

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Definitely ride these bikes. The Electra has unique "flat foot" geometry which you might love or not care for. The 3-speed Schwinn model most like the Willy 7 is the the Coffee 3.
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Old 02-19-11, 08:10 AM   #8
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Right on, I keep confusing the Willy with the Coffee. Another case of talking too much about things I know little about...
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Old 02-19-11, 04:25 PM   #9
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I really like the Coffee, and would consider one if I wanted a new 3 speed. Since I have two vintage 3 speeds, I don't see much of a reason for a new one, but it's a solid piece that would be very serviceable. And more traditional, as opposed to Electra's weirdness.

I'm also told that Electras can be crap, quality wise.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:49 AM   #10
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I've had a variety of bikes including an old ~1975 electro-forged Schwinn 3-speed and a ~1987 tig-welded Schwinn 5-speed. The wider range of the 5-speed is much appreciated. The newer bike also has aluminum mtb-size (ISO 559) wheels & so I have premium tires for it. The steel 26" / ISO 597 wheels w/ only one crappy tire available was another limitation of the 1975 Schwinn. My vote is #1 for more speeds than three, if you want a practical bike.
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Old 02-20-11, 08:09 AM   #11
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If you ride on fairly flat terrain, then an IGH 3 speed is fine. But if you ride on hilly terrain then you might consider the 7 speed which will also be a few bucks cheaper than an IGH bike. The Willy and Coffee are nice looking "retro" style bikes and they offer somewhat lower pricing than the Electra bikes.
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Old 02-20-11, 08:24 AM   #12
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And don't be put off by the Schwinn brand, contrary to a lot of the comments you get here. True, Schwinn is a rather pathetic shadow of the company it used to be . . . . . . . . . BUT . . . . . . . . . the bicycle shop (repeat: bicycle shop, not big box store) Schwinn's are every bit as good and in a lot of cases better values for the money as all the other major players in the industry. (I spent some time at Performance yesterday, doing some initial looking for a commuter bike for my Waterford-riding Sunday roadwork partner, and the Schwinn's were either as good or better in that class as the other brands).

Going vintage has it's advantages, mainly the lower cost and you're actually getting the bike you remember from your youth. However, going vintage is a crap shoot, if you're holding out for a specific make and model of bicycle. They aren't necessarily available when you have the money, and visa versa. Buying a modern bike works very well, as long as you're picking a model that still uses the traditional geometry or something close to it. Go too far from that, and the ride isn't going to match what used to be.
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Old 02-20-11, 09:30 AM   #13
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Looking at modern Schwinn's just keep in mind the company is a now just a brand of a gigantic Asian bike corporation that owns at least dozens of brand globally.
Something else that's changed since the days of your youth: just a couple years ago the US National Bicycle Dealers Association estimated that 99.53% of all new bikes sold retail in the USA came from Taiwan or China.
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Old 02-20-11, 11:31 AM   #14
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There is a 3 sPeed Dunelt on eBay right now - sounds like it just needs a tire, tubes, and pads.
I'd do that.

However, those Performance Schwinns are nice.
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Old 02-21-11, 03:52 AM   #15
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Thank you all for your input. I apologize for putting this in the wrong forum. I hadn't seen the 50+ forum. At 55, I guess I belong over there.
The nostalgia was for the "3 speed" type of bike, and not necessarily for the Dunelt. The couple of excursions over the handle bars I did with it, (severe road rash on the first and a broken arm on the second), are not something I wish to "re-capture". The sticker shock of my visit was something! The last time I was in an LBS, a Schwinn Varsity was $72.95!
I'm leaning towards the Scwinn at the moment,but will try both it and the Electra before I make a final decision.

Last edited by BGBeck; 02-21-11 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 02-21-11, 08:00 AM   #16
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Trek Belleville? Not to be overlooked. It costs more, but
I imagine it's worth it. Electra never impressed me with their
quality on the cruiser models, why would they do any better on a three
speed. Just my humble opinion.,,,,BD

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