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Old 09-24-11, 12:35 PM   #1
prometheanflame
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Joining my university cycling team...

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to join my university's cycling team, but I am using a 1985 Schwinn Super Sport. I'm pretty sure this bike was used for racing back in the 80s (I don't know much about bikes yet), though I was wondering if it wouldn't be suitable for competing at present.

Thanks guys.
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Old 09-24-11, 12:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by prometheanflame View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm looking to join my university's cycling team, but I am using a 1985 Schwinn Super Sport. I'm pretty sure this bike was used for racing back in the 80s (I don't know much about bikes yet), though I was wondering if it wouldn't be suitable for competing at present.

Thanks guys.
Sounds like this is your first foray into bike racing.... or road racing, at least.
.
I would say that the disadvantage of the older bike is significant enough to hold you back a bit, in the racing context. But dont run out and buy the first thing that looks good. Get with the team first and ask them for advice. The team may have some really good deals set up for purchasing a bike, or other members may have a great used bike to pass along.
.
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Old 09-24-11, 01:13 PM   #3
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It's not the bike, it's the rider.

If the SS is mechanically sound; by all means, use it. The only upgrade you could do to improve your racing advantage would be to convert it to STI/Ergo shifters from its existing downtube shifters - if only for the time advantage gained by having the shifters at your fingertips when necessary.

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Old 09-24-11, 01:28 PM   #4
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the bike is the least of your worries getting used to the training regimen and finishing your classes at the same time is hard. (I rowed for a while in the light mens 8+).
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Old 09-24-11, 01:59 PM   #5
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It's not the bike, it's the rider.

If the SS is mechanically sound; by all means, use it. The only upgrade you could do to improve your racing advantage would be to convert it to STI/Ergo shifters from its existing downtube shifters - if only for the time advantage gained by having the shifters at your fingertips when necessary.

-Kurt
I think by the time the OP gets done upgrading the shifters, wheels, derailleurs and possibly cranks he could have bought a nice used bike or maybe something from BD

I agree with Dgodave ride the heck out of the Super Sport for training and in the rain and check with the team for deals and good used
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Old 09-24-11, 02:02 PM   #6
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You will get grief from your teammates about your "ancient" bike. But that said, Kurt is correct, it is about the engine and not the bike. Any pro rider on your bike will drop every member of your university's team while they ride the latest carbon wonder. Brifters are certainly nice but their necessity is based on what type of race your are in and how often you shift. I'd guess you will be doing a lot of criteriums where shifting is often - the brifters would be handy.
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Old 09-24-11, 02:31 PM   #7
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You will get grief from your teammates about your "ancient" bike.
It'll be more fun if he can beat them on the Super Sport than on a BD Winsor or Mercian.

-Kurt
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Old 09-24-11, 03:07 PM   #8
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You will get grief from your teammates about your "ancient" bike. But that said, Kurt is correct, it is about the engine and not the bike. Any pro rider on your bike will drop every member of your university's team while they ride the latest carbon wonder. Brifters are certainly nice but their necessity is based on what type of race your are in and how often you shift. I'd guess you will be doing a lot of criteriums where shifting is often - the brifters would be handy.
Exactly - where brifters are an advantage, IMO, is when having to make rapid shifts while sprinting to close gaps - which happens a lot in amateur racing even in races other than criteriums (especially coming out of corners, where taking hands off the bars to shift can be tricky). Being able to execute very rapid downshifts can sometimes be helpful as well. Especially in a surging, decelerating pack of 50 or more riders - where I like being able to keep both hands on the bars and near the brakes - you'll use the brakes to make frequent minor speed adjustments. Major ones when there are crashes - and there will be crashes. Often, you'll find yourself inches from the wheel in front, with a rider on either side (and behind). Not a necessity, as mentioned above, but I would personally definitely go with brifters if I resumed racing.
The difference between bike riding and bike racing is like the difference between European and American football.

Last edited by Picchio Special; 09-24-11 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 09-24-11, 03:31 PM   #9
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Definitely ride the bike you have and hang out with some other cyclists to see what they like and what advice they have. Save your money and in the spring get whatever bike you want.
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Old 09-24-11, 03:39 PM   #10
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Definitely ride the bike you have and hang out with some other cyclists to see what they like and what advice they have. Save your money and in the spring get whatever bike you want.
This.
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Old 09-24-11, 04:16 PM   #11
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...Any pro rider on your bike will drop every member of your university's team while they ride the latest carbon wonder....
Depends what university. A fair number at the college here have become pro's right after school.
.
Plus I think new bikes offer enough advantage in shifting, wheels, overall weight to make an actual difference when competing against your athletic-peers. But no hurry! The old Schwinn is perfectly fine for getting going with training rides, etc.
.

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Old 09-28-11, 08:46 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone! I'm going to train on this bike and see how I feel about it this spring when we start to race. I don't extra cash to shell out on a new bike...but I'll see what I can do.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:35 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone! I'm going to train on this bike and see how I feel about it this spring when we start to race. I don't extra cash to shell out on a new bike...but I'll see what I can do.
My freshman year of college (wayyy back in 2007) I was too dumb (and new to cycling) to know my school had a cycling team...wish I had joined it then. I was however, smart enough to know I wanted a nice bike but I also had the same negative cash flow problem you have so I started flipping bikes...made a bunch of money and learned a lot about bikes. Now I have some very nice bikes and to this day (I no longer flip bikes) I still have yet to spend any non-bike-fund money on my keepers. It has also funded a macbook and 3 cross country vacations...

If you live in a hot bike market, might be something to consider. Much more fun and potentially much more profitable than working at a grocery store!
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Old 09-29-11, 04:52 AM   #14
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My freshman year of college (wayyy back in 2007) I was too dumb (and new to cycling) to know my school had a cycling team...wish I had joined it then. I was however, smart enough to know I wanted a nice bike but I also had the same negative cash flow problem you have so I started flipping bikes...made a bunch of money and learned a lot about bikes. Now I have some very nice bikes and to this day (I no longer flip bikes) I still have yet to spend any non-bike-fund money on my keepers. It has also funded a macbook and 3 cross country vacations...

If you live in a hot bike market, might be something to consider. Much more fun and potentially much more profitable than working at a grocery store!
You've done a lot better than me. We started out in the same year, but I'm no flipper. I now have two hot bikes, but spend a lot of money on them
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Old 09-29-11, 05:16 AM   #15
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It'll be more fun if he can beat them on the Super Sport than on a BD Winsor or Mercian.

-Kurt
Bikes Direct does not make Mercian! Blasphemy!
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Old 09-29-11, 05:56 AM   #16
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It'll be more fun if he can beat them on the Super Sport than on a BD Windsor or Mercian.
+1
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Bikes Direct does not make Mercian! Blasphemy!
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Old 09-29-11, 10:32 AM   #17
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Hi everyone,

I'm looking to join my university's cycling team, but I am using a 1985 Schwinn Super Sport. I'm pretty sure this bike was used for racing back in the 80s (I don't know much about bikes yet), though I was wondering if it wouldn't be suitable for competing at present.

Thanks guys.

Awesome. I had a World Sport when I was a college freshman in '85 and WISHED I had a bike as nice as a Super Sport.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:46 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone! I'm going to train on this bike and see how I feel about it this spring when we start to race. I don't extra cash to shell out on a new bike...but I'll see what I can do.
If money is tight, the biggest bang-for-the-buck upgrades to your current bike are, in this order: (1) good tires and (2) good wheels. These will give you a far greater perfromance increase for your money than brifters. Don't get me wrong, brifters a great. But good wheels are essential.
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