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Old 12-05-04, 03:12 PM   #1
mutz
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convert old schwinn to new commuter

Hello,

Please be patient with me I have never done anything like this, so will probably seem very ignorant about lots of this.

I love the old schwinn cruiser frames. I am considering purchasing an old multi-speed one and converting it into a bike that I can commute on and possibly go on a couple of short overnight camping trips with. Basically convert it into a touring bike of sorts (but mostly it will only go on roads or a few dirt paths and not for more than 50 miles at any one time).

Is it possible to use one of these old frames and put instead of 3 or 5 speeds on it, to convert it to 12 or even 21 speeds? Is this something that is possible without having to cut the frame at all etc etc...I only say this last piece because I overheard someone saying that to convert a frame that used 24" tires he had to cut the frame. That would be getting really in over my head.

Thanks for any advice you might have for me.
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Old 12-06-04, 10:48 AM   #2
Sierra
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I've seen it done. Not sure just how much is involved to do it though. One thing for sure, the rear dropout spacing on the frame will have to be increased to accomodate either a multi cog freewheel, freehub, or one the newer 7 or 8 speed internal gear hubs. Do you have 24" wheels now? I wonder if the modern 26" mountain bike wheels would work in a Schwinn frame designed for the old 24" tires. The mountain bike wheels are much smaller than the old 26" that were used back then(559mm bead seat diameter vs. 597mm). I don't have the figure for the old 24" right at hand but it is on Sheldon Brown's website.
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Old 12-06-04, 01:36 PM   #3
mutz
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thanks, Sierra. No I haven't purchased a frame yet. I'm still researching this a bit to make sure I can do it before buying a frame. It sounds like it might be possible from what you say and I saw some photos online that looked sort of like what I want to do.

I can just purchase a frame designed for 26" tires if necessary. I was just thinking that might end up being a little long since I'm not that large at 5'6". I'll have to try to find the specs of some of the older schwinns and see what they have. Do you think the new moutain bike tires would make steering awkward on a 26" tire frame since they are smaller?

thanks again!
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Old 12-06-04, 02:10 PM   #4
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I think you should get the frame for the 26" wheels. I'm just shy of 5'7" myself and think that the frame for 24" will be too small for you. This was classified as a juvenile frame and is pretty small.

I'm not sure what the effect of the smaller tires would be in the 26" frame. If you are going to use caliper brakes though, the reach will be an issue. You will probably have to build up some wheels using the hubs of your choice(to accomodate your gear selection) with the correct rims for the frame. This is probably more expensive to do(unless you can build your own wheels) but in the long run will work out better.

Schwinn did build some multispeed cruisers in later years, so you might keep your eye out for one of them. I think there were some 6 and 7 speed versions. I think there was one that even had a chrome-moly frame and alloy rims. These two items would lighten the bike up considerably and make it much easier to ride.
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Old 12-06-04, 02:17 PM   #5
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"Schwinn did build some multispeed cruisers in later years, so you might keep your eye out for one of them. I think there were some 6 and 7 speed versions. I think there was one that even had a chrome-moly frame and alloy rims. These two items would lighten the bike up considerably and make it much easier to ride."

You're in luck, mate. Schwinn DOES make the cruiser in both
derailer & internal hub gears so you won't need to spend bucks
to convert a bike.

I've ridden both at the dealers finding both to be smooth
riding bikes at less than $300 each. I like the derailer
version because of the hand brakes which the internal hub
7 spd doesn't have. However, both are fine bikes for town
cruising or short overnight's.Check'em out, mate.
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