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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-04-06, 09:51 AM   #1
krazygluon
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Have I proven myself?

I've finally ridden my bike between a rock and a hard place.

My 77 schwinn steel road bike just won't stop...no really. I've upgraded to dual pivot brakes and got nil increase in stopping ability, even with some decent pads. I'm pretty sure the old beaten up steel rims are the culprit but here's where I'm stuck.

to get wheelbuilding done is going to run me in the neighborhood of 250+ with parts and labor for both wheels, and I was going to do a fixxie conversion at the same time, so add in the cost of cogs and a new chain, and with tax I'm into 300 or more. my rear brake rubs the tires and I'm not so sure getting new rims is going to fix that positioning issue, so I may be in for new brakes (these were supposedly long reach...so what am I going to need, Ultra long reach?)

now I only paid $60 for this bike at the beginning of the summer, and $300 is half or less of what I could get a remaindered '06 entry level roadie for at the lbs. Heck for 400 I could get a fixxie from bikesdirect.

I didn't buy new back at the beginning of the summer because I wanted to convince myself that I was serious about this commuting thing before getting any seriously expensive bike.

Since then I've ridden at least 50% of the work week and have been through 2 pretty bad storms that I had the option of not riding through, as well as one 40 degree morning ride and a few in the low 50s.

I feel like at this point I've proven myself ready to get a better bike and that in the long run its going to be safer and cheaper to do so, I guess I'm just asking the forums for courage to stand up to the old lady and buy the damn bike, but I'm interested in any input on the matter.
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Old 10-04-06, 09:55 AM   #2
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Do it man. It's an investment in your health (body and mind). Do it and don't look back.
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Old 10-04-06, 09:56 AM   #3
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I like domestic harmoony so figure out how much you save in gas and agree to pay back the $400 for a newer and safer bike but say that when it's "paid back" the money can actually be spent on something for her if she wishes.
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Old 10-04-06, 09:57 AM   #4
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You can go with a wheelset from IRO and with the cog/lockring/chain still keep your cost around $225 or so.
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Old 10-04-06, 10:11 AM   #5
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I should've added the small detail that this bike's got 27" wheels...of which few wheelsets seem to be available on line...and nontheless get my cost up to 240ish not counting cog,chain,lockring,optional single-speed for the other side of the hub, etc)

there was this one set that was 170 from JMB or something, but the LBS tried to order it and it was out of stock...
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Old 10-04-06, 10:44 AM   #6
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First off, are you able to lock up your wheels with your brakes? Are you braking primarily with your front? The rear wheel on a bike doesn't have much stopping power but some people have been taught to use it as the primary brake.

Building wheels yourself is fun and not hard. I built a new rear wheel a couple of years ago, the first I'd ever done, just using Sheldon Brown's online instructions and spending an evening doing the build in front of the TV. 4500 miles on it so far, no problems.
You could start with just the front wheel. It's an easier (almost trivial) build and that's where most of your stop comes from anyway.

aebike.com has an Alex 27" rim for $12. Single wall unfortunately but doesn't look too bad. If your existing rim is OK, you should be able to build a wheel for about $30 or so using decent spokes. I'd certainly give it a try for the front.

On the rear, if you go fixed and get a new hub, you have a lot less dish to deal with so that may not be too bad either.
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Old 10-04-06, 10:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazygluon
I should've added the small detail that this bike's got 27" wheels...of which few wheelsets seem to be available on line...and nontheless get my cost up to 240ish not counting cog,chain,lockring,optional single-speed for the other side of the hub, etc)

there was this one set that was 170 from JMB or something, but the LBS tried to order it and it was out of stock...
Harris Cyclery has 27" (630mm) wheels online, and you could be right around the $225 mark with a cog/lockring/chain.
Weinmann RM19 hoops laced to Formula/IRO sealed cartridge hubs. $100 rear, $80 matching front. For a couple bucks more, I'll bet they'd lace a flip-flop rear for you. $8 for a DA lockring, $25 for a cog, $10 for a chain, and you're set for under $240.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:20 PM   #8
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You probably should have asked around before "upgrading" to dual-pivot brakes. It's a bit surprising, but the calipers are the last part of your braking system you should upgrade. You really don't get a significant performance gain compared to new pads, levers, cables and housing. Oh well! Too late! As you've guessed, your steel rims are likely to be the culprit. You've also correctly determined that spending $300 to upgrade your wheelset is a questionable investment.

So, if you're really really emotionally invested in this frame, I would recommend going through with your original plans. It's probably a pretty heavy, plain steel frame, but it's also probably pretty much bombproof. Schwinn stuff, even the lugged stuff that was made overseas, is very rugged.

But if you're not feeling like you want to put that much money into a bike that has such little value, i'd recommend looking around at the many inexpensive singlespeed and fixed gear bikes on the market. You'd pay a bit more - $400 - $600 or so, but you'd be paying for a reliable new machine without need of significant, expensive upgrades. If you buy from an LBS (highly recommended!) you'll probably get a certain amount of free service, too. So why not take a look at what's out on the market? The Redline 925 in particular is an excellent, commute ready, full-fendered singlespeed/fixed gear bike for a good price. Check it out. Make a decision. Then figure out how you're going to justify it to the woman in your life .
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Old 10-04-06, 09:15 PM   #9
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Just as with buying guitars its always easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Get the bike you want if she complains tell her at least I'm doing something healthy and not sitting on some bar stool with some old slick bleached blonde
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Old 10-04-06, 09:44 PM   #10
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I think you've well "proven" yourself!

Honestly, if I were in your shoes, I'd get a new bike and turn the old one into a beater and/or an experimental thing (to test your wrenching skillz and new ideas on).
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Old 10-04-06, 10:14 PM   #11
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Bikepartsusa.com has a 700c wheelset with 6-7 spd freewheel for about $100 shipped. I bet they have something similar for 27". I got a new 27" freewheel hub rear wheel at performance with a new freewheel for under $60. Keep the Schwinn as a spare, you'll use it.
You should, however, reward yourself with something new. In 2004, 3 weeks before my first century, I pretzeled my back wheel on the 12 year old steel frame [Spaulding Blade]. I used that to justify my "new" bike.
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Old 10-04-06, 10:39 PM   #12
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new. singley/fixed. buy it new. many good choices. save yourself a world of issues.
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