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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-12-06, 01:55 PM   #1
jazzy_cyclist
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Fixie Novice: What Schwinns are good?

I'm thinking of building up a fixie (I'm a regular roadie), and I was thinking about seeking an older Schwinn (70's-80's?). Trouble is, I don't know how the "old" sizes worked, and which models would be good for a fixie (did they all have horizontal dropouts?)

Thanks.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:59 PM   #2
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most of the ones from that time period did have horizontal drops i believe. if i'm not mistaken, i believe a lot of the old varsities had one piece cranks, which i suppose could be a good or a bad thing depending on your tools/preference. for me its a bad thing. i've got an 80s letour that i'm planning on riding geared until the components are fubar and then convert.
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Old 10-12-06, 02:11 PM   #3
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Telltale signs that your conversion prospect might be crappy and/or more trouble than it's worth:

Suicide levers, stem-mounted shifters, cottered cranks, heavy as hell, stamped dropouts.
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Old 10-12-06, 02:17 PM   #4
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I bought an early '80s Le Tour from ebay and converted it by basically stripping it down to the frame. New BB, cranks, wheels (that lovely $130 Nashbar set). Kept the front brake but replaced the oem levers with a Performance lever.
(http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...slisearch=true)
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Old 10-12-06, 02:28 PM   #5
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I have Schwinn Prelude ('88 i think) and it works great. 3 piece crank (replaced though), light frame (relatively) horizontal dropouts. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the dropouts weren't as long/deep as I would have liked. $50 from the shop and a $60 NYC cheapo fixed wheel and I was rolling
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Old 10-12-06, 03:33 PM   #6
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Varsity's and Continentials have the one piece crank and are boat anchors. I would suggest looking for something with a decent three piece crank (Sugino, Stronglight, Campy, etc.). The early ones (pre 83ish) were all 1020 hi ten steel and are heavy. They aren't 'bad', but are not light. After 83/84 they switched to double butted 4130 Chrome Moly. Personally, I would try to find one of these. They are fairly plentiful (I've had 5 of them in the past 8 months). Some of the upperend Schwinn bikes of the 1980's (Prelude, Passage, Peloton ,etc.) used Columbus tubing and those are very very nice as well.
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Old 10-12-06, 03:37 PM   #7
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Old 10-12-06, 04:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzy_cyclist
I was thinking about seeking an older Schwinn (70's-80's?).
I did this 80's cromoly letour. love it, ride it to and from work every day in ny.
here's a link to a way to long description of how it went (perfect for workplace internet diversion):

http://www.jaycokingpin.com/singlefix.pdf
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 16.done?.jpg (88.0 KB, 51 views)
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Old 10-12-06, 04:46 PM   #9
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I have a "World" that I converted to fixed. It's lighter than a Varsity and seems to have some decent enough components for what it is. Good drop outs as well.
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Old 10-12-06, 05:21 PM   #10
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i bought a scwhinn traveler about 2 months ago and converted it to a fixed. Not sure of the year, but it has the same decals as the new madison, so im guessing 80's? well anyways, looking at other schwinn's mine seemed to be the only one with a campy style dropouts, while the others i saw, like world and world sports have just regular horizontal dropouts. the frame is very light compared to my friend's converted world sport. i would say that the bike built only weighs about 17-18, but feels way lighter.
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Old 10-12-06, 05:32 PM   #11
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My girl has a World Sport...It's heavy as hell compared to my bikes, but for her purposes it's just fine.
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Old 10-12-06, 05:47 PM   #12
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Here is a way to tell when your schwinn was made. This only works for the 70's/80's road bikes that were generally made for Schwinn. There are four numbers stamped into the headbadge. They are small and you need good light to see them. The first 3 numbers are the day it was made (1-365), and the last is the year date. The decade needs to be guesstimated. If it has a 5 speed rear it is probably 70's, 6 speed rear 80's, Schwinn Xtra light tubing decal (Hi ten 1020 steel)= 70's and DB 4130/Columbus = 80's. For an example, my Schwinn Peloton is stamped 0176. So my Peloton was made the 17th day of 1986 (6 speed rear and Columbus SL tubing). Also, if you get a complete bike you can date it by the codes on the components.

A few references:
Schwinn Lightweight Bike catalogs 1960-1979

C&V post scroll down to Scooper post reposted by roccobike, 80's Schwinn heirarchy
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Old 10-13-06, 11:24 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions - I am getting psyched now!
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Old 10-15-06, 05:46 PM   #14
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Schwinn Sprint Mid 80's

I just converted this one and its working well so far. Practically Vertical front entry rear drop-outs. The stock components were garbage though. Chromoly frame, decently light. 3-piece cranks.
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Old 10-15-06, 05:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
Telltale signs that your conversion prospect might be crappy and/or more trouble than it's worth:

Suicide levers, stem-mounted shifters, cottered cranks, heavy as hell, stamped dropouts.
money-pit? certainly.

more trouble than it's worth? i think that one's debatable...
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Old 10-15-06, 06:11 PM   #16
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stay away form any schwinn with a large BB
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