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  1. #1
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    Advice on updating a 74speedster

    A month or so back I bought a yellow 1974 Schwinn speedster. I've been riding it to work and the grocery store, and it's a fun bike I love.



    It rides fine, there are no real problems with it, and I attached that Wald basket on the rear, so it carries groceries and such like a charm. I'm planning on replacing my car with it in a month or so, since everything (classes, work, groceries, downtown) will be within a mile of home. I'm thinking of updating it when I get some extra cash, and I was just looking for some suggestions or recommendations. Here's what I'm thinking -

    the steel rims are heavy, yes, and the first thing I've read is that I should probably replace those with some with some alloy or aluminum ones. Mostly because of the fact that steel brakes really poorly in the rain. BUT I thought of an alternative -

    If I get new rims, I'm going to need to rebuild the rear wheel anyway to save the 3speed IGH. But I COULD get a Sturmy Archer Dynohub for the front wheel (solves the braking problem, gives me a generator for a light) and replace the old rear hub with a 5speed IGH/drum brake. That would give me two more gears and the start of a cool lighting system.

    Of course I'd still be stuck with the steel rims (weird size and heavy), but I'm only biking around a mile radius, and the brakes wouldn't be an issue. So what does everyone think?

    edit: didn't know where to post this, because its nothing fancy, just a commuter/utility bike

  2. #2
    W A N T E D Juggler2's Avatar
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    Well, here's mine. My brother has a black Racer (same bike, different name). Yesterday we rode them about 40 miles round trip. I've made a bunch of changes to it, and have many more planned. It has become my favorite bike, why I couldn't say. I think it's because it is similar to the old English 3spd's. My brother has been talking about switching his steel wheels to aluminum too, but maintaining the SA hub. Adding a hub generator is a likely mod I will add to mine.

    on edit: This is the most current pic I have on Photobucket. I've since added a longer front fender and a PlanetBike Super Flash on the rear.

    Last edited by Juggler2; 06-28-09 at 05:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    If you are going to go with new hubs, and I like the idea of the drum/dyno and 5speed drum combo, you can build up new wheels with alloy rims and stainless steel spokes. It will also give you a better selection in tires if you use one of the more standard rim sizes. Nothing wrong with upgrading a bike, the old electroforged Schwinn aren't fancy but they are solid and durable. One advantage to doing the wheels is that the parts could be moved over to a different frame later on.

    Aaron
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  4. #4
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notorious gop View Post
    A month or so back I bought a yellow 1974 Schwinn speedster. I've been riding it to work and the grocery store, and it's a fun bike I love.
    It rides fine, there are no real problems with it... and the first thing I've read...Of course I'd still be stuck with the steel rims (weird size and heavy), but I'm only biking around a mile radius, and the brakes wouldn't be an issue. So what does everyone think?

    edit: didn't know where to post this, because its nothing fancy, just a commuter/utility bike
    I suggest you read less and enjoy your problem-free, perfectly useful bike more, as is.

    Most of the "advice" you may read on BF and elsewhere on the Internet is written by or for people with a speed, component weight, or "efficiency" fetish; or marketers and their minions pushing product.

  5. #5
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    haha that's great advice thanks

  6. #6
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    I also ride a 74 Speedster, in red, not in as good condition as yours.

    In fact, my SA AW has given me so much trouble, I just swapped out the rear wheel (for a different steel-rimmed schwinn wheel with SA AW). Personally, I think the steel rims, when the chrome is in good condition, are quite beautiful. However, mine are seem to be permanently warped in both planes--no amount of truing seems to fix them. Thus the ride is bumpy and the rims perpetually rub the brake pads.

    I have thought a lot about what I want to do with this bike. Upgrade? Move to a new platform? Part of me is totally reactionary when it comes to keeping old bikes original. Part of me wants a decent ride.

    If your rims are straight, go for the new hubs. If you did just have all-new wheels made, you can swap them back out and leave the originals with their frame should you ever try to move on.

    You begin to face an existential question when you start mucking about with the electro-forged Schwinns, though. Once you have upgraded the wheels, why not the forged steel stem for an aluminum one? And how about swapping those steel bars for Nitto North Roads? Maybe a 3-piece crankset conversion? And how about a lighter, more forgiving tubular fork? Now you have all these nice components on a 19-lb frame. Why didn't you just get a new bike? There you have it, the philosopher's axe, only much more expensive.

    My $.02.

    Eric
    Last edited by Roll-Monroe-Co; 06-28-09 at 08:15 PM. Reason: edit: wrong word

  7. #7
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I wouldn't change a thing. Think about it from this standpoint: Steel rims will trip the inductive loop at traffic lights.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  8. #8
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    If it was me, I'd just keep it the way it was. Or if I wanted to spend a bunch of money, I'd go for a new bike instead.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  9. #9
    W A N T E D Juggler2's Avatar
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    Here's a pic of both our bikes, keyboard and all!


  10. #10
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    Love the pix !
    I like those bikes & try to keep them original. Kool Stop brake pads & keeping the wheels wiped down with alcohol helps a lot with the braking. Make sure cables & everything else works good, too. You state that everything is a mile from home, so I would keep the extra cash & ride away.

  11. #11
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    Got this one a few years ago. It now sports a rack & a gen-u-wine Union generator set .



    One word to you - Overhaul - Put fresh grease in the headset, front hub, bottom bracket. The original grease is long since dead. And, get a spoke wrench & learn to true & tension. These Schwinn steel wheels are least likely to fold up; however, you'll avoid broken spokes and the bike will ride smooth and taut if you true & tension. Oops I guess that's more than one word

    By the way, this definitely is a 'Classic & Vintage' bike
    Last edited by duffer1960; 07-04-09 at 07:20 PM.

  12. #12
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    You could make it look like this:


    It's a '74 Speedster camel back frame.

    I went for more of a cruiser style than for a utility bike type look, but it does has heavy duty rims. Ironically, I ditched the S-7's because I didn't want any fit issues down the line, but these rims are so much wider than normal rims that it took a couple of different tire widths before finding the right size.

    This turns heads everywhere it goes, even had two guys try to bike-jack me in downtown Cleveland when I was riding it last year.

  13. #13
    Riding the road to PARADISE...RIP
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    First, nice bike. I'm a fan of those old 3-speeds myself, and just spent the afternoon fixing up an old Raleigh Superbe, which is going to be my main neighborhood bike.

    The dynohub and 5-speed would be a nice upgrade, and shouldn't present huge challenges (I've been thinking about doing something similar myself). You might find that the axles on a modern front hub are too large to fit in the fork (I know this is the case with some other 3-speeds, but I have no idea about the Schwinn), which can be dealt with by filing the fork dropouts, or getting a new steel road fork. You should also check the spacing on the rear. Most new gear hubs will require the rear to be spread, but I think a Sturmey Archer will fit.

    That said, if you're building new wheels, you might as well replace the rims. Aside from the problems with steel, old Schwinns used a weird tire size which is going to be very difficult to find. Sun CR-18 rims are cheap and have a pretty good reputation. They are available in 700c (should fit, but check) or 650a (very close to your current size, but also a bit hard to get tires for). It would be worth considering going to 650b (better tire selection than 650a, more clearance than 700c), but I'm not sure where to find cheap rims with the appropriate drilling (if anyone has recommendations, I'd be interested in hearing).

    Also, you should check out the Classic & Vintage forum. The folks there probably know everything there is to know about your bike.

  14. #14
    CVB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juggler2 View Post
    Here's a pic of both our bikes, keyboard and all!

    Oh! Be still, my heart!

    Please don't mess with those beautiful, perfectly good bikes! Don't make them showroom pieces either - just keep them in good working order and keep riding them. Not only will you find them completely satisfactory, you'll show other people how an "old fashioned" bike is perfectly functional and you'll beautify your hometown with their presence. Shop owners will be grateful to you for gracing their storefront with your bikes.
    There are no unsacred places;
    there are only sacred places
    and desecrated places.
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