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My Schwinn High Sierra

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My Schwinn High Sierra

Old 07-01-15, 07:57 PM
  #1  
krue1971
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My Schwinn High Sierra

I didn't get into mountain biking seriously until 2007 or so. I remember buying a Rock Hopper in 93 or so and trading it in on a Rocky Mountain Thin Air in 97 or so. That being said I'm ignorant about the details of my latest acquisition a 1987? Schwinn High Sierra I picked up for $40 at an estate sale in KC. It is in great shape period, much less for a bike its age. I bought it to try light touring/commuting on. Any info you might contribute would be appreciated. Especially on the brakes, only seen those once before.
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Old 07-01-15, 08:33 PM
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I believe those are called roller cam brakes. I few people really like them. I've never used them, but they look neat. The High Sierra was the top of the Schwinn MTB lineup for some time. I would likely make a great commuter, throw some slick tires on there, maybe some drop bars, etc.

Depending on how hilly your local is, I would go single chainring in the front. I'd also ditch the biopace rings.Great find for $40. Enjoi!
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Old 07-01-15, 08:34 PM
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Welcome to the forums.
Those brakes are "suntour rollercams"
They typically appear on mountain bikes of 86-87 vintage.
They were a short lived fad.
They have great stopping power if set up correctly.

Looks like a nice ride.
You got a nice deal on it.
"Ride it like you stole it"
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Old 07-01-15, 08:47 PM
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I missed a pic somehow.
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Old 07-01-15, 09:07 PM
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Nice find! I really like mine. Very versatile -- so many ways to set it up.

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Old 07-02-15, 05:00 AM
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My riding buddy Paul and I have High Sierras. His is an '85 and like yours has the Roller Cam brakes. Mine is an '87-88 and uses a cantilever in the front and a chain stay U brake in the rear. They are nice solid bikes and adapt well for different kinds of riding styles. The pic below is from last October. We did an end to end 60 mile gravel grind on the Northern Rail Trail here in NH.



I keep trying to convince Paul he needs to ditch the knobby tires and add fenders. But he want's to keep it original to how he bought it 30 years ago.

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Old 07-02-15, 06:57 AM
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80's MTB's Rule!!!

Nice bike and a great find! Enjoy it!
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Old 07-02-15, 07:13 AM
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I have an 87 High Sierra as well.

I think your bike is really super cool. I love the High Sierra because it's a cool, unique bike that crosses the ATB and Tourer concepts.

The 87 High Sierra was the 2nd from the top of the line ATB from Schwinn. Technically the Paramountain frameset was "better" than the Top Of the Line Schwinn Cimarron, then the High Sierra. The Cimarron was fillet brazed at the head tube and lugged at the seat tube and bottom bracket- what made the High Sierra frame "lower" was that it's fillet brazed in the front, but TIG welded in the rear. It's got a decent CrMo tube set, definitely on the upper side of nice. The old ATBs have neat features that were evolved out as mountain biking changed- the first is the wheelbase length. The 87 High Sierra has like something like 18" chainstays- that puts the rear tire really far back- and it has the effect of making the bike more stable, but less quick and nimble. It also has bunches and bunches of braze ons for racks and bottles and fenders and pumps. You've got 2 eyelets on the rear dropouts, 2 on the front fork ends- that gives you options for racks AND fenders; mid-fork eyelets for lowrider racks. It's also got the nifty pump peg behind the seat tube!

The components are all REALLY good- it's what would be considered an "eclectic mix" of Shimano, Suntour and DiaCompe. The MT-60 derailleurs and shifters are 2nd from the top of the line- directly under Deore XT. My hubs are the sealed bearing Suzue high flange hubs- they're great and look pretty unique. The brakes are the Suntour Roller Cam brakes. As mentioned before- they were kind of a fad around 86-87; a lot of higher end bikes had them and the neat thing about them is that they had more of a straight pull than cantilevers- so they were often used UNDER the chainstays. The High Sierra put them up in the normal brake position. If your brakes stop well, I'd suggest NOT taking them apart- they're a bear to adjust properly. I don't think mine are set quite right yet, since I started messing with them around 5 years ago. The bad thing about the roller cams is that as the pads wear, they have a tendency to strike higher- and that can lead to the brake pads going into the tires and wearing into your tires. NOTHING TO REALLY WORRY ABOUT- Just something to keep an eye on.

The color is "Black Chrome" and they don't do those finishes anymore- so it's a cool, rare color. Yours is in better shape than mine. And I think the decals are among Schwinn's classiest logos of all time. Notice the head badge- At this time, the more unique bike models had their own headbadges from Schwinn- so having that "Schwinn High Sierra" headbadge is pretty unique and nifty. I guess the other neat thing is those grips- they're really cool, and you'll never find another set- so if you ever change grips, don't toss them.

I did my High Sierra up with drop bars- I'm not totally thrilled with it in that configuration- but I've been acquiring parts to to be setting it up with Trekking bars (the butterfly bars) and seeing how that goes. I liked it with flat bars, but I'm not much of a "mountain bike" trail riding kind of guy- but after about 7 miles my hands start getting sore with the lack hand positions...
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Old 07-02-15, 10:58 AM
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Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.
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Old 07-02-15, 01:17 PM
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Okay first impressions after a 12 mile ride around the house are 1) the gaps between the gears was very noticeable which I guess I should have figured and 2) my slow self was spinning out around 15 mph in the highest gear combo.
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Old 07-02-15, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by krue1971 View Post
Okay first impressions after a 12 mile ride around the house are 1) the gaps between the gears was very noticeable which I guess I should have figured and 2) my slow self was spinning out around 15 mph in the highest gear combo.
1- are you used to 6 speed bikes? If not- I guess the steps between gears might seem rough.

2- You might wish to find a bigger big ring. IIRC it's a 48. I'm pretty sure you can find a 50-52 for that 110 BCD crankset.

2a- You could also turn that thing into a "half step and a granny" machine- so that the big and medium ring are about 5t off, then you use the big ring to be a "half step" between cogs in the back.


This is about how my High Sierra is:










As an addition to my big wordy post above- It's interesting the top of the line Cimarron had a "Schwinn Chicago" headbadge, but the High Sierra had a "Schwinn High Sierra" headbadge... I wonder what the reasoning for that was...
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Old 07-02-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by krue1971 View Post
...my slow self was spinning out around 15 mph in the highest gear combo.
According to the gearing on that bike 15mph in high gear would equal a cadence of only 57 rpm: Mike Sherman's Bicycle Gear Calculator

Most people spin-out at a cadence of 110-120rpm, which on that bike would equal 29-32mph.
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Old 07-02-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
According to the gearing on that bike 15mph in high gear would equal a cadence of only 57 rpm: Mike Sherman's Bicycle Gear Calculator

Most people spin-out at a cadence of 110-120rpm, which on that bike would equal 29-32mph.
I'm a single speed riding mtb'er at heart, I'm not a high cadence type guy. Going to work on that but I may never spin much faster than 80 or 90 RPM
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Old 07-02-15, 09:50 PM
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I bought a 85 that had 25 miles on it for 50 bucks
I rode it sometimes in the winter
and rode it a little year round
I found it very uncomfortable
if I rode it any length of time
and I sold it
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Old 07-03-15, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
I bought a 85 that had 25 miles on it for 50 bucks
I rode it sometimes in the winter
and rode it a little year round
I found it very uncomfortable
if I rode it any length of time
and I sold it
Sorry you had such a negative experience. I wonder if it had anything to do with the gel-filled pad strapped around your saddle? I have found anything gel filled, saddles, pads under bar tape, grips, etc., to be the most uncomfortable, pain in the rump or hands, material I can put between my bones and the bike. For me at least, gel and weight bearing do not mix and provide a very uncomfortable experience. Anyone else have this issue?
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Old 07-03-15, 06:37 AM
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Pastor Bob put me in your camp with gel saddles. Any soft saddle for that matter. They feel good until you ride them for a bit and then really hurt. Roger
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Old 07-03-15, 08:58 PM
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Not a fan of gel saddles but I do like a little in the palm of my gloves. Have a B17 on the way to replace the sofa mine came with, I hope it lives up to the hype.
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Old 07-04-15, 12:06 AM
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I got mine as a bare frame and built it up as a tourer. I rode it from the Pacific to the Atlantic and it took everything I could throw at it.
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Old 07-04-15, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by degan View Post
I got mine as a bare frame and built it up as a tourer. I rode it from the Pacific to the Atlantic and it took everything I could throw at it.
What fenders and racks did you use if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 07-04-15, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by krue1971 View Post
What fenders and racks did you use if you don't mind me asking?
Blackburn lowrider rack on the front, basic common Blackburn rack on the back. The fenders were nothing special, Bike Planet or something like that.
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Old 07-05-15, 12:06 AM
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Is the front rack still in production? I'm looking online and having no luck finding it.
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Old 07-05-15, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by krue1971 View Post
Is the front rack still in production? I'm looking online and having no luck finding it.
Yup!

FL-1 STANDARD LO-RIDER RACK
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Old 07-05-15, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Sorry you had such a negative experience. I wonder if it had anything to do with the gel-filled pad strapped around your saddle? I have found anything gel filled, saddles, pads under bar tape, grips, etc., to be the most uncomfortable, pain in the rump or hands, material I can put between my bones and the bike. For me at least, gel and weight bearing do not mix and provide a very uncomfortable experience. Anyone else have this issue?
No had nothing to do with that, I put that on later. My arms , my shoulders, my neck, my back all hurt on that bike,
I think the bike is very stiff. Best thing about the bike was the rims, otherwise I think it is a very over rated bike
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Old 07-05-15, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Yes, that link shows out of stock.
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Old 07-05-15, 06:05 PM
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Just because it didn't fit right, or you didn't like it, doesn't make a it a over rated bike.,,,,BD


Here's mine, posing with my other Roller Cam bike. An 85 C'dale SM600.


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