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1981 Schwinn Sports Tourer - Update or restore?

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1981 Schwinn Sports Tourer - Update or restore?

Old 05-20-16, 09:42 AM
  #1  
CharmPeddler
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1981 Schwinn Sports Tourer - Update or restore?

Hey guys/gals. I just picked up, what I think was a great deal, a 1981 Schwinn Sports Tourer. I bought it from the original owner, who had it in his attic for the last 15 years.

I Wiped it down, aired up the tires (hold air good still), Tightened the spokes and trued the wheels, wiped down and lubed the chain and then rode it on a 4.5 mile trip over lunch yesterday.

This is my second road bike (previous one was a '79 Peugeot i had for 2 months) and I LOVE the look / ride of the old bikes, but I have come to realize I HATE the energy/concentration/distraction that Friction shifters demand. My thought was to do a "budget" update with some Craigslist / secondhand Brifter and indexed shifting. BUT I kinda feel like it would be a shame to change this bike that seems to be all original and in great shape.

A couple things about me: I ride for fun and fitness (6'4 270lbs) and am using biking to get fit, and "zone out" to release anxiety. I know this bike will never be a speed demon, so I'm almost thinking of just striping it down and giving it a DEEP clean and a buff/polish, and using it to enjoy the slow ride. and then holding out for another, frame only or newer type, bike. IF I do this I will the friction shifting "clean up" or get smoother? i know that TOO smooth will defeat the friction part of Friction Shifting.

I've also considered making it into a singlespeed, but again, this will ruin the all original appeal it has to me. Is it possible to adjust the High/Low limiting screws on the RD to lock it in 3rd gear? I'm thinking this could be the cheapest, easiest, easily undo-able option.


Hmm. After typing this all out, I'm pretty sure I need to take some time and think about it all some more. Or i'm just over complicating it and need to just get on and ride. lol


ANY opinions/options/suggestions will be appreciated!

THANKS!

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Old 05-20-16, 10:16 AM
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This version of the Sports Tourer isn't like the 60s-70s version of it. You won't be destroying a highly collectable and desirable bike by doing anything to it.

That being said, if you're going to put money into a bike, IMO a better frame is a better starting point. Look for a bike with at least CrMo in the main tubes- preferably the frame, stays, and fork being made of CrMo.

If you love this frame, there's no reason to keep it stock. Mod it to what makes your ride enjoyable.

Best!
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Old 05-20-16, 10:37 AM
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Answering to your question about friction shifting: if you clean the derailleurs and change cables and housings they will for sure work smoother and better. If this bike was in the attic for the past 15 years I'd definitely buy new tires and inner tubes.

Ps. Friction shifting takes some time getting used to. I felt kinda the same (it took a lot of concentration to shift) at first but now I do it without paying a thought to it.

Good luck with your project!
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Old 05-20-16, 11:22 AM
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If you don't do anything that isn't reversible and keep all of the old parts -- do whatever you want to it so long as you'll ride it.
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Old 05-20-16, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by CharmPeddler View Post
Is it possible to adjust the High/Low limiting screws on the RD to lock it in 3rd gear? I'm thinking this could be the cheapest, easiest, easily undo-able option.

Put it in the gear you want, and remove the shift lever? Put a sticker on the lever that says "Cooties"?
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Old 05-23-16, 09:14 AM
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This will be my 3rd attempt at replying (first 2 were on my phone, and never showed up?)

The Golden Boy - Thanks for telling me my bike is worthless. HAHA JUST KIDDING! From the research I did before purchasing this is pretty much what I was thinking too. Thanks for the ChroMo suggestion! Thats exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to learn.

Pawlus - New rubber is for sure towards the top of my list. Thanks for the confirmation about the cleaning and getting used to the friction shifting. I bought a tub of "Mean Green" de-greaser and will be doing a full tear-down, soaking, scrubbing and then trying it out again. IF that de-greaser is not good enough, any suggestions on something stronger, or should I just go straight to the the paint thinner?

noobinsf - After the suggestions / confirmations here this is exactly what I plan on doing.

SloButWide - HAHA! This is actually on my list of possibilities for sure!

Thanks guys, and sorry for not getting response to you earlier.

My plan for now:
1. CLEAN the crap out of EVERYTHING
2. New Brake + Shifting cables/sleeves (cheap, and I can do the work myself)
3. Give this stock setup a few weeks / months to get the feel of.
4. Hopefully I get in the groove of the friction shifting and if so I'll plan on looking for another bargain that I can rebuild/upgrade that will be newer for supersize and speed. A ChroMo frame (thanks for the suggestion Golden Boy).

Thanks a lot for the help and suggestions everyone!

Last edited by CharmPeddler; 05-23-16 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 05-23-16, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by CharmPeddler View Post

The Golden Boy - Thanks for telling me my bike is worthless. HAHA JUST KIDDING! From the research I did before purchasing this is pretty much what I was thinking too. Thanks for the ChroMo suggestion! Thats exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to learn.
Sorry man... The 1960s/70s Sports Tourer was a top level Schwinn. The 1981 version was a much lower level bike.

IMO- The quality of the frame of your bike is the one thing that you really can't change. Any other parts can be swapped out- so better or cheaper parts can be substituted at any time. A 1010, 1020, Hi Carbon, High Tensile, Hi-Ten frame are all phrases for a lower grade of steel, it's not as strong, so thicker tubes are needed to be strong enough to be used as a bike. Hi-Ten bikes can ride very nicely- they'll just be heavier and generally less responsive than something of a more premium tubeset.

4130/CroMo frames are really a great starting point for high quality steel frames. From there you can dress the bike up with as fancy of parts as you think is applicable. But putting fancy parts on a Hi-Ten frame... if you think you'll appreciate the fancy parts- you'd also be appreciating a nicer frame. IMO and all that.

Again, Hi-Ten frames can ride really, really nicely. I had a Schwinn Suburban- once it got going, that bike was as smooth as my Trek 620 on level ground.
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Old 05-23-16, 11:46 AM
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The 1980s super sports were fine bikes. I had one I just sold with a Tange no. 2 frameset, good stuff.

Very easy to add indexing:

https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-7-Spee.../dp/B00OJZPRVO

Amazon.com : Shimano ST-A070 Road Shifters 2 x 7-Speed Black Pair : Bike Shifters And Parts : Sports & Outdoors

https://www.amazon.com/SHIMANO-Alivio...illeur+7+speed
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Old 05-23-16, 11:56 AM
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Personally, I find friction shifting less taxing than indexing. If it sounds like it isn't cleanly in the gear you want just trim the shifter until it smoothes out. I don't need instant precision as I just ride for fun.
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Old 05-24-16, 05:24 AM
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I have the exact same bike. The only thing original on it now is the frame. Mine is a 60. Cartridge bottom bracket and 105 front and rear. Didn't get fancy with it, just bought stuff over time.
Running 28's and the ride is fine. Did convert to 700c from the 27's. Tektro long reach brakes. It's not as agile as my Dawes touring bike but the ride is nice.
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Old 08-27-16, 05:36 PM
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I identify with Charm Peddler's post. I have a 1972 Sports Tourer in good condition and I like that it is all original. I want to use it on my 5 mile commute. I blew a tire on Friday. I think the original rims will not take 90 psi. Should I look to replace the rims or ride on lower pressure?
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Old 08-27-16, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RJack View Post
I think the original rims will not take 90 psi. Should I look to replace the rims or ride on lower pressure?
The original rims will work fine at 75lbs or less. You will need to replace them if you want to run higher pressures. I see no need for that myself, I ride these bikes with original rims just about every day.
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Old 08-27-16, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RJack View Post
I identify with Charm Peddler's post. I have a 1972 Sports Tourer in good condition and I like that it is all original. I want to use it on my 5 mile commute. I blew a tire on Friday. I think the original rims will not take 90 psi. Should I look to replace the rims or ride on lower pressure?

I've got the exact same bike. Based upon trial and error, I keep my tires at 60 PSI. I've read several threads on here of people suggesting similar. Anything over that I've always had issues with the tubes slipping and blowing out because of those dang hookless rims.
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Old 12-10-16, 09:04 PM
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I like the older bikes because they can handle larger tires.
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