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Of Unladen Swallows and Coconut Horses - A 1985 Schwinn Paramount

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Of Unladen Swallows and Coconut Horses - A 1985 Schwinn Paramount

Old 12-03-17, 03:27 PM
  #1  
RiddleOfSteel
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Of Unladen Swallows and Coconut Horses - A 1985 Schwinn Paramount

Alternatively titled: How My Winter Project Only Took One Month, and My Real Project is (Still) Selling Even More Things.

I've been on the casual hunt (lookout?) for an '80s-era Paramount for a while. My '74 P15 was a primer, but I like my fast and light C&V road/race bikes and a 198x example was the target. It is another familiar tale of unexpectedly crossing paths with a bike/frame that had been languishing for quite some time, with me bringing it back to road-worthiness.

It started as a trade for a Shimano 600/Matrix aero wheelset with a local BF C&V member. Along the tour of his bikes, he mentioned that he had a Paramount frameset. I was intrigued. "Yeah, man, it's too big. I put some wheels on it and stood over it. It doesn't fit." Realizing he was not much shorter than I, I was now very interested. He pulled the frame out and we got a tape measure. I measured 24.5" or "close enough to 25 inches." I let him know that I was indeed extremely interested in the frame, and if he would like however many parts in trade for it. A week later, I was the new owner of a 62cm 1985 Paramount frameset. It would need a repaint/re-coat, along with decals, but by the time I would be done with that, it would be at or below market value for a very good condition frameset. Getting this re-done and built up would also allow it to ride for the first time in over a year and a half (or more).

Serial number is: 620E WH 85064

Translation: 62.0cm frame (620), long steerer (A=shortest, B, C, etc), Waterford built (W), August build month (H), 1985 (85), 64th frame of that month (064).

This is what I took home:



I got it on its feet/wheels to get a general sense of proportion. A Modolo X-Tenos 110mm stem, which I planned on using, also got in on the action. Tires are 25mm.



Looks like we're not getting 28mm rubber in there...



Generous vertical clearance, though. And given that the brake pads are at near or full reach (when assembled), it looks like Schwinn wanted to give their owners a fighting chance of running narrow fenders for wet weather training/riding.



This is my favorite era and font type for Paramounts. If you're going to be the best and offer the best, while having a killer name, confidently and elegantly billboard it on your bike.

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Old 12-03-17, 03:32 PM
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Not one to throw the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch at, by a long shot. I'd consider the paint needs, "just a flesh wound".

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Old 12-03-17, 03:46 PM
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Gathering Parts and a Lot of Waiting

The decision was made to powder coat the frame as it was considerably cheaper to do so, with a more durable coat at essentially no loss in glossiness. There would be no shipping charges, either. Sure, the decals would be post-coating and not pre-clear coating from the factory, but I was more than willing to concede that. Masking the chain stay would be extra (and the dropouts apparently proved too difficult? Ultimately, no worry), but still, it was going to look good and not burn my wallet.

I had a few colors in mind, none of which included redoing the Fireball Red. When you have a same-year Peloton in the multi-faceted red that it came in (it is sooooo pretty), it is best to not compete, IMO. So the typical black (but metallic!) was in play, and so was dark metallic gray (Schwinn offered a Slate Gray metallic in 1985 for these bikes). Deep/dark red metallic as found on later (standard and OS) Paramounts was also in consideration. Ultimately, there aren't very many dark gray Paramounts out there, and given the success of a fellow BF member painting his Nervex-lugged example a non-stock dark gray, I went for it.

There was great internal debate on whether to go with Suntour Superbe Pro (indexed) or a Dura-Ace mix. Ultimately, Dura-Ace was chosen, primarily for its availability, performance, and the fact that my experience with it (especially the 9- and 10-speed down tube shifters) has been really good. The decision was made to build wheels, and I employed some forlorn but nice Mavic CXP33 rims I had picked up from Bike Works for super cheap. They were very dirty, but that's never stopped me before.

The frameset was sent off to powder coating (Seattle Powder Coat, whom I've gone to several other times), and the gathering of bits and pieces commenced.

CXP33 rim before:



CXP33 rims after:



And for you no-prefer-decals guys that gave me a (good-natured) hard time with my Miyata 610 build, I removed the smaller but shouty Mavic decals, much to the aesthetic benefit of the rim, IMO!
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Old 12-03-17, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Not one to throw the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch at, by a long shot. I'd consider the paint needs, "just a flesh wound".

Bill (of the knights who formerly say Neeeeck)


It would say it was but a scratch! How could I have been so foolish as to not see that this was a custom two-tone paint job and not a half-finished paint-stripping effort??? So much time and money could have been saved!
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Old 12-03-17, 04:00 PM
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Back From Powder Coating

The time from submission of frame to completion was a little shy of three weeks. It felt longer, but the wait was worth it. The "pearlized" dark gray turned out very well. A shade lighter than the sample card, but plenty fine looking, and in line with the stock Paramount gray of that year.



A close-up of the very pointy(!) seat lug. That coat looks wet! Yessssss. Also, subtle flake. Mmmmm.



That electrical socket again..........



Another angle, this time with the breaker box!



Time to apply decals and begin the build!
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Old 12-03-17, 04:11 PM
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Headset Installation, Proportioning, and Initial Composition

A used 'small logo' Chris King headset was installed (on a Friday night at 11:30PM no less...) and I was off to the (building) races. The 'core' of the bike was complete, which now allowed uninhibited building-up.



'Tis a lovely shape and polish. Plays off the dark gray very nicely.



Crown race diameter on these frames is 26.4mm, FYI.



The initial composition had the aforementioned Modolo X-Tenos stem, black Profile Design bars, and a black 27.2mm seat post. Bar tape and saddle would be white. The wheels were built up by this time (a big Thank You to @Dfrost for teaching me to build these...and doing a lot of the work himself. I learned a lot!), so I was able to get a decent idea for how things looked. My initial thought was that it look alright, but...silver pieces would be better. Additionally, if I wanted my 'grail' bike to ride a lot, white bar tape would be impractical from a 'not worried about getting it dirty' standpoint. I want to ride the bike, not make excuses for it!

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Old 12-03-17, 04:25 PM
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Decals! Such Large Decals!

This was one of the trickiest parts of the build for me, in addition to it being one of the most critical. I chose light gold for the letter colors in large part to seeing the dark gray Olmo with yellow/gold lettering that a BF member had (really, it was the guy I got this frameset from!).

Employing all my design school (car) taping ability and then some, I mapped out the application area with blue painter's tape to give myself the best chance at what was, essentially, a one-shot opportunity per decal. No pressure, right? Measure with a straight edge, check a million times on centering, level-ness, straight-ness (no wavy decals!), all of it. Breathe!

Only I will know the 1-2mm differences in symmetry or planned placement, but I flippin' nailed it. I mean, if I do say so myself. Whew! The decal set was from Velocals, advertised as a 1986 set, but was really a 1988 50th Anniversary set (larger/wider lettering, which I like). That is also what you don't see, me excluding those "50th" bits via cutting off with an X-Acto blade. I really like how the gray and light gold play off each other. Subtle yet confident.

Moody mood lighting:



Billboard!



More success:



One of my favorite logos:



Eagle-eyed Columbus tubing label experts will tell me (and all of us) just what is incorrect about this decal, aside from the fact that Schwinn didn't put it on the Paramount for this year (or so it looks from their catalog).

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Old 12-03-17, 04:33 PM
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This is Looking Much Better

A Shimano 600 seat post I had picked up at Bike Works got its due on the Paramount. The black/white Prologo Scratch Pro saddle was also finalized. Cinelli 110m stem and accompanying 65-series Criterium bars got the nod in front. Shimano BL R400/600 levers were also mounted in the place of the planned Tektro R200s. Because of the large radius bend of these Criterium bars, brake levers can be at odd angles depending on the rider's preferred lever elevation and attitude. This was a concern of mine as well, but those concerns were put to rest as I was able to get every element to my preferences with only the most minimal of brake lever splay (which doesn't bother me in the least). Ramp angle of the bars, when viewed from the side, is very similar to the 64-series / Giro D'Italia bars. Distance of drop is, too.

Overall, this confirmed that I was headed in the right direction, aesthetically, and kept me going on the build.

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Old 12-03-17, 04:47 PM
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Camelot

Visually, at the very least. If this rides as good as it looks, it's going to be a blast! I, along with the rest of the city of Seattle, am waiting for this week long dry (yet cold!) spell to commence. The rain is pretty much done, meaning the roads have to dry out to allow a test ride.

My Peloton has given several of her parts to this Paramount and my aqua Trek 560, as has my Marinoni. Both framesets will 'rest' for now--the Peloton needs a good cleaning, much to my surprise.

Some component specs:

Hubs: Dura-Ace 7700
Rims: Mavic CXP33 black with machined sidewall
Spokes: DT Swiss Revolution and Competition spokes (2.0 / 1.5 / 2.0 and 2.0 / 1.8 / 2.0 where applicable)
Shifters: Dura-Ace 7900 - down tube - 2x10 - indexed
BB: Ultegra BB6500 Octalink
Crankset: Dura-Ace 7700 - 175mm - 53/39T
FD: Dura-Ace 7410 - 28.6mm clamp on- double
RD: Dura-Ace 7800 (my favorite of all of the generations)
Cassette: 11-28T Ultegra 6600 - 10-speed
Brake Calipers: Dura-Ace 7800 - 39-49mm short reach (another favorite)
Water bottle cage: Schwinn Paramount
Pedals: Shimano M747 SPD mountain-type.

Pics or it didn't happen:



Diggin' the Criterium bar sweep!



All business:



Mmmm:

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Old 12-03-17, 04:50 PM
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Camelot Part II

Drivetrain:



RD and cassette:



Seat post:



A parting angle. I can't wait to get this out on the road and see what it feels like. I'll get some proper outdoor shots as well as building in the winter here, with its little light and soggy ground, necessitate indoor activity.

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Old 12-03-17, 05:07 PM
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Well, first off I will say I am loving the color and can't wait to see how you finish this one up. Keep the pics coming.

Now, I just cheated and peeked at the 85 catalog on Waterford's site. They do show a Columbus decal in the first Paramount pic but with a black Columbus bottom border vs the red top border of yours.

No worries though. My 87 has a SL decal vs a SLX....

Edit: And it is done, sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-17, 05:50 PM
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Beautiful transformation RoS!! i'm digging your color choices!
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Old 12-03-17, 06:04 PM
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All right, we'll call it a draw.
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Old 12-03-17, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well, first off I will say I am loving the color and can't wait to see how you finish this one up. Keep the pics coming.

Now, I just cheated and peeked at the 85 catalog on Waterford's site. They do show a Columbus decal in the first Paramount pic but with a black Columbus bottom border vs the red top border of yours.

No worries though. My 87 has a SL decal vs a SLX....

Edit: And it is done, sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Your red decal observation is correct in that it is not the decal for the year, it is actually an SLX decal that I cut the SLX 'layer' out of and butted the two pieces up against each other. At 1/4" from the bottom of the 'whole' decal, you can see a pattern interruption. The background pattern is a bit chaotic, so it camouflages the cut line well, but it is still there.

Originally Posted by tyler_fred View Post
Beautiful transformation RoS!! i'm digging your color choices!
Thank you!! One extra unplanned color-matching bonus I discovered was the bronze-ish or warm grey chain rings being of the same hue type as the light gold lettering, just a little bit darker. I was contemplating going with silver rings, which would have looked equally as good, IMO, but with the color tie-in, I thought it was just fine as is.

Originally Posted by Kactus View Post
All right, we'll call it a draw.
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Old 12-03-17, 06:38 PM
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That PC came out great, as did your decal placement. I see more black/silver adding to the gray - typical RoS build

Seattle Power Coating looks to be a good resource, and since I now have a project frame... What do they charge if nothing is masked? Well, other than the threads, gear bosses and stuff like that, that is.

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Old 12-03-17, 07:06 PM
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Loving your projects. You are restoring my faith in powder coating, that’s for sure. I have a 27.2 Dura Ace aero seatpost if you are interested.

Also, what is going on with the rims? Were they so dirty they looked silver before???
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Old 12-03-17, 07:10 PM
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The hits just keep coming, nice job!
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Old 12-03-17, 07:18 PM
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What do you mean? An African swallow, or a European swallow? (A king has to know these things.)


Beautiful. Understated, elegant, classy. Much nicer than the original color scheme, IMHO. (And my opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it. )
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Old 12-03-17, 08:55 PM
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That really came out great! Very nice looking bike.
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Old 12-04-17, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
That PC came out great, as did your decal placement. I see more black/silver adding to the gray - typical RoS build

Seattle Power Coating looks to be a good resource, and since I now have a project frame... What do they charge if nothing is masked? Well, other than the threads, gear bosses and stuff like that, that is.

DD
Thank you! Hehehe for the coloring comment. I do like the contrast and edginess that black brings out of silver and whatever the color of the bike may be. Depending on the light, there's either a touch of green or blue in it. Will have to find out tomorrow what it's like in direct sunlight (if such a thing is to be found this time of year...).

Up until very recently, media blast/strip + PC (1 coat) was $175.00 plus tax. It's now $215 plus tax apparently. I have a bunch of components that I will be selling soon (need to photograph them and write the ad). Gotta cool the wallet here.

Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
Loving your projects. You are restoring my faith in powder coating, that’s for sure. I have a 27.2 Dura Ace aero seatpost if you are interested.

Also, what is going on with the rims? Were they so dirty they looked silver before???
Thank you! Seattle Powdercoat does a good job. Whoever did my Miyata kept the coverage good yet thin enough to keep great detail in the engravings. They might have been a touch thin underneath the seat lug cluster, but that's white paint/coat/anything. Looked fine, really. This frame was well coated, and came out very glossy, perhaps more glossy than I anticipated. I'll take that!

I got the rims, which were very grubby and had grease/film on them, to catch light in a very unflattering way. Sure, they weren't silver/light gray, but they weren't even close to dark black. I went for visual impact and before/after contrast. If you were cleaning them yourself, you'd witness the night and day difference.

Originally Posted by merziac View Post
The hits just keep coming, nice job!
Thank you! I'm going to (do my extremely level best to) cool it with the incoming projects and work on thinning things out. I'll be riding the Paramount tomorrow and if it is that good, which I am fully looking forward to it being, then that will be the proverbial 'mountain top' and I will sell other things. We'll see, though; I do like what I've built and do enjoy caring for them.

Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
What do you mean? An African swallow, or a European swallow? (A king has to know these things.)


Beautiful. Understated, elegant, classy. Much nicer than the original color scheme, IMHO. (And my opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it. )
Thank you! The Fireball Red metallic grew on me, but it had a touch of pink in it and I wasn't too hot on the idea of a color (red) proclaiming intensity and then backing off of it with hints of pink. Either be red or be pink! No wallowing about in the middle of things, now!

Regarding swallows, the king must know it is a European swallow, Italian to be specific.

Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
That really came out great! Very nice looking bike.
Thank you! I can't wait to ride it tomorrow. The main roads will be dry by morning, with more at the end of the day on the commute home.
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Old 12-04-17, 04:22 AM
  #21  
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[QUOTE=RiddleOfSteel;20030595]

You do have a way with your restorations...this one is brilliantly done..top flight, hopefully she rides as nice as she looks.
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Old 12-04-17, 06:37 AM
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Great work! It would be nice to compare it to @ScottRyder 's '84 gray Paramount.

Maybe I missed it, but did you need to spread the rear dropouts to 130mm to accommodate the 10 speed hubs? If so how did that go?
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Old 12-04-17, 08:17 AM
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Very nice, very classy. Great combination of parts.


Notice you started with Tektro R200 levers but switched to Shimano A600's. Was that for better fit/feel, or just to be a little more matchy-matchy?
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Old 12-04-17, 08:50 AM
  #24  
Wildwood
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A beautiful bike.
Nicest write-up in a long time, but you mentioned the word 'fenders' - please no fenders on this one. Not even for Seattle weather.

What's your schedule this week for a maiden voyage? Need company? hehehe, i'll try to bring one that's worthy of a "Hey wanna swap for a few miles?" quality/size.
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Old 12-04-17, 09:02 AM
  #25  
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Excellent job all around, looking forward to a first outing report now.

Bill
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