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1971 Schwinn Suburban Ladies 10 Speed Restoration

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1971 Schwinn Suburban Ladies 10 Speed Restoration

Old 04-27-20, 05:40 PM
  #1  
quinnpa1
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1971 Schwinn Suburban Ladies 10 Speed Restoration

Greetings - This is my first time on this site but it looks like there is a lot of brain power here. My project is restoring my mom's Schwinn Suburban she had in college. Never done something like this but have learned a lot and have had a great time so far. Based on the model it looks like it was assembled in Dec 1971 but has been out of commission for at least 25 years and is in pretty ugly shape. About 5 years ago I disassembled it and it's been sitting around ever since. However, with the spare time these days I'm finally getting around to cleaning up everything and putting it back together. The frame/fork/fenders are getting powder coated and most of the parts (not the wheels yet) are cleaned up and ready to be put back on.













My specific issue is regarding the headset. Unfortunately I lost track of the pieces and am having some trouble figuring this out. I bought the below set on ebay but after messing with it today I'm not sure its right as the threads didnt seem to match up just right.

Product Description from ebay
“This is a nice original Schwinn head set. It is a regular type with 2 cups. It has the tapered cap to fit to fit a 13/16" Schwinn stem. The stems changed diameter in the late 1960s from 7/8". A little light peppering in the chrome. The chrome is bright and shines.”

-A two cup type of Schwinn headset with a cap for a 13/16" diameter Schwinn stem.
-The cap is tapered. The 7/8" cap has a straight side.
-Schwinn changed the stem diameters from 7/8" to 13/16" in the mid 60s. You need a different cap for each diameter.
-The race nut is slightly different from the earlier ones, too.
-It will fit most middleweight Schwinn frames, from a Sting Ray to a Jaguar.
-This came from a 1972 Hollywood.
-Complete with tabbed washer and fork top bearing race.

Is there anyone out there who can let me know if this is the correct headset, or if I need to keep looking? Also, I'm not entirely sure the order to put this thing back together. I've watched several youtubes, but I'm curious about how to put together the fork on this specific model of bike. Can anyone let me know the specific steps/order of the pieces when I put it back on with the fork?

Attaching a couple pics just to give you an idea about where I am in the project... More questions will likely follow. Derailers are great but I think I'm going to have to replace them (esp the rear). Everything else seems ok.

Thanks in advance!

-Patrick
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Old 04-27-20, 10:54 PM
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I have a few Schwinn's, however, on that detail, I don't know. All your parts look nice and clean and ready to go back on the bike. Good job. Do you have the original headset bearings to match up? Do you have the fork back from the powder coater to test fit?

Unrelated to the problem that you are asking about, however, were you able to remove the kickstand? Were you able to repack the hub bearings with new grease?

Here is the headset from a circa 1980 Schwinn Continental. These frames are similar, however, the years are different and it is possible that the headset might be different. These are not cleaned up. I hope you don't mind the grunge. The parts are in order with the fork crown, if we had a fork to put it on would be on the left side of the picture and the stem would be on the right. I didn't show the bearings.



By the way, the fork on my Continental was made by Tange. We have some people that are more expert than me on All Things Schwinn.
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Old 04-28-20, 05:29 AM
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Thank you! That is very helpful and more like what I am expecting. Unfortunately I do not have the original bearings (or any of the cups, nuts, or washers). The fork will be back early next week (first part of May) but when I tried it before I dropped it off the nut just didnt feel right so I think I have the wrong set for the headset.

I'll see if I can find an answer here before checking with the Schwinn forum but that is also very helpful info. Thank you!!!

Patrick
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Old 04-28-20, 08:41 AM
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I had not heard of this diameter change for Schwinn headsets, so I went to Sheldon Brown's website to check. I couldn't find anything there either. I think all Schwinn of that bicycles of that era had 1" headsets. I think yours will fit. It is probable that there is dirt and debris in the threads.

Because the threads are fine pitch, it is easy to cross thread them. When I am trying to be really careful with fine threads, I will take the nut and put it in place on top of the screw, or in this case steerer tube, and turn it the wrong way. Go slow and feel for a small click, this is the start of the thread that you just crossed. When you feel that click, spin the nut the right way to thread it on.

Use grease on the steerer tube threads.

One more thing, if the steerer tube was dropped on the threaded end, this would damage the thread right where you need it. Take a look at the top of the threads an be sure there is no damage.

Here is the link to Sheldon Brown's headset page: Headsets
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Old 04-28-20, 09:12 AM
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I am rebuilding a 74 Suburban that is 99.9% original right now. Mine is only a 5spd model and it was missing the Headset mounted Shifter assy which I had one in my bins and installed, my headset looked like the one in the picture except the tabbed washer is not used when you have the shifter mounted, makes it a pita adjusting the headset.

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Old 05-02-20, 10:03 PM
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Hi Velo Mule,

Apologies for the late reply. I was NOT able to remove the kickstand. The mechanism was basically built into the frame and I did not think it was worth it for me to figure it out how to remove it. I'll let you know if it gets screwed up by the powder coating oven (honestly I'm 50/50 that it will work but here's hoping). I think I am going to have the hub bearings repacked at the bike shop. I think I read somewhere the bearings are lose and I dont trust my skillset quite yet to take on that level of detail. I'll repack the headset and crankset bearings though since they are in the housings. Just need to make sure I get the order correct. :-).

Thanks again for the comments and link to the Sheldon Brown page. That was very helpful!

Patrick
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Old 05-02-20, 10:08 PM
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Thanks Glenn,

Sounds like we have similar projects! I have not had the frame for a week but am anxious to get it back to start putting it back together. I've honestly been holding off on starting the wheels too... they look like so much more detail/volume than the other components. I figure I'll clean and polish them (which will take a lot of time/elbow grease) then take them to the shop to have the spokes tightened and the hubs repacked. For some reason I did buy tubes and tires already but was like 4 weeks premature on that purchase. Lol.

Fun project for sure! Thanks for the comment on the headset. I'm anxious to get the frame and fork back so I can try it again to see if it works.

Dunno if you're interested but I'll keep this thread posted just for the hell of it! Feel free to do the same with your project! Would love to see how others approach the project!

Thanks again and good luck!

Patrick
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Old 05-06-20, 02:54 PM
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Thanks again to you both. I got the frame and fork back today and I think I've figured it out and it's starting to look like a bicycle again. Have not packed the headset bearings but kinda quickly set it up and I think I've got it! Thank you!

I will likely have similar questions on the bottom crank set up but am headed in the right direction again. Thank you!


Last edited by quinnpa1; 05-06-20 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 05-07-20, 02:54 AM
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Schwinn increased the THICKNESS of the HEAD TUBE for the 1966 model year.
This is why 1966 and later SCHWINN stem size are smaller diameter, than many other makes.
THE THICKER HEAD TUBE requiring the smaller diameter stem size, MADE FOR A MUCH STRONGER AND WHAT WAS BELIEVED TO BE A SAFER FRAME!
This is why the 1965 and earlier will interchange with most other makes, as it was common to the industry for decades.
The 1966 and later, WILL NOT INTERCHANGE with the 1965 and earlier.
Chicago Schwinn frames of 1966 to the end WILL REQUIRE the smaller diam stem of 1966 and later........NO WORRIES MILLIONS WERE MADE!!!

Your 10 speed SUBURBAN has the GT-100 (shimano built) rear derailleur that was original to the FIVE SPEED SUBURBANS of 1970 to FEB 1974.
The 10 speed SUBURBAN would have normally come with the junky Huret Alvit(schwinn approved version) as seen on Varsity/Continental/and 10speed Suburban.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE CHICAGO FACTORY DID INSTALL the GT-100 on to 10 speed SUBURBANS - VARSITYs- CONTINENTALs WHEN THE FACTORY FLOOR PRODUCTION LINE WAS OUT OF Huret Alvit REAR DERAILLEURS.
The GT-100 is three times as good as the junky Alvit, so just be glad that yours came so equipped.
The disraeligears site is wrong on a few things about the GT-100. It was introduced at the beginning of the 1970 model year and it was built for SCHWINN by Shimano.
Schwinn engineers had Shimano build it that way..........The later GT-120, built by SHIMANO has the high and low LIMIT SCREWS located in the typical Shimano location.
THE GT-100 was seen the 1970 to early 1974 SCHWINN COLLEGIATE five speed -AND- on the 1970 to early 1974 SCHWINN SUBURBAN five speed.
The Most important error that the disraeligears site has regarding the information of both the GT-100 and GT-120 rear derailleurs is that THESE GT-100 and GT-120 REAR DERAILLEURS WILL EASILY DO 32 TEETH COG (you see the five speed Collegiate from 1970 onward and the SUBURBAN five speed do have 32 teeth first gear sprocket) The disraeligears site is WRONG when it states the Maximum cog is 28 for these!!!
This was a big deal back in 1970 and the early seventies because the Junky European REAR DERAILLEURS could not reliably shift anything larger than a 28 teeth first gear cog. THE JAPANESE MADE IT HAPPEN. Most all of the Huret and Simplex and Campagnolo rear derailleurs of that time were junk compared to Shimano or Maeda SUNTOUR.
That GT-100 is super durable. I have a large collection of 1970 to 1976 five speed SUBURBANs and Collegiates.
All of the 1970 -1973 models shift perfectly with their original GT-100. The same for the 1974-1976 bikes with the GT-120.
I have a KOOL LEMON 1972 Collegiate five speed which I have ridden 873 miles since January 2020, and I rode this same bike more than 1200 miles in calendar year 2019, including a 50 mile tour last July and the bikesandbeers ride in Blythewood SC last fall. The odometer on the INBIKE IC-321 computer/speedometer which I installed soon acquiring the bike in DEC 2017 has 3026 miles on it since that time. I simply installed NEW CABLES, AND NEW TIRES & TUBES and brake pads, and I serviced the bearings..........the original SCHWINN #64 CAGED nine bearing BOTTOM BRACKET BEARINGS were simply cleaned by soaking them in Formula 87 for about four hours.....................Formula 87 = unleaded gasoline of 87 octane...................cut two aluminum 12 oz-355ml COKE cans in half and use that as a soaking container for each #64 Caged Bottom Bracket Bearing...................................
The ORIGINAL SCHWINN #64 BEARINGS are built with quality that exceeds anything available today BUT TODAY'S REPLACEMENT #64 BEARINGS ARE GOOD, AND THEY DO EXCEED THE QUALITY OF ORIGINAL BEARINGS THAT HAVE RUST/PITTING/SMALL WEAR SPOTS.
Use a lot of quality AUTOMOTIVE/MARINE GREASE on the bottom bracket bearings.
If you decide to re-use / re-install the OLD original #64 Bearings, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO RE-INSTALL THEM EXACTLY IN THE SAME ORIENTATION AS THEY WERE REMOVED WITH THE SAME EXACT "CUP".........
..........You can purchase new #64 bearings for a few dollars each. One of your local bike shops might carry them.
I purchased a bunch of them locally from Phil Cohen at Chain Reaction Bicycles in Evans for $2 each plus sales tax......
I rebuilt about thirty bicycles that I donated to an organization that gives them away to folks needing basic transportation.
There is somebody on the bay with the handle of wonderlakebicycles or something like that that sells NEW TAIWAN MADE
CUPS/#64 BEARING SCHWINN BOTTOM BRACKET SETS for about $14 that are of very good quality..............but IF THE ORIGINAL CUPS
ARE OKAY, WHICH THEY LIKELY WILL BE UNLESS A BAD BEARING RUINED THEM FROM REPEATED RIDING WITH "Noisy Problem
Bearing".........You don't need to replace the Cups.................Visually you can tell.......................Use care in removing the cup.....a wooden dowel or a similar cut piece of tree branch and light taps from a rubber mallet or a hammer.................too many people use a screwdriver to tap it out with a hammer and it works okay if you're careful but using a piece of wood has almost zero chance of distorting/damaging the cup compared to someone banging too hard on a screwdriver.

Although your 10 speed SUBURBAN has the French made Model F ( 14 to 28 ) freewheel of the Varsity/Continental/10speedSuburban which is not as good as the Model J (Japanese, Shimano made) freewheel which has Shimano's patented seal which was a huge improvement when patent was granted in the late sixties.
The Model J freewheel was seen on the FIVE SPEED SUBURBANs and the 1970 and later FIVE SPEED Collegiates.
The Model J freewheel (14 to 32) has that 32 teeth first gear cog that WILL ALLOW FOR GREATER HILL CLIMBING than the Model F (14 to 28) that has only that 28 teeth first gear.
MODEL J from FIVE SPEED SUBURBAN and the 1970 and later COLLEGIATES : 32-26-21-17-14
MODEL F from 10speedSUBURBAN/Varsity/Continental : 28-24-20-16-14

If it were me, I would certainly build my Suburban 10 speed with the MODEL J freewheel 32-26-21-17-14.
The ancient SCHWINN SUPER SPORT of (1971) the early seventies had this exact same 32-26-21-17-14 gearing at rear with the 39 and 52 front crankwheels.
You get a much more fundamentally useful gearing set up that with as heavy as the old Schwinns are is much easier to climb steep hills with ease.
You already have the rear derailleur that can handle the 32 teeth.
Most of the Shimano and Suntour rear derailleurs (Japanese) of the early and mid seventies can shift 32 teeth. Most European rear derailleurs of that era cannot!!
Suntour made several fine freewheels in that era that had 34 teeth on the first gear.

You do understand basic gearing and the published "gear number" back in the day for comparison purposes.

Divide the number of teeth on the front sprocket by the number of teeth on the rear sprocket.

Take that result and multiply it by 27 (-------because that is the diameter of the rear wheel in inches------....if Collegiate use 26 instead of 27...-------)

This Gives You The "GEAR NUMBER"

Take "GEAR NUMBER" and multiply it by pi (------- pi equals 3.14 )

This result tells you the NUMBER OF INCHES THAT THE BICYCLE TRAVELS WITH EACH REVOLUTION OF THE PEDALS

Divide that figure by 12 to give you the amount in FEET that THE BICYCLE TRAVELS WITH EACH REVOLUTION OF THE PEDALS


***********this is a very simple way that you can compute and compare the differences in gearing and changes to gearing************



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Another interesting thing that some may not realize is that the SUBURBAN has the tubular front fork of the Continental.
Other than that distinction, the 10 SPEED SUBURBAN is essentially exactly like the 1969 Varsity Tourist except that Varsity Tourist came with Chrome fenders.
The 1969 model was the last year of the Varsity Tourist, and the 1970 model year was the first year of the SUBURBAN.
The Continental has a lightweight alloy stem, and centerpull brakes. The SUBURBAN has the L.S. 2.4 sidepull Weinmann brakes that the Varsity has.
The Varsity has an Ashtabula forged blade front fork.
Other than this, there is not much difference in the Electroforged frames (Varsity, Suburban, Continental, Collegiate).
You have some different color offerings and you may have a greater variety of frame sizes in one name or another depending on year model and depending on mens or womens step through but they are essentially fundamentally the same. The COLLEGIATE with its 26 inch 597mm wheels versus the 27 inch 630mm wheels of the Varsity/Suburban/Continental....................THE COLLEGIATE HAS LONGER REACHING SIDE PULL BRAKES THAT ARE MARKED L.S. 2.8
The Collegiate also has that Ashtabula forged blade fork like so many ancient Schwinn bikes.


The front derailleurs built by Huret and original equipment to the old Schwinns, do work very well.
Basically it is the rear derailleurs, because basically on anything ancient if built by Huret, Simplex, or Campagnolo, you'd do much better with Shimano or Suntour.
European rear derailleurs were junk when compared to Japanese rear derailleurs. Yes, it is that much of an improvement!!!


Another thing that you might want to know is that the old SCHWINN seat post diameter was 13/16" with a 5/8" top part where the seat mounts.
Well nobody makes aftermarket seats that come with 5/8 mount...............they all come typically with 7/8" mount.
WALD sells a number of different models which largely differ only in seatpost length but have 13/16 diameter with a 7/8 top part.
You can successfully flip upsidedown the old Schwinn seatpost in order to fit an aftermkt seat with 7/8 mount as 13/16 is only 1/16th smaller than 7/8.
The most important consideration when you do flip upsidedown the old Schwinn seatpost IS THAT YOU HAVE ENOUGH OF THE 13/16 DIAMETER POST DOWN DEEP ENOUGH IN THE SEATPOST TUBE, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THAT NARROW 5/8th PORTION DOES NOT COUNT WHEN TURNED UPSIDEDOWN.

The BELL Pitcrew 600 cable sets that Walmart and Ace Hardware sell for $10 are decent enough BUT YOU WILL NEED A GOOD SET OF STEEL BRAKE CABLE CUTTERS or A DREMEL WITH A CUTOFF WHEEL. The new Gray 40mm Diacompe style brake pads are excellent and inexpensive at less than $6 for a set of four, or a bag of ten for about $7 with free shipping from large volume bay sellers. Watch out for Black pads that are clearly marked as Not For Steel Wheels.
You'll find that in most cases with respect to old Schwinn bikes that were stored in a garage, basement, attic, barn, or shed, that the original cables may be in good condition if the bike itself isn't rusty. The original chain is also serviceable if the bike is really clean and preserved but with any bike that has significant rust, my opinion is that you should get the bicycle up and running just enough to ride slowly about 1/2 a block around the neighborhood to test/adjust etc, but then immediately take it to your favorite local bike shop and let them install a brand new chain......The Cost will be just below $20 total with labor and sales tax included.
I am telling you that it is not something you want to muck around and take a chance with if the original chain is rusted!
If it isn't rusted, no problem, keep it. Don't be like some of the idiots that I know that get so hung up on keeping the original chain, even if it was rusted horribly.
You can remove the rust and clean it up but beyond a point of no return, that chain will be weak, and thin in places, and even though you'd cleaned the heck out of it,
that chain is gonna either snap when you're riding, or give you problems. It is a no brainer for replacing every rusted chain. The old Schwinns have steel sprockets that don't really wear too much.......................they ain't lightweights, so everything is heavy durable steel including the crank wheels and the rear cog gears on the freewheel.
That GT-100 rear derailleur has steel pulley gears. It is nearly indestructible! The Huret Alvit is garbage compared to either of the GT-100 or GT-120

The Schwinn Approved GT-100 derailleur

Schwinn GT100 derailleur

Schwinn GT120 derailleur

Page 18 of the 1971 SCHWINN LIGHTWEIGHT BICYCLES OWNERS MANUAL has a great tutorial "ADJUSTING THE SCHWINN GT-100 DERAILLEUR"
the owners manual is approx 3" x 7" three inches by seven inches in size and has about 20 pages total......
The 1971 edition has a pretty brunette with a dark skirt and a guy with white tennis shorts and a Hawaiian shirt riding east in front of a Palm tree lined park area.
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Old 05-07-20, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by quinnpa1 View Post
Hi Velo Mule,

Apologies for the late reply. I was NOT able to remove the kickstand. The mechanism was basically built into the frame and I did not think it was worth it for me to figure it out how to remove it. I'll let you know if it gets screwed up by the powder coating oven (honestly I'm 50/50 that it will work but here's hoping). I think I am going to have the hub bearings repacked at the bike shop. I think I read somewhere the bearings are lose and I dont trust my skillset quite yet to take on that level of detail. I'll repack the headset and crankset bearings though since they are in the housings. Just need to make sure I get the order correct. :-).

Thanks again for the comments and link to the Sheldon Brown page. That was very helpful!

Patrick
If you can repack and adjust the headset and bottom bracket then the hubs are no problem. Same idea, except instead of placing 1 ring of bearings you place 9 or 10 separate ball bearings into the race. Really not a big deal.
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Old 05-10-20, 04:41 PM
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Wow! So much good info! So I packed the headset bearings with the open end of the bearing set touching the races. Not really happy with the result. Common I know its a common quesiton but do yall know if the open end of the bearing cage on a 1971 Schwinn Suburban should be touching the race or the cup of the headset?
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Old 05-10-20, 07:01 PM
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If it doesn't feel right flip the bearings over. Make sure that you have that little bearing race on the fork. Then load the bearings. You don't have to grease them yet, Insert the fork into the head tube. You should be able to rotated the fork smoothly. It should feel like almost no friction. The put the bearing in the top the opposite way from the bottom. As you tighten up the headset, you will feel it get tighter. You want it just right. Too tight and it won't move, too loose and you will feel a clunk or movement when you brake.
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Old 05-29-20, 06:55 AM
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Just Finished putting together 5 Flips, they were stored in my shop so I started with them first. I took pics of 4 of them as the 5th one was a junk Huffy cruiser. The yellow & pink Schwinn BSO & the blue Suburban came from my junk guy, the Sports I found in the trash & the Mixte I bought from Habitat for Humanity Restore. I have also been working on a bunch of power equipment also bought from my junk guy, one item is a Emglo Airmate air compressor with a 4hp Honda engine, paid him $10 for it and a half hr worth of time and it works just wonderful.

Glenn





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Old 08-23-20, 10:39 AM
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Upgrade Schwinn Suburban derailleur

I’d like to swap out the rear derailleur on my 1970-73 Schwinn Suburban 5-speed.

can anyone recommend an upgrade?
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Old 08-23-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by sortieavelo View Post
I’d like to swap out the rear derailleur on my 1970-73 Schwinn Suburban 5-speed.

can anyone recommend an upgrade?
New or used? For new, one of the inexpensive Shimano Altus derailleurs plus a claw mount adapter would work fine. Used, any long cage suntour would be a substantial upgrade.
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