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Schwinn 26x1 3/8" S5 Tire fit

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Schwinn 26x1 3/8" S5 Tire fit

Old 08-10-20, 05:37 AM
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Schwinn 26x1 3/8" S5 Tire fit

For a number of years I've had a 1966 Schwinn Racer, it was handed down to me in the early 70's and I've had it ever since.
Its rims were getting a bit rough, the chrome well worn on the sides and lots of deep rusty spots.
Last year I picked up a same year ladies bike in mint shape with two perfect wheels, but with two badly dryrotted Uniroyal Chain tread tires. I recently decided to swap the wheels over to my bike, even the hub had the same date code so it matched perfectly.
I took this opportunity to give it a fresh set of tires, and I had a new old stock set of Carlisle 26x1 3/8" Schwinn S5-S6 tires I had wrapped up and saved years ago. The tires are like brand new having been wrapped up since the mid 70's in many layers of plastic and placed in a plastic bag with the air sucked out with a vacuum cleaner. (I preserved many tires like this for future use after seeing some of my favorites disappearing back in the day). I cleaned and polished both rims from the ladies bike, removed the old tires and tubes, and mounted up the new old stock Carlisle tires. (The same tires from the same batch were what was on my old wheels).
I mounted them up, and realized I really had to fight to get them on the rim. So much so I double and triple checked the ISO size and it was indeed 37-597. Both tires are clearly marked Schwinn use only and marked S5 and S6 rims.
I finally got the tires on the rims, got them inflated but was having all sorts of trouble getting the tire to seat and be round. No matter what I do there's a section of tire sitting down off the bead area. I even tried lubing the tire bead up a bit with soapy water and over inflating them but they will not pop up on the rim correctly
The rims are marked Schwinn S5, just like the originals.
I then removed one of the original tires and it fit the same way on the new rims, despite fitting fine on the original rims.
Has anyone ever ran into a set of rims that were a bit too large? The new tires fit on the old rims, they're super tight but they do fit as they should. The second set of wheels just seems larger for some reason. I had the tire inflated up to 75 psi, nearly double what its rated at but it still wouldn't seat correctly. I tried tire pliers, at all different pressure but they won't seat right. For now the old tires and rims are back on the bike but now I'm wondering if its the rims or the tires, and will a fresh set of tires help.
I hate to go to new tires because the newer tires are narrower and not nearly as tall compared to the older tires.
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Old 08-11-20, 12:13 PM
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Kenda and Schwalbe still make 37-597 tires I think. I'm not sure Schwalbe sells theirs in the US. The last time I needed something, Kenda was still for sale here.

In my experience, getting the Kendas to seat properly can be a royal PITA. I have them on a Schwinn Collegiate (same rims as your bike, I suspect). The front didn't seat well at all. I lived with it for awhile, then decided it was him (the tire) or me. It took a couple tries, fiddling a bunch with the bead line on the sidewall and some soapy water applied with an old toothbrush to get it to seat, but I eventually succeeded. Once the pressure got up to about 50psi, I heard this reassuring "pop!" that told me the tire was seated.

As an alternative, I replaced the entire wheelset on my Schwinn Speedster with ISO 590 rims (Sun CR-18), precisely because I could never get the d**n Kenda tire-shaped objects to seat. I use Panaracer Col de la Vie Randonee tires on it. Not only do they seat better, but they have a much better ride than the Kendas and I can actually stop when the streets are wet.
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Old 08-11-20, 01:12 PM
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I just put some Kendas on the better 1/2's Breeze. Blew the tire off and blew the tube from not paying attention when it started popping the bead. 1 Tube later they are staying put and run true. They are almost the same as the dry rotted Schwinns I pulled off.

If you can't get the old ones to seat by setting them in the sun to warm up, using soap and water at 20psi with a PTS-1 bead seater or the like then they are to small.
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Old 08-11-20, 01:26 PM
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The extremely tight fit upon inflating the tire is a very long-time SCHWINN thing, and I always dreaded having to ride home on a thumping tire because my pocket pump would not quickly enough inflate the tire to make it seat after fixing a puncture.

When at home, I always use my rubbing alcohol spray bottle on both beads right before inflation. And I still have to deflate and re-flate a couple more times before getting full seating half of the time.

The upside to all this is that when the rim is used on a tandem, the blow-off pressure of a normal tire will be waaay up there.

Things that can help include:

Make certain that the rim tape is in and stays in the most central spoke channel. Must not cover the inside ledge!

Use 70% alcohol or suds on the beads before inflation, and inflate quickly to max rated pressure or slightly more if the bead is mostly up there.

Don't let the weight of the bike or even the wheel(!) rest on the deflated tire before inflating. Allow the tire to center itself with only it's own weight acting on it, or keep the wheel/tire horizontal.

Tension spokes to a good 80kg all the way around, possibly more if the nipples are well lubricated. Many Schwinn wheels appear quite under-tensioned making the wheel diameter bigger.

Avoid Continental tires on Schwinn rims.

A bead that is sitting low at one very small length of the bead can often be twisted upward using both hands on the tire. I even got this to work in the field once.

I suspect you could use folding tires on these rims w/o fear of blow-off, but I can't recommend this. I did run Michelin Hilite-Tour 27" folding tires on a set of Araya rims and it worked up to about 70psi, this before I knew better as it were. I did actually ride about 800 miles on that setup during winter training months in the late 90's.
I have a bundle of Folding 27" Pasela tires stashed here that I will try putting on my Varsity one day soon. I suspect that they will safely inflate and keep my 145lbs off of the pavement, after I first test them to 85+psi in the name of science.

That's everything I know about this topic.

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Old 08-11-20, 04:42 PM
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Back in my bike shop days, we had one of these Bicycle Research persuader tools, specifically to use on Schwinn rims:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/223916412518
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Old 08-11-20, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Back in my bike shop days, we had one of these Bicycle Research persuader tools, specifically to use on Schwinn rims:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/223916412518
Yeah I just found that one and the rim dent tool... Got them in a few weeks ago.
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Old 08-12-20, 04:20 AM
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The difference seems to be as much in the rims as in the tires.
I even double checked to make sure someone hadn't laced up a set of Raleigh Westwood rims but they do say Schwinn.
I've got an older Park PTS-1 tire seating tool, and so far its not helped. The old tires and new tires fit the old rims, but not the new rims. The 'new' tires are tighter, but not as tight as on the new set of wheels. I thought the rim was going to bend I had to pry at the bead so hard to get them on. I bent two of my steel tire levers.
Side by side both rims look identical but I've got no way to actually measure the diameter of the bead seat area.
I've soaped the tires up, left them in the sun, even broke out a heat gun but they will not seat. About 8" of the bead is always down in the middle of the rim. The fact that the new tires fit on the old rims and do seat, (although with a bit of a fight), tells me the rims are different somehow.

The LBS had one Kenda 26x1 3/8x 1 1/4" tire in stock, so I gave that a try, it was even tighter than the original tires, so much so I gave up. Then I noticed in comparing the two tires that the new Kenda tire, that was marked Schwinn S6 or EA-1 on the sidewall but also has the 37x590 size on the other side??? Every marking on my older 'new' tires and the original tires compares exactly with the new Kenda tire except for the ISO size and the lack of "S-5" being included. The new tire is clearly marked 'Fits 26x 1/14 Straight Side EA-1 English & Schwinn S-6 rims' but its marked 590 ISO**********
The tire fits on a standard, 590 rim. Its clearly mis-marked.

Regardless of the new, wrongly marked tire, the original and new old tires I have still won't seat on the rims. (Those are marked 37-597).
I've tried soap, tire grease, heat, tire pliers, bent two tire levers, and inflated them to 75 psi trying to get them to 'pop' onto the bead but no go. Since they're from the exact same lot that the old tires were from, they should fit. (remember they fit the old rusty S5 rims just fine, just not the new shiny S5 rims). I also dug out a spare bare S5 rim and the new tires slip on and fit that rim just fine too.
Obviously the new Kenda tire is of no use here but now I have to worry about other tires being mis-marked or mis-labeled in someway.
The original tires that were on the S5 rims I'm fighting with are too far gone to use, I'm not sure when Uniroyal quit making bike tires or even quit making 'chain tread' but they're clearly different in someway.
I've not had the tube try to pop out or blow out, there's little chance of that happening with as tight as these tires are. Even overinflated with 8" of tire in the spoke bad area, there's no space for the tube to slip out and the tire is not trying to de-rim at any point. Getting them back off a real nightmare.

I've been working on bikes for years and never had a pair of tires fight me like this.
I think the wheels I'm trying to switch to may be older, or at least the tires that were on them look older but the rims, are clearly marked Schwinn S-5 and the tires are clearly marked 37-597. I'm wondering now if there were variations in the old Schwinn rims over the years too. The best I can do is measure the circumference of the bead seat with a cloth tape. The original rusty old S5 rims are 2 mm smaller than the new rims. The original rims measure 597mm on the money, the S5 rims I'm trying to use measure 598.5mm. I wouldn't think that 1.5 or 2mm would make much difference but its proving me wrong.
Did Schwinn ever use a different standard? I'm starting to think these S5 rims are some how different than those on the bike now.
Appearance wise however, they look the same, although they do have more defined markings on them. They were laced to a mid 60's era hub but after 55 years, who knows where they've been or what's been done to them.
I don't have any original "Schwinn" tires that aren't made in Taiwan, but something tells me that good older American made tires wouldn't be giving me all this trouble.


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Old 08-12-20, 08:47 AM
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Yeah, the ISO 590 tire is the british standard it will be to tight, You definitely need the ISO 597 tire. The other option is to do what smontanaro did and lace up some SUN CR-18's in the ISO 590 size, if you can find a pair...

These are the markings on the kendas I purchased, sorry about the hook..


Schwinn = ISO 597


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Old 08-14-20, 07:56 AM
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The 590 tires aren't the one's that are too tight, I know the 590 won't fit the 597 rims. I just made note of the wrongly marked tire I found.
The 597 tires won't seat on the clean used Schwinn rims I found. The rims measure roughly 2mm larger when I wrap a measuring tape around them. That don't seem like much but the difference is the only thing I can find that could be causing the issue. I've tried everything, 597 tires won't seat on these rims. I gave it a try last night again, I soaped up the tire, I even took a razor blade and trimmed off all the excess flashing off the rubber around the bead area but no go, I had the thing pumped up to 100psi and it will not pop up on the bead area all around. I put on a face shield and welding gloves trying to seat these tires because I was waiting for the rim sidewall to blow out.
Its not a small area, its about a ten inch section of the tire that sits down in the spoke bed area that will not expand the tires are so tight on these rims I'm afraid the rims is going to bend.
Keep in mind I did try these tires on the old wheels, and they fit those without all the fight, so its the wheels that seem to be the problem. The tires are tight on the old rims but they do mount and inflate without any big ordeal.
I spent two hours fighting with the new rims last night and gave up.
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Old 08-14-20, 09:20 AM
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Yeah, been there, done that.


The best advice I can give you is to inflate slowly while checking the concentricity on both sides. if the tire starts seating wonky, pry then as close to concentric as possible with the tire pliers before adding more air.
You're not the only one.
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Old 08-14-20, 11:22 AM
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Just so I am understanding everything you've tried I want to repeat it back:
You're original Speedster with 26 X 1 3/8", S5 rims - the rims are worn and you recently acquired a ladies bike with the same size 26 X 1 3/8", S5 rims (I am assuming a breeze).
You had some older Carlisle tires in 26 X 1 3/8" S5/S6 you had stored and attempted to place those on the ladies wheels. They are tight and do not seat on the ladies wheels but fit perfect on the original wheels.
You then tried the worn tires that were on the original wheels on the ladies wheels and they were also tight and did not seat correctly.
You then went to your LBS and purchase a Kenda tire marked as 26 X 1 3/8 X 1 1/4, (ISO 37-590), but are marked as Schwinn S6 compatible. they are tighter on the ladies wheels and do not seat.
Then you measured the ladies wheel circumference and it measures 2 extra mm more than your original wheels.

Do I have all this correct?
Well I think you have found your problem if the ladies wheels have more circumference (material) than the original speedsters wheels. My only thought would be to get an actual correct new Kenda tire like my picture and try it (marked as 26 X 1 3/8" (ISO 37-597)) as I found that tire did not fit as tight as others. It might give you the room you need to fit onto the ladies wheels. Otherwise you might have to keep looking for some more wheels.

Out of curiosity, what were the ladies Uniroyal Chain tread tires marked as? Can you read them?
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Old 08-14-20, 01:29 PM
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I did a set of 597 tires last week, and heat was the answer to my problems. I did everything mentioned above, but no matter what, one section of bead on one side would not seat. I eventually set the wheels out in the hot sun for an hour or so, and when I came back to them, both tires were seated.

If you're not in a rush; keep them inflated to max pressure for a week or so, and hope they stretch a bit.
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Old 11-24-20, 03:02 AM
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I figured I'd post an update here, its been a couple months but after giving up on the Carlisle tires for a bit and just let them sit. I sprayed the bead and rim with silicone spray, installed a pair of thorn resistant tubes, mounted up the tires and tubes and inflated them to about 65 psi and let them hang there on a hook all this time. When I checked on them the other day, they were both fully seated on the rims like they should be.

The Uniroyal Chain tread tires were marked "Uniroyal Straight Side - 26x1 3/8" - Inflate to 45 pounds (under size lettering) - ('Fits Schwinn S5 & S6 Rims' written close to the bead along the opposite side only) ".
The chain tread tires were super tight, they were cracked pretty bad but I did try to just stick new tubes in them but couldn't get them to seat on the rim either. They were only rated at 45 psi and being in rough shape, I didn't want to risk over inflating them fearing they may just rip open. I listed them on CL as two dry rotted vintage tires and some guy gave me $20 for them, go figure? He said they were likely from the 50's.
The circumference measurement on the ladies bike's wheels and the original wheels is about 1/8" measured with a fiberglass tape. Its not enough to be a different size, and both rims are marked Schwinn S5, however the ladies bike wheels have more info stamped on the. The original wheels had only "Schwinn S-5 and 26x1 3/8" on them. The wheels off the ladies bike had all the markings stamped down the middle where the rim is serrated along the spoke bed, the original wheels were stamped outboard on the smooth part of the chrome like the rims pictured above.

I picked up another Speedster the other day off CL, its got what appears to be fairly new "Carlisle 26x1 3/8" 597 iso tires on it that are also marked SCHWINN in big letters on each side along with the normal Carlisle name. Never saw that before. They also have a narrow white modern Schwinn logo on one side near the psi markings. The "Schwinn" logo resembles the broken hash pattern decals used on late 80's model bikes. That bike is a 1972 according to the serial number. It makes the fifth Speedster in the stable ready to ride, and three more similar bikes awaiting my attention, a 61 Traveler, and a 56 Tourist, and another 1965 Speedster which someone spray painted with some cheap red paint, (so far, what spray paint I was able to remove has left near perfect original paint).
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Old 11-24-20, 05:06 AM
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I enjoyed this thread for the clear writing and evident patience of the contributors.
Although it is far from my usual collectables, I did pick up a '62 Traveler on CL from someone who clears out old houses.
The bike has Schwinn S-5's and the original tires. Rather cracked, but still holding air.
I set the bike aside without even cleaning it, but this thread was a caution that the tires must be preserved.
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Old 11-24-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Back in my bike shop days, we had one of these Bicycle Research persuader tools, specifically to use on Schwinn rims:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/223916412518
Ah, yes, the good ol' tar plar.
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