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The 86/87 Schwinn Prelude Appreciation Society

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The 86/87 Schwinn Prelude Appreciation Society

Old 02-10-21, 01:47 PM
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bark_eater 
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The 86/87 Schwinn Prelude Appreciation Society

I've got slightly rough Schwinn Prelude in my collection. As it turns out its kind of a quirky bike in design and story. I'll flesh that all out later but for now I'm going to start of by linking all the threads I found down this little rabbit hole.

Still just a sketch but here we go..

When I picked this bike up, I thought it would be a similar to the Tempo and be a good 650b candidate. And then I noticed the low bottom bracket height and tucked the bike away for later consideration.
The bike has some real cosmetic issues and the worse case of rust worms under the paint I've seen, so it will really need paint or powder coat. That means that this bike will be a real investment of time and money for me to put back on the road as a personal keeper. For me that means that this bike would have to be in some way unique from the other bikes that I put my energy into. I hadn't realy thought about the bike for a while, but had an excuse to give it a good stare around the time Speedoflite posted the Bicycling magazine review and the discussion of the low bottom bracket was right there.

"Stability at speed is also enhanced by a 10 inch high bottom bracket. A few custom builders, notably Richard Sachs, prefer placing the pedals this close to the ground to lower a bikes center of mass, but we don't recall any other production bike with this low a dimension."

My frame is painted and equipped with 700c wheels as a 1987 bike but the serial numbers put it as manufactured in 1986 when the spec was for 27" wheels, which I assumed was the reason that different people had different results fitting larger tires too 1987 frames, either having plenty of clearance or maxing out at 28mm.

So with this review the low 10" high, 80mm bottom bracket drop is no longer a bug, but a "rare" Richard Sachs approved feature, and this bike took a giant step toward being a keeper with fresh paint..

But wait there's more... Doing a bit of digging the Prelude has a number of details that distinguish it from its contemporary's.

1.
80mm of Richard Sachs approved bottom bracket drop.

2.
Potential room for 32mm tires under fenders.
The mixed reviews are here:1987 Schwinn Prelude- how big a tire can it fit? Or Tempo/Super Sport knowledge too!
Abridged yet encouraging quote, taken out of context:
"Cool steel frame that fits 700x32 with fenders, definitely 35 and possibly 38 without. All with 57mm reach brakes. This is a really smooth riding frame,
Columbus Tenax (likely some combination of SL/SP) standard diameter tubing, 57cm seat and top tubes C-C. 700c or 27" wheels (originally 27"), 26.6 seat post, 22.2 quill stem, English BB".
-David KW on the iBOB group.

3.
72.5 degree's at the headtube and a 2.2 inch or 55.8 mm fork rake give a low mid trail.
Trail calculations:
25mm tire: 49mm 46mm mechanical
28mm tire: 50mm 47mm mechanical
32mm tire: 51mm 48mm mechanical
Which puts it at the lower end of "mid trail", with approximately 3mm more than the 1984 Trek 400 that is often referred to as "low trail"

4.
Columbus Tenax tubes..... A rabbits hole of its own. Proceed at you own risk. But yes that's one more cachet point for the Prelude.

So I've certainly convinced my self that the Prelude is idiosyncratic enough to restore and keep around. I think the bike does emulate the bikes from a decade prior, and that Tyler_fred's adaption is brilliant. Nothing to see here, just another Schwinn..

My initial thought is to morph it into a frenchified 700c Randonneus, but if it has the clearance I'd love to have a late 60's vibe bike with RH 700C x 35 Bon Jon Pass's. Now that would check enough cool bike boxes for me..













Road Test/Bike Review (1987) Buyers' Guide -- 3 Touring Models

Schwinn Prelude. What have I got here?

John's Bicycle Restorations: 1986 Schwinn Prelude Restoration

1987 Schwinn Prelude- how big a tire can it fit? Or Tempo/Super Sport knowledge too!

Nothing to see here, just another Schwinn..

Last edited by bark_eater; 02-11-21 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:28 PM
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Interesting that Bicycling Magazine declared a Prelude to be a touring bike. Odd more than interesting, really. It was a recreational road bike in every way. Side pull brakes, single eyelet for fenders, 2 bottle mounts, 2x road gearing.
I bought an '87 pink Prelude frameset of ebay half a decade ago and built it up a few different ways before eventually passing it along to a forum member who stripped the paint and made it something totally different.
- initially built as 2x6 with downtube shifters. Didnt use it much.
- modernized to 2x7 with microshift STI. Used it a bit more, but not much.
- single speed. Thought I would use it a lot and was dead wrong.

I really liked the pink color and it was a comfortable frame, but it was just stuck behind a couple of other road bikes for use and if I am not going to ride it, then I dont want it.


Here it is in singlespeed mode. Pretty relaxed geometry in the 25" largest size and it needed a different cockpit setup than my other road bikes to fit well.
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Old 02-10-21, 05:14 PM
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The Prelude is a great bike.
Just below the Tempo which is one of my favorite rides.
Very unheralded bike. It didn't...like most of the mid to late 80s Schwinns, get the respect they most certainly deserve.
Very nice
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Old 02-10-21, 05:56 PM
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I picked one up few years ago for 20$ Wheels were shot and all I had were 27 1/4. They fit and it still shifted without adjustment! The bike ended up on a trainer and thatís where itís been ever since.


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Old 02-10-21, 08:57 PM
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Found a 1987 in the alley during a "Covad walk". Was surprisingly nice and the gal I sold it to was happy. I swapped the brake calipers- the rear was damaged and they were dia-crap

as found




as sold

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Old 02-10-21, 09:39 PM
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Funny that this thread comes up now, as I have a 1986 Prelude that I just started buying parts for to upgrade (I shared a photo of it on the 80s Schwinn thread a couple of years ago). It is currently 100% original, except for the bar tape and tires. The wheels are crap. The Weinmanns are not true or properly tensioned, and the spoke eyelets are popping out. The spokes show corrosion. The wheels have just got to go.

And I'd love to add some indexed shifting and a few more gears on the cassette, a compact chain set, and some comfortable bars with flat ramps. I have some 9-speed components that I would like to use.

I am hoping to spread the rear triangle to accept 130 mm hubs fixed to a 700c wheel, with the hopes of buying more tire clearance. I would love to get 32s with fenders. 35s with fenders would be even better, but that might be pushing it. My current tires are 27x1-1/8, and there is a ton of room at both brakes. I think the chain stays will be the limiting factor.

Last edited by HarborBandS; 02-10-21 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemike73 View Post
The Prelude is a great bike.
Just below the Tempo which is one of my favorite rides.
Very unheralded bike. It didn't...like most of the mid to late 80s Schwinns, get the respect they most certainly deserve.
Very nice
It has a more relaxed head angle than the Tempo, so it's a bit of a different animal. It's what they used to call "sport touring", which might now be called an "endurance bike".

It's certainly not made for carrying heavy loads and lacks braze-ons for racks, but it's more relaxed and keeps a straight line better than the racier Tempo.
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Old 02-11-21, 07:38 AM
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My '87 in Midnight Mauve, upgraded in many ways.
I like it a lot, but I hate the 2" jumps in frame sizes. I feel like Goldilocks. From the riser stem you can see that the 21" frame is too small, but a 23" is too big. 22" would be just right, but not offered.

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Old 02-11-21, 08:14 AM
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Added a bit to my grade school level report on why the Prelude is cool...
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Old 02-11-21, 08:39 AM
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1986 Schwinn Prelude, size 23"
Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
2.
Potential room for 32mm tires under fenders.
The mixed reviews are here:1987 Schwinn Prelude- how big a tire can it fit? Or Tempo/Super Sport knowledge too!
Abridged yet encouraging quote, taken out of context:
"Cool steel frame that fits 700x32 with fenders, definitely 35 and possibly 38 without. All with 57mm reach brakes. This is a really smooth riding frame,
Columbus Tenax (likely some combination of SL/SP) standard diameter tubing, 57cm seat and top tubes C-C. 700c or 27" wheels (originally 27"), 26.6 seat post, 22.2 quill stem, English BB".
-David KW on the iBOB group.
I am very interested in this aspect of the Prelude. My 1986 has 27x1-1/8" tires on it now (basically 28s), and there is TONS of room everywhere. They are the cheap Continental Ultra Sports. I know that the narrow Weinmann rims cut down the width a bit, but I can't imagine that this bike wouldn't be able to fit 32s, even before converting it to 700c. And I gain 4mm by converting to 700c. So I really do think I might be able to get 35s in there.

It will depend on my rim and tire choice. I will probably be going with Rene Herse, and have not yet selected a new wheel set. The rim width may really come in to play.

One thing missing from the other discussions of tires fitting is the frame sizes. My frame is a 23". Perhaps other frame sizes have different tire clearance?

**EDIT** I just measured 12mm clearance up to the front and rear brake calipers (the mounting nut takes them a little lower than the bridge), and 7mm of clearance to the chain stays on each side. I might get more clearance at the brakes with different calipers. I am not anywhere near the seat tube or the chainstay fender mount bridge.

Last edited by HarborBandS; 02-11-21 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-11-21, 11:51 AM
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Nice ride, still enjoying the Amico Fidato. I just wish the dropout faces were chrome plated.
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Old 02-28-21, 06:18 PM
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Found this image from Ferrousious, of what looks like a 1986 frame showing plenty of clearance with 28mm tires under fenders.

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Old 06-22-21, 06:16 PM
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1986 Schwinn Prelude...

Bought a 23" metallic grey Prelude new in 1986, paid $309 for it. Found some NOS Suntour Cyclone brakes for it a couple years later. A couple years after that I bought an aluminum Trek 1200 and got rid of the Schwinn. BIG MISTAKE!!! I couldn't warm up to that newfangled aluminum stuff. Went back to steel with a full Campy Bianchi, which I still have. Sold the Trek.... Wish I still had that Prelude....
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