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Bicycling magazine April 1978: RAGBRAI, Why Racers Race, Schwinn Superior

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Bicycling magazine April 1978: RAGBRAI, Why Racers Race, Schwinn Superior

Old 05-03-21, 07:25 AM
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steelbikeguy
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Bicycling magazine April 1978: RAGBRAI, Why Racers Race, Schwinn Superior

Sure, you remember April 1978 as the month when Dallas debuted on CBS, but do you remember that it was also the month when Bicycling had articles about Frank Berto's ultimate city bike, RAGBRAI, the Schwinn Superior, and The Bicycling Ernsts?

naturally there was more stuff in that issue, as you can see from the table of contents. If there are additional article or advertisements that you'd like to see posted, let me know.



A report on RAGBRAI, the ride across Iowa organized by the Des Moines Register. This was just a handful of years after the ride started as two reporters just riding across the state.





Owen Mulholland wrote a series of articles on the classic races, and in this issue, discusses "why racers race".





a road test on the Schwinn Superior....




more in the next post.....

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-03-21, 07:25 AM
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and a report on the Bicycling Ernsts. The Ernst family has been involved in racing and running a bike shop since Ted Ernst Sr. emigrated from Germany in the 1920's.








Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-03-21, 02:52 PM
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Unfortunate reference, Ralph Therrio died right about his 68th birthday this year in January.
At first I was not sure as some of the dates were goofed.

Had the opportunity to train with him on PCH after work in the mid 70's.
Strong rider, had the nickname "Crazyhorse"
Smart rider too, at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix one year, Ron Skarin won in a late solo break, Therrio was a bit back, finishing second.
Ralph scooped up Ron's hairnet helmet that had been flung up and out of his hand in elation of the impending victory, good thing too as the pack sprinting for third was close behind and that helmet would have caused mayhem.
Think if you could reach down within 2" of the road at speed and snatched that up, impressive.
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Old 05-03-21, 06:08 PM
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just for fun.. let me post a few of my favorite advertisements. These were the pages that got my attention and created subtle desires and cravings. Some of those marketing folks earned their pay!

SunTour Superbe... maybe the first generation?

high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...b01113_k_d.jpg

The Exxon Graftek frame. The first (that I recall) frame using carbon fiber. Granted, it was just carbon fiber wrapped around aluminum tubing, so who knows how much difference it made. Still, this was clearly the cutting edge technology for bike frames in that era!

high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...87c79d_k_d.jpg

Shimano 600 components.
The three arm crankset seems rather unique now, but there was also a three arm crank by T.A. (seen on Raleigh Competitions) and the Campy Gran Sport (which replaced the T.A. cranks on the Competition when it became the Competition G.S.)
The Uniglide chain certainly hints at the coming technology of indexed shifting, but those downtube levers don't appear to be indexed.
The centerpull brake calipers used a link to avoid the use of a separate transverse cable.
I owned a set of the Shimano 600 hubs, and they were nothing fancy, but certainly nicer than the Normandy and low-end Sunshine hubs of the day.

high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...dd3b5e_k_d.jpg

a side note regarding the Shimano 600 ad: why do people in advertisements always work on their bikes in the oddest way? Has anyone ever gotten behind the centerpull brakes in order to adjust them? The only answer I can think of is that it allows the viewer to see what is going on.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-04-21, 12:30 AM
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Oh, those Uniglide chains... I went through several because they seemed to stretch quickly.

Maybe it was those bulged sideplates straightening under the massive cranking power I had back then... (cranking torque, baby!)



then again, maybe not...


.
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Old 05-04-21, 08:25 AM
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Love the RAGBRAI article. I rode it in 1978 for the first of several times. Such fun! When I rode it most recently in 2012 after a 27-year break, it was little like those simple and carefree early versions.
Thanks for posting!
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Old 05-04-21, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by drpaddle View Post
Love the RAGBRAI article. I rode it in 1978 for the first of several times. Such fun! When I rode it most recently in 2012 after a 27-year break, it was little like those simple and carefree early versions.
Thanks for posting!
I first rode RAGBRAI in 1980, and then again in '81. Yeah... it was a very different ride than what it is now! Back then, it was mostly just Iowans getting the Schwinn Varsity out of the basement/barn and going out to see the state. I had bike shorts and cleated shoes, and was often asked "are you a bike racer?", just because that specialized clothing was so uncommon. Farmers would sit out on their porch and wave to the riders going by. No one was in shape and/or had low gears, so it was common for folks to walk their bikes up the hills.
Yep... very different from the last one I rode, circa 2010.

Steve in Peoria (but grew up in Iowa)
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Old 05-04-21, 08:51 AM
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Pretty cool to read the road test review of the Schwinn Superior written by none other than Gary Fisher! "The Superior is strong, stiff and designed for bigger riders, such as those over 150 pounds." Holy cow! I think I might be officially in the "bigger rider" category. Is there a dieting or weight loss thread somewhere on BF?
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Old 05-04-21, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Oh, those Uniglide chains... I went through several because they seemed to stretch quickly.

Maybe it was those bulged sideplates straightening under the massive cranking power I had back then... (cranking torque, baby!)



then again, maybe not...


.
In 1975, I was given a chain and freewheel to test for a month. I took they off after three weeks. Started skipping, when the Shimano engineers came back to pick the parts up I advised them.
Not pleased, but I mentioned I had close to 750 miles on them, but that was enough. I was not asked to do any follow up destructive testing.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:02 AM
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The Q-1 Graphite frame, what's the story behind that? And was it like carbon fiber or different?
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Old 05-04-21, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
The Q-1 Graphite frame, what's the story behind that? And was it like carbon fiber or different?
by chance, I've got a great article from Bicycle Guide magazine that delved into the history and lore of the frame....


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4804/4...4e47b1_k_d.jpg


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4875/4...b7015c_k_d.jpg


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4832/3...35ff3a_k_d.jpg


Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-04-21, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
In 1975, I was given a chain and freewheel to test for a month. I took they off after three weeks. Started skipping, when the Shimano engineers came back to pick the parts up I advised them.
Not pleased, but I mentioned I had close to 750 miles on them, but that was enough. I was not asked to do any follow up destructive testing.
I was only getting less than 2000 miles out of them - back then in '76/77, that only took six-eight weeks. I was routinely riding 75 miles/day 5-6 days/week.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:41 AM
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Thank you so much! It's interesting to read how the main short coming was the geometry. And what happens when you move factory's and how the local skill source can drastically effect the reliability of the product. You can see where companies like Look were maybe able to see how to take a technology and where it failed and improve on it.
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Old 05-04-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
Thank you so much! It's interesting to read how the main short coming was the geometry. And what happens when you move factory's and how the local skill source can drastically effect the reliability of the product. You can see where companies like Look were maybe able to see how to take a technology and where it failed and improve on it.
Like a lot of cases where a new technology is introduced, it can take a while to figure out the limits of the technology and the processes needed to manufacture it. There is an urge to get the product out to market quickly, but there should also be someone saying "whoa... we need to do proper validation testing first". Finding the right balance between getting to market quickly and getting all of the bugs out isn't easy.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-04-21, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
by chance, I've got a great article from Bicycle Guide magazine that delved into the history and lore of the frame....


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4804/4...4e47b1_k_d.jpg


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4875/4...b7015c_k_d.jpg


high resolution: https://live.staticflickr.com/4832/3...35ff3a_k_d.jpg


Steve in Peoria
actually there was a better carbon bike before the Lineseeker or Graftek
out of San Diego, Graphite USA, the speedplay museum has the images, oversized tubing, welded up aluminum lugs.
Undercapitalized. Poof.
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Old 05-04-21, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fettsvenska View Post
Pretty cool to read the road test review of the Schwinn Superior written by none other than Gary Fisher! "The Superior is strong, stiff and designed for bigger riders, such as those over 150 pounds." Holy cow! I think I might be officially in the "bigger rider" category. Is there a dieting or weight loss thread somewhere on BF?
I might have been 180 pounds back when I had my first Schwinn Superior- a shop leftover 1978 model bought in 1979. I liked that bike, except the Nervar cranks were apparently made of brie. They bent if you looked at them funny. I eventually set up the bike with a Shimano Deore crank- the first generation with Dyna Drive pedals.

I now have a green Superior that I rebuilt with first generation XTR. I rode it for a few miles today- it's stiff and responsive. Stiff is a good thing considering I'm 60 pounds heavier than I was 40 years ago.
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