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A series of questions as regards the Schwinn Super Sport

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A series of questions as regards the Schwinn Super Sport

Old 06-12-21, 09:48 PM
  #51  
Jeff Wills
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Originally Posted by Figuarus View Post
Thanks for the link Jeff! I have done repaints in the past, and none of them have come close to show quality. That will help greatly.

I found a guy locally that had a Schwinn Continental with lights and both QR wheels. I picked it up for 50 and swapped my Super Sport wheels over. Now, I just have to clean everything up and get them trued and they should be good to go. I have some Continental road tires coming too. Hoping to see them by the end of this week.

Regarding paint, how many of you are purists in terms of preferring factory paint colors, VS repainting with custom colors/pain schemes?
It's a Schwinn, not a frickin' 1-of-15 Ferrari . Paint it any way you like.

I had Black Magic paint my Superior in a good simulation of the stock Flamboyant Green... and then went with 99% non-stock components: Green Superior | Flickr
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Old 06-12-21, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
It's a Schwinn, not a frickin' 1-of-15 Ferrari . Paint it any way you like.

I had Black Magic paint my Superior in a good simulation of the stock Flamboyant Green... and then went with 99% non-stock components: Green Superior | Flickr

Yeah I realize its not a RARE bike, but Ive already seemed to upset some on this board it seems.

Ive gone with a white base with olive green accents. Im polishing up the rest of the components.

That green superior is a SWEET ride by the way!
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Old 06-15-21, 09:10 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Figuarus View Post
Yeah I realize its not a RARE bike, but Ive already seemed to upset some on this board it seems.

Ive gone with a white base with olive green accents. Im polishing up the rest of the components.

That green superior is a SWEET ride by the way!
Thanks. It really is a sweet ride- it reminds me of my original Superior I had 40 years ago. I'd love to have the legs and lungs I had back then, too. C'est la vie...
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Old 06-16-21, 06:56 AM
  #54  
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Here is the mess before we started:



I consider Super Sports special or I would not have offered to fix Figuarus'. Right after it arrived, my frame building class student and I started the realignment process. It gave him an opportunity to learn how it is done. This was an extreme case. It took a lot of work because it was WAY our of alignment. I wanted to clear out the stub of the stem stuck into the steerer. Heat and a large wrench wouldn't make it budge so I melted it out with a rosebud tip on my oxypropane torch. I then sandblasted the residue out of the inside (and then did the whole fork) and used a hone to polish it to a smooth surface. Here is what is left of the melted stem:



The 1st alignment step was to squish the dropouts in a bench vise so they became flat again. Next we bent the fork blades so the dropouts are 100 mm apart instead of 140. That is the side to side adjustment. It actually took a lot of strength. I used the fork alignment tool I got from Johnny Berry's widow in 1975. He was one of the best of the best British builders before and after WWII. The bending is done outside of the fixture and put into it for checking. Next comes the front to back bending. The Super Sports have 2" of fork rake and I can measure the center of the dropout off of the fixture to get it just right. This is a back and forth form fixture to bench vise process that takes place many times. It can be exhausting because it takes a lot of muscle to bend but in a very controlled way. Here is Phil trying to bend them back into position:



Checking the results in Johnny's Berry's fork alignment fixture. My other fork fixtures are in the background.



The massive dents will be tackled with brass and filing today.



Once the dropouts are 50 mm equidistant from the fork's centerline and raked to exactly 2", the dropout faces are made parallel with dropout alignment tools. These are called "H" tools because Campagnolo used letters instead of numbers in their catalog to indicate their tools and that tool came after I and before J. The long handles of the tool provide the leverage to bend the dropouts until they are parallel to each other. Finally a true wheel is placed in the fork to see if it centered. In this case it did so one of the dropouts did not need to be filed to center it.


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Old 06-17-21, 05:54 AM
  #55  
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I'm officially declaring Figuarus the luckiest June 2021 C & V member. My present framebuilding class member wants to learn not only how to build steel bike frames but also how to restore/recondition/repaint them as well. The day before yesterday we realigned the Super Sport fork. Yesterday we repaired the big dents by filling them with melted brass and then filing that area to get the bumps out and finishing it with emery cloth. He is lucky because if I wasn't teaching a class, I wouldn't have the time it takes to finish his job.

After I removed all the paint by sandblasting, I melted brass (actually bronze but frame builders always say "brass"), into the big dents. I used my oxypropane set up with a Paige #3 multiport tip. Multiport tips for propane provide a very sharp flame less likely to blow out. I also used an oxygen concentrator to supply the oxygen. These are the units that keep grandma alive when her lungs need help. With them I don't have to run to the welding supply store for O2 bottle exchanges. Propane is much cheaper and way more convenient to buy and transport. There are lots of restrictions buying and transporting acetylene. By far my most read posts on framebuilding forums is how to use propane with an oxygen concentrator for brazing. There aren't enough framebuilders who have ever lived in the entire world to equal the number of views so somehow my how-to posts must come up in Google searches for replacing acetylene with propane. Here is a picture of the dents filled with brass.




Here is what the fork looks like after the brass has been filed and emeried.




Once I confirmed that threading was the same as any English fork, I used my Campy tool to remove the little damages to the threads that happen when the notched washer buggers them up a little bit over the years. Previously I had used a hone on the end of my drill to polish the inside of the steerer. I love that my primary vise had a former life in Manchester, England helping make bike frames since the 1930's. It will way outlive me too.
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Old 06-17-21, 06:43 AM
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Gawd...all that labor is worth far more than the bike will ever be!
I think that's what you call a "Labor of Love".
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Old 06-17-21, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
Gawd...all that labor is worth far more than the bike will ever be!
I think that's what you call a "Labor of Love".
It was a perfect project for teaching how this kind of restoration should be done (that arrived at just the right time). It takes practice to get a feel for how to bend steel just enough. A lot of force is needed but with a little too much and you have gone way too far. My student wasn't going to hurt this one .
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Old 06-18-21, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
It was a perfect project for teaching how this kind of restoration should be done (that arrived at just the right time).
Agree that it was a great teaching experience.
I'm just imagining how much that labor would be worth, especially from a person of your stature in the cycling world.
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Old 06-18-21, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
Agree that it was a great teaching experience. I'm just imagining how much that labor would be worth, especially from a person of your stature in the cycling world.
Well if you use the standard Midwest bike shop rate of $60 an hour, we probably worked on it for over 4 hours. Of course I could have done it faster if I wasn't hadn't been taking the time to explain the details of each step. For the filling and filing the brass, I did that all as a demonstration so no extra time was used there. I was delighted that I had a real world teaching tool to demonstrate fork alignment and dent removal.

I get many different types of framebuilding class students. Most want to explore the possibility of making frames in the future by building one in class to test their ability and interest. Some just want a hand in helping me design and braze a light weight steel frame to their specific requirements. My classes are typically 3 weeks long so there is enough time to practice brazing each joint (after I give a demonstration) before doing it for real. I continuously get students who have taken other 2 week classes and the instructor had to help them finish or they wouldn't get done before class was over. The rushed result leaves the student somewhat unsure how to build the next one so they sign up for a class from me.

The student that helped me with this frame had just retired (the 1st day of class was the 1st day of his retirement) and his goal is to make and paint and refurbish frames. He'll be doing 3 classes in a row with both me and him making frames together. And that instruction will later include painting the frames as well. I don't teach painting classes nearly as often but when I do it is usually to an experienced builder that wants to get more control over his product so he is not dependent on some other person to finish his work.

This June marked the 46th anniversary of me going to England to learn how to build and paint bicycle frames myself. There is never a week goes by that I don't remember how fortunate I was to have learned from a master builder and master painters. I have always felt some obligation to pass that information along. In addition my parents put me through college and graduate school to get the necessary degrees and certifications to become a teacher and I have to honor their investment in me by using those skills in helping train others.
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Old 06-19-21, 07:04 AM
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Ride quality

I find it very interesting that a master builder considers the Super Sport special. To most it is a boat anchor Schwinn. I purchased my 73 in 1975 just wanting something a bit nicer than your standard Varsity or Continental. The small town Schwinn dealer had a nice price on this barely used one. In my later years now and with just a bit more knowledge, I find the ride on that old bike to be wonderful. I even have one set up as an upright that is very pleasant.

Doug, perhaps you could quantify what it is that makes the SS special to you. Is there much that would differentiate it from something like a vintage Peugeot or similarly priced mid level bike of the era? Here in small town Midwest we bought what the bike shop had. Itís nice that these have stood the test of time.

Iíve been following this thread and the fork mishap. Alas, one donor bike frame that I stripped is one size smaller, or I would have offered the fork. This is a 72 frame, and I believe I posted it for free to anyone local or close by enough to meet up with. I love my Super Sports.
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Old 06-19-21, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
I find it very interesting that a master builder considers the Super Sport special. To most it is a boat anchor Schwinn. I purchased my 73 in 1975 just wanting something a bit nicer than your standard Varsity or Continental. The small town Schwinn dealer had a nice price on this barely used one. In my later years now and with just a bit more knowledge, I find the ride on that old bike to be wonderful. I even have one set up as an upright that is very pleasant.

Doug, perhaps you could quantify what it is that makes the SS special to you. Is there much that would differentiate it from something like a vintage Peugeot or similarly priced mid level bike of the era? Here in small town Midwest we bought what the bike shop had. Itís nice that these have stood the test of time.

Iíve been following this thread and the fork mishap. Alas, one donor bike frame that I stripped is one size smaller, or I would have offered the fork. This is a 72 frame, and I believe I posted it for free to anyone local or close by enough to meet up with. I love my Super Sports.
The value of a frame/bike to a collector is often related to its sentimental value not dollar value. My post #28 explains my history with SSs but my liking for them goes beyond just that my dad got me one when I was in college. It was only a couple of years after I got my SS that I bought a used Campy equipped Italian bike and the progression continued with an English Hetchins and an Italian Masi until finally I was making them. I consider the Super Sport to be the queen of basic 10 speeds. Like you indicated it was the bike Midwest shops carried in the 60's and 70's that was better than the gas pipes. In fact the frame is quite a bit better being fillet brazed. While they are not uncommon, there aren't that many of them either.

My appreciation for solidly built in Chicago Schwinns went up after we started doing this project to provide bicycles to pastors in Ukraine (Europe's poorest county according to some) 21 years ago. It started with donated bicycles that were mostly junk bikes sold at big box stores that were unrestorable. The old all steel Schwinns however could be taken apart and cleaned and put back together and they worked fine. The fact that most of the parts were made out of steel was an advantage because of their durability. Heavy yes but very durable. Perfect for a country that has a culture of rebuilding rather than replacing things. When the purpose of a bicycle is practical basic transportation instead of recreation, that shifts the requirements from what makes someone go fast to what is trouble free and reliable. What struck me watching thousands of commuters in the Netherlands is that they pedal at a walking effort so they don't arrive all sweaty and out of breath. Eventually we began to make the bicycles (including the frames) in Ukraine.

When I was in graduate school, I had a middle aged classmate (teachers would come back to get their Masters) that wanted to get a bicycle. This was right when the bike boom started and there was a sudden urge of interest. He wanted to get a decent bike and bought a Super Sport. He loved that bike and bicycling. It wasn't long before he wanted to upgrade and bought a Paramount. The Super Sport worked well for him but the Paramount did not. He didn't feel as secure on it. He went back to riding the Super Sport.
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Old 06-19-21, 09:45 AM
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Thanks Doug, and I had seen your postings on that before. I figured that as a frame builder you might comment as regards the geometry and such. Many of us don’t have a lot of comparisons, but it was interesting with your classmate reverting back to the SS from a paramount. An uneducated guess by me would be the SS is an economical attempt at some “sporty” handling but with durability and mass appeal in mind. Sorry to pester you if you are busy, and I find your outreach and experience to be one of the things that is so enjoyable in this community.
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Old 06-19-21, 09:52 PM
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Simply Fantattic. This thread and your explanations tick all the right boxes for me (as if my approval meant anything in the bicycle universe)!
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Old 06-20-21, 11:50 AM
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I really enjoyed reading this thread, especially as I do a good amount of riding on my two Supersports and with interest in the fork restoration process.

These bikes look a lot like the modest Continental, but for the oversized main tubes and (looking hard) better geometry (73x73 vs ~70x70, and with a normal, much lower bottom bracket height).

So the Supersport is truly a "supersport" compared to the Continental, thus potentially a real "sleeper".

Spirited club riding is no problem for me on my Supersports, but they are slow on acceleration at (a somewhat trimmed-down) 29.5 pounds and with not-so-short chainstays. Surprisingly though, they get the job done even with their .9lb kickstand and original cranksets (sans pie plates and with 1/2" clipless pedals along for the ride).

In particular, the Supersport frame has a much greater reach than the similar-looking ElectroForged bikes, meaning that they are easier for me to get fitted to without having to use a much longer stem.
Note that it's the slack 70-degree seat tube that steals nearly 3cm from the Continental/Varsity's frame's "reach" dimension (the actual top tube lengths being about normal for each given frame size).

Actually, the electroforged (Varsity, Continental) bikes would seem to be particularly problematic for relatively short-legged riders (with their super-high bb height and very short reach-to-stack ratio).

Hardly related, but I've also had Peugeot UO-9's from before and after their radical 1979 "Carbolite 103" redesign, and only the latter model really lived up to it's new "Super Sport" moniker (as with the Schwinns, it really came down to the frame's geometry).
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Old 06-25-21, 10:00 PM
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WHOA.

I've been out of town for a week or so and haven't been able to follow up on anything.

All I can say right now is WOW.

Doug, I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am that you were willing to take the time to make this happen. I'm just some random stranger on the internet, but you still took the time to help me out after my own bone-headedness put me in this situation. Everyone on this board really shows their dedication to vintage and classic bikes, and as was mentioned before, this really is a labor of love being done by Doug here.

I truly, truly appreciate all the effort and time you put into my fork Doug, and I cannot begin to thank you enough. I will have to send you something special to say thanks.

I hope I can live up to the expectation of getting this particular super sport into restored shape.
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