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Upgrade from Schwinn Paramount

Old 07-18-22, 06:22 AM
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timsch
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Upgrade from Schwinn Paramount

Hello All,

For about 20 years now I've had a 2nd hand Schwinn Paramount Series 9C PDG Carbon Fiber with all original components except the shifters and the Wolber TXPROFIL rims.
Occasionally I've thought about upgrading, but never did since it has always done me well. However, I've been looking again, but need to know what minimum I should be going for to be sure I'm getting significantly better than what I have.

I know it's a pretty open ended question, but what would you be looking for to replace this without breaking the bank. I'll be looking in the used market. Even a 15 year old bike is only half as old as mine is now. For example, a 2007 Trek Madone 5.5 w/ Dura Ace & Bontraeger Race-Lite wheels came up locally for $850 that I thought might be a good upgrade, but then realized I don't know enough about the Paramount to be sure.

Thanks.





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Old 07-18-22, 07:13 AM
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I think most participants in this forum will suggest you "upgrade" to a 1960s/70s Paramount!
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Old 07-18-22, 07:22 AM
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I think I'd upgrade my bike maintenance skills--especially in the cleaning department--before spending $$$ on a new bike.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:34 AM
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And install a headset cap lest you acquire a new aperture in your chest.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:43 AM
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LOL on the 1st response.

I'll agree that the maintenance is lacking (although I did recently wax the chain), as are the safety components. All that aside, the question still stands.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:52 AM
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I'd definitely look at the Trek Madone. The Dura Ace alone may be worth the price of admission.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:55 AM
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It depends on what you feel are the shortcomings of your current bike. Try riding a few newer bikes and see if the difference is worth the $. You might find that just a newer pair of wheels is sufficient.
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Old 07-18-22, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by timsch View Post
LOL on the 1st response.

I'll agree that the maintenance is lacking (although I did recently wax the chain), as are the safety components. All that aside, the question still stands.
I have routinely upgraded my bikes, and it usually starts by finding a deal on a donor bike. The "best" donor bikes were where I sold the remaining frameset for what I paid for the donor. At that point, we are talking "free" upgrade. Now I have never paid $850 for a donor.

So you are on the right track. I either look for something where the frame has value to offset the price, or I look for something that has high end parts, but a less desirable frame. Bought one donor bike where a guy left it on his roof rack and drove into the garage, destroying a nice CF frameset. So I got zero out of the frame. But the parts were a screaming bargain.

When looking for donor candidates, look at the parts: condition and model. I've bought some really "ugly" bikes to obtain great parts. I've even bought bikes for a single part I wanted, then "liberated" the rest of the parts for others. Bought an old Giant Cadex once just to get the Superbe Pro wheels.

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Old 07-18-22, 09:35 AM
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I hesitated on the Madone, and it's gone now. It would have been a pretty good find, I think. I'm just starting my search and am patient, so no big deal.

Upgrading is definitely an option. I'll keep that in mind and my eyes open.

I just weighed my bike. The front wheel with tire is 3.2#, rear w/ cassette & tire is 3.4#, and the remainder of the bike is 15#. It's flat land around here, so weight may be less of an issue here than in the mountains, other than wheels.
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Old 07-18-22, 11:18 AM
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An important question you need to ask is what you're solving with the upgrade. If it's just a shiny new bike then this question is easy We've all been there.

But do you want a bike that handles differently: more or less trail, longer wheelbase or chainstays? Longer or shorter top tube? That can take larger tires? Brazeons for fenders or a rack? Sloping top tube for better standover height? Super lightweight? Etc, etc. Ask yourself what you like and what you dislike about your frame to make sure the new bike is truly an upgrade.
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Old 07-18-22, 11:26 AM
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That stem
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Old 07-18-22, 11:43 AM
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I'm not unhappy with the bike. It's more like a situation of an older long-married man whose looking around seeing young fine looking things and just getting the itch. I just don't know how much are vast improvements since that time vs how much are just a new sheen. It may well be that the Kestrel frame and the compenents overall are as good as any these days, or at least close. That's why I'm reaching out to those who would have had more experience with a greater number of bikes. Some would say I'm monogamous to a fault, and that's true with bikes also. I don't ride with a group and don't have a number of friend's bikes of I could borrow.

Small differences in weight on all but rotating parts probably won't make much difference to me. The shifters & deraillers work without issue. All I want to get out of any change is efficiency. Regardless of the dirty bike pics, the internals of the bottom bracket have been cleaned, lubed & adjusted, as have other similar components. It's definitely not been neglected overall. Wheels turn freely even after all this time. I like the old bike and wouldn't necessarily get rid of it even if I got another. I understand that it is unique and was good quality at the time, and I really appreciate old stuff like that.
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Old 07-18-22, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
That stem
Dangerous, or just fugly??
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Old 07-18-22, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by timsch View Post
I'm not unhappy with the bike. It's more like a situation of an older long-married man whose looking around seeing young fine looking things and just getting the itch. I just don't know how much are vast improvements since that time vs how much are just a new sheen. .....

Small differences in weight on all but rotating parts probably won't make much difference to me. The shifters & deraillers work without issue. All I want to get out of any change is efficiency. ....
I'm still happy with 6 speed freewheels, so I might not be the person to listen to. Still, maybe you want to try a newer Ultegra system to get a wider range of gears and closer gear spacing?

Or just clean everything up, install new bar tape, new cables and housing, and maybe splurge on some really nice tires? That might be enough to get you excited about the bike again.

I'll admit that the stem was the first thing that caught my eye, in terms of the unfavorable aesthetics. A more classic stem might be appropriate, such as a Cinelli 1A or a Nitto Pearl.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 07-18-22, 12:02 PM
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If that bike works for you, might want to try something completely different. Gravel bike with disk brakes and electronic group (heresy as that sounds here)? Ti? I mean I get that modern carbon would be different too, but how about maximizing the differences?
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Old 07-18-22, 12:04 PM
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LOL, that $90 set of tires was my one splurge last year. I bought them because of the claimed rolling resistance improvement. I didn't notice any real difference. I thought beforehand that wind resistance dominates, but tried anyway.

I'll look into the other stems. IIRC, I may have bought that stem for the riser.
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Old 07-18-22, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
If that bike works for you, might want to try something completely different. Gravel bike with disk brakes and electronic group (heresy as that sounds here)? Ti? I mean I get that modern carbon would be different too, but how about maximizing the differences?
I'm not looking for variety, just efficiency for my weekly road rides of usually 30-50 miles. If I want something different, I'll hop on my old Specialized Enduro Pro like I always did in my previous life.
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Old 07-18-22, 12:38 PM
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What size are those tires? They look fairly meaty. The reason I ask is I think the article linked in this thread will give you an idea of what you can gain by moving to a more modern bike. The Steel '92 vs CF '22 performance test you've been waiting for The author found that the modern carbon bike was more comfortable over the stiff, small tire steel bike. It's comparing steel versus carbon, but I think you would have a similar change in ride quality if those tires on your Paramount are actually only 25c. You could keep an eye out for something that can fit 28c or even 32c and you would have a nice increase in comfort and less rolling resistance with the wider tires and accompanying lower tire pressures. Carbon technology has improved a lot in 30 years and a test ride will let you know if it's improved enough for you to justify a new bike. That said, if you are mostly looking for efficiency and not ride quality then most of the efficiency you can gain is via aero improvements and that's mostly in rider position.

If you actually like how your paramount rides, you can completely change how a bike feels by replacing old cables (I see a blown out ferrule on your rear derailleur cable), and/or replacing the groupeset, and getting some nice new carbon wheels. Hunt has some carbon aero wheels for about what you were going to spend on a new bike though they have a 25c minimum tire size and a 240 lbs weight limit (with an additional caveat that "If a rider is over 178lbs then an experienced bike mechanic should check the wheel regularly") https://us.huntbikewheels.com/produc...eep-27wide-949 There are also other lightweight carbon and alloy wheelsets out there that you could look at to replace that heavy-ish wheelset.
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Old 07-18-22, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by timsch View Post
Dangerous, or just fugly??
Potentially dangerous in a crash. I'm not sure it would take a core sample out of you the way unplugged bars might, but the rough/sharp edges could do some serious lacerating if you fall wrong or do an endo. Such injuries are not guaranteed, or even probably, but the risk is real enough and the solution is easy, so why take the risk?

Of course, the simple solution is just don't crash, but we don't always have control over that, do we?

As for upgrades, Piff is suggesting some very good questions to ask yourself. And yes, "I am having a roving eye and want something new and shiny" is a perfectly acceptable final conclusion (every one of us has been there, most more than once), but it's a good idea to be honest with yourself about it. It saves disappointment down the road, figuratively and literally.
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Old 07-18-22, 12:58 PM
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Improved ride quality can lead to better efficiency if you're less tired from absorbing the road buzz with your body.
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Old 07-18-22, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
What size are those tires? They look fairly meaty. The reason I ask is I think the article linked in this thread will give you an idea of what you can gain by moving to a more modern bike. The Steel '92 vs CF '22 performance test you've been waiting for The author found that the modern carbon bike was more comfortable over the stiff, small tire steel bike. It's comparing steel versus carbon, but I think you would have a similar change in ride quality if those tires on your Paramount are actually only 25c. You could keep an eye out for something that can fit 28c or even 32c and you would have a nice increase in comfort and less rolling resistance with the wider tires and accompanying lower tire pressures. Carbon technology has improved a lot in 30 years and a test ride will let you know if it's improved enough for you to justify a new bike. That said, if you are mostly looking for efficiency and not ride quality then most of the efficiency you can gain is via aero improvements and that's mostly in rider position.

If you actually like how your paramount rides, you can completely change how a bike feels by replacing old cables (I see a blown out ferrule on your rear derailleur cable), and/or replacing the groupeset, and getting some nice new carbon wheels. Hunt has some carbon aero wheels for about what you were going to spend on a new bike though they have a 25c minimum tire size and a 240 lbs weight limit (with an additional caveat that "If a rider is over 178lbs then an experienced bike mechanic should check the wheel regularly") https://us.huntbikewheels.com/produc...eep-27wide-949 There are also other lightweight carbon and alloy wheelsets out there that you could look at to replace that heavy-ish wheelset.
They are 700CC x 25c. I'm aware of new research on tire size and rolling resistance. I used to keep these at max psi, but recently dropped them from 120 to ~100 psi, which did make for a more comfortable ride.

I took a while to for me to believe that larger tire and lower pressure was more efficient. It'll probably take longer for me to believe that different cables can affect the feel....
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Old 07-18-22, 01:05 PM
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Anytime someone asks me about "upgrading" their bike; I ask them "How's the motor?". There's your real difference.
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Old 07-18-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
Anytime someone asks me about "upgrading" their bike; I ask them "How's the motor?". There's your real difference.
I've made the motor about as good as I can. I'm beating this old mule all the way to the grave.
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Old 07-18-22, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by timsch View Post
It'll probably take longer for me to believe that different cables can affect the feel....
Not sure if you are talking about ride feel or component feel. Ride feel won't be affected, but components work better with fresh cables and housing. Shifts are crisper and brakes are smoother/snappier. When's the last time you replaced yours?
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Old 07-18-22, 01:37 PM
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IMO, There is nothing wrong with Tri-Color.....get it tuned with new consumables and yes change the stem. Ride it in the conditions that you will most likely encounter and then access where you and the bike are and what if any "upgrades might be/are necessary.
Report back to what your impressions are.
Best, Ben
BTW, 850 for parts to upgrade would get you in the neighborhood of an earlier "P".....
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