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Schwinn road bikes a are...insert answer here

Old 12-24-09, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
The EF bikes are low quality when judged by the ride but high quality when judged by the durability. That's what's unusual about them. They're crap to ride but if they're not abused, a mechanic will prefer them heavily over a department store bike.
You won't hear that from someone who has worked on the Weinmann sidepulls from a Varsity.

-Kurt
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Old 12-24-09, 09:45 PM
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What's an EF bike?

Personally, I'm not a fan of my Le Tour. It flexes like crazy and drives me nuts.

My Continental is my go to bike/favorite and is probably better suited for my size/weight/strenth.Besides it looks better even if it is a rattle can paint job.

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Old 12-24-09, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ilikebikes
If I go by what you guys are saying I would have to beleive my Japanese made series 5 Paramount is a piece of ****!?

Aside from a blue saddle, blue wrap, and round bars, it looks pretty nice to me and needs no changes?.,,,,BD
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Old 12-24-09, 10:07 PM
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Thanks, I'm gonna try a white seat before I go the "blue" route.
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Old 12-24-09, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by michael k
What's an EF bike?
EF = "electro-forged", i.e. the frames were welded together, rather than fillet brazed, which required very thick tubing. This is why they are so much heavier than lugged and brazed frames. Of course, EF Schwinns will probably still be around thousands of years from now.
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Old 12-24-09, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
You won't hear that from someone who has worked on the Weinmann sidepulls from a Varsity.

-Kurt

Those brakes are OK. In fact, I was surprised at how well they worked on the last Varsity I fixed up and sold. Of course, they had Kool Stop shoes.

Do those brakes give you trouble? There is a technique to centering them, you know. One of these days, I'll make a video how-to.
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Old 12-25-09, 12:42 AM
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Older Schwinns are ok. I like my 1970's Continental despite of the fact, I had to have a shim machined for the headtube and the Ashtabula bottom bracket.

I put on some nice Mavic wheels, STI shifters and some other nice parts...

https://ganwhat.blogspot.com/2009/11/blog-post.html
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Old 12-25-09, 02:07 AM
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Since we're on the subject: https://cgi.ebay.com/SCHWINN-BICYCLE-...item518cfb0a6d

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Not only is the price ridiculous - but - apparently "collegiate" spells "suburban"
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Old 12-25-09, 06:13 AM
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...the bike I wanted as a kid.

Having limited cash when I was growing up, I really wanted a Varsity, but at nearly $100 it was way out of my reach. I didn't even have any other 'good' bikes on my radar, since they cost even more. I have a matched pair of 1965 Varsities and an even earlier Contiential in the basement waiting to be be fixed up. I will keep them since they looks nice and for nostalgia. I don't see them appreciating and helping out with my retirement though.

The one nice Schwinn that I have right now is the Super Sport that I snagged off of ebay a few months ago.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-25-09, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by suntex01
Older Schwinns are ok. I like my 1970's Continental despite of the fact, I had to have a shim machined for the headtube and the Ashtabula bottom bracket.

I put on some nice Mavic wheels, STI shifters and some other nice parts...

https://ganwhat.blogspot.com/2009/11/blog-post.html
I have to admit, I like it! Pretty cool conversion there!,,,,BD
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Old 12-25-09, 12:28 PM
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I heard the frames alone actually weigh in about 12lbs? Thats super overkill if you ask me, I'd hate to have ridden one of those things growing up, then again I guess a mountain bike I had as an early teenager was probably between 35 and 40 pounds alltogether.

Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
EF = "electro-forged", i.e. the frames were welded together, rather than fillet brazed, which required very thick tubing. This is why they are so much heavier than lugged and brazed frames. Of course, EF Schwinns will probably still be around thousands of years from now.
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Old 12-25-09, 12:37 PM
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I commuted on my Super Sport last week before the snow storm hit. The ride is remarkably smooth, kind of like a Lincoln.



Neal
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Old 12-25-09, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I commuted on my Super Sport last week before the snow storm hit. The ride is remarkably smooth, kind of like a Lincoln.



Neal
Sweet Super Sport!
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Old 12-25-09, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Oh, and to answer the original question:



Crap, with a few exceptions. The Paramount and both generations of Superiors.

With all due respect, I still think that the fillet brazed Super Sports and Sports Tourers (along with the Sports Limited) remain in the "uncertain" category for their built-in kickstands. That said, I can't get myself to accept the Super Sport's Ashtabula BB shell as acceptable - adapter or not.

Mind you, I'm not excluding the LeTours, Voyageurs, or other nice lugged machines - but they were made for Schwinn by Japanese firms who knew what they were doing. Can you call them "Schwinns?" In name only.

-Kurt
I have an 80s Passage, which I'm told is the same thing as the Voyageur, except that it was handmade in the US.
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Old 12-25-09, 04:09 PM
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This is a silly thread. I have worked on Schwinns for over 20 years, sold them for several yeasr in the late '80s, own two..I think. Like nearly every other mega bike company, they made some good bikes, they made some awful ones, and they made some in the middle. The differece is that they were around long enough to do alot of things. For better or worse, they helped to define cycling in the US during the 50's. They sort rode this momentum for most of the 60's, but reacted to a large number of European bikes moving into the US by the late 60's. In they 70's, they split the difference between department store bikes and high-end racing bikes, making something for everyone. By the early 80's, the market had moved to sportier, lighter, faster, etc., they spent the first part of the '80s trying to catch up. By the mid to late 80's, they were making some very good bikes that I would put up against Peugeot, Centurion, Lotus, Univega, and others trying to span the breadth of the market. I think the main difference is that they had alot (too many) mid-range offerings that tended to define them in the market place, coupled with their '70's electro-forged battleships, such that their high-end line was not seriously considered by many. Then by the early 90's, the bottom fell out of the market, and Scwhinn as we knew them was gone.

Much has been written about how Schwinn rested too long on their reputation and made some business decisions that eventually sunk the company. I think there is more to it than that. They also had a large physical plant investment (and labor pool) in the US lingering from the days of old that wound up being somewhat of a millstone when compared to nearly every other broad-market brand that contracted the majority of thier production overseas. Such investments are not easy to get out of the system or off the books. Schwinn tried this, but got bit badly when Giant decided to enter the market on it's own. I think that was the last straw.

The fact is, they made some good bikes, they made some that should be forgotten, and they made ALOT of quality bikes which are not remarkable because of the volumes that they produced. Markets are funny things. If someone managed to get $500 for an old Varsity, well good for them. There is one borne every minute.
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Old 12-25-09, 04:15 PM
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I'm told is the same thing as the Voyageur
Not quite the same, but a fine bike regardless.
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Old 12-25-09, 04:29 PM
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I have never really liked Schwinn. Until, I spotted a 1980 Traveler for $15. This Japanese made bike is my size and it is going to get a newer Japanese drive train to boot. What should I use bar-end shifters or downtube clamp on type? I didn't like how they were made it fixies either.
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Old 12-25-09, 04:55 PM
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As a young teenager I put a few miles on one of the early Varsitys and it was a huge step up from my Monark middle weight. A close friend had a "gold" Schwinn road bike of the same vintage as the Varsity I road and it was a big step up from the Varsity with aluminum wheels and components. It weighed probably half of what the Varsity did but I do not know what model it was. I thought it was a Conti but........??? I have a Columbus tubed Prelude frame in the shop and it is a real nice frame and I would be riding it but it is just too big at 62cm. Is a Varsity or Conti a high quality bike,,,,no, but if I was not able to own a quality alloy steel frame or aluminum frame you can bet that I would be on a 'EF' Schwinn. They ride just fine, just too heavy and too long of a wheel base.
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Old 12-25-09, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by divineAndbright
I heard the frames alone actually weigh in about 12lbs? Thats super overkill if you ask me, I'd hate to have ridden one of those things growing up, then again I guess a mountain bike I had as an early teenager was probably between 35 and 40 pounds alltogether.
I haven't weighed one, but that sounds plausible. You have to take a Varsity apart to believe it. Each individual Schwinn-made component is immensely heavy, each for a reason. The Ashtabula style cranks are heavier than those on department store bikes. Perhaps the most impressively heavy components are the handlebars and stem. They seem gratuitously heavy, until you consider what it's good for. I have a department store bike whose heavy steel stem is bent to the side, clearly from a terrific collision. I can't quite comprehend what teenagers do on their bikes, and I'm probably better off that way.

Balindamood, very good post. If Schwinn had seen the handwriting on the walls well in advance, they still could not have adapted. I worked at Lucent Technologies when it tried to become an outsourcing paper company. It was a failure, because we knew how to manage our own factories but not external suppliers.
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Old 12-26-09, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ilikebikes
If I go by what you guys are saying I would have to beleive my Japanese made series 5 Paramount is a piece of ****!?

What kind of bars are you rocking?
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Old 12-26-09, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I haven't weighed one, but that sounds plausible. You have to take a Varsity apart to believe it. Each individual Schwinn-made component is immensely heavy, each for a reason. The Ashtabula style cranks are heavier than those on department store bikes. Perhaps the most impressively heavy components are the handlebars and stem. They seem gratuitously heavy, until you consider what it's good for. I have a department store bike whose heavy steel stem is bent to the side, clearly from a terrific collision. I can't quite comprehend what teenagers do on their bikes, and I'm probably better off that way.
Don't forget Schwinn's preference for a solid forged fork either. Some of the weight on Schwinn's IS just gratuitous, because they believed that heaviness reinforced perceptions of quality. The chain guards for instance are definitely thicker than they need to be - the mounting brackets almost comically so.

Kind of makes me wonder why they even bothered with the alloy weinmanns... personality crisis?
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Old 12-26-09, 04:51 AM
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Schwinn Are: Bikes that kids were lucky to have your Dad or Mom buy you, years ago, instead of a Columbia. Back then (1960's to 70's) they were respectable machine. A step down a Raleigh - miles over the one's below.
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Old 12-26-09, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007
Schwinn Are: Bikes that kids were lucky to have your Dad or Mom buy you, years ago, instead of a Columbia. Back then (1960's to 70's) they were respectable machine. A step down a Raleigh - miles over the one's below.
I'll have to disagree (slightly), the only technical difference of any importance between Columbia and Schwinn was that Schwinn used more balls in the headset bearings than Columbia (or any other U.S. maker). - Schwinn used 17 balls per bearing, and Columbia and others used 15. Raleigh (I think) used 20 or 21.

What sets Columbia and Schwinn bearings apart from other American companies is that the bearing surfaces are curved to give a larger contact area for the balls. In other U.S. brands the cones and races are flat, and commonly you'll find that they show impact damage.

Schwinn also did a neat little trick where the top bearing in the headset was upside down - this kept water from entering the bearings.

Schwinn and Columbia also sourced a lot of parts from the same companies too - Union (German) made Pedals, Weinmann brakes, Huret derailleurs etc. (actually, Columbia originally started out using Simplex, then followed Schwinn to Huret, which I feel was a step in the wrong direction).

Objectively Columbia was only ever a notch below Schwinn. Although if you care about weight, then maybe Columbia comes out a notch ahead - in addition Schwinn stuck to forged forks, when tubular blades offered a lighter, better riding fork.

I'll have to say that even Murray and Huffy made some acceptable bikes. Disregarding their inferior bearings and other minor detail differences - I'd rather ride around on one of Murray's hydrogen brazed frames than one of Schwinn's electro-forged frames any day.
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Old 12-26-09, 09:02 AM
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Like others said, Schwinns were always more expensive than Sears,Western Auto and other bikes in the 50's 60's. It was a real treat for a kid to get a Schwinn-you didn't have to be rich, but they were expensive.

In 1968-69 the more affluent kids in college had Varsities-which were about $150 I think.Schwinn had some sort of agreement with its dealers-THEY ABSOLUTELY WEREN'T ALLOWED TO DISCOUNT-THEY HAD TO SELL FOR MSRP.
In 1970 I spent lots of time at a local bike shop in Baton Rouge. They showed me a $300 "chrome framed' bike with tubular tires. Like a fool I thought it was too expensive.Heck it was only 2x a Varsity, and it was literally about 1/2 the weight-maybe 23 lbs or so vs 40 lbs. I finally bought a POS KOLKOFF (a cheapo W est German bike) which dropped me one day when a chain stay brake at the BB(yes,I got it welded back for $5). 3 years later-1973-I paid $330 for a Bottechia Pro -double butted tubes Campy record crank, derailleurs, headset, but Universal ??63, 53 (I can't remember center pull brakes-didn't work very well).
Guess I should have bought that overpriced "Chrome frame Schwinn"-might have been full Campy-certainly lots of Campagnolo, but I had no idea who Campagnolo was then.

Around here there are some flippers getting $200 for Varsities etc. The 80's Asian bikes with Chrome Moly frames are better bikes,and usually cheaper. Yes, there are plenty of "collectible" Schwinns being CL here- but the prices are high.
I don't think the prices will ever be high.The buyers are baby boomers and the generation after them. The lure of hauling a 40 lbs bike up stairs fades after a few rides-especially for 40-50 -60 yo riders.

Just haul one up the stairs a few times- it will tell you all you need to know about future prices. Try to hang it on the upper rung of your bike rack-NO FUN, RIGHT!!
A 10-18 yo kid didn't care what a bike weighed-the rest of us do.It had little to do with speed or climbing-except climbing stairs with that hunk of steel..

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Old 12-26-09, 09:52 AM
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I have to say in the Huffy, Murry and Columbia bikes I have seen, the frames seem far inferior to the EF Schwinn frames. Sure the EF frames were really heavy but they were solid.

Originally Posted by Mos6502
I'll have to disagree (slightly), the only technical difference of any importance between Columbia and Schwinn was that Schwinn used more balls in the headset bearings than Columbia (or any other U.S. maker). - Schwinn used 17 balls per bearing, and Columbia and others used 15. Raleigh (I think) used 20 or 21.

What sets Columbia and Schwinn bearings apart from other American companies is that the bearing surfaces are curved to give a larger contact area for the balls. In other U.S. brands the cones and races are flat, and commonly you'll find that they show impact damage.

Schwinn also did a neat little trick where the top bearing in the headset was upside down - this kept water from entering the bearings.

Schwinn and Columbia also sourced a lot of parts from the same companies too - Union (German) made Pedals, Weinmann brakes, Huret derailleurs etc. (actually, Columbia originally started out using Simplex, then followed Schwinn to Huret, which I feel was a step in the wrong direction).

Objectively Columbia was only ever a notch below Schwinn. Although if you care about weight, then maybe Columbia comes out a notch ahead - in addition Schwinn stuck to forged forks, when tubular blades offered a lighter, better riding fork.

I'll have to say that even Murray and Huffy made some acceptable bikes. Disregarding their inferior bearings and other minor detail differences - I'd rather ride around on one of Murray's hydrogen brazed frames than one of Schwinn's electro-forged frames any day.
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