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Schwinn road bikes a are...insert answer here

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Schwinn road bikes a are...insert answer here

Old 12-26-09, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE
I think that the Paramounts of most eras and the Columbus Tenax bikes of the 80s were much more than average in quality. ...
(Emphasis added)

Ditto that. My '85 Super Le Tour with Columbus Tenax tubing is a joy to ride. And good looking enough to get compliments on club rides. Looking at where they were, in the middle of in the Schwinn lineup below the more "competition" oriented bikes, I can't help but think they must have been one of the great values of the time.

Of course, as has been pointed out, you could say those nice lugged Japanese bikes are Schwinns in name only. Schwinnasonic, perhaps?

BTW, not sure I read it here but: I've heard that some Tenax tubing used on Schwinns of that time was actually slightly blemished Columbus SL. Maybe that's why the Schwinn seems to weigh the same (just by feel) as my aluminum Giant OCR2.
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Old 12-26-09, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by chrispe
I like this whole arguing over the quality of lower end bikes thing. Especially since it seems like you guys are very passionate about it. It almost makes me want to see a thread comparing all of pros and cons of the common cheapo bikes. haha. Maybe a what bike for under 150$ or 200$ would you have bought during the 60s(or 70s) thread?
Well it's interesting because you have pick nits to really tell the differences between the brands. Schwinn may be at the top, but it's more of by a gnats hair than by a mile. When you're talking about the relative quality of American bikes, it's along the lines of "Huffy didn't use a lock nut on the front wheel bearing cones, but Ross did" there really are no giant gaps in quality, just little notches up and down here and there in different details.

But if we were talking about what cheap bikes we would buy in the 70s, an $80 budget might be more appropriate.
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Old 12-26-09, 06:29 PM
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I was out of the bike scene when those Tenax tube bikes were made. Could someone tell me about them? I have a Prelude I plan to fix up eventually and probably sell. I took it on a couple of short test rides, and it's quite impressive. Really, why would anyone want anything better? You could pay for finer materials, but it would hardly ride better. The Prelude is a racing-style bike with lively, nimble handling.

And what is Tenax tubing?
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Old 12-26-09, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I was out of the bike scene when those Tenax tube bikes were made. Could someone tell me about them? I have a Prelude I plan to fix up eventually and probably sell. I took it on a couple of short test rides, and it's quite impressive. Really, why would anyone want anything better? You could pay for finer materials, but it would hardly ride better. The Prelude is a racing-style bike with lively, nimble handling.

And what is Tenax tubing?
I have been told it is blemished Columbus SP. I have an 87 SS and love it. Rides as nice as any of my others.

Jake
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Old 12-26-09, 06:53 PM
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I think that Varsities and Continentals were built to suit a purpose, and that they did well. They were great bikes for 14 y.o. kids who would quickly destroy a Raleigh or Peugeot. They were designed to live up to the warranty that Schwinn boasted about.

Here's a comparison. In the 80's, I had a second hand Pinto station wagon. I bought it as a beater car, to drive to work and to the beach, etc. It was a simple, crude car with some good and bad qualities. I liked it, because it was in line with my expectations for it. It was not nearly as nice, refined or powerful as my Honda Accord was. My wife hated the Pinto, but she looked at it in a different light than I did. I think the same goes for E-F Schwinns. When I was a kid I wanted a Raleigh, but I tended to be pretty careful by kid standards with my bike. Some of my friends beat the you-know-what out of their Schwinns, and then brought them to me so I could fix them. I briefly had a Varsity as a teenager, but it was just a flipper that I rode briefly.
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Old 12-26-09, 07:11 PM
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I always find it odd when people talk about Schwinn's being the rich kid's bike. I grew up in a pretty middleclass neighborhood in the 60s and 70s. In the early 70's I had a POS Free Spirit hand me down that my uncle had given me. My friend Sid, whose parents were among the more affluent in the neighborhood, got a campus green Varsity. I really didn't see anything about that bike at the time that made me envious. It looked a lot like my Free Spirit. Of course I didn't know anything about electro forging at the time but I could see it didn't have lugs and back then I thought all good bikes should have lugs. It had no lugs, an Ashtabula crank, steel rims, and huge, ugly, pie plate sized spoke protector and chain guard. Just like me Free Spirit. When I was finally able to buy my own bike I considered Raleigh but eventually bought a Bottecchia. It had a lugged frame, aluminum rims, aluminum chain rings, even Campagnolo Nuovo Tipo hubs. It was the coolest bike in the neighborhood for many years after that and was still being ridden well into the mid-90s when I got hit by a truck. I don't think there were any American made Schwinns in the under $200 range that compared to it at the time.
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Old 12-26-09, 07:59 PM
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my favorite ride? I love my 87' travler.
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Old 12-26-09, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rabid Koala
I think that Varsities and Continentals were built to suit a purpose, and that they did well. They were great bikes for 14 y.o. kids who would quickly destroy a Raleigh or Peugeot. They were designed to live up to the warranty that Schwinn boasted about.

Here's a comparison. In the 80's, I had a second hand Pinto station wagon. I bought it as a beater car, to drive to work and to the beach, etc. It was a simple, crude car with some good and bad qualities. I liked it, because it was in line with my expectations for it. It was not nearly as nice, refined or powerful as my Honda Accord was. My wife hated the Pinto, but she looked at it in a different light than I did. I think the same goes for E-F Schwinns. When I was a kid I wanted a Raleigh, but I tended to be pretty careful by kid standards with my bike. Some of my friends beat the you-know-what out of their Schwinns, and then brought them to me so I could fix them. I briefly had a Varsity as a teenager, but it was just a flipper that I rode briefly.
And all these years later many Varsity's and other EF Schwinn frames are being upgraded and used as regular commuters and many converted to SS.
I just think it goes beyond plain old memory lane revisited... I believe that many people see them as a simple classic design that makes an effective platform to cheaply build upon. I don't know if they ever will be a true collectible worth more than a few dollars but people in some markets are willing to spend good money for them... for how long and to what degree remains to be seen I guess.
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Old 12-26-09, 08:31 PM
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Did I just read someone describe the virtues of a Pinto? Okay, I will take that comparison: Varsinentals were the Pintos of bikes. Except they did not explode when you spilled hot coffee on them.

As far as whether they served their purpose well, I have to disagree. But I suppose my complaint here is not specific to Schwinn. Seems to me, then and now, that what many casual riders want is simple, tough, single chainring, (possibly even IGH), reasonably light, stable, and non-dropbar. With emphasis on the last feature. Funny that it took the advent of MTBs, which kind of spawned the hybrid, to realize this. If hybrids would lose the silly boingy fork, then I think we are looking at what many casual riders want and need. Okay, so I have drifted here. So, to bring it back on-thread, I would say I partially blame Schwinn for shaping Americans into thinking that a "racing" bike is what they need to get to school. And having been scarred by that, we have now swung too far back in the other direction with hybrids that are too MTB-y than they need to be. Seems like it has taken us at least 40 years to work out what people want in a bike. And I blame Schwinn and their Varsity for a substantial part of that.

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Originally Posted by Rabid Koala
I think that Varsities and Continentals were built to suit a purpose, and that they did well. They were great bikes for 14 y.o. kids who would quickly destroy a Raleigh or Peugeot. They were designed to live up to the warranty that Schwinn boasted about.

Here's a comparison. In the 80's, I had a second hand Pinto station wagon. I bought it as a beater car, to drive to work and to the beach, etc. It was a simple, crude car with some good and bad qualities. I liked it, because it was in line with my expectations for it. It was not nearly as nice, refined or powerful as my Honda Accord was. My wife hated the Pinto, but she looked at it in a different light than I did. I think the same goes for E-F Schwinns. When I was a kid I wanted a Raleigh, but I tended to be pretty careful by kid standards with my bike. Some of my friends beat the you-know-what out of their Schwinns, and then brought them to me so I could fix them. I briefly had a Varsity as a teenager, but it was just a flipper that I rode briefly.
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Old 12-26-09, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
And what is Tenax tubing?
From what I gather is is butted cro-mo. When it was introduced, there was more demand than supply, so Columbus started to fill the orders with cosmetically rejected SP tubing. When Schwinn got wind of that, they bought it all. The "SP" tubing was probably only used in the mid to late '85 models.

See Tom Findley's catalog site for the models it was offered on. I had an '85 Super Sport that I thought highly of and my wife has an '85 Voyageur (my '85 Voyageur SP is made with a mix of Columbus SL and SP).

https://www.trfindley.com/pg_schwinn_cats.htm

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Old 12-26-09, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
I have to admit, I like it! Pretty cool conversion there!,,,,BD
Thanks. This is my first ever bike build from the frame up. I wasn't going to do such a big job at first. I just wanted some 700c wheels on there but the whole job just blew up from there...

The headtube was a real pain. Had to get some shims machined and pressed into the headtube so that it would properly take the iso headsets.
That shim almost cost a lot more than the headset...

But in the end, it was worth it. Its a nice ride...

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Old 12-27-09, 03:41 PM
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Schwinn bikes are.....not worth the money most are asking for them.
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Old 12-27-09, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
A beat Jaguar XK120.

-Kurt
No way. Wait for an XK-140. Better brakes, better cooling system...
Ok, just trying to start another debate.
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Old 12-27-09, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearonabike
Schwinn bikes are.....not worth the money most are asking for them.
Schwinn bikes are...Often underrated by most. EF aside...,,,,BD
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Old 12-27-09, 08:33 PM
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sure to provoke 4+ pages of discussion on BF C&V.
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Old 12-27-09, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin
No way. Wait for an XK-140. Better brakes, better cooling system...
Ok, just trying to start another debate.
Just get a Series 1.5 XKE and be done with it

-Kurt
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Old 12-28-09, 05:05 AM
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are getting more expensive by the day !
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Old 12-28-09, 06:18 AM
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I have had too many old cars, I'd rather have one of these.,,,,BD

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Old 12-28-09, 06:35 AM
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I think the Panasonic bikes, mainly the 11.8s and 12.2s will go up in Value along with all the underrated bikes of the 80s.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:21 AM
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Will be the bicycle of choice after the revolution/pandemic/catastrophic tipping point, due to durability and frequency of replacement parts.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by i-timy
Will be the bicycle of choice after the revolution/pandemic/catastrophic tipping point, due to durability and frequency of replacement parts.
Excepting tires and seat posts.
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Old 12-28-09, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Kurt,Looks like this controversy is larger than the one on the Schwinn Forum.This has turned into a "whats better" discussion where the Schwinn Forum was about if the Schwinn road bikes will be the next collectible Schwinn. Love the different opinions whether they are right or wrong.
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Old 12-28-09, 11:13 AM
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Opinions can't be right or wrong. Oh wait, you're pulling our legs with that remark.

I think I'll start some similar threads about Peugeots and Raleighs, which are the brands I might have the most experience with.
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Old 12-28-09, 12:01 PM
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I'm glad this thread grew some legs and prompted the remarks and discussion. Not for notoriety sake but because I as a rank amateur really was interested what experienced C/V riders/collectors thought about the subject. I'm sure that Varsity's and the like will gain value in the future but will of course never be a threat to the above mentioned higher tier models. In the end for people like me the Varsity is the best of all worlds...cheap enough to play with...tough enough to take abuse from a novice rider that will really ride them and still be a interesting model that always invokes conversations or comment both good and bad!
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Old 12-28-09, 12:08 PM
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....awesome!

gotta love that smooth brazed aluminum!



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