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80s Schwinn Sierra - New winter commuter

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80s Schwinn Sierra - New winter commuter

Old 01-10-11, 04:14 AM
  #1  
mkeller234
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80s Schwinn Sierra - New winter commuter

I got a nice deal on this Schwinn Sierra Saturday afternoon. I have been on the lookout for an affordable, quality rigid mountain bike for about 1 1/2 years... which surprises me. I assumed cheap, quality mountain bikes would be very easy to score. This one was a very good deal at $25.00. I actually felt guilty buying it, I think the seller was a college student and the bike used to be his father's.

From what I can tell, it's an 87 or 88 Schwinn Sierra. It's not painted, it looks anodized. Schwinn called it smoked chrome. It's got plenty of nicks and scratches but it's still a very attractive finish. My favorite part is the brownish orange anodized stem, it's pretty awesome.

The components all seem to be of reasonable quality, nothing really fancy. The wheels seem to be budget minded with FEMCO aluminum rims and Joy-Yu high flange hubs.

It came with the rack, blackburn bungee and cateye computer. All I need is a set of fenders and a bit of maintenance to get this into active commuter duty. I'd like to get some tires to replace the mismatched ones but I need to do some research first. The rear derailleur tab looks slightly tweaked so I will take it to the LBS this week and have it straightened.

This is my first good mountain bike and I am pretty excited about it. I have never used a Terry saddle before so I am going to give this one a try.

As found:



The crooked rack drove me nuts so I fixed that. I also rerouted the computer cable but that is not pictured.






Indexed 7 speed. This RD looks similar to the Shimano light action model, probably is.


Nice cable routing
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Old 01-10-11, 04:15 AM
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The sticker on these hubs resembles my much, much nicer Suntour cartridge hubs. These don't seem nearly as nice but they are cool looking.


Cheapie rims, I am guessing?



Going to give this cut out saddle a try. I don't know much else about it.




The other thumb lever is missing the cover. I think I will look for replacements, anyone have some?


I LOVE this anodized stem.


My first bike with Cantilever brakes.
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Old 01-10-11, 05:54 AM
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Great find at a great price! I've had some of those wide MTB rims on a few bikes, and while they really look out of place compared to today's narrow MTB rims, they never gave me any trouble. I like the look of the front hub as well.

Let me recommend Michelin Country Rock tires. Niagara has them on sale for about $14 on Amazon.



https://www.amazon.com/Michelin-Count.../dp/B000TH8OJS
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Old 01-10-11, 05:55 AM
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Nice score mkeller234 !

Now all you need is fenders and a toque to wear under your beanie.
Enjoy !


PS - pick up some Nokians too.
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Old 01-10-11, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Nice score mkeller234 !

Now all you need is fenders and a toque to wear under your beanie.
Enjoy !

PS - pick up some Nokians too.
I had to look "Toque" and "Nokians" up.

I wear one of these out in the cold:


I'm headed to the LBS today. After riding it, I can tell that I am going to need to replace the bearings. The headset likes to stick straight forward, it's definitely not been maintained. The front tire is the original Schwinn branded tire.
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Old 01-10-11, 09:48 AM
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Pretty confident you've got an 87 there.
Mine is an 88 and has the chain stay U brake.

I got mine for $30, frame, fork, headset with no bearings, both brakes and levers, and that's it, nice steal there for 25$ complete!
Looks like the 87 came built up a lot nicer than the 88 as well, though I never saw mine in its original condition, I do have a few of the original bits, and they're all hideous matt black rubbery Shimano Exage stuff.
From what I recall that stem is originally black and tends to fade into orange and ever lighter when left out in the sun too long, fade it a little further!

I really love that black chrome finish, its so damn pretty.
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Old 01-10-11, 09:58 AM
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Excellent score!!! Those canti brakes alone were worth the $25. The bike looks like it was kept indoors all the time, and is a fantastic example of its breed. Congrats!

Oh, and you can get Schwalbe "Land Cruiser" 26 x 2.0 mtb tires from wiggle.co.uk for like $12 each (free international shipping over $75). I have a set and they're fantastic dual-purpose tires (aggressive tread but smooth center line). Smooth on pavement, but capable off-road, and have Schwalbe's kevlar puncture protection. They would fill out those wide rims nicely.
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Old 01-10-11, 10:09 AM
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Have you thought about drop bars? I've been thinking of converting my very similar Univega Alpina Pro to drops and bar cons. Seat post over extended right now as I just took the bike off my workstand.

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Old 01-10-11, 10:30 AM
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Great find. I found a similar bike about two months ago, to use for my winter bike. They are heavy and slow, but work great for cold and wet rides. Slap some fenders on it and you will be set(I would recommend getting something with big mud-flaps, as mine don't have any and the dirt/mud still gets tossed on the bottom bracket).

This is mine, but since have changed to Crossroads Armidillo tires for commuting,utility rides.

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Old 01-10-11, 10:53 AM
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Thanks for all of the recommendations guys. I went out and bought some large Planet bike ATB fenders today. I have the same fenders on my other commuter and liked them.

@ Rob Glatfelter, I am pretty certain now about it being an 87. I found a catalog on flickr and it looks like a perfect match. The serial number seems to indicate that the frame was made late in 1986... probably for the 1987 sales year.

@ SouthpawBoston, Those Schwalbes sound great, I might end up getting those.

@wrk101, I thought about changing the bars, the risers feel odd since I have never used them. I thought about trekking bars or maybe mustache bars. That is something I might experiment with in the future after the winter and after other things like tires.

@RogerM, The fenders I bought do not have a mudflap but I am going to make one. I made one for my other commuter and it is awesome to have. I like watching all of the crud hit it, knowing that it isn't all over my chain rings. Here is the mud flap on my Lotus:
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Old 01-10-11, 12:24 PM
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It is an '87, but the 7-speed thumb shifters are newer. I always loved the smoked chrome. Below is a picture of my '85 Siera which is my most versital bike.

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Old 01-10-11, 01:00 PM
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Wow, nice find! Love that finish. Bike appears to be in very good shape.
IMHO, the riser bars can feel too high unless the pace is a simple cruise. Drop bars will require a short stem as the long TT will cause over extended reach to the hoods. I recently played around with a riser bar for my stepson's MTB. We rotated it to give him a drop and the angled grips were more comfortable to him. May want to try that with your riser, may give enough drop without having to swap that cool anodized stem. (yeah, I agree, it's a cool finish.)
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Old 01-10-11, 01:34 PM
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How did you fix the rear rack?
Looks like you picked up some different rack supports.
Great score at a super price.
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Old 01-10-11, 01:38 PM
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+1 To Trekking bars. I have gone that route in the past, and it is the thriftiest option that gives you multiple positions. I just picked up a set of trekking bars on a donor bike last week, maybe I'll try that first on the Univega. I put trekking bars on my 1992 Trek 950, and it worked out well.
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Old 01-10-11, 01:39 PM
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I picked up an 86 High Sierra earlier this year. I've been using it as my utility/bad weather bike. I absolutely love it.

I don't know if you've seen this link, but it lists all the specs for the early Schwinn MTB's by year & model - https://www.mombat.org/Schwinn_Specs.htm

I went with flipped mustache bars on mine. Here is a pic dressed up as my Christmas commuter:

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Old 01-10-11, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
I went out and bought some large Planet bike ATB fenders today. I have the same fenders on my other commuter and liked them.

@ SouthpawBoston, Those Schwalbes sound great, I might end up getting those.
I have the wide ATB PB fenders on this Cannondale rigid MTB, and the Schwalbe Land Cruisers will them out nicely. After this pic was taken, I extended the stock PB mudflaps with some plastic stiffener:

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Old 01-10-11, 01:55 PM
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I have a 1987 High Sierra in the same finish that has Suntour Rollercam brakes.

Photo here

Since those pictures were taken it has changed a lot and now wears a b-67 and some bullmoose bars. I also changed the cranks to road cranks in order to get better gearing.

I love mine, and I love that finish.
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Old 01-10-11, 01:56 PM
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Oh, and mine has a different tubing sticker, despite the same finish.
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Old 01-10-11, 04:14 PM
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I also have an 87 High Sierra in the lovely and lustrous Black Chrome.

Leave that stem out in the winter and see what happens.

No, I did not shine it or anything.


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Old 01-10-11, 05:13 PM
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These bikes look like they'd ride like a Raleigh Tourist. Do they?

Pastor Bob, darn, I wish I had seen that tire special earlier. I have a pair of Kendas I don't like much.
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Old 01-10-11, 06:51 PM
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spb...How are the Schwalbes in post snow/slush??? I need to swap the Serfas drifters off my Iron Horse that I pushed to winter duty. I have some Conti Traffics sitting here (not sure how good they are either), but could grab these Schwalbes at that price!

TIA

Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
I have the wide ATB PB fenders on this Cannondale rigid MTB, and the Schwalbe Land Cruisers will them out nicely. After this pic was taken, I extended the stock PB mudflaps with some plastic stiffener:

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Old 01-10-11, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by buldogge View Post
spb...How are the Schwalbes in post snow/slush??? I need to swap the Serfas drifters off my Iron Horse that I pushed to winter duty. I have some Conti Traffics sitting here (not sure how good they are either), but could grab these Schwalbes at that price!

TIA
Actually, these tires haven't seen slush yet. Let me get back to you after the big storm predicted for tomorrow night!

So far, they've only seen fresh snow and the dry crusted salty streets days later. On fresh snow (1/4 - 1/2" deep) they did fine. I predict they'll do great in slush, based on the saw-toothy shape of the center ridge. The knobs on either side of the center line only barely touch the ground when going straight, but they dig in when you lean into turns.
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Old 01-10-11, 07:13 PM
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We're getting the first parts of that storm right now.

Maybe I'll stick the Traffics on for now, as they have a "similar" design...

Let me know how they do...

TIA

Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
Actually, these tires haven't seen slush yet. Let me get back to you after the big storm predicted for tomorrow night!

So far, they've only seen fresh snow and the dry crusted salty streets days later. On fresh snow (1/4 - 1/2" deep) they did fine. I predict they'll do great in slush, based on the saw-toothy shape of the center ridge. The knobs on either side of the center line only barely touch the ground when going straight, but they dig in when you lean into turns.
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Old 01-10-11, 07:36 PM
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I too, just picked up a 1987 High Sierra in "Black Chrome", must be something in the air! Mine came with Deore 6 Speed and Suntour Roller cams. It is currently drying from a frame saver application and will be rebuilt shortly. Here is a crappy cell phone pic.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 01-10-11, 09:14 PM
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Crappy picture isn't so bad, and I like the bike a lot.

What kind of tire pressure is good for snow? Very low, I assume.

Tom
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