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Schwinn 754 improvement suggestions

Old 12-10-11, 08:56 PM
  #1  
zbo2amt
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Schwinn 754 improvement suggestions

I've got a late 80s-early 90s Schwinn 754 Aluminum with the Paramount stickers on it. It's in rideable shape as I've taken it out for 30-40 mile rides during the summer for the past several years. It's the only bike I've got.

The problem is, I find that it fits me great, except for the bar height/riding position. So I got to thinking about raising the bars up higher to keep from getting a really sore neck and tight shoulders after about 7-10 miles. Then when I started thinking about that, I starting thinking about how much I HATE the downtube shifters.

I thought I'd love to have an old but reliable set of brifters on it, but the 7 speed GPX freewheel and drivetrain may limit my options on shifters. And I don't really feel like dishing out several hundred bones to replace the crankset, FD, RD, BB, cogset and who knows what else to get shifters where I can reach them quickly and comfortably.

And since there are some paint/small rusting/corrosion spots, I heard some people have had their frames powdercoated. That would be a sweet change to freshen up this baby.

This bike has the quill stem and quill seatpost. I've seen the quill stem to threadless adaptors. The seatpost is solid save for one small stress crack near the top which has been there since I bought it about 8 years ago. But it feels like it weighs about 8 pounds alone.

I want to use it to start riding it to work but still leave it capable to do a friendly longer ride on the weekend with some buddies.

I thought about buying a new bike altogether, around 500-600 bucks, but figured I may be getting worse quality than I already have. And I don't really have that kind of money anyway.

So I thought "why not fix the bike I have to get what I want? It may be cheaper and easier."

So is this bike worth the work? I don't want to spend more than a couple hundred bucks total, but not sure which way to go with it.

I've considered adding flat or risers bars to it, but that would compromise the hand positions on the longer weekend rides, necessitating the need for another bike. But a flat bar bike would accommodate some Shimano trigger shifters more easily without changing out the rest of the drivetrain (I assume).

So what do you think I should do with it?

https://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/...20road%20bike/
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Old 12-10-11, 09:40 PM
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A replacement quill seatpost will cost you what the bike is worth, so baby it. Replacement is not really a viable option. Last time I needed one, I bought a COMPLETE bike just to get one.

Barcons are a good thrifty option. Thriftier yet are stem shifters, not the prettiest in the world, but cheap and functional. Seven speed STI levers are going high. I have used 8 speed STI on 7 speed bikes before, limiting out the highest (small sprocket) gear. Or at least that is what I recall doing.

Forget the repaint, that will consume half your budget alone, and not give you any performance improvement.

Note, around here, a nice modern USED bike is not going to cost you $500 to $600. Should be able to find a nice STI bike (RX100 level or similar) in the $300 to $350 range. I've bought several under that price range, but they were deals.

This guy on ebay sells one occasionally for over $150 (this one did not sell). Or go with a Campy version for $390 (it did not sell either this time). I watch for quill stem auctions, and they eventually do sell, for a lot.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/American-Cla...item3cbddc975d

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Campagnolo-R...item2a1643596c

Last edited by wrk101; 12-11-11 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 12-10-11, 10:10 PM
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I recall a thread a while back where a member made a quill seatpost from an SR Laprade I believe...maybe someone will remember it or I can Google it up.

EDIT: It was Grand Bois: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post12890293
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Old 12-10-11, 10:24 PM
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Quill seatpost, Bill? Is that what you meant? If that's the case...yes, they can be hard to find. A few people have made their own though.
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Old 12-10-11, 10:36 PM
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I'm actually not worried about the quill seatpost as it has held up like a champ for the several years I've had it. I am mostly wondering about my options in switching the shifting around and whether the current suntour FD and RD will be accepting of change. The shifting is good now on the downtube, but I just hate having to take my hands off the bars to shift.

Would switching out the bars for straight ones or riser bars just be a sacrilege? I thought about bullhorn bars with the brakes and barcons on the ends. That would give me more grip options. Or should I just rise them up with a new stem and call it a day?
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Old 12-10-11, 10:41 PM
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And as for the paint job, not sure if you can tell, but the bottom half of the top tube is pretty much bare aluminum. Come to think of it, it's been bare since I bought it in 2004 or 2005. I think I felt a little oxidation on it, or maybe just dust, but it worries me a little. And I had just a touch of rusting on the fork that I sanded off and covered with some white appliance epoxy that seems to be okay for the short term. Not sure how long it will last.
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Old 12-11-11, 04:08 AM
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A Nitto Technomic stem can be an inexpensive way to raise the bars.

Since you are running a 7 speed Shimano freewheel, 7 speed Sora or other Shimano STI shifters will work.
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Old 12-11-11, 07:12 AM
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I've had bad luck with Suntour FD accepting STI. Just assume you will have to replace both the front and rear derailleurs from a budgeting standpoint. +1 Nitto stem is a great way to go.

Typo on quill stem, meant seat post.

Any project with me at least starts with a budget. Almost anything is possible, but each change costs more $$. And the other question is who will do the work. Setting up used shifters can be a bit of a headache. Realize that most 7 speed STI shifters are going to be 10 to 15 years old.

Last edited by wrk101; 12-11-11 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 12-11-11, 08:42 AM
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OK, I'm no expert. I have, though, converted 7-sp GPX to STI, and I've had the 6-series version of your bike.

1-The quill seatpost. If yours works, keep it.
Otherwise, you have two options: a-modify your frame or b-modify a seatpost.
a-You can modify the frame by slotting the back (be sure to keyhole the bottom),
filing down the seat tube top, and using a MTB-type clamp.
b-You can modify a seatpost by drilling straight down through the top, sawing the bottom off at an angle,
and use your bolt and wedge.
I honestly don't think either option is preferable to simply using the post you have.
I modified mine because my seatpost was the type without a cradle.
I ended up having a machine shop drill the hole, for $30.
I also modified the frame because I didn't trust the seatpost.
I lost the clean look but felt better about my "safety."

2-Fit on the stem. You may not need any alterations, but if you get fit properly, you may.
You have two options if you raise the stem.
a-Quill by Technomic. I have one here that belongs to ColonelJLloyd, but it's stuck in a Saint Tropez frame.
They're out there.
b-Quill adapter and then one of those adustable stems.
They're everywhere, and I think I know where one of those is, too.

3-Upgrade shifters. Wild Bill is right, and there are many options.
a-First, you have to swap the Suntour freewheel for a Shimano. Very reasonable cost, and has to be done. $30
b-7-sp brifters are only in Sora (very reasonable for a R one, and then look for about any L brifter),
or RSX (cost more, but worth it IMO).
c-8-sp brifters (RX100, RSX, 105, 600, Sora). Plentiful and reasonable and will work, you'll just have a dead shift.

4. Adjust the RD and FD. They will work with the brifters, but you have to really adjust them right.
Expect minor FD rub at extremes.

5. Frame touchup. It's aluminum, it's white. Treat the corrosion, mask off, touch up, then rub out and wax.

6. Top it off. When you're done, treat yourself to a wheel truing and tensioning, make sure it's tuned.

7. It's worth it. You do this stuff, you'll understand how underrated those frames are.
You'll also have a blast doing it. You will think you're on a different bike.
The wheels will come alive, the shifting will be modern, the fit will be right.
You will be where you want, on a bike that isn't in the way.

Last edited by RobbieTunes; 12-11-11 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 12-11-11, 09:17 AM
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If you are interested in this stem, it is yours for shipping cost. It is scraped up, but it is tall and has a short reach.
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Old 12-11-11, 09:28 AM
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thanks to everyone for the comments. Does anyone favor changing out the bars for flat or a special type to use trigger shifters? Since no one has commented on that, I guess not.
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Old 12-11-11, 09:29 AM
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You can use bull horns with barcons.
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Old 12-11-11, 09:30 AM
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Those older style bars add quite a bit of reach. Getting a more modern bend bar that has a short reach will definitely make your ride more comfortable.

Try the Soma Hwy One bars: https://store.somafab.com/hwyonebar.html
They make them with a 26.0 clamp in a nice polished aluminum. The reach is nice and short with nice swooped out drops. They are very comfy bars I couldn't suggest them more.
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Old 12-11-11, 09:46 AM
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I guess I am leaning towards just making this a fun commuter with some personality.

Does anyone know if a flat bar with trigger shifters will work?

I am leaning towards just getting another bike down the road for longer road rides. I think I was trying to make this a do-it-all bike that solved all my needs. But I guess no one bike can do that.
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Old 12-11-11, 10:31 AM
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The OPs apparent issue with with taking hands off bars to shift.

OP, personally I would try a set of Suntour indexed 7 speed bar ends first. They come up on eBay and do go for a little $$$ but if you don't like the barends you'd scarcely lose any money on them. The resale will be whatever you paid probably. That would give you another shifting system to try without going the Full Monty drivetrain transplant.

If the barends don't suit you, sell them, then look at Shimano/STI/brifter options. And, if you do go this route then personally I'd look at 8-speed...more options in brifters and such when you get to 8-speed. It would require a hub transplant on your rear wheel (woudn't recommend an 8-speed freewheel) but in the grand scheme of things the cost of the hub swap may be made up for by more available and possibly cheaper brifter options.

Good luck!
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Old 12-11-11, 12:07 PM
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You can use a set of 8-spd indexed Ultegra barcons with a Shimano 7-spd freewheel and have a dead 'click' at the end of the range. You need a compatible RD. The barcons go for about $65 on Amazon. You can set the front shifting barcon to friction mode and keep your current front dérailleur. Either get a Nitto road handlebar stem with a longer post or a Kalloy positive angle mountain bike type post (lot less money) to raise your bars up.
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Old 12-11-11, 03:36 PM
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If you want to go with a fun flat-bar commuter, that's not a problem.

I have no idea if there are Suntour 7-sp shifters in an indexed trigger-type setup, twist-grip, or other flat-bar (mtb) style.
If so, great. I simply don't know. This way you could retain the same rear freewheel you have, assuming the spacing is the same.

Now, if you swap to a Shimano 6-sp rear freewheel, there are grip-shift and probaby thumb-forefinger shifters out there.
If you swap to a Shimano 7-sp freewheel, there are grip-shift, thumb-forefinger, and indexed thumb shifters out there in 7-sp and 8-sp. Again, the 8-sp would have a dead shift at the end.

I had no problem with the Suntour GPX RD in even a 9-sp setup.

I'm sure it would be a fun flat-bar commuter bike. The frame is more than up to it, but remember, with the move to flat-bar comes the temptation to go a little rough, sometimes. It is a road frame, and a good one, so it's design is for that. It sure would be fast.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:12 PM
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BTW I raced a 754 this past spring and found it to be very very fast. Don't neuter yours into a commuter!


Last edited by RoboIsGod; 12-11-11 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:50 PM
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Minus the wheels, which I'm sure cost a good little piece, how much did you spend to convert the DT shifting to brifters/sti? and what are they, 105, ultegra? I don't know if I want to spend 500 bucks to get the drivetrain to that state. I'm not, nor ever going to be, a racer.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:51 PM
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And BTW, it's a nice looking bike you have. I actually saw several pics of it and read about it a few weeks ago when I started doing some research on it.
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Old 12-11-11, 11:51 PM
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Those are Dura Ace 9 speed shifters. I bought em off a BF member for $130 (good deal!). I already had all of the Dura Ace 8 speed parts and then just bought the shifters and it was race ready.

You could definitely convert yours for cheap. 9 speed shifters (and 9 speed stuff in general) can be had for very cheap on ebay. 9 speed shifters are back-compatible with 8 speed, so if you can find yourself an 8-speed freewheel and a rear derailleur that will shift 8 you'll be set. I'm sure you could get all that for less than $200. To do full 9 speed you'd have to get a new rear wheel that will accept cassettes, which will definitely be more pricier (or you could rebuild the wheel with a new hub).
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Old 12-12-11, 05:50 AM
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I wouldn't flat bar this bike. Put some STI on it and you will be surprised, I think.
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