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Entry level blues--schwinn prelude '87

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Entry level blues--schwinn prelude '87

Old 03-04-14, 12:53 PM
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whiteside
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Entry level blues--schwinn prelude '87

I've been riding and enjoying a 1987 schwinn prelude (craigslist find). Aside from replacing the cheesy stock wheels, I've left it totally stock. I commute on it every day, and it has been surprising dependable--as much as I hate to admit it, that lower end shimano stuff works pretty darn well.

The problem: it just doesn't excite me! It seems like a decent riding bike, but it just doesn't have that magnetism that makes me want to go on a ride for absolutely no reason at all.

I have been fantasizing about riding my first century in about 7 months, and need to decide if I want to spruce up the prelude or get something fancier... I really only have the funds/space for one road bike, so an alternative would also have to be appropriate for everyday/general use. I'm limiting myself to vintage steel because...well, i just am...

After some research, it sounds like the prelude has a pretty decent frame. It's one of the panasonic/tenax frames, but it came with slightly relaxed geometry (pro) and a lower quality group/fork (con). I'm considering replacing the stock steel fork with a budget carbon and possibly going 1" threadless. I think a better crankset and derailleurs would help. I'm thinking that I can get the prelude lighter and more 'legit' for around $200.

Should I? I'm sure people must have experience upgrading entry/mid-level bikes. Does making the upgrades increase the x-factor of the bike? Or do you just wish you had a fancier frame but are too invested to change afterwards... $200 would definitely set me on the way to getting a higher end frame to build up. I don't really want to sink money in the prelude if I decide I want something fancier in the future.

I know this is a personal matter, and there probably isn't a right choice. I'm just curious to see what other people's experiences are like in this kind of situation.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:05 PM
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Put your money in tires, saddle and wheels. You can move them to another bike later if you wish. The fork change would be a huge waste of money, especially a switch to threadless.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by whiteside View Post
I commute on it every day.
The problem: it just doesn't excite me! It seems like a decent riding bike, but it just doesn't have that magnetism that makes me want to go on a ride for absolutely no reason at all.
imo this is why you don't want to ride for just the heck of it.

The easiest way to fix this is N+1.

And don't buy a fork, or any other part for that matter, because as shelbyfv said it would be a huge waste of money. Use that money to buy an exciting bike.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:11 PM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...rome-Moly-Fork here's a thread about your fork
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Old 03-04-14, 01:21 PM
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I think if you're going to replace the fork, get a decent chrome-moly steel one, with an investment cast crown and forged dropouts. These can be had for less than sixty dollars on eBay. Also, stick with a threaded setup, as it allows you to re-use the Sakae-Ringyo bars and stem.

Changing out the chainrings to pinned HG types should make a lot of difference in terms of how the bike shifts. Also, you might consider switching over to Ultegra indexed bar-end shifters (ex. SL-BS64) and to a ramped freewheel or cassette in place of the OEM Shimano Z.

Bar tape can also help, as can a good leather saddle. Not sure if there's room, but you could also go with high thread-count fat clincher tires (28mm or higher casing), such as those by Grand Bois. Upgrading to Yokozuna cables is another good approach since they have decent appearance to go with the better functionality.

Low levels of modification are often the best approach for vintage bikes like your Prelude. You want to get the thing to the point where it disappears underneath you.

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Old 03-04-14, 01:35 PM
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Forget about a new fork, I recommend getting a riding partner!


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Old 03-04-14, 01:56 PM
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To make an educated guess, I'd need to know what you replaced those "cheesy stock wheels" with.
For now, I'll assume those can't be improved a lot without spending a lot.

So, here's my $200:
1-Shimano R550 crankset and external BB. $50-$60 used. 1a-A decent set of lighter rings from eBay. same price.

2-Jagwire Racer cable/housing kit. $40

3-Used Bontrager R, RL, or RXL saddle. $35-$40.

4-Get the wheels trued and tensioned. They'll feel like different wheels.

5-If you have any money left, get new bar wrap.
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Old 03-04-14, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
To make an educated guess, I'd need to know what you replaced those "cheesy stock wheels" with.
That's what I'm wondering. He wanted magnetism. Steel wheels would provide that but would likely be a downgrade. D

But really, what makes wheels cheesy?

And what sort of tires?
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Old 03-04-14, 02:25 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far; I needed some sense talked into me on that carbon fork! After further reflection, I think tires should be my first upgrade. I'm riding on 28's, but they are the cheapo performance brand models... Cheap and relatively durable, but they kind of ride like bricks. Holy smokes, those grand bois look awesome, but I thought conti-gatorskins were expensive--yikes!

Working on the riding partner...
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Old 03-04-14, 02:31 PM
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Current Wheels

front: 105/open pro
rear: suntour cyclone/ araya 1w
Everything in pretty good shape, although the araya rim seems to be weak link in the wheel set-up.



****Umm, I never tried it, but those weinmann rims probably could have been bent out of true with crackers***
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Old 03-04-14, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by whiteside View Post
Current Wheels

front: 105/open pro
rear: suntour cyclone/ araya 1w
Everything in pretty good shape, although the araya rim seems to be weak link in the wheel set-up.
AFAIK I have no experience with that particular rim, but from what I see on various websites there should be nothing wrong with them. I do have Araya rims on one bike and I like them. The cyclone hub should be winner too. That doesn't sound like "entry level" at all. My real point is this - you could swap rims and hubs all day and you'll never notice the difference, all other things being equal. Moving from 36 spokes to 32 or 28 might be noticeable, but there are plenty of great wheels with 36, plenty of TdF wins on them, and zillions of miles ridden in haste with them! Consider Panaracer Pasela tires, maybe 25mm. The most supple and lightest will be folding, and non-Tourguard, though folding (non-steel-wire bead) makes them more expensive. What pressure are you running your tires? "cheapo performance brand" could mean anything, AFAIK, but perhaps that is a specific model we all should avoid, I dunno'.

More to the point, something about the bike isn't speaking to you emotionally. You must have an idealized view that this bike doesn't hit. Before you spend much money trying to "fix" what may not be fixable, try to understand what you really want it to be, what you really want to be different. Perhaps it is overall weight, or shifting ease, or frame dynamics, or how it fits you, or maybe just its appearance or the name Schwinn, or some combination of all those things.. If possible, put in some miles on a borrowed bike to get a sense of perspective. The difference between a good and a great bike can be pretty subtle, and many a mid-level bike is really quite nice. Two bikes which weigh, say, 24lbs and 26lbs will ride about the same, all other things being equal. Changing crank or brakes or gearing won't make much difference. You aren't going to light your own fires with upgrades like that.
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Old 03-04-14, 04:06 PM
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Get some Veloflex Master tires.
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Old 03-04-14, 04:58 PM
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I guess I'm still mourning the loss of my $60 pinarello (broken frame, sob)... It's not really fair to compare the two. Another possibility: I'm bored with a fully functioning bike and am trying to justify another project. I need bicycle psycho analysis!

Conclusion:
I'm going to get some nicer tires, ride more, and wait until a dream bike shows up for cheap enough on craigslist.

Comment: The tires mentioned earlier are forte strada kevlars. The cost ~$13 on a good sale and come in 28... They're a good value for putting fresh rubber on a bike, but you still get what you pay for...
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Old 03-04-14, 05:11 PM
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Try GP 4000S or Michelin pro 4 in 25 from PBK or Ribble.
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Old 03-04-14, 06:36 PM
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I'm actually enjoying my Strada K's in 28mm.
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Old 03-04-14, 06:39 PM
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The prelude is a nice bike. I have a couple nice bikes and I would be thrilled to come across a cheap deal on a Schwinn Prelude. I wouldn't expect that your next bike (whatever it is), though it might be more expensive will necessarily be a lot nicer to ride. I can understand wanting a different bike though, I constantly buy and sell different bikes because it's the only way I can work on and ride many different bikes, it's a fun way to learn about bicycles and bicycle history. Be warned though, one day you might look back and think, that Prelude was one of the nicest riding bikes I've had.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:05 PM
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87' Schwinn Prelude.... not a nice bike ?
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Old 03-04-14, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
... More to the point, something about the bike isn't speaking to you emotionally. ...
I think this might be the key. By all accounts I've read, the Schwinn Prelude with its Columbus tubing should actually be quite a nice-riding bike. There are definitely people who have upgraded all the components on their Preludes because they liked the frame but weren't 100% happy with the components. But it doesn't sound like that's you.

It's possible that the Pinarello was just different enough in some ways - geometry, components, fit, etc. - that this one isn't measuring up... and might not ever. Since the Pinarello frame broke, if you still have it, you could try moving some of its components to the Prelude if you want to get ambitious, but I doubt it will make you love the Prelude.

Generally, I'd say to consider upgrading for function/feel over weight, for example, better tires, different saddle if the current one isn't 100% comfortable, or different bars and brake levers (as a fitter recommended to me with his assessment that the most worthwhile advancements in the last 30 years or so have been to the cockpit). But in your case, I'm not sure these steps would make you happier with it.

Because the Prelude is actually considered a pretty nice frame, your best bet might be to find someone who wants to trade for it.

[ Side note - I thought I read somewhere that Forte tires were actually made by Panasonic? ]
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Old 03-04-14, 07:54 PM
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1987 Prelude is not entry level, its a good solid mid grade bike. Not top of the line, but not entry level either. Check out the on line Schwinn catalogs, lots of models below the Prelude, and just a handful above it. Paramount, Prologue (think Panasonic), Circuit, Super Sport, and Tempo were above it. 1987 was a good year for the Prelude, it was the first year for 700c wheels for example.


Personally, I would not dump $200 into upgrades for the Prelude. Instead I would sell it, use the funds from the sale, plus the $200 you are ready to spend on upgrades, and buy a bike a few steps higher instead. If you shop aggressively, you should be able to find a Prologue or Circuit at that price point (think $225 from the sale of a nice Prelude, plus the $200 upgrade budget, and you are at the $425 price point). I've bought a lot of great bikes for that price, both from Schwinn and many other brands.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:18 PM
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I'll differ from some of the advice above...
If performance is your goal...

First tires - something nice like veloflex masters or Michelin pro 3's
Second rims, something in the 1500 gram range with fewer spokes to help deal with crosswinds
Third components, Veloce brifters (new cables included), 8 speed cassette, ultegra RD. Alternately spring for a whole 105 or veloce gruppo
Fourth, all the other weight saving stuff

Your steel frame has a nice ride. Tires and wheels are by far the biggest bang in terms of noticeable performance benefits. You're better off buying great wheels, tires, and components on a mid level steel frame instead of settling for crappy stuff on a whiz bang carbonific thingie. If you're looking for something that inspires you, consider a new saddle, bar tape, etc to change the look.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:24 PM
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My two road bikes are an 87 prelude and a 92 Paramount. Until I found 28mm tires I could squeeze into the Paramount's forks, the Prelude was my go to ride. And I still like it a lot. But the Paramount, with 28mm tires and 44cm bars practically rides itself. I will not kick the Prelude out of bed under any circumstances. A very nice ride, especially on a less than perfect surface.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
I'll differ from some of the advice above...
If performance is your goal...

First tires - something nice like veloflex masters or Michelin pro 3's
Second rims, something in the 1500 gram range with fewer spokes to help deal with crosswinds
Third components, Veloce brifters (new cables included), 8 speed cassette, ultegra RD. Alternately spring for a whole 105 or veloce gruppo
Fourth, all the other weight saving stuff

Your steel frame has a nice ride. Tires and wheels are by far the biggest bang in terms of noticeable performance benefits. You're better off buying great wheels, tires, and components on a mid level steel frame instead of settling for crappy stuff on a whiz bang carbonific thingie. If you're looking for something that inspires you, consider a new saddle, bar tape, etc to change the look.
Great ideas.

Nothing at all wrong with the frameset.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
First tires - something nice like veloflex masters or Michelin pro 3's
Second rims, something in the 1500 gram range with fewer spokes to help deal with crosswinds
Well, yes, but... Those tires will definitely be nice, but expensive. If the OP is willing, that could be an upgrade.

As for the rims, it all depends on how heavy the current rims are. What little research I did on the Araya 1w showed it to be a 19mm (outer) width rim, so it should be pretty nice for a good tire. That's the rim the OP was questioning. The Open Pro should be decent too. I don't recall him saying his spoke count.

My point was simply that there are plenty of good mid-level features or components around without having to go high-end for everything.

But then, don't ask me. I have a fully-upgraded UO8, though admittedly it took me a few decades to finish.
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Old 03-05-14, 01:56 AM
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If you can't be happy on a Prelude, maybe it's time to bite the bullet and "upgrade" to some 16 lb plastic thing. You could spend a lot trying to make the Prelude into something it's not.

Drop it off at my place when you're done with it, cheesy wheels and all.
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Old 03-05-14, 04:54 AM
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Other than shipping, I would let you have a step or two up the ladder Tempo for less than $200.
The bike has a 23" frame, and so is a tad small for me.
It does not look like the bike was ridden. There was no discernible wear on the brake pads.

If you follow my methodology - keep the Prelude - add a Tempo (or two) (or three). The Prelude is a solid bike. I rode TOSRV two or three years ago on my Prelude (with Shimano 600 components, nicer wheels - and a crappy saddle (note the earlier comment about investing is saddles! It is a point well taken). TOSRV is a two day, 210 mile ride. The Prelude performed flawlessly. I still have the Prelude and love it.
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