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Let's see your vintage Schwinn Cimarron

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Let's see your vintage Schwinn Cimarron

Old 04-03-20, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by PugRider
Wow, grab that Panasonic. They made Schwinns for years, so close enough!
Originally Posted by romperrr
A full chrome fork usually gives me pause to consider if a fork is a replacement. That model year did come with a full chrome fork though that at least looks similar to the one pictured, so it could be original.
Originally Posted by Classtime
Cimarrons are great and I really like my 85. I recommend you have patience. That fork looks like a replacement and you need too many parts to ride it. (The u brake is not universally approved of.). I'll look again on Dallas CL.
I went to check out that Panasonic MC 3500 today; it was a bit short. Otherwise seemed like a solid bike, but I think it was a 20" frame (measured 20.5" ctt, not quite large enough for me)

I've started to get a little more active on CL and reached out to a few folks that had bikes similar to what I am looking for but not exact fits. I got two hits back, was curious if y'all had any thoughts:

First, $100 (asking price) for this Schwinn Cimarron frame (22.5" ctt):


Second, Fuji Sundance, 21", no price yet stated:


Thoughts on either of these frames? Worth haggling over the Cimarron?
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Old 04-03-20, 12:08 PM
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I say RUN, don't walk, to get that Cimarron! Looks like the same size and year as the one I just posted about, and I can tell you I look for a LONG time here in NYC to find a vintage MTB with mid-fork low-rider mounts. Also, note that it's double eyelets on front and rear dropouts -- also somewhat rare. From the photo, it looks like the paint is in good condition, too!

For comparison, I paid $650 for mine with all original parts. $100 for a good condition frame seems fair.

As it happens, I was originally looking for a vintage Fuji MTB, much like the one you found. What turned me off was the U-brakes. I've actually never worked on them, but there does seem to be general consensus that they're a pain. Sheldon Brown writes about this.

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Old 04-03-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by countalmaviva
I say RUN, don't walk, to get that Cimarron!
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Oliver. I'm leaning that direction.

I've never built a bike up from the frame and don't really have a parts bin to speak of...anywhere you'd direct me for a component list or inspiration?
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Old 04-03-20, 12:28 PM
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I just PMd you. Building a bike from a bare frame is a lot of fun, especially if you're stuck at home!

-Oliver
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Old 04-03-20, 01:18 PM
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Judging from the variety we see on the Cimarron thread, it's certainly true that you can take a vintage MTB in a variety of directions. Here are some things I discovered in my process:
  1. The first decision I recommend you consider is what kind of handlebars you want. Handlebars have two important diameters: Grip, where the levers and shifters go, and Clamp, where the stem goes. Any stem with a 7/8" quill will fit this bike, but the clamp diameter varies according to whether you want to install road type drop bars or MTB style bars. Then, the brake levers and shifters will need to match the grip diameter. Basically, road style brake levers fit drop bars and flat levers without hoods fit MTB bars. I forget the exact diameter numbers, but you can find those numbers easily.
  2. The next decision should probably be whether you want a modern drivetrain or not. My Cimarron's rear dropouts were spaced at 128mm, to accommodate either rear hubs at 126mm or 130mm that were available at the time. A more recent standard is 135mm, and it's a relatively easy matter for a bike shop to spread ("cold set") the rear triangle to accommodate. If you stick with a vintage spacing, you'll either need to use a modern road hub, which is 130mm or a vintage MTB hub at 130. There aren't too many around of the latter. Very simply, the amount of space in the rear determines: 1) How potentially strong the wheel will be, and 2) How many sprockets you can fit. In the end, I decided to respace my Cimarron's rear dropouts to 135mm so I'd have a strong wheel with the option of modern parts in future, but I actually had my bike shop build wheels on vintage hubs at that width (135mm became standard for MTBs in the late 80s) because I like vintage parts. Note that you can basically use ANY derailleur with ANY rear spacing. You just set the limiter screws on the deraileur accordingly.
In my view, handlebars are mainly a utilitarian choice and also a matter of preference. e.g. How do you want to use this bike? What kind of bar do you prefer? The rear spacing matter is, in many ways, a factor of convenience -- availability of parts in future -- as well as aesthetic -- do you want to bike to still look basically vintage?

Cost is a factor, too. I've read this elsewhere on the forum, and I agree: it's not possible to build a bike for less that it would be to buy a whole bike. So, most people build their own bikes because they are very picky (that's me) or enjoy the process (that's also me). If you're not building wheels, installing a bottom bracket or headset, you only need standard tools to assemble a bike.

I may very well have chosen to ride my Cimarron with original parts except for the fact that it was spec'd with a Suntour freewheel. I wanted indexed shifting with my Shimano bar-end shifters, so that necessitated Shimano hubs.

Whichever way you go with your bike, you may enjoy the learning process! This particular build was a lot of fun for me, because I had to learn about a lot of bike-related things I didn't previously know. That's part of the process which I enjoy, and the folks on the forum have a LOT of knowledge to share!

Cheers,
Oliver Henderson
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Old 04-03-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Oliver. I'm leaning that direction.

I've never built a bike up from the frame and don't really have a parts bin to speak of...anywhere you'd direct me for a component list or inspiration?
The easiest way to acquire a "stash" of parts for a full build is to buy a complete bike with all the goods bits. I would recommend something with Shimano driveline and thumb or trigger shifters.
Smaller frames and step-throughs will get you the most bang for yer buck.
BTW I would be all over that Cimarron frame at that price. Hard to find the bigger ones.
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Old 04-03-20, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Oliver. I'm leaning that direction.

I've never built a bike up from the frame and don't really have a parts bin to speak of...anywhere you'd direct me for a component list or inspiration?
If you haven't found them, already, here is a link to the vintage Schwinn catalogs (for the Cimarron, the High Sierra): Schwinn Catalogs, 1981-1990 .

And here's another useful link, from the 1985 year: Components List for MTB's, 1985.

Here is the components list for the 1987 Univega Alpina line of MTB's: click.

Here is the components list for the 1987 Ritchey line of MTB's: click.

Lots of good "period" ideas from those lists.
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Old 04-03-20, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by countalmaviva
Judging from the variety we see on the Cimarron thread, it's certainly true that you can take a vintage MTB in a variety of directions.
Thanks to Oliver for being a big help here; we've been PMing back and forth. I appreciate all the collective wisdom of this thread!

If it's pertinent for anyone else's advice or thoughts, I am looking to use this bike as a commuter and grocery getter, likely with upright, swept-back bars. I currently commute exclusively by bike, 1 ebike (that might be a sin to say, but it gets me to work in the Texas summers without arriving a sweaty mess) and 1 gravel bike that is too small for me that I have failed at commuting to upright. This bike would be to replace the second of those two bikes.

I think I want to jump on this frame, so thanks to those that have affirmed it. Waiting on a reply from the seller.
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Old 04-03-20, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820
If you haven't found them, already, here is a link to the vintage Schwinn catalogs (for the Cimarron, the High Sierra): Schwinn Catalogs, 1981-1990 .

And here's another useful link, from the 1985 year: Components List for MTB's, 1985.

Here is the components list for the 1987 Univega Alpina line of MTB's: click.

Here is the components list for the 1987 Ritchey line of MTB's: click.

Lots of good "period" ideas from those lists.
Thanks for these resources, very helpful!
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Old 04-03-20, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308
The easiest way to acquire a "stash" of parts for a full build is to buy a complete bike with all the goods bits. I would recommend something with Shimano driveline and thumb or trigger shifters.
Smaller frames and step-throughs will get you the most bang for yer buck.
BTW I would be all over that Cimarron frame at that price. Hard to find the bigger ones.
Yes, I like this idea. Most of what I see come across my local CL are generally big box BSOs, so I'm trying to keep an eye out. If you have any particular things I should be on the lookout for, I'd welcome the advice!
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Old 04-03-20, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb
Yes, I like this idea. Most of what I see come across my local CL are generally big box BSOs, so I'm trying to keep an eye out. If you have any particular things I should be on the lookout for, I'd welcome the advice!
Some models I've bought with great parts are Schwinn Sierra, Raleigh Mountain Tour and Bianchi Grizzly. Specialized Stumpjumper/Rockhopper/Hard Rock can be good too, but prices for those are climbing.
Trek Antelope/Mountain Track are usually reasonably priced and can sometimes yield good parts, but they often have twist shifters and Suntour deraillleurs. Don't get me wrong... I'm actually a Suntour guy, but their indexed shifters/derailleurs can be fiddly to adjust properly.
Finally, pay attention to tire size. There are many MTBs out there with 29-er (700c) tires/wheels that won't fit a Cimarron.
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Old 04-03-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308
Some models I've bought with great parts are Schwinn Sierra, Raleigh Mountain Tour and Bianchi Grizzly. Specialized Stumpjumper/Rockhopper/Hard Rock can be good too, but prices for those are climbing.
Trek Antelope/Mountain Track are usually reasonably priced and can sometimes yield good parts, but they often have twist shifters and Suntour deraillleurs. Don't get me wrong... I'm actually a Suntour guy, but their indexed shifters/derailleurs can be fiddly to adjust properly.
Finally, pay attention to tire size. There are many MTBs out there with 29-er (700c) tires/wheels that won't fit a Cimarron.
Thanks for the suggestions. One that was top of mind for me was a Schwinn Sierra I've considered a few times priced at $185 complete. I'm sure I can look a bit more, too.
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Old 04-03-20, 03:02 PM
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The Mombat website has a great list of cool, desirable MTBs from the 1980s-1990s. While many of these examples don't come up for sale very often, at all, many of their next-step-down variants (ie, Schwinn's Sierra, as opposed to the High Sierra) come along more frequently. With a bit of sleuthing you might identify more of the brand's models in that similar vintage to watch for.

Mombat bike listing


Newer vintage might well suit, as well. For example, I've watched for a late-1990s to early-2000s Jamis Dragon (with Reynolds 853 steel and great components). Saw one, a few years ago, for $250/OBO, and it had a stellar list of components on it. Didn't pick it up, as it was too big for me, but it would have made a great base for parts, and the frame itself (desirable as it was) could have been sold for a decent amount. A few early 1990s Rocky Mountain MTBs come up on PinkBike now and then, more frequently in Canada. Many of those would also have very desirable components. While not strictly period for the Cimarron, many such components might not be a bad choice.
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Old 04-03-20, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb
Yes, I like this idea. Most of what I see come across my local CL are generally big box BSOs, so I'm trying to keep an eye out. If you have any particular things I should be on the lookout for, I'd welcome the advice!
@reluctantsuburb :

Here are two 1987 Schwinn Cimarron bikes, listed for $200ea, original owner, out in Redding CA: click. That ad's been up for a couple of months, so I'm uncertain if they're actually still available. Might be able to whittle the price down a bit, if picking up both. I'm sure a nearby shop could pack them up and get them shipped, assuming the seller's willing.

Uncertain where you are, so it likely would entail boxing+shipping costs, but it would still mean that if you acquired that $100 frame in the proper size you'd end up with three decent Cimarrons for $500-600. You'd have parts and spares to boot, a second wheelset, and a couple of frames you could sell off to make back some of the investment price. And if the parts in that ad from the original owner are all period/original, then you'd save yourself a lot of hunting time by getting a couple sets of period-correct components.

Just an idea.
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Old 04-03-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820
@reluctantsuburb :

Here are two 1987 Schwinn Cimarron bikes, listed for $200ea, original owner, out in Redding CA: click. That ad's been up for a couple of months, so I'm uncertain if they're actually still available. Might be able to whittle the price down a bit, if picking up both. I'm sure a nearby shop could pack them up and get them shipped, assuming the seller's willing.

Uncertain where you are, so it likely would entail boxing+shipping costs, but it would still mean that if you acquired that $100 frame in the proper size you'd end up with three decent Cimarrons for $500-600. You'd have parts and spares to boot, a second wheelset, and a couple of frames you could sell off to make back some of the investment price. And if the parts in that ad from the original owner are all period/original, then you'd save yourself a lot of hunting time by getting a couple sets of period-correct components.

Just an idea.
I am going to check these out tomorrow. I am hoping the larger one will work for me, but I'd be happy to check the other out too, drop it off at a bike shop when covid 19 settles down if you want the smaller, PM me if you're interested.
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Old 04-03-20, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820
The Mombat website has a great list of cool, desirable MTBs from the 1980s-1990s. While many of these examples don't come up for sale very often, at all, many of their next-step-down variants (ie, Schwinn's Sierra, as opposed to the High Sierra) come along more frequently. With a bit of sleuthing you might identify more of the brand's models in that similar vintage to watch for.

Mombat bike listing


Newer vintage might well suit, as well. For example, I've watched for a late-1990s to early-2000s Jamis Dragon (with Reynolds 853 steel and great components). Saw one, a few years ago, for $250/OBO, and it had a stellar list of components on it. Didn't pick it up, as it was too big for me, but it would have made a great base for parts, and the frame itself (desirable as it was) could have been sold for a decent amount. A few early 1990s Rocky Mountain MTBs come up on PinkBike now and then, more frequently in Canada. Many of those would also have very desirable components. While not strictly period for the Cimarron, many such components might not be a bad choice.
Originally Posted by Clyde1820
@reluctantsuburb :

Here are two 1987 Schwinn Cimarron bikes, listed for $200ea, original owner, out in Redding CA: click. That ad's been up for a couple of months, so I'm uncertain if they're actually still available. Might be able to whittle the price down a bit, if picking up both. I'm sure a nearby shop could pack them up and get them shipped, assuming the seller's willing.

Uncertain where you are, so it likely would entail boxing+shipping costs, but it would still mean that if you acquired that $100 frame in the proper size you'd end up with three decent Cimarrons for $500-600. You'd have parts and spares to boot, a second wheelset, and a couple of frames you could sell off to make back some of the investment price. And if the parts in that ad from the original owner are all period/original, then you'd save yourself a lot of hunting time by getting a couple sets of period-correct components.

Just an idea.
I think this is a cool idea, but my wife would likely not be too pleased if I bought all at once! I'm in the Dallas area

Originally Posted by twolve
I am going to check these out tomorrow. I am hoping the larger one will work for me, but I'd be happy to check the other out too, drop it off at a bike shop when covid 19 settles down if you want the smaller, PM me if you're interested.
Please let me know what you find out!
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Old 04-03-20, 06:08 PM
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Oops - I just realized I've split my updates about this frame across two forums on accident. That's what I get for replying from mobile.

My parts bin is pretty light, so the seller offered to raid his. He's found a bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, stem, bars, brakes and levers, seat post, shifters , and rear Shimano dx derailleur he said he'd throw in for 75. At that point, I think I'm in business. Thoughts?



I'm wondering if this wheelset would be alright as a starting point. I know nothing about wheel building :/
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Old 04-03-20, 07:32 PM
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For 75 plus wheels, and not knowing if the shifters will shift that cassette, I think not. 100 could get you a donor bike with compatible components.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/bi...087726186.html
I was very impressed by a LX drivetrain on a Univega.
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Old 04-04-20, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
For 75 plus wheels, and not knowing if the shifters will shift that cassette, I think not. 100 could get you a donor bike with compatible components.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/bi...087726186.html
I was very impressed by a LX drivetrain on a Univega.
I guess I'm thinking that I don't have the appropriate tools for doing things like the bb, so at least wanted that taken care of.

Thanks for linking that bike. Are you suggesting offering 100, or just saying that would be the price point you'd be looking for?
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Old 04-04-20, 09:32 AM
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I was saying that the price of that bike was less than the price of the parts you were considering and the components were compatible. That Sierra, if it fits might be the way to go.
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Old 04-04-20, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
I was saying that the price of that bike was less than the price of the parts you were considering and the components were compatible. That Sierra, if it fits might be the way to go.
Roger that. Thanks for the reply. I ended up getting the frame, bottom bracket, and headset today for $110. It's rainy outside, I'll try to grab some pics when there's better light!
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Old 04-04-20, 11:33 AM
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I think you should have negotiated on that "other parts" offer. Finding original replacements may be more pricey. Nice bike BTW.
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Old 04-04-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dweenk
I think you should have negotiated on that "other parts" offer. Finding original replacements may be more pricey. Nice bike BTW.
Yeah, that may be the case--the seller seemed really cool and explicitly said if I change on those other parts to reach back out. I'm going to see what I can rummage up in terms of a donor bike and if nothing comes through, I'll reach back out to him.

Any tips on thinking through parts are welcome!
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Old 04-04-20, 03:59 PM
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Redding Cimarrons

Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb
I think this is a cool idea, but my wife would likely not be too pleased if I bought all at once! I'm in the Dallas area


Please let me know what you find out!

I bought the larger Cimarron today, a 21'' frame. The smaller one was about 17'' I believe, and in worse shape. It had a lot of scrapes and a fair amount of rust on the frame and parts, looked like it had spent some time outside. Sad. The larger one has a fair amount of abuse, but nothing serious and it's awesome, 1989. I'm excited to tool around it with it.

Excellent story with the bikes though. Seller was the original owner. He said the bikes were a 'gift' in '89. After I bought the bike, he told me they were a gift from his mother in law's husband, Burt Reynolds. Burt bought them for the two of them for Christmas.
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Old 04-04-20, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by twolve
I bought the larger Cimarron today, a 21'' frame. The smaller one was about 17'' I believe, and in worse shape. It had a lot of scrapes and a fair amount of rust on the frame and parts, looked like it had spent some time outside. Sad. The larger one has a fair amount of abuse, but nothing serious and it's awesome, 1989. I'm excited to tool around it with it.

Excellent story with the bikes though. Seller was the original owner. He said the bikes were a 'gift' in '89. After I bought the bike, he told me they were a gift from his mother in law's husband, Burt Reynolds. Burt bought them for the two of them for Christmas.
Haha that's one heck of a story. Very cool--glad you got one!
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