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Tires and Pressure for my 73' Conti?

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Tires and Pressure for my 73' Conti?

Old 07-31-14, 11:12 AM
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Tires and Pressure for my 73' Conti?

I picked up a 73 Schwinn Continental, my first bike in 30 years.

It has "Bontrager Select B Golden Boy" Tires 27x1/4 sidewall says max 90psi. When I got it both tires were filled to 60 psi.

What is the right PSI for my bicycle?

I weight almost 200 lbs if that makes a difference. Im just cruising the streets going to the grocery store.

Also a suggestion for some strong heavy duty tires for my bicycle would be appreciated. Are the tires I have adequate for commuting?
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Old 07-31-14, 11:57 AM
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Welcome to C&V!

Every time someone asks about tire pressure it sparks major discussion and disagreement! The point of course is that it depends a lot on the bike and your riding.

A few things to consider:

27 1/4" (32mm)-wide tires can carry a pretty good load. The wider the tire, the lower pressure it needs to carry the same load.

You have two limits on the highest pressure you can run. The first (though you can exceed it safely for your own reasons) is the marking on the tire. The second is whether the rim has a "hooked bead" or is straight-sided. This refers to the inner edge of the rim's sidewalls where the tire bead sits, whether the rim edge protrudes inward at the outer edge of the radius. Hooked-bead rims can be pumped up higher, and high-pressure tires are often marked as "Hooked-bead only". Newer rims will all be hooked-bead. Your Schwinn's rims may not be if the wheels are original; if they are steel they are probably original, but they could still be hooked-bead.

Some people argue that tires with lower pressure roll just as easily as tires with higher pressure. (I don't think so.) Lower pressure will be more comfortable. Some people argue that on longer rides (2, 3, 4 hours...) this is more important than rolling resistance. However lower pressure will make it more likely you'll get a flat if you accidentally hit a pothole really hard. So it's a tradeoff between comfort, pothole tolerance, and your perception of the rolling resistance.

After all that...if you aren't in the habit of riding over curbs or hitting potholes you could leave them at 60. If it was my bike I'd run them higher. If the rims are straight-sided I might run 80, though 90 should still be okay. (I had a tire blow off a straight-sided rim at 120; the tire was actually marked 115 max.)

All of which is to say you can use whatever pressure you are comfortable with.
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Old 07-31-14, 12:22 PM
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I weigh just under 150 and run my 1-1/4" tires around 60psi.

Doing the math, your pressure probably is best maintained over 80psi, and here is another way that the Schwinn steel rims really shine, since they are un-hooked but still designed to handle tandem bike pressures of over 100psi if the tire itself can handle it, without fear of blowing the bead over the rim's edge.

I sometimes have difficulty fully (evenly) seating even lubricated tire beads with the Schwinn rims, but once seated straight, the bead has no leeway to climb up the side of these rims.

When I do a field repair on a bike with Schwinn's steel rims, I usually resign myself to pedaling home with the repaired/inflated tire thumping, i.e. with some portion of the bead not quite lifting up even with the rest of the bead. I use rubbing alcohol spray (as bead lubricant) and a bigger air pump when I get home, to fully seat the tire.
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Old 07-31-14, 01:35 PM
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Do you know of a picture online of the Schwinn steel rims? Is there some sort of identifier?

Reason I ask, I may have replacement rims. Heres a not so great shot of the rims:

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Old 07-31-14, 01:57 PM
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Is there any rust on the rims?
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Old 07-31-14, 02:08 PM
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Put a magnet on them. At least you'll know if they are steel. Be aware that steel rims do NOT brake well when wet. If you ever get caught in the rain you will understand by how high and quickly your pulse jumps.

The dimpled braking surface tells me they are steel. That look like one of the grades of Rigida steel rims such as used on the AO8.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 73conti
Do you know of a picture online of the Schwinn steel rims? Is there some sort of identifier?

Reason I ask, I may have replacement rims. Heres a not so great shot of the rims:

That looks like a Rigida Chrolux rim, which was not original on a '73 Continental. Post close-up pics of the hub and the center of the rim (where the spoke holes are), look for any identifying stamps. The original rims would have been Schwinn Tubular S-6 in the 27" size, they will have a set of ridges rolled in the center. You can see pics of some in the following post by Scooper: https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-me...l#post10126205



Note that in many cases the "Schwinn Tubular S-6" stamp may be extremely light or even missing, but the ridges will still be there.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 73conti

It has "Bontrager Select B Golden Boy" Tires 27x1/4
I ****ing need those.


As an aside- my max pressure on the tires I use (Panaracer Pasela 27 x 1 1/4) is 95 and I usually keep them about 85.

Don't go off of what you got them at. Tubes lose air. They just do. Doesn't mean it's a slow leak and time to replace your tubes- it's a good thing to have a pump and a pressure gauge.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:54 PM
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If you have hooked rims, try something like 80PSI front, 90 rear, because the weight distribution on your bicycle is around 40-60, depending on how far you lean forward.
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Old 07-31-14, 04:36 PM
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Thanks for the tips, I will check out the rims in greater detail tomorrow.

I also think I have to tend to brakes. The front breaks seems to stop the bike cold if I fully grasp it. However, the rear break, when fully grasped, mearly slows the bike... and not very quickly.

On the continental the rear brake is tied into the seat post bolt... if I over torque the seatpost, the breaks go out of line. No amount adjusting of that seat post changes the quickness of the stopping.

The pads appear newish, they don't look worn but I am unclear what is occurring.

Anyway, I can make 50 new posts here about my new bike and biking in general... Im that much of a beginner here!!!
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Old 07-31-14, 05:20 PM
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You spelled brakes right twice.
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Old 07-31-14, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex
That looks like a Rigida Chrolux rim, which was not original on a '73 Continental.
I agree that it probably was not original on the '73 Continental, but that isn't the Chrolux that came on my UO8. Mine had a sort of wave pattern. That diamond-like pattern was a different rim used on the less expensive AO8 at that time.
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Old 07-31-14, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois
You spelled brakes right twice.
Hey, you posted twice without being a dick to somebody!

Oh, sorry, my mistake.
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Old 08-01-14, 12:54 PM
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FWIW- The rims don't appear to be original. There is no Schwinn stamping as in the photo, and there is no stuttered lines like in the photo.

Is that a bad or good thing? And I am thinking maybe new brake lines and adjustment are in order... maybe new pad. How do I proceed to assure I purchase the right material for my project?
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Old 08-01-14, 02:34 PM
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Pads: Kool Stop Salmon.

Brake cables: lots of discussion on this. For the riding you describe, a set of Bell or XLC cables will probably be fine. Jagwire is a few steps upwards, and generally accepted as quite good.
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Old 08-01-14, 02:57 PM
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I'm not sure that urethane brake pads like the "salmon Kool-Stops" are a good choice for a steel rim.

I recall some severe melting and squeeling with urethane pads on one of my former steel-rimmed bikes.

Does anyone know of any current pads available for steel rims?

There aren't even many OEM department store bikes any more with steel rims, so so much for finding a decent "steel compatible" pair or two from one of the oft-dumpstered dept-store bikes.
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