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Steel Schwinn from 70's vs Trek Hybrid what is a faster bike?

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Steel Schwinn from 70's vs Trek Hybrid what is a faster bike?

Old 04-11-17, 06:39 PM
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littleArnold
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Steel Schwinn from 70's vs Trek Hybrid what is a faster bike?

What would be faster a steel Schwinn Road bike from the 70's or a Trek Hybrid FX series?

I been riding my new Trek hybrid and been very happy with it. I cut down the time on a 24 mile ride I like to take on a bike path by 20 minutes. On my Schwinn Mountain bike it takes me about one hour and 50 minutes, on the Trek Hybrid I can do that 24 miles in an hour and 30 minutes.

My father still has his old Steel frame Schwinn Road Bike from the late 70's and it still works great after all these years and shifts fine. The bike is a little big for me. I was curious what bike would be faster. An aluminum frame Trek Hybrid FX series or a Schwinn Road bike from the 70's ? It was in his garage collecting dust, I took it for a ride still works great. The bike though is too big for me.

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Old 04-11-17, 06:55 PM
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Are you talking about an old Varsity 10 speed? Those were tanks even in the day. I know some people think highly of Schwinn, I would not be one of them.
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Old 04-11-17, 07:00 PM
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Yeah it is an old 10 speed Schwinn road bike.
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Old 04-11-17, 07:06 PM
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I set up (took the box from the factory and put the bike parts in riding order) of perhaps a thousand Schwinn steel bikes. From Collegiates to Varsities to Suburbans to Voyagers. And my favorite, my custom Schwinn Paramount.

If you are comparing apples to apples, a new trek hybrid (that is, a mix of mountain and road bike) and the old Schwinns, I'd say that the new Treks would win (lighter, easier to pedal). They might not be as rigid as a thick-wall steel frame. But I'd go with the Trek over the "hybrid" of yesteryear. That is (for example) the Suburban. With a Schwinn Super Sport (hand-welded Chrome-Moly frame) you are getting closer, but the wheels (IIRC) were steel. I'm sure that they were 27 x 1-1/4 (which would be a 32 mm width). And 32h hubs/rims.

That said, back in the day I had one of the (Lavender!) Raleigh Competitions, and my friend had a varsity that he'd swapped out the wheels and crank on, to nice alloy-based stuff. He sure kicked my butt on a long ride around Madison, WI one day. So, with judicious component replacement, you could make the comparison at least interesting.

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Old 04-11-17, 07:09 PM
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Well, a Varsity is not a Paramount and both came with 10 speeds. One is a junker and the other is passable. I think a Varsity can easily push 30 plus pounds and is low tensile steel. It would not have been considered fast ever.

But a strong rider on even a poor bicycle, as long as it can take the wattage without coming apart, would be faster than a typical casual rider on a flat bar bike.
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Old 04-11-17, 07:10 PM
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The road bike is probably faster because you can get in a more aerodynamic position and have less wind resistance. Extra weight only hurts when accelerating or decelerating or going up hills.

On a flat course, with no stopping and starting (I mean only one start and one stop), my money is on the Schwinn Varsity.
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Old 04-11-17, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
If you are comparing apples to apples, a new trek hybrid (that is, a mix of mountain and road bike) and the old Schwinns, I'd say that the new Treks would win (lighter, easier to pedal).
Probably depends on your performance and where you're going.

In good condition, assuming something more or less resembling stock fit, even a Varsity is probably better than an FX on the flats. Nothing wrong with a 40-pound brick if you're not responding to attacks or dragging it up hills.

They might not be as rigid as a thick-wall steel frame.
I'm not so sure. Tubing diameter has a much larger effect on stiffness than wall thickness, and the thick-wall cheapo Schwinn frames have pretty narrow tubing. Not to mention that the modern cranks and bottom brackets and whatnot are themselves stiffer.
And the higher-end Schwinns are obviously not ultra-stiff.

Whether any of that actually matters, and how, is another can of worms.

Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
I think a Varsity can easily push 30 plus pounds and is low tensile steel.
They can get up around 40.
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Old 04-11-17, 07:28 PM
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There would be a bit of aero advantage on the Schwinn, but the Trek could still be faster if the fit is better.
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Old 04-11-17, 08:47 PM
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Challenge dad to a race and find out!
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Old 04-11-17, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Well, a Varsity is not a Paramount and both came with 10 speeds. One is a junker and the other is passable. I think a Varsity can easily push 30 plus pounds and is low tensile steel. It would not have been considered fast ever.

But a strong rider on even a poor bicycle, as long as it can take the wattage without coming apart, would be faster than a typical casual rider on a flat bar bike.
A Paramount is just passable? And a Varsity will easily push 30 pounds?

Understatements to say the least.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:02 PM
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Why don't you tune up the Schwinn. New grease for all the bearings. True the wheels. Then take it out for a spin. How much too big is it? Can you reach the pedals with the seat slammed?

You won't get full "aero" if you can't get the bars at least down to the level of the seat.

Oh, and look for some quality 27" tires. Do they make any that are nice? I've had my eye on some 27x1 tires, but you'll probably want 27x1 1/4.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
Yeah it is an old 10 speed Schwinn road bike.
Saying "an old 10 speed Schwinn road bike" is kind of like saying "an old Chevy". It could be a clunker or a Corvette. Or a Varsity versus a Paramount. Schwinn made some cheap & heavy bikes, some top of the line race bikes, and pretty much everything in between.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:35 PM
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I'm 5'8" and have had 3 bikes 23" and one 58 cm, 5 mm smaller. Just bought a 1973 one actually. Swept back bars will cure the reach problem. Thick shoes help the standover. Or try putting on 700c wheels to lower it a tad. Bikes that age were generally 40+ lbs actually with all steel. I will take too big over too small any day. My high school bike was even bigger at 23 1/2", my dad bought it from his uncle. I had to stand on the curb to get on. LOL and it only had a coaster brake. I would sooner ride the Schwinn probably.
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Old 04-12-17, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Bikes that age were generally 40+ lbs actually with all steel.
No they weren't. Even Schwinns weren't, unless you were only looking at their lower-end offerings. The forty-pound weight of the Varsity got it made fun of back in the day, because a road bike under 25lbs wasn't all that hard to get, and good racing bikes were sometimes sub-20.

My 1970s sport touring bike weighs around 25lbs if I take off the racks and fenders and whatnot.
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Old 04-12-17, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
Schwinn made some cheap & heavy bikes, some top of the line race bikes, and pretty much everything in between.
Heavy, sure. But Schwinn never made "cheap" bikes. At least not at the Chicago based factory on topic here.

Schwinn's lower end bikes like the Varsity were (and still are!) a quality product that would last for decades. They also originally cost more than many other bikes of the day... Heck, even more than a cheap Wally bike today, without even adjusting for inflation!

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Old 04-12-17, 07:34 AM
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Don't the old Schwinn ten speed have steel wheels as well? I would think that would rule out even bothering to compare. You would be faster on an old mountain bike with aluminum 26" wheels than a 70's varsity with steel 700's i bet.
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Old 04-12-17, 07:39 AM
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I know my 78 Le Tour is faster than my fiancee's Specialized hybrid. How much of that is the engine powering each, I have little idea though, well see how much she speeds up when she starts riding her new road bike. My MTB is effectively setup as a hybrid, and the Le Tour is still faster, albeit not by much over the same Strava segments. I prefer the positioning on the Le Tour over the MTB for longer rides.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Oh, and look for some quality 27" tires. Do they make any that are nice? I've had my eye on some 27x1 tires, but you'll probably want 27x1 1/4.
Paselas and Marathons are both made in 27x1-1/4. I know Conti UltraSports come in 1-1/8, if you prefer slicks, I'd have to imagine they come in 1-1/4 too.

Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Bikes that age were generally 40+ lbs actually with all steel.
My Le Tour is about 32# with steel wheels, steel quarter fenders, a bottle dyno and light system and rack.

Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Heavy, sure. But Schwinn never made "cheap" bikes. At least not at the Chicago based factory on topic here.

Schwinn's lower end bikes like the Varsity were (and still are!) a quality product that would last for decades.
And many of the ones not from Chicago in that era were arguably better, produced in Asia before it became a thing. The Le Tour was produced by Panasonic, and I also have a mid-80s Collegiate that was actually made by Giant.
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Old 04-12-17, 07:41 AM
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If both bikes are well serviced, it really all comes down to tires and aero. But if the Schwinn is too big for you, why worry about it?
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Old 04-12-17, 07:50 AM
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There's a lot of fail in the responses to this post. Why not ask the OP to describe the late 1970s Schwinn more accurately? That would tell you. If a Paramount, Volare, or Super LeTour, and IF the size isn't way out of whack for the OP to ride, I'd take the Schwinn any day. Because...aerodynamics, where the rider of the Trek will struggle.


Of course, bearings will all need repacking, and suitable tires, and stripping off any unnecessary accessory crap from the Schwinn.


So, OP, what say you about this "Schwinn"? What the heck is it really?
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Old 04-12-17, 07:52 AM
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And, um, most of us would trade three Trek hybrids for a Paramount from the 70s. So, there's that...
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Old 04-12-17, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
. Not to mention that the modern cranks and bottom brackets and whatnot are themselves stiffer.
Stiffer than a one piece Ashtabula? I doubt it.
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Old 04-12-17, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
There's a lot of fail in the responses to this post. Why not ask the OP to describe the late 1970s Schwinn more accurately? That would tell you. If a Paramount, Volare, or Super LeTour, and IF the size isn't way out of whack for the OP to ride, I'd take the Schwinn any day. Because...aerodynamics, where the rider of the Trek will struggle.

So, OP, what say you about this "Schwinn"? What the heck is it really?

I too wondered this, but how much does it really matter? The OP posed a silly question, so all silly replies are valid.


Even Schwinn's lowest end road bike could be setup as "aero" as the fanciest model. Both could have similar tires and gearing. Sure, there could be several pounds difference in bike weight, but so what? The real answer here is it comes down to rider power more than anything else.

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Old 04-12-17, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Stiffer than a one piece Ashtabula? I doubt it.

Good point. And besides, "My crank flexed too much" must be #186 on the list of reasons why someone lost a race.
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Old 04-12-17, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Good point. And besides, "My crank flexed too much" must be #186 on the list of reasons why someone lost a race.
They are "S" shaped crow bars for crying out loud.
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Old 04-12-17, 10:13 AM
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Without knowing the colors of these bikes we're just making blind guesses as to their speed.
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