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Archived: Vintage Lightweights







VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Wing nuts posted by: Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 8:53:34 PM
Few things look better than wingnuts on a nice vintage bike. I seldom see them on rear wheels, though. I put wings on my fixed gear, but no matter how hard I screwed them down, they would slip if I accellerated hard from a stop. Maybe I pedal too hard, maybe I shouldn't try it with such a hard gear (88 inches, baby). Do others of you use wingnuts in the rear?


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Wing nuts posted by Chuck Schmidt on 9/14/2001 at 9:57:36 AM
Oscar, I have three fixed gear bikes that have wingnuts. All three have chain tension adjusters mounted on the drive side. These are banjo shaped, threaded devices that hold the axle from moving forward in track dropouts (fork ends is the more correct term). Commonly used one on each side, but you only need one on the drive side to keep the wheel from moving. These are vintage parts from many years ago. --Chuck Schmidt

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Wing nuts posted by Oscar on 9/15/2001 at 2:51:55 PM
Thanks for you help, Chuck. I've collected a number of wingnut sets for, well, whatthehell. Huret, Soua, even plain jane Japanese sets for my BMX. (Anyone need some, I can set you up.)

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Wing nuts posted by Oscar on 9/15/2001 at 2:53:29 PM
Thanks for you help, Chuck. I've collected a number of wingnut sets for, well, whatthehell. Huret, Soua, even plain jane Japanese sets for my BMX. (Anyone need some, I can set you up.)

   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Wing nuts posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 9/29/2001 at 4:57:58 PM
Removing wheels without tools is great and I like these better than quick release.
I opened up a drawer and instead of these you mention I found Sturmey-Archer and Raleigh wing nuts. A whole box full and I got these cheap. I love the thrill of the hunt!






AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn Tempo posted by: Joe Spinner on 9/13/2001 at 5:39:39 PM
Was the Schwinn Tempo circa '89 even remotely comparable to the Schwinn Paramount produced 10+ years earlier and if not,what distinguishes the Paramount?







VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by: jonathan on 9/13/2001 at 12:07:06 AM
If anyone can explain how to conveniently convert what is
a normal 10 speed into a fixed gear bicycle; I'm all eyes.
What I do now is keep in 48/19 position during a
flat commute for 20 minutes. Although this method achieves
a "fixed gear" of sorts, I'd like to reduce all hanging
hardware to a minimum. However, except for a couple of
26" fat-tires that I have holding up the fence, I don't know
where to get a 27" single-cog wheel...cheap. It must be
cheap or it lacks imagination.


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Warren on 9/13/2001 at 5:03:47 AM
go to http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harart-fixed.html for all your imaginative fixed gear fixes...

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 5:20:51 AM
You're looking for a track cog, which is a $20-$25 item. You can get them in all kinds of teeth numbers.

As you'll find after reading Sheldon Brown, getting the chainline between the cog and the chainring is essential. You will probably have to swap the hub spacers from the right to the left to get it perfect. Once you've done this, you will have to re-dish the wheel to center it between the chainstays. I've built two wheels for single-speeds, and I purposely swapped spokes (long spokes on the drive side, short for the non-drive side). Dished perfectly.

I've sure a bunch of readers have gone fixed on one of their bikes. Buncha fun.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Keith on 9/13/2001 at 7:40:46 AM
Ahhhh, the joys of fixed gear. Sheldon's site is great, to be sure, but unfortunately, IMO, it tends to point you in the direction of very nice but unecessary specialied components available from Harris. If you can afford this stuff -- new frame with rear facing back fork ends, Phil flip flop hub, etc., go for it. Otherwise, a good fixed gear bike can be cobbled together for the cost of a fixed cog and some chainring spacers, which should total less than $20. I've set up a half dozen of these machines, and they work as well as my Peugeot track bike. Setup is easy: (1) Remove all the derailleur stuff. (2) Remove the freewheel. (3) Remove the chainrings from the crank. (4) clean the rear hub threads with degreaser (Simple Green, etc.). (5) carefully (as in don't cross-thread) thread the fixed cog onto the hub, and tighten with a chain whip. (6) apply more Loctite to the remaining few threads. (7) thread a clean bottom bracket ring onto the hub over the cog. (8) install the single chainring on the inner position on the spider arms, using spacers to move the position further toward the bb shell (some trial and error is required here -- get a variety of spacers and combinations - narrower axle can also work). (9) break the chain, and shorten it so that you have the correct length. TWO FIXED GEAR MYTHS: that you need track rear forkends (sometimes erroneously called track "dropouts"; that you need a solid, bolted rear axle. Both are crap. Really, a standard quick release makes positioning the wheel for proper chain tension much easier than a bloted wheel. FIXED GEAR SAFETY: I'm a two brake advocate. With a medium gear(65-80 range) you can get into a serious spin on downhills. The rear brake is very useful for maitaining control on descents. Plus, it allows you to switch to a single freewheel. MORE SAFETY: slow down on corners unless you've got 165 crank arms and a high bb. The discipline of fixed gear riding goes well beyond just riding in one gear. It will teach you to keep pedeling in round strokes, no matter what. And it can be a harsh teacher. Common times newbies forget this: when trying to clip into the pedals, going over bumps, standing up to pedal, and standing up to stretch. If you forget, it kicks you like a mule, and could cause you to lose control. One last safety note: keep fingers and the like away from the spinning drive -- it could remove them rather quickly. Good luck and enjoy!!!

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Keith on 9/13/2001 at 7:43:37 AM
I neglected to instruct that Loctite must be used on the cog threads. Degrease everything or the Loctite won't hold well.

   Instructions, too!! posted by jonathan on 9/13/2001 at 10:17:27 AM
Firstly, thanks for the complete instruction on doing the
conversion...plus the safety concerns; there is considerably more
involved than I originally thought. Being able to benefit from
your expertise will save a lot of failed attempts to get
the fixed-gear working correctly.
Secondly, I have several cranks of varying lengths. How is the length
measured? You spec. the 165mm for increased clearance while
cornering. I've selected a 198x Le Tour II as the fixed-gear
candidate for conversion.

   RE:Instructions, too!! posted by jonathan on 9/13/2001 at 10:44:08 AM
I'll attach different cranks and measure the "drag angle"
by observation (visual inspection). The pedals have a role in this as well. Thanks.
None of my books give exact "point-to-point" reference for measuring the
crank. This would be useful to know for communicating
in a standard way.
Also, the sites mentioned above are very useful. Thanks everyone!

   crank length posted by John E on 9/13/2001 at 11:53:48 AM
center of pedal eye to center of crank spindle eye

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Keith on 9/13/2001 at 1:55:25 PM
As John suggests, you can measure the crank arm length from center of the spindle to the center of the pedal eye. Most cranks have the length stamped on the inside of the arm. 170s are pretty standard, and I'm fairly certain that's what you'd have on a 70s to 80s LeTour or World Sport, likely Sugino or SR (though I had one Le Tour with mostly French stuff, including Stronglight cranks -- they were 170s too). Longer 175s, and shorter 165s, are usually special order items for road bikes (though 172.5 is popular too) -- not generally standard road equipment. I have 170s on my Moto, with Campy Superleggera Track pedals, and I just make sure I'm careful not to throw myself into a corner. I don't mean to exagerate that risk or scare people off -- you just need to be aware of the potential problem of being launched by your pedal if you corner too hard.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Walter on 9/13/2001 at 5:25:12 PM
I used a 1970s LeTour and came up with a pretty satisfactory ride. I found some track hubs real cheap (-20$ NOS) so I went ahead and built a wheel. I don't doubt the LocTite approach but a track hub with a lock ring will not slip. 1 thing I learned the hard way using a LeTour is that Schwinn specified a thicker guaged steerer tube on the forks and that the selection of stems is limitted. I don't know if this applies to LeTour IIs. Track ends are not essential but horizontal drop outs pretty much are. The older the frame the better as you do not want wide dropout spacing. I'll not doubt Keith's experience with QRs but if you have the choice bolts aren't a bad way to go. After a few miles you'll get the hang of it. You can even do dumb things like pedal backwards to impress your 5 year old daughter. I really got her attention when I fell over.

   crank length posted by John E on 9/13/2001 at 6:17:00 PM
Most Sugino Mighty Compes from the 1970s are 171mm long. (Don't ask why the silly mm longer; I don't know.)

   171mm posted by Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 7:09:23 PM
The extra millimeter better accommodates Earth shoes.

My Italian bike must have a low bottom bracket. I pedal strike a lot in tight corners. I hope I at least make sparks.

My fixie has 165's, so I'm pretty safe.

   RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Warren on 9/13/2001 at 7:42:51 PM
I recently completed a fixed project that turned out nicer than I could have dreamed of. It's a pre-Raleigh Dunelt three speed frame that was fished outa the garbage. It had drop bars, oil port on the BB and a nicely built frame, regardless of the flak Dunelts sometimes get. I been saving a really cool NOS Solite track hub, 40 hole, from the 50's that fit the rear perfectly. I was hung up about the wheels until I found an old Sports from the Goodwill that had two perfect "Sulloy" aluminum rims in a Westrick pattern...32/40 holes and 26 X 1 3/8. Now I had the wheels...put blackwall Kendas on them and gave them 80 psi, (rated for 55).I added a Sugino BB and a 52 tooth swaged Tourney crank, (they look cool), an NOS GB stem and some funky shallow bend alloy Northroad bars that look just like moustache bars when flipped over. This mongrel of parts has one of the nicest sublime rides of any bike I've owned. The shallow angles of the frame suit the close moustache bars and give a real comfortable position. Remember looking at all of those pictures old bike races and thinking that the riders look pretty weird in that set-back, bent-over hunch on the flat bars? That what I look like and it feels great. The alloy components keep the weight right down and the only thing I would change is to swap the crank from 170's to 165's. I think I'm getting around 80 gear inches with a 52/16 combo and the 26" rims and it goes like stink on my flat commute to work every day. I'm blowing by everyone with a derailleur...but I get a little possessed sometimes.

BTW John, I checked my mid 70's Might Comp cranks on my Centurion and they are 165's although I don't doubt you for a second that they made these odd sized ones. I think they are killer cranks and are every bit as nice as the Campag Pista group that they were imitating. Maybe even better looking...

   RE:RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Warren on 9/13/2001 at 7:55:59 PM
And I forgot to mention the vintage aluminum Bluemel "Airweight" fenders/mudflap...handpump, Campag Gran-sport pedals, B-17 saddle and leather tool pouch on the back of it.

Can you tell I'm in love? It's one righteous bike. Cost me less than $100 total...and about 3 years to scrounge the parts together.

   RE:RE:RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 8:58:13 PM
Got a camera?

   pretty nice posted by jonathan on 9/13/2001 at 10:17:27 PM
Thanks for the measurement standard for how to measure the
crank-arm. After looking through my box of cranks, I couldn't find a
165 except a Stronglite, cottered set. Thanks to the post above; I was
prompted to check the cranks on a derelict Centurian (lady's frame) that's
hanging on the back fence. Darn! They are 165mm cranks! Brand is Takagi "Tourney" and
they are in surprisingly good condition, despite all the exposure. That's a
solution to the crank problem. I will look for Kendas for the tires that will go on
Mavic alloy rims. Kenda makes great tires for the price.
I run them on a MC, the compound is tough, yet pliant enough
on cold days. I've built (right term?) a wheel only once and it was
a disaster, but it went around without caving in after rubbing everything
near it.
Is a '70's Raleigh Gran Prix a better frame to use than a Le Tour II?
I can also use a '60's Bottechia; although I just finished
a complete restoration on it.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Warren on 9/14/2001 at 5:19:16 AM
It's coming...where are people posting pics for free these days?

   RE:RE:RE:RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Warren on 9/14/2001 at 5:21:00 AM
It's coming...where are people posting pics for free these days?

   RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:fixed club bike/Mighty Comps posted by Cal on 9/14/2001 at 6:54:46 AM
Alright, I know very little about lightweights in general, and am completely clueless regarding fixed gear.

What is this all about? Is there no freewheel? Are the pedals always moving? What about brakes (caliper?). What is the advantage (if any)?

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Keith on 9/14/2001 at 8:27:47 AM
Jonathan -- of the three frames I'd select the one with the highest bottom bracket -- measure the height from an imaginary line passing through the center of the fork ends and dropouts. Glad you found some 165s -- that'll help on the corners too. As to whether a Raleigh Grab Prix is better than a Schwinn Le Tour II. Flip a coin, although I believe the Gran Prix was plain steel whereas the Le Tour had at least a Chromoly main triangle. Also, IMO, Raleigh quality control suffered in the early 70s as they and other big names struggled to keep up with the brief bike boom.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No shifting posted by Walter on 9/14/2001 at 9:37:25 AM
Cal: Yes, no freewheel. Crank turns, wheel spins/wheel spins, crank turns. Hence you can, with practice, do silly things like riding backwards as I alluded to above. Essentially it's the drivetrain of a velodrome racer used on the street. In fact, some use track bikes on the streets but most fixed gears pulling road duty are modified derailleur bikes. It takes some getting used to and a front brake is essential but there are many benefits to spending at least some time on a fixed gear.

Jonathan: I agree with Keith. They should all have the same width dropouts. All else equal I'd use the Bottechia. Gotta look good!

   Perfect frame! posted by jonathan on 9/14/2001 at 9:42:35 PM
Thanks Keith and Walter for frame advisement. The Raleigh
Gran Prix is almost new condition, but too relaxed geometry.
The quality issue arises as well. The Le Tour II is really
a boring frame; maybe utilitarian is a kinder word. It'll
work, but without pinache. The Bottechia is a striking
beast; the right choice for crowd appeal at the coffee house.
However, I discovered a long forgotten gem that I had
in a shed. It's a Maino road racer frame and forks with handlebars. Good ground clearance
using a comparison study of candidates. I don't know much about
it, except that it is from a big outfit in Alesandria, IT.
that made lots of pre-boom bikes for serious riders.
Columbus frame and forks. I think it's begging for a chance
at breaking the flat commute speed record of 13 minutes 25 seconds.
When I complete it, I'll make a post with pic.
Thanks for your help. The site here is great to read.

   Sugino Mighty Compe cranks posted by John E on 9/15/2001 at 7:49:46 PM
Yes, they made 165s and 175s, but at least in the early years, their 170s were labeled "171." Be careful with old Sugino alloy cranks -- I snapped one at the pedal eye during an out-of-saddle climb, an experience I would prefer to avoid repeating.






VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Friction v. Index Redux posted by: Keith on 9/12/2001 at 8:57:31 AM
To take the earlier discussion to it's logical conclusion, I feel compelled to add the simple truth that the most reliable gear shifting mechanism is no gear shifting mechanism at all. Hence, I removed all that silly Campy Nouvo Record stuff from my Motobecane Grand Record commuter, and replaced it with a 46 x 17 fixed gear transmission. In all seriousness (though the former is absolutely true), the intricate clockwork mechanism inside the Chorus Ergo levers stands in stark contrast to the rugged simplicity of the elegently simple and completely reliable Nouvo Record downtube shifter, or my other favorite, the Suntour Barcon. At least the Campy Ergo shifter is rebuildable, unlike Shimano, and it will need to be rebuilt at some point -- those tiny gears have got to wear out and get sloppy sometime.







AGE / VALUE:   openly fake Bianchi on eBay posted by: John E on 9/12/2001 at 7:09:03 AM
See item #1004829983, then read the fine print. At least the seller is up-front about having Bianchi decals put on a repainted Diamondback. I quickly assumed, from the appearance and componentry, that it was not an Italian-built frame, but then I read the confession that it is not even a Bianchi-designed frame.







AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by: desmo on 9/11/2001 at 9:02:29 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1004320079

Amazing bike on ebay. None of us could afford it, but looking is free.


   wow! posted by John E on 9/12/2001 at 6:51:30 AM
Thanks for posting, Desmo. We'll see how high the bidding goes (and whether it reaches the reserve level). Check out the drill job on the front hub, long before the Swiss cheese fad of the late 1970s.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by Keith on 9/12/2001 at 12:56:34 PM
Unbelievably gorgeous! Worth downloading and saving the good quality pictures. Thanks very much for the post, Desmo, as I have not been visiting eBay lately (no money left to bid on bikes). Puts flesh and bones on the Rebour line drawings in The Dancing Chain and The Data Book.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by Walter on 9/12/2001 at 1:25:09 PM
Beautiful bike!

I really like the lugged stem, something I've read of but have never seen. 53 years old and obviously meticulously maintained. Would need to have the ability to display it.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by Ron B on 9/12/2001 at 10:08:16 PM
Wow! Thanks for the tip. That is indeed an exquisite bicycle.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by desmo on 9/13/2001 at 12:38:14 PM
This has been added to the ebay listing now:

"This item has been relisted in consideration of the recent tragedy that has overwhelmed our great nation. The previous reserve on this item was over $4000. Some may consider that high, but I was not willing to let go of this great machine for less - it is a very special, handcrafted cycle of the finest quality. THE NEW RESERVE IS $2500. ANY BID AMOUNT OVER THE RESERVE WILL BE DONATED TO THE AMERICAN RED CROSS TO AID IN DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS TO VICTIMS OF THE RECENT TERRORIST ATTACKS. Successful bidder will be required to make payments in two checks - one made out to seller for reserve amount, the other made out to the American Red Cross. Successful bidder will be provided with invoice from the ARC for their tax-deductible, charitable contribution."

Good move, I don't know if any vintage bicycle except perhaps a documentable TdF winner or hour record bike is really worth $4000, but this one is probably easily worth the new reserve. Class decision.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   1948 A.S. Gillot posted by Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 7:06:17 PM
Talk about class...leather hoods. Omigosh. I have hoodless italian brake lever bodies just waiting for that touch. And leather clips too. Have to sit down. Time to bother the leather craftsman in the neighborhood.






AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn World or Le Tour II posted by: jonathan on 9/10/2001 at 11:18:02 PM
Both 12 speeds are from mid-80's. The World is by Giant (Taiwan); the Le Tour II
is made by Panasonic? (Japan). Both have similar parts, except the chainrings on the Le Tour
are of better quality (alloy vs. stamped steel). My question is which is a better
bike? The Le Tour II looks like a better bike, but I notice
the World rides smoother on the rougher roads. Tires are
the same for both bikes. My conclusion is that the World is a better bike, despite
its "low end" looks. Does this make sense? I mean that side-by-side, the Le Tour II
is going to get the nod everytime, but come "game time", the World
comes to play!


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn World or Le Tour II posted by Keith on 9/12/2001 at 8:49:52 AM
I've owned a couple of Le Tours (Japanese), a World Voyager (also Japanese), and a few World Sports and a World Tourist (Giant-made in Taiwan). I put a fair number of miles on each of them, and can only say that they all had about the same ride qualities, those being what you'd expect from a not-terribly lightweight mid-range steel bike with somewhat relaxed sport-touring geometry. Comfortable, but not particularly responsive, but who cares about the responsiveness -- they aren't racing bikes! I think a skilled brazer in Taiwan can make as nice a frame as a skilled brazer in Japan or the U.S. The latest Rivendell frame catalop talks about how their builder started at Trek in the 80s, where he brazed something like 60 or 75 frames a day! Now that's mass production! Mass produced frames can be made well (like the Treks and Schwinns just mentioned) or poorly (certain European names that got pretty sloppy for a while). Bottom line: the two frames you are comparing are of equivalent utilitarian value.






MISC:   Update on Small Road Bike for my 10-year-old Son posted by: Keith on 9/10/2001 at 11:49:46 AM
Last Friday I took the plunge and bought my 10-year-old son a new Fuji Ace. The geometry was part of the decision -- it has a slack headtube angle and short top tube -- good for stability and comfort for a young newbie. Hard to find that on a used road bike. Anyways, he wasted no time in riding it. Saturday he rode 40 miles on his first solo club ride ("short" loop of the local Covered Bridge Century). When he was done, he plopped into the back seat of the car and said, "Dad, I want to eat, and rest, and then ride some more." So we did. Sunday, he wanted more, so we did the 30 mile loop of the local Dry Run ride. During the ride, RAAM rider Bubba Jeff Stephens followed us for a while in his RAAM support van, playing music and giving encouragement over the speakers. My son's response was, "Dad, I want to try to ride a century while I'm still 10." After we got home, he wanted more, so we did another 10 on the local bike path. Then more still after dinner. 80+ miles for a beginner1 0-year old on his first weekend with a road bike. The ACE functioned flawlessly, and, relevent to the discussion on FS v. index below, the ease of the STI shifting made the riding much easier for him. (BTW, I use Campy NR friction on my daily commute, and have several other Campy friction bikes, but I also have one Chorus Ergo-erquiped bike that's nice for those competitive fast fifties. What do I trust more overall? Easy -- friction) Anyway, I only dreamed my son would be so excited for cycling, and never dreamed it would come this soon.


   RE:MISC:   Update on Small Road Bike for my 10-year-old Son posted by JOEL on 9/10/2001 at 12:49:51 PM
Sounds like he'll be ready for that century by friday. Cool.

   RE:MISC:  Good Deal posted by Walter on 9/10/2001 at 5:36:29 PM
Sounds like money well spent even if you had to go new. That's serious riding regardless of age. Is the ACE specifically a kid's bike like the Trek mentioned below or is it just a small "regular" roadbike?

As I mentioned below I really like the fact that manufacturers are reintroducing roadies for younger riders. Things go in cycles and I think there might just be a market. Your son is proof positive.


   RE:MISC:   Update on Small Road Bike for my 10-year-old Son posted by Keith on 9/10/2001 at 9:46:03 PM
Kyle is tall for his age, so he fits the 49cm Ace with 700c wheels. He'll be able t ride it for at least a couple of years by raising the seatpost and replacing the stem. I did check the smaller Trek -- very nice -- but I decided to stick with the Chromoly Fuji, since I believe the ride will be nicer (steel is real!). For the price difference I got him a nice new helmet, gloves, etc. As for younger people on road bikes -- I see more 20-somethings at club rides and on the bike path than I've seen for many years. But not many kids my son's age -- I hear of a few, but don't see them on long rides except on the backs of tandems. Most young kids seem to ride mostly mountain bikes and BMX bikes. Those are cool too, but are not good choices for anything other than thrashing around the neighborhood. We saw a kid who was 12 or so on the Dry Run riding a mountain bike. He looked really beat.

   well shut my mouth! posted by John E on 9/11/2001 at 6:31:13 PM
I no longer have a good rebuttal to spending that much money on a new bike for a kid. If Kyle really gets hooked on cycling, you will have gotten a very nice return on your investment.

   The future looks like this... posted by Oscar on 9/13/2001 at 5:28:12 AM
Just think, when Kyle gets a bit bigger, he and Keith get to fight over the right sized bits of Reynolds and Campy.

I rode the alley with my young'un last night. At three years old, he's tearing up the pavement on his training wheels. In a year or two, I guess I lose my BMX to him.






VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Le Perle 50's 3-speed information posted by: Andrew on 9/10/2001 at 3:52:19 AM
Anyone have info on a bike I abtained yesterday, it's a La Perle cycles, Sturmy archer 3-speed dated 1951, has great art deco aluminum fenders with bullet head & tailight that are signed "Le Martele". Chain ring has cut out that reads "El Swick". I need tires for it that are all gumwall, 26". Any feedback helpfull. Andrew-


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Le Perle 50's 3-speed information posted by Chuck Schmidt on 9/10/2001 at 4:18:56 PM
Hi Andrew, Yes I have a brochure printed at the end of 1951 of the '52 season La Perle bikes and another printed in 1952 on the '53 bikes that shows your bike. I'll send it to you postage paid for $5. Other reprinted vintage bike brochures are listed and shown on my web site at: http://www.velo-retro.com

I'll be showing a La Perle Serie Course Speciale like the one Hugo Koblet won the Tour de France in 1951 on at the Velo Rendezvous next month in Pasadena, California. Info on my web site as above. --Chuck Schmidt/Velo-Retro






VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need help Identify French frame posted by: Ron B. on 9/9/2001 at 10:33:11 PM
Hi all, I picked up a bike recently. Thought it was English frame, had all old campy & Reynolds 531 sticker. Took it home to find it was in fact French BB, & headset. This bike has been resprayed, has no headbadge or ID. My clues are 1. High end record and nr components from early seventies. (Rear der. N.R.) 1971. 2. French. 3. Campy dropouts. 4. BB shell has 5 holes in bottom, center hole largest, other 4 decreasing in size, kind of like o0O0o. Does not have nervex fancy lugwork. The brazing and joints rival some of the best I have seen. 5. 120mm spacing rear. 6. 26.4 seatpost 7. Universal 68 brakeset. 8. Wrap around seat stays. Any thoughts, hints, or ideas would sure be welcome. Also has an ancient Clement Pneumatica cyclo tourisme tire in great shape if anybody needs one for resto. Thanks! Ron B.


   wrap-around seat stays; holes in BB posted by John E on 9/11/2001 at 6:35:41 PM
Interesting! I have always associated wrap-around seat stays with Raleigh and Nishiki, rather than with anything French. The BB cutout pattern is probably also a hint. I'm stumped.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need help Identify French frame posted by Bob on 9/12/2001 at 4:45:48 PM
What sort of a crank set does this bike have? Campy? TA? Stronglight?

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need help Identify French frame posted by Ron B. on 9/12/2001 at 9:59:25 PM
Thanks for the reply, The bottom bracket is Campagnolo. I repacked the grease and found it to have grooved cutouts in the cups at the spindle holes. I thought this may have been a design to expell water? The cranks are Record. The hubs are Record High flange. The driveline is Nuovo Record. The stem and bars are Philippe. I have removed and saved all and converted it for fixed gear using the high flange hub wheels and a 42/17 ( I live in Reno NV, we have some hills) The frame rides wonderfully! I have many trusty mounts, and this bike rides near the top, with the Celo Europa, and the Waterford Paramount. I just wish I could figure out what it is. The BB has a serial number of 503. Whatever it is, they didn't seem to make very many. A fellow where I bought the bike said he thought at one time it had stickers on it, something about BMW. This didn't seem to make sense. Could it have been a team bike? It has been repainted, total gloss white. Looks nice, I wish it was original. If that were the case, I may not have got it for $140. Thanks for your reply.
Ron B.






AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by: Gary M on 9/8/2001 at 9:36:59 AM
original owner has this at my shop for sale. C2 serial number, all original except front derailler and shifter missing, and front rim was replaced. have a rim, need a suicide shifter, and the lever to make this bike complete.
its for sale, make offers. Green, with a large banner that says Schwinn Varsity, 10sp on it. lots of licences, and some scratches, its been ridden, and stored inside.


   I have been informed by the Schwinn board this bike is useless junk posted by Gary M on 9/8/2001 at 6:07:13 PM
SO i am going to cut it up and toss it with the rest of the Huffys. A fitting end for a machine that the original owner took good care of for nearly 40 years. Funny isnt it this entire hobby revolves around Schwinn Stingrays and nothing else

   1962 may still have value posted by John E on 9/8/2001 at 7:51:42 PM
With a very nonoriginal 1960 Varsity fetching $255 so far on eBay, don't underestimate the value of your 1962, particularly with a replacement Simplex Competition derailleur (I think CyclArt.com has some). Eric can help on this, but I thought the 1962s had the cable-driven Huret front derailleurs. The Varsinentals remain the most durable, easily-maintained road bikes ever made, and their low resale values boost their utility as unbeatable general transportation beaters.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by Walter on 9/8/2001 at 8:14:01 PM
I wouldn't sweat the flak on the Schwinn board. I've perused it a handful of times and have come to the conclusion that intelligence is a precious commodity there. They collect kid's bikes and they act like kids. The type of kids I enjoy throwing out of class when you get right down to it.

I don't know enough about early Schwinns to help you with pricing but a bike that'll be seeing its 40th birthday within a year is kinda cool, IMO.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by Brian L. on 9/8/2001 at 8:20:44 PM
All of this fawning and cooing over Varsitys and Continentals and here I have a hand-braised chromoly variant, takes a real bottom bracket and has some pretentions to ridability that I've posted as a swap for something and no one so much as posts an "Is that so?". I don't get it.

   Huret Alvit rear derailler posted by Gary M on 9/8/2001 at 8:39:21 PM
I agree, and i am no longer wasting my time on that board.
i will just put a period Huret cable front on it, and hang it up next to the rest of my useless junk non-stingrays.
will look good next to that ladies 1950 schwinn i got last week, with no value either. I guess i collect garbage.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by Bob on 9/8/2001 at 10:02:25 PM
About five years ago when I returned to "riding" I began on a bright yellow vintage Continental. It must have weighed 35 pounds. My first ride was about a mile. I arrived home winded and also with a sense of pleasure that I had forgotten for many years. I got back on the Schwinn and rode it almost every day. After a few months someone gave me a "worthless" Le Tour and that became my main mount for almost a year.

I am 35 pounds lighter (still on my way back to 180!) and I am up to 40+ miles for my longest trip. I hope to do a century this winter when it cools off here.

I gave the bright yellow Continental away about a year ago to a fellow who needed some transportation. A careless drive sent the Le Tour to its eternal reward.

So what are these bikes worth anyway?

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by Wings on 9/8/2001 at 11:06:08 PM
"So what are these bikes worth anyway?"
Three years ago in the winter they were going for $8.
This year some think they are collectables so they now range from $8 to $80 where I live. I doubt that the ones selling for $80 ever sell for that. Their real worth is when you ride them, enjoy them, and then they give something back to you that goes beyond $8. "40 years old." When a bike is 40 years old and looks like new it looks great!!! But even it it does not look so good, it still can be a good bike.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by jonathan on 9/9/2001 at 12:25:15 AM
Maybe the guys who say they're "junk" are hoarding
as many as they can grab up at $8 a pop...for the not too distant
time when the scrap yards no longer have a steady supply
from the "listeners" who throw 'em into the scrap heap with a
feeling that they are getting rid of a useless commodity that
is a blight on the roads; and that will,therefore become
extremely collectible. Make sense?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   1962 Schwinn Varsity posted by Eric Amlie on 9/9/2001 at 9:23:31 AM
I think John is right about the front derailleur. If there is a mounting boss on the downtube just opposite from the boss for the rear derailleur, it should be the early Huret cable driven one with the script "Huret" name on it. I have a photo I could attach to an email to you if you want. I don't think we can post photos on this page. There is some confusion as to when the Varsinentals first got this front derailleur. It may have been mid year 1962 so if there is a mounting boss on the seat tube, it would still take the old Simplex "suicide" derailleur.

As for value; if you really want to know, put it on Ebay. Unbridled capitalism at it's best. I may even bid on it, but I would want to see at least one photo (from the right side) first.

   COOL BEANS. It has a boss on the LH side, and I have an early Huret script derailler posted by Gary M on 9/9/2001 at 11:04:38 AM
Well that makes me a little happier. now i need to match the shifter handle, and it will be nearly all original {seat} we shall see. thanks

   discussion boards posted by John E on 9/9/2001 at 12:23:09 PM
I do not know whether to credit Vin VVVintage, the people who post on this board, or (I suspect) both, but oldroads.com remains a classy, informative, enjoyable forum, free of the insults and stupidity I see too frequently on schwinn.com.

   RE:discussion boards posted by JOEL on 9/10/2001 at 1:00:17 PM
Any pre bikeboom Schwinn lightweight is worth keeping. Prices are already going up.

   RE:RE:discussion boards posted by Cal on 9/11/2001 at 5:33:57 AM
What defines "Pre-boom"?

   RE: Bike boom posted by Eric sad in America Amlie on 9/11/2001 at 11:13:17 AM
I think I would define it as after 1970 although others might say it began a little later. Certainly circa 1973.

   RE:RE: Bike boom posted by JOEL on 9/11/2001 at 1:37:00 PM
Yea, I think the sales boom started around 68 and peaked sometime in the early 70s.

   Bike boom Varsinentals posted by John E on 9/11/2001 at 6:38:28 PM
In this case, there is a definite point of demarcation in 1967, with the change to TwinStik from downtube shifters. To me, all collectible Varsinentals predate this change; the only exception is the red/white/blue 1976 Bicentennial Varsity.






AGE / VALUE:   Friction shifters posted by: jonathan on 9/7/2001 at 11:27:59 PM
After experimenting with SIS I've decided to resume the
analog (friction) shifting mechanism for my bikes.
With moderate coordination and practice, the FS is
fine; unless one has a competitive bent, the SIS only
means one more "criticality 2" factor. Who needs SIS?
When I ride with clicks, there is the tendancy to shift
a lot more which causes a lot more wear on the gears and
chain. Who needs that? With my friction SunTour Cyclones
working, I find that it's possible to get the cage aligned
just right under the gear selected...the SIS in theory does this
"automatically", but this is attenuated by the rigors of
hard riding and duration. Developing fine motor skills is
one aspect of growing up that I felt was worth the effort, which
is another reason to say; "hurrah, hip, hip" to the retro
light-weight, downtube friction shifters. Can anyone
provide any insight to make me change my position...along with
slapping the SIS back on my road bikes?


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Friction shifters posted by Walter on 9/8/2001 at 6:39:50 AM
Hmmmnn.

No, not really. I have bikes with both styles and my 80s Basso is my #1 mount. I don't mind indexing in the rear but really dislike it for the fr. derailleur as it makes "trimming" the cage to the chainline nearly impossible. In fact on my newer bikes I retro-fitted friction style front shifting.

Debatable points: I disagree to a degree about the sins of more shifting. In fact the tendency to shift MORE often might be the #1 point of a Ergo/STI setup. Given my own, pretty unique circumstances I find it helpful to have rear der. control on the brake lever but, if not for a motorcycle accident, would probably be content with d/t shifters.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Friction shifters posted by oscar@freewheeling.com on 9/8/2001 at 6:47:47 PM
Well, Jon, if you're looking for an arguement for SIS, you probably won't find it here. All of my riders are mix and match. It would be impossible to find that kind of compatiblilty with indexing.

   friction is the best posted by John E on 9/8/2001 at 7:45:54 PM
I will still put a SunTour rear, Campy front, and Campy friction downtube or SunTour ratchet barcon combination against any other transmission out there.

   RE:friction is the best posted by Wings on 9/8/2001 at 11:13:09 PM
Nothing is nicer than a 9 speed SIS that is in perfect working order! It is a pleasure!! However, when it drifts slightly from the area of perfection and it fails to dial in again while riding it becomes very frustrating and disturbing to me. Therefore I ride friction (I like barcons) and three bikes with SIS. I rode a Varsity for 30 years and never had a bad ride because of shifting problems!!

   RE:RE:friction is the best posted by jonathan on 9/9/2001 at 12:13:37 AM
Ha! I now feel vindicated in my arguments to persuade
various people near to me, that the indexing is for
a rolodex file...not a bike. As this site provides
a wealth of information, it is no surprise that I keep
reading and learning from the forthright discussions.
All my road bikes have friction shifters, but a couple
of MTB's are SIS. The "perfection" of shifting precision
disappears real fast..within 100 miles offroad. I'm tempted to use
aircraft cables as I've had success using it for clutch
cables on my vintage MC's. Why wouldn't it work on a
derailer?

   RE:RE:RE:friction is the best posted by Oscar on 9/9/2001 at 4:39:29 PM
Rolodex? Talk about vintage technology!

   RE:friction and motorcycle cables posted by Warren on 9/9/2001 at 6:22:59 PM
Funny, I broke my clutch cable on my 77 BMW R60 a month ago. The replacement cable is $50 cdn from the dealer. I swapped it with a a "Slik" brand mtn bike cable and haven't looked back. I just used the old housing and a allen-keyed barrel stop. Total cost of $5. I carry a spare in the tool kit at that price.

   RE:RE:friction and motorcycle cables posted by jonathan on 9/9/2001 at 10:05:12 PM
I'm going to try stainless steel aircraft cables on my
front and rear derailers. I got this at Orchard Supply Hardware
(California). The oxidation eats right through the regular
cables...ozone is probably part of the problem. $50 for cables?!
It's great to have a "broadband" experience base to come up with
cross-solutions. The stainless might be slippery, so I'll
keep an close watch on the changeout.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Friction shifters posted by Keith on 9/12/2001 at 8:52:49 AM
Heck, even friction shift is too advanced and complex. I took all that unnecessary stuff off my Motobecane and converted it to fixed gear for the daily commute. The most reliable shifting mechanism is no shifting mechanism at all!






VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Continental posted by: cindy on 9/6/2001 at 11:25:15 PM
The mayor of Loomis, Calif had his house catch on fire during these wild fires we have been having and has to build another house. Needing the room he brought me this beautiful gold Continental. I didn't know much bout them either, but sitting in the showroom of my motorcycle shop I have found out from ogling drooling customers that this is one special bike. One old time bicycle racer told me that this bike sold for $85.00 new. Wow! I started washing some of the dust off and couldn't believe the quality of some of the "jewelry" had. The gear levers are on the down tube and there is a small circular alloy plate against the spokes in front of the gears on the rear wheel. I have been collecting bicycles just because I am amazed at the genius behind all of them, even the less endowed ones. I have been into vintage, new, etc motorcycles and bicycles are a big part of their history. Thanks for all the info. I have been reading all of your views and I feel like I know each one of you because of it.


   nice find posted by John E on 9/7/2001 at 6:25:25 AM
Thanks for posting, Cindy. As you probably already know, you can determine the month and year of frame production from the serial number and the Schwinn charts on this website. The downtube levers and spoke protector suggest 1964-1966 to me, which should correspond to an A4xxxx-M6xxxx serial number, although it could be an early 1967 model, as the change to stem-mounted shifters occurred during calendar year 1967. Clean up, wax, and preserve the original paint, and save any original components you happen to replace.

   RE:nice find posted by Oscar on 9/7/2001 at 5:38:23 PM
Coppertone (gold) is the prettiest color on Schwinn's palate. Do you get to keep it, or does his honor want it back after his house is rebuilt? Make your vote count next election, I say.

   RE:nice find posted by Oscar on 9/7/2001 at 5:38:28 PM
Coppertone (gold) is the prettiest color on Schwinn's palate. Do you get to keep it, or does his honor want it back after his house is rebuilt? Make your vote count next election, I say.

   refreshing, ain't it posted by Oscar on 9/7/2001 at 5:39:42 PM
D'oh!

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Continental posted by cindy dmn on 9/7/2001 at 11:32:46 PM
John and Oscar, Coppertone ( gold ) it is. The Mayor just gave it to me. I have in the shop different kinds of bicycles and tricycles and sewing machines and my Kirby racing vacum cleaners plus a variety of vintage motorcycles. Some days people will bring me bicycles and only want $5.00. Needless to say, I can't let a perfectly good running bike go when they are so cheap. I have supplied many a poor kid with a running bike for near nothing. The mystery I can't understand is how the tire always seem to hold air no matter how trashed they are. The first Triumph bicycle I saw and bought for $10.00 in a Thrift Store. My hands got all wet with perspiration and my heart started pounding. It is a gold color too. I have a copy cat bike of the Continental and it has the name Novurance in gold leaf letters. It has the levers on the down tube too. Thanks for the replys. Boy! This website is the best.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Continental posted by JOEL on 9/10/2001 at 1:16:38 PM
Sounds like a cool shop. I have a few sewing machines too. Aren't they great?

It's good to see new folks who are excited about this hobby. Welcome.


   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Continental posted by JimW. on 9/11/2001 at 11:50:24 AM
Kirby vacs are amazing, too. I have two of them. I also have
one of the fabric bags I kept from a trashed older one. It has the lightning-bolt fabric, and was so cool I couldn't trash it.






MISC:   Schwinn Continental posted by: Tim Powell on 9/6/2001 at 4:43:40 AM
Last evening whilst searching around my local garbage dump looking for interesting discarded bicycles I found a Schwinn Continental 10 speed Ladies lightweight bicycle. The paintwork is excellent also the chrome, only the wheel rims need some attention. It is black with very ornate decals, a rear carrier that looks original, a dynamo light set and a small saddle bag with some very fancy wrenches. It has a sticker on the seat post that says " Larry King Cycles" and what looks like Torence Washington. There are also small yellow labels on the top tube warning of braking when wet and a label on the rear chain stay that tells how to set up the gears. The head tube is not lugged but looks like a hand finished fillet braze or forging. It is a very attractive bike with curved tubes and chrome forks. There is also a pump with Schwinn stamped on it, in fact everything except for the centre pull brakes has got Schwinn stamped on it. I collect roadsters and have little knowledge of American Cycles. I thought that Schwinn only made ballon tyre bikes, (please excuse my ignorance). I have spoken to fellow enthusiasts in the UK but none have ever heard of this machine. Does anyone know anything more about its history or where I might get more information. I have looked for numbers on the frame but as it is very dirty am having difficulty finding any.I intend to keep this machine as it is the nicest looking bicycle I have seen for a long while. It is amazing to think that someone brought this bike all the way from America to South Wales, Lucky I found it before it got buried.


   RE:MISC:   Schwinn Continental posted by Eric Amlie on 9/6/2001 at 10:12:24 AM
The serial number will be either on the left rear dropout (if it's older) or on the front of the head tube near the bottom (if it's newer). The bike can be dated from the first two characters of the serial number with the number charts on this site. If the shifters are on the down tube the bike is pre '67, if on the stem, '67 or later. The frame is electro forged from 1010 (I think)or possibly 1020 gaspipe steel. After you date the bike if you have any specific questions about it, email me. I have the catalogs that cover all years of this bike.

   RE:MISC:   Schwinn Continental posted by Oscar on 9/6/2001 at 11:30:26 AM
Here in the US, we throw out Continentals by the ton. I understand that very few made it to the UK and Europe. They are wonderful bikes and will last 7 lifetimes. I would guess that it is a later model given the black color and the ornate decals. I found a black '78 a while ago, but not in as good condition as yours. I agree with Eric that the tubing is 1010 steel, which is heavy, but offers a very smooth ride. Congratulations on a nifty find.

   recommended reading posted by John E on 9/6/2001 at 12:58:22 PM
To learn more about Schwinn lightweights, Tim, have a look at the story of the Varsity (a slightly cheaper version of the Continental) in sheldonbrown.com and in "The Dancing Chain." The Varsity, created by the late Keith Kingbay, is arguably the most important lightweight multigeared bicycle in U.S. history; it probably helped catalyze the adult bike boom of the 1970s. You can read a brief history of Schwinn's top-of-the-line Paramounts in waterfordbikes.com, and specifications for their better mountain bikes of the 1980s in firstflightbikes.com.

   RE:MISC:   Schwinn Continental posted by Tim Powell on 9/6/2001 at 3:32:14 PM
Thank you all very much, I have now cleaned the bike andfound the number. DR530767 which is 1978. It is interesting that this machine is thrown away in America given its obvious quality. I am going to keep mine and retore it (only the wheels need any real work). My daughter has fallen in love with the bike already and intends to ride it instead of her 1923 hoop frame ladies roadster. I appreciate your help, thanks.

   quality posted by John E on 9/6/2001 at 5:56:27 PM
The Varsity/Continental/Suburban/Collegiate are arguably the most durable, most easily repairable, and elegantly simple "10-speeds" ever made. The only drawback is about 5kg of excess weight, which could have been eliminated in a similar design, using today's materials. You daughter will probably be able to hand it down to her daughter. I do recommend immediately replacing the brake pads with KoolStops, in the interest of safety.






MISC:   Schwinn Continental posted by: Tim Powell on 9/6/2001 at 4:43:40 AM
Last evening whilst searching around my local garbage dump looking for interesting discarded bicycles I found a Schwinn Continental 10 speed Ladies lightweight bicycle. The paintwork is excellent also the chrome, only the wheel rims need some attention. It is black with very ornate decals, a rear carrier that looks original, a dynamo light set and a small saddle bag with some very fancy wrenches. It has a sticker on the seat post that says " Larry King Cycles" and what looks like Torence Washington. There are also small yellow labels on the top tube warning of braking when wet and a label on the rear chain stay that tells how to set up the gears. The head tube is not lugged but looks like a hand finished fillet braze or forging. It is a very attractive bike with curved tubes and chrome forks. There is also a pump with Schwinn stamped on it, in fact everything except for the centre pull brakes has got Schwinn stamped on it. I collect roadsters and have little knowledge of American Cycles. I thought that Schwinn only made ballon tyre bikes, (please excuse my ignorance). I have spoken to fellow enthusiasts in the UK but none have ever heard of this machine. Does anyone know anything more about its history or where I might get more information. I have looked for numbers on the frame but as it is very dirty am having difficulty finding any.I intend to keep this machine as it is the nicest looking bicycle I have seen for a long while. It is amazing to think that someone brought this bike all the way from America to South Wales, Lucky I found it before it got buried.