| Does anyone have experience with installing brake/shifter units(brifters?)on an old Schwinn Super Sport?The bike is currently set up with an 8 speed cassette and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur.Still using the Schwinn approved front changer,along with the stem mounted shifters.Thinking of upgrading,primarily for the better brake levers,but the Shimano 105 brake/shifters are occasionaly on sale and would be nice if they will work.Also have installed crank conversion with Shimano 105 crank.Bike is great fun,but the original brakes and new suicide levers are scary.Any help someone can provide is appreciated.Also have modified Continental and '74 Letour,riding all three currently 150-175 miles a week.|
| Jim, first kudos to you for your high weekly mileage. I don't think swapping shift/brake levers will be a problem if your cables and derailleurs are compatible. I'm not sure how much of an improvement in braking will result from this alone however. Why don't you first try aftermarket or 105 brake pads...many claim a great improvement in braking over originals. Then if still not good enough, swap levers and/or go to double-pivot 105 calipers. |
| Changing to ordinary aero brake levers will increase your braking leverage by about 10 percent. Replacing your brake pads with KoolStops will help, as well. I disagree on the 105 brake pads; I tried Shimano pads on my Bianchi, and they were a disaster with my first-generation Campag. calipers.|
| Installing the brifters opens a can of worms regarding derailleur and cassette compatibility. While I'm sure it can be done you'll spend pretty steep money and not necessarily improve braking. John E's ideas are solid and well tested and should give a real improvement. |
If you want more, Shimano and Tektro are both making "long reach" modern dual pivot brakes. These aren't cheap until you look at the price of getting 105 brifters and sorting out the sure to come headaches with getting them to properly index. The brakes are on the Harris Cyclery site.
You put enough miles on that bike to make upgrading reasonable but start with better pads and work your way up.
| Hi Jim, |
A set of new 8 speed Shimano Tiaga STI brake/shifters (call 'em STI) or an old set of 8s 105 STI's should integrate immediately with your current 8 speed cassette (assuming it's Shimano) and Altus derailleur. I am uncertain whether the front changer will work, however (try it!) Going to nine speed takes a new cassette that should go on the present hub, of course the STI levers, a new chain, and likely a new r. derailleur.
Braking will probably be improved, I would think. Also, here is some Shimano R600 long reach calipers:
Good luck, Corey
| I'm hoping to be able to add STI shifters to my Bianchi, or my RB-1. If I could find a 7 or 8 speed set for a reasonable price..... They have to be out there somewhere...at a decent price, that is. Especially, like some used stuff - or where someone is upgrading to say a 9 or 10 speed. But so far - I haven't found anything. Well, there was this time I saw a set...bars and all....for 50 bucks. I should have grabbed them up immediately.....but I didn't....then it was too late. (sometimes when I'm riding....I try to imagine what it would be like if I could just clik on the lever to change gears)|
| Got this one at a yard sale today for free. SR Apex Crank, SunTour SL downtube shifter. Seat tube says "Kabuki AN Guage Tubes CroMo Bridgestone" Paint bad, alloy parts all oxidized, lots of rust on chrome parts. Still....it doesn't look like a throwaway. Anybody have any comments? Thanks. john|
| The Diamond Formula-12 was from the very late 1970s, when 6 speed freewheels were a novelty and a bicycle with them was a model "12". At the time, Kabuki appears to have been revamping their line-up and had dropped the higher end models, leaving this model as their flagship. It was decidely mid-range, with a plain gauge CrMo main tubes (0.9mm), Cyclone/Vx derailleurs and 27" alloy rims. A nice, mid-range model, but not in the league of the falgship Diamond Road model which had preceded it. I wonder if those downtube shifters are replacements? I seem to recall the SL group being from the early 1990s. |
| Interesting, the one I have is constructed of aluminum cast lugs (funky wedge anchor for the seat post) with steel tubes. Possibly an early version of the thermally bonded frames found popular on some makes (Raleigh "Technium" for example) in the 90's...reversed with aluminum tubes and steel lugs. I fixed it up a few years back as a house-bike. Somehow it ended up back on my driveway as the riders had gotten better mounts. It was in pretty bad shape, but it runs. That's what is cool about these vintage bikes...they may not run perfect to be able to run. Lots of slop...I refer to these as under designed and over-built. Perfect for pounding around the berg. I have wondered if mine has stainless steel tubes, like on some models designed for coastal living. It has quite glitzy array of foil and striped decals on the tubes. No chrome anywhere. I was unaware that Kabuki made anything except lower ends. I learned something, thanks.|
Just put a magnet against the tubes of the main triangle. If it doesn't stick, you have a stainless steel Kabuki Submariner. The "pain-in-the-ass" quill type seat post was not really a feature; the designers had painted themselves into that corner with their cast lugs.
| Thanks for info on the magnetic test for stainless. Indeed, the quill-type post may well have been a fine example of bottom-up design (as opposed to top-down). A few rare instances can lead to some innovative results. Hey, it keeps water out of the seat-tube. Maybe they wanted aluminum|
lugs and the group came up with the lugs and said; "Here they are"; while another group was stuck with making the tubing work with the lugs. I must admit, it was a game-saving play whoever came up with the idea, although Peugeot had a similar setup albeit on much later bikes that were all steel.
| Kabuki used the die cast lug process of all types of plain gauge tubes; stainless steel, steel and aluminum. So the magnet test will not tell you if it is a Submariner. It could also be one of the aluminum models like the SuperLight. However, the Submariners that I have seen usually have unfinshed main tubes with painted lugs stays and forks, while the aluminum models are fully painted. If you have the unfinished main tubes, then it is a Submariner. |
For a description of the die casting process and a sample of a sectioned bottom bracket, go to the OldRoads picture archives and search on Kabuki Skyway. I posted it the last time this discussion came up.
| Thanks, Tom. Definitely not the Submariner as the tubes are painted (yellow). I'll try the magnet test to see if it is aluminum by default (since the stainless was only used on submariners and they were unpainted).|
| Interesting discussion I came across by accident. I worked for a bike shop in Minneapolis, MN from 1980 until 1984 that sold Kabuki's. I had a Diamond Formula (purchased in 1982) that was my first "racing" bike. I was quickly hooked in the cycling world, later graduating to European models. In case anyone is interested, I do have a Kabuki track bike from the late 1970's. The pearl-white frame remains in mint condition - only used for two seasons and kept in the house ever since. My wife would like me to part with some of my ancient toys. If anyone is interested, send me an e-mail (email@example.com). I can take a picture and forward.|
| I have a Kabuki skyway that I bought brand new back in the late 70`s. I still ride it & enjoy it very much. I finally upgraded to a nicer seat! Guess the years have caught up with me. Now I ride with my kids,& we just got back from riding along the C& 0 Canal.|
| I have a KABUKI DIAMOND FORMULA bike I would like to know the value of. It was purchased new in 1983.Owner said he rode it one year.Been buried in garage ever since. LONG STORY! |
Less than 300 miles on this bike.Has scratches on frame from being abused in garage.It is a nice looking bike - very light.
| A friend gave me a very nice all-original Campus Green 1971 (frame marked Dec. 1970) Schwinn Continental recently. The original AVA aluminum stem was wedged pretty well in the steel fork, but I was succesful in removing it easily by using Sheldon Brown's suggestion of dumping the contents of a CO2 tube-inflation device down the stem.|
Stem's out - time to party - right? Wrong. Both the binder and a chunk of the stem had remained in the tube - the stem had cracked. Incedentally, the binder bolt snapped when I was trying to unbolt it - the bottom half is still stuck in the binder - see pic:
I don't particularly care to have these "remains" of the stem machined out of the fork, and I did slightly bend the fork when attempting to bang out the stem remains still stuck in the steerer (not that it cannot be straightened).
I would much rather find a very nice, original Campus Green tubular fork to replace this one. The steerer tube is 6-7/8" long. See below pic:
I'm not interested in the electro-forged type as used on the Varsity. It must be identical to the one in the photo.
Would also be interested in an AVA stem, identical to the original (I'm pretty sure this is not the "death stem"). I'm not too keen on slipping the old one out over the original Campus Green bar tape, but I don't have much confidence in the existing one - with aluminum, it is better to be safe then sorry, and the raised height of the binder would probably lower the bars a bit too much for my liking.
Drop me a line on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything.
| Whoops - I believe it is the 'death stem' - which version is the safe one - vertical binder or horizontal?|
| I've had success in drilling-out the most stubborn stems then using a hacksaw blade to cut remainder. A real pain but it eventually works. I don't recall Schwinn Conti's and Vars having AVA-marked stems but I'm no expert. My early Super Sports/Tourers both came with that squared stem with marked S.|
| Well, since the pinstiping has virtually dissapeared from the other side of this fork, and it has some notable scratches (unlike the rest of this very nice example), I'd rather change it out.|
My '71 Varsity came with the usual chromed Schwinn "20 pound" quill stem - never had a Conti though, and this bike appears as original as it gets down to the handlebar tape and green glitter brake sleeves, so I have to assume the stem is original. What doesn't make me feel too good is that it is the famous 'death stem' - I might end up using a similar lugged-pattern stem that I discovered in my parts box...hell to polish these aluminum things though.
Restoring older aluminum stems is fairly easy if you have the right stuff to do it with. I use the following tools in order to do the job. First remove all minor scratches with a fine file. Then go at it with course wet sandpaper working down to fine grit. Lastly, use a buffing wheel to finish it off. When I started this foolishment all I had was a cheap buffing wheel set up from sears. over the years I have turned many dull, dingy, and beat up parts into like new ones. After a few years I could afford a real wheel. Same process just faster.
| Thanks for the info Fred - unfortunatly, I believe it would be a waste of time on this particular stem...after all, it has cracked on the bottom.|
I have an old RIVO stem with a similar lug pattern that I'll try polishing to your suggestions - provided it isn't anodized, of course.
| Kurt et al, I think I was wrong about AVA stems not on Schwinns. I found an aluminum stem today that looks exactly like AVA but is marked "Schwinn-Approved" on each side of extension. And yes, it is the hollow stem that some may call the "death stem" although IMO this characterization is exaggerated. |
| That's rather interesting, didn't know they had an "Approved" variant of the casting (but with Schwinn, anything's possible...). The one on my Continental simply has the diamond logo with "AVA" on the inside.|
-Kurt, wondering why the stem on his Continental reminds him of Green Acres...
| Looked at a pretty much excellent condition 3 speed "Regina Super lux" in metallic gold today at a resale shop for 75 bucks. Says it was bought in Scandinavia and brought over. It has all the bells and whistles (lights, seat cover, back rim / tire vinyl cover etc). The bike also looks like it has a disc brake on the front (vintage)! The problem is the old Basta auto u-lock is locked. How do you unlock these? the only visible way to unlock it is to switch the reflector like piece on the lock itself from side to side.... Do they have a sequence not unlike a combination lock?|
Sorry about the vagueness, but I cant find any information on the bike or lock online...
| Are you sure there isn't a tiny slot on one of the U arms? This is where the "key" (generic piece of soft steel) would usually be inserted.|
These types of locks number in the millions throughout Europe...cut it off if need be!
| Thanks Warren, I'll take a closer look- and yeah, I'll probably buy it and cut it off.|
Ok, so there is no keyhole at all anywhere (on this vintage basta lock). There is a reflector piece that moves in a plus pattern on the lock itself though. It HAS to be some sort of combo (and SIMPLE at that), but after about 27 trys I couldn't get it. I just wish I could figure it out, cause it is cool and unique I dont want to destroy it. I'll probably try to take it apart somehow.
Interestingly enough, the bike also has disk or drum brakes (70's Sturmey)! Really neat, never have seen those. Anybody heard of Regina Super Lux bikes?
| Update, found the combo to the lock. It was a fairly simple combo, 1 left, 2 right, 4 left, up. I'm happy I saved the lock from destruction. Sorry for not posting in the right section! (should be in english roadsters?)|
| More information on our show at Larz Anderson in|
Brookline, MA, please visit our website.
Our webmaster, Vin Vullo has had an extremely busy
season at his shop in Cambridge, MA and has been
unable to update our original site, so I've built a
temporary site with Vin's help. To access the site for
further information about this years show please visit
out new and temporary website while we build a new and
improved site. Below is the link.
As noted on the site pre-registration is not required,
but we would love to hear from you before hand to find
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There will be a separate swap meet sponsored by Linda
Pernice on both Saturday and Sunday, August 13th and
14th in Watertown, MA about a ten minute drive from
our show. For further info on the swap please contact
Linda by email at: email@example.com
Peter Naiman & Maurice Bresnahan