Re: Schwinn Superior 1976 marketable?
<firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
> Donald Gillies wrote:
> > email@example.com writes:
> >> I just dusted off my old 1976 Schwinn Superior. It looked so good, I
> >> cleaned it off and had my LBS give it a once over. It has all the
> >> original parts, even the tubes/tires. This is the fillet brazed
> >> model, hand-made in Chicago, according to a site I saw. The frame is
> >> work of art, narrow metal frame with smooth joints.
> >> I'm just wondering what kind of value this bike has. I mostly
> >> mountain bike, but I thought of using this for some cross training.
> >> So, it there a market out there? If not, I'll just enjoy a few miles
> >> on the road with a nice old road bike.
> > Parts worth $150 - $200
> > Frame worth $0.
> > Any carbon-steel frame from europe ("Raleigh Record") is lighter than
> > - Don Gillies
> > San Diego, CA
> I think you are mixing this up with Schwinn flash welded, seamed tubing
> frames, Continental, Varsity et al.
> While Schwinn fillet brazed lightweights were not particularly light in
> comparison to some bike frames, they are IMO not tanks, ride nicely,
> handle well and are far better quality than the example Raleigh Record.
> The Superior was hand built from seamless straight gauge chrome-moly
> tube (4130) and fillet brazed not welded.
> I think it represents one of the high points in production American
> frames and a construction technique we will probably never see again.
> For more info see: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/schwinn-braze.html
Yes but..... They still used heavier wall thickness tubing than comparable
mid range European bikes of that era.
How much did Schwinn Superiors weigh? European bikes with 3 main tubes
made of straight gage or butted alloy steel tubes and equipped with alloy
components weighed in at 24-26 Lbs. with clinchers - ~ 2Lbs. less with
I'm not sure what the marketoid term "flash welding" means. Were Pipa de
Schwinn bikes arc, TIG or MIG welded? To me flash welding would seem to
mean spot welded which is a process usually used for welding sheet metal.
I remember seeing several Varsity style Schwinns with fillet brazing that
failed at the head tube. They were fillet brazed not welded. Customers
brought them into our shop with the fork, bars and head tube in one hand
and the rest of the bike in the other. The brazing material remained on
the top and down tubes but there was a very poor bond to the head tube.
The seamed pipe that the lower priced Schwinns were made of had a wall
thickness of 2.5mm to 3mm. These bikes weighed in at 38-40 Lbs. Similar
quality lugged European bikes weighed in around 28-32 Lbs.
Most of the Japanese bikes from the early 1970s were made from the same
kind of pipe as the low end Schwinns and weighed up to 36 Lbs. with steel
components. The importers started having some of these bikes made from
heavy wall 4130 alloy steel tubing - total marketing BS. They were still
heavy clunkers that rode and handled like a wheel barrow.
One reason for using thick wall tubing is to overcome the low strength and
fatigue resistance of cheap carbon steel. Alloy steels like Reynolds,
Columbus and the different brands made from 4130 steel are 2 to 3 times
stronger and have much higher fatigue resistance that plain carbon steel
The cost difference between 1018 carbon steel and 4130 alloy steel tubing
in 1976 was less than $5.00 USD for a set of frame tubes. This was the
cost to a manufacture not the price custom builders paid for tube sets
from Reynolds, Columbus etc.