Custom frame designed with angles from 70s Schwinn



worldcupsoccer

New Member
Apr 24, 2011
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You may first ask why would someone build a custom frame designed after an old heavy 70s Shcwinn Varsity.
After riding many different frames - Lotus, Felt, and other tri bikes I always remember how comfortable my first 10 speed was. None of my racing bikes let you take your hands off for one second. With the old varsity I could ride for blocks, hands free which shows the balance and comfortable angles of the frame. The point is that your hands don't get cramped and you're not leaning as far forward straining your lower back. Now that I'm not competing anymore I would like something a little more laid back but with modern parts...
I have been repairing my own bikes and those of my kids and their friends forever. I have also re-built several from scratch.
I would like to find out the angles and reasons behind the comfort then find a custom builder to make a modern frame which I would outfit.
I am starting to research the frame angles and trying to find out what the 70's frame angles were. I am no frame angle expert so any advice would be appreciated
Thanks,
Fred
New York
 

An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
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Hands free riding may be more dependent on your skills than on the bike's geometry.

In the 80's I could ride my Vitus hands free. Even take my jacket off. Bit I was young. Now I am old. I find it best to keep my hands on the bars.

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Find a frame builder. He should be able to get the geometry for you.
 

vspa

Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2009
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yeah modern geometry puts less horizontal distance between both wheels (not sure why),
you could try with a different fork-rake something that will increase that distance and make the bike more stable,
 

tafi

Active Member
Jul 31, 2003
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Because we all must bow down before the altar to the god of low weight....

A shorter wheelbase means less material used in constructon and hence lighter weight. Sharper (and sometimes disconcerting) handling is just a byproduct of this process which merketing types have jumped on with descriptions such as "sharp", "racy" or "criterium bike".
it is for the same reason that bikes have also gotten lower. Fine if you have the required flexibility for the "pro" look but unfortunately most people don't.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Originally Posted by worldcupsoccer .

I would like to find out the angles and reasons behind the comfort then find a custom builder to make a modern frame which I would outfit.
I am starting to research the frame angles and trying to find out what the 70's frame angles were. I am no frame angle expert so any advice would be appreciated

72º angles were very common in the 70s, and before ...

It's possible that the angles on the Schwinns were slacker, but probably not.


The fork offset was typically 50+mm, but that may be as much to allow for fender clearance without having too long a caliper arm.
 

Bob Ross

Member
Jun 22, 2006
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Originally Posted by worldcupsoccer .

With the old varsity I could ride for blocks, hands free which shows the balance and comfortable angles of the frame.
...or perhaps it just shows the inertia of a ~40lb tank.


WRT finding a framebuilder who will build a bike with the same angles as a 1970s Schwinn: The most highly regarded framebuilders all seem to prefer to base the geometry of their products not on the end-users' specific requests per se but rather on their interpretation/interpolation of the end users' body measurements and riding style. IOW, you don't go to these guys and say "Make me a bike with a 72° STA and a 56cm TT", you go to them and say "I've got a 33" inseam and a 30" crotch-to-sternal-notch, and I want a bike for long fast club rides and supported centuries" and then you get out of the way & let the framebuilder do his job. He'll come up with the angles and tube types and all the other stuff that he thinks (based on his years of experience) will achieve what you want.

Also: Be careful what you wish for. I'd be incredibly suspicious of any framebuilder who'd actually agree to make a copy of a 1970s Schwinn. I'd feel much more comfortable with someone who could execute a bike that handled like my favorite recollection of a dear old bike, rather than actually behaved like those old bikes.