How much is your old Schwinn 'worth'?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by CAMPYBOB, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Crappy cell phone pic from yesterday's metric.

    If anyone asks (for the millionth time), "What's my 'vintage' Schwinn [insert worthless gas pipe model from the 1970's here] worth?"...

    Tell them it's 'worth' whatever a $10 yard ornament/flower planter is worth.

    This was a perfectly complete Schwinn World Sport model. I'm not familiar with that model, but I'm guessing it was one of the 1980's Mississippi built bikes or an early import. It looked like a late model Varsity, but had the tubular fork blades of the Continental and higher models. It had a rusty Ashtabula crack and sprung mattress saddle. The bars were still wrapped and it was equipped with a lighting system.

    Weeds...er...'flowers' were still entwined in the spokes of the rear wheel from last season. What was once the highest quality American made bicycles and the pride of some young gal is now relegated to rusting away in a front yard...a back drop for flowers.
     
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  2. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Hey! Don't knock the World Sport! I bought one new as a 14 year old in '88, my first BIG purchase--(1988 dollars)$250! It was a 12-speed with the Shimano SIS for the rear derailleur and had (I think, too lazy to get up and look) a Suntour crankset. I still have the bike, in pretty good shape overall. It should be, it's a tank. I'm thinking of building it out with 105 components for my wife to ride or for myself to use as a crappy weather bike. I rode it in 2010 when I got back into cycling after carting that bike, every time I moved, unused for 15 years or so.

    I should note that I have no illusions as to its worth--it only holds some sentiMENTAL value to me.
     
  3. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    1972 Schwinn Continental at $105 for me...brand new. I rode my first TOSRV 210-mile tour on that 38-pound tank!

    I still have my 1774 Paramount custom order made to measure. Full Campagnolo and with Campagnolo tool set it was $660 delivered!

    But, we live in America...where bicycles are childrens' toys.

    I fully agree with your sentimental 'value'. Schwinn build decent quality (albeit often overweight!) bikes and had a dealer network second to none. Their warranty was the best in the industry...although the fair trade pricing was insane even in the 1970's.

    I miss Schwinn and most of what they they stood for. Murray, too. Huffman/Huffy...them guys also!
     
  4. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I think when I rode that World Sport in '10 that I weighed it (fully loaded--water bottles, tools, spare, etc.) at about 35 lbs (215 on the scale minus my 180). I thought it was heavy until I adjusted a bike for an older gentleman (68 y.o. at the time) on a week-long tour. He kept up with me riding just fine--ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE. That thing had to have been every bit of 45 lbs. After a few days of riding, it was all I could do to get it up on the stand! Of course, I was just getting back into shape, and he had just retired from being the Asst. Director of Purdue's Co-Rec (faculty/student fitness complex).
     
  5. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    1774? Er...I'm old! But, not THAT old! How about 1974 Paramount...yeah, the one me and the Pharaoh used to cruise around on together!

    I was out riding some back county roads a couple/three summers ago and caught a middle-age guy on a department store Schwinn mountain bike...one of those $100 wonders with the crappiest suspension fork/energy absorbing pogo-stick front end, cheap plastic Wellgo pedals with NO to clips or straps.

    The guy was in Bermuda shorts and wearing 8" lace-up work boots and doing a damn fine job of moving down the pike at maybe 15-17 MPH. Obviously in decent condition, he was a farmer from the next county over and I rode back to his farm with him in awe that he could keep a reasonable tempo on his slightly under-inflated tires.

    I guess the engine still makes a big difference, but there is no way in Hell I'ld want to throw a leg over my old Continental! Steel rims, a rear derailleur that shifted with all the feel of stirring a bowl of oatmeal, wide range gearing that meant you were NEVER in your power band and handling that made a Mack R-600 feel quick. Oh...and that 38 pound thing was before the pump, spare tube and toe clips were added!

    I did delete the tooth protector, kickstand, dual brake levers and (after I bought my first freewheel tool!) the pie plate spoke protector!
     
  6. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    HAHAHA! I lost all those, too (don't know that mine had the tooth protector, but the kickstand didn't make it home from the store, and the brake levers came off a few years later). Except, I figured out that the only tool needed for a spoke protector is a pair of pliers--after 20+ years it was so brittle that it didn't take much to crack it and pop it off without removing the freewheel.
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The older Schwinns had chromed steel spoke protectors! Why save weight with plastic?!?!

    I still look back at the 'I'm too stoopid to know it shouldn't be attempted!" 18-year old college freshman that hustled that tank down the road on my first TOSRV ride. To be accurate, there were a LOT of 'bike boom' riders mounted on equally or even more crappy, weightier bikes.

    Thankfully, the route was 160 miles of flat to lightly rolling terrain and only 50 miles of what we would now consider to be fairly easily climbed hills.

    There certainly a lot of Americans that got their education started on a Schwinn or a Murray or Sears Free Spirit. The lucky ones bypassed that and went right to a Raleigh Record or Peugeot UO-8/AO-8...or even a craptastic Motobecane.
     
    Midlifecylist likes this.
  8. baker3

    baker3 New Member

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    Looks like an old POS.
     
  9. Midlifecylist

    Midlifecylist New Member

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    World Sports were Schwinns attempt to produce a less expensive bike by going overseas, and they kept this one at a low price point, yet kept the features and groupset pretty good for that level of bike. World Sports were lugged frames, instead of the heavy internal lug frames Schwinn had been producing up to that point, and had a okay reputation. They weren't going to set the world on fire, but were a good basic bike for the money. I think they originally hit the sales floor at 139.99 in 1980 dollars. 33 pounds. SunTour freewheel and derailleurs. I owned one, and it was a serviceable, albeit unexciting bicycle.
     
  10. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by Midlifecyclist:
    "World Sports were lugged frames, instead of the heavy internal lug frames Schwinn had been producing up to that point, and had a okay reputation."

    This bike had a friction-welded or fillet brazed (I did not get close enough to fully inspect the smooth joints, but no head lugs were present) traditional Schwinn frame, tubular blade forks like the mid to higher end Schwinn domestically produced frames AND a one-piece forged steel (and very rusty!) Astabula crank.

    Those details threw me...I'm not familiar with this model line.

    The World Sport models I remember had aluminum cotterless cranks (Sakae IIRC) and lugged frames, as you pointed out. As a WAG, I would think this bike might have been one of the last of the USA production bikes manufactured prior to the closing of the factory in Chicago.

    I found this on Sheldon Brown's website: http://sheldonbrown.com/schwinn-braze.html

    In 1979 Schwinn offered one last fillet-brazed CrMo bicycle: The "Sport Limited." The Sport Limited was sold to use up a supply of Super Sport frames that Schwinn still had in inventory. It was available only in a Scarlet Red color, in both women's and men's frame designs. About 1000 Sport Limited's were made and sold to Schwinn dealers for resale as they saw fit. A factory-suggested retail price was not given, and the Sport Limited did not appear in any catalog. The Sport Limited used wheels and other parts from the fillet-brazed Superior. An interesting feature of the Sport Limited was that although the frame had an Ashtabula bottom-bracket shell for one-piece cranks (like the Super Sport), a conversion bottom-bracket spindle was used to fit a "Schwinn Approved LeTour" aluminum-alloy cotterless crankset.

    The World Sport line was also introduced in 1979 and I wonder if what I saw was some sort of transition model or 'let's use up the pile-o-parts' model? The yard planter model is not quite what Sheldon Brown describes and certainly not carrying the details I remember on World Sport models.
     
  11. Midlifecylist

    Midlifecylist New Member

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    That Superior sure was a good bike, as was the Super Sport
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea how much my old 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe in bright blue (which is what Schwinn called the color) is worth, probably not a whole lot but it is in almost new condition and all original except for the seat and tires of course, I actually have the original seat but it's not comfortable for long rides so I put my Brooks B17 on it. I also changed out the original pedals for SpeedPlay Frogs so I can use a nice shoe for walking in without changing shoes to do so. (I use SpeedPlay Frogs on 3 of my bikes now even the new road bike because I like them and I like the ability to walk around if need be. I also have the original rack but I use a Tubus instead, and it came with a Schwinn seat bag (which I think the owner bought separately since it didn't come with the bike from the factory) but it's sort of large and awkward/ugly looking so I don't use it all.

    If you look at the Schwinn spec pages here: http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1985/LightWeight/1985_Road_Bicycle_Specifications_%28Page_1%29.html And here: http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1985/LightWeight/1985_Road_Bicycle_Specifications_%28Page_2%29.html it's like Schwinn took the frame of the lower end Voyager put on a hi tensile steel fork, used most of the components of the higher end Voyager SP. The only odd thing about my bike from the factory specs is the wheelset, I have the same wheel set and hubs as mentioned in the specs but the front wheel is a 40 spoke rim instead of a 36 quoted in the specs for either the Le tour Luxe or the two Voyagers. The only thing I can think of concerning the 40 spoke front wheel is the factory most of ran out of 36 spoke rims when that particular bike (or run of bikes) were made so they used 40 spoke rims they had in stock. Schwinn seriously upgraded the Le Tour Luxe in 85 compared to the 2 previous years which were more slight upgraded low end Le tour's, but Schwinn did that with a lot of their bikes in 85.

    I bought this bike used about 3 years ago for $100 in mint condition with only 250 miles on it, the owner injured his back shortly after buying the bike new in 84 and never rode it again and kept it covered with blankets all those years so there wasn't a scratch on it when I bought it. This bike has grown to be one my favorite bikes, it's very comfortable when I load it with about 25 to 35 pounds of gear when I do weekend tours, the more weight I put on the bike the more comfortable riding it becomes even more so than my Lynskey though the Lynskey is the most comfortable non touring road bike I've ever owned; I can't wait till I retire and do a cross country trip on that Le Tour Luxe.
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by MLC:
    "That Superior sure was a good bike, as was the Super Sport"

    Yes they were! And The Sports Tourer with its ONE POUND heavy Campagnolo long cage GT derailleur and wide range gearing was a very good touring bike for that era.

    Many of us started out on the $85 Varsity, $105 Continental, $135 Super Sports or the expensive $200 Sports Tourer. Those fillet brazed Schwinn frames were as good as many lower and mid range European bikes.
     
  14. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The Varsity, Continental, Suburban, and others on down were not fillet brazed, they were flash welded or also called electro forged that looked as if they were fillet brazed, the only bikes they made that was fillet brazed was a limited run of Paramounts (most of these were lugged), Superiors, Sport Tourers, and the Super Sport.

    My experiences with the electro flashed frames was not that great, I saw many of those either crack or break right at the junctions when I was kid, but somehow they had a high reputation as being built like a tank and were as heavy as a tank, yet kids I knew who had lugged or fillet brazed bikes rarely broke. Like I said that was my experiences, and of course the frame breaking business was nearly as bad as the poor quality components that shifted horribly, wouldn't brake worth a darn and not at all when wet, and components broke all the time.
     
  15. Midlifecylist

    Midlifecylist New Member

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    Still, when you look at the Murrays, Huffys, and All_Pros being sold at that time to most of the population, those Schwinns were quite a step up. They had an established sales and service organization outside of a hardware or grocery store, they had Weinmann center-pull brakes instead of some stamped steel brake that was barely able to stop a bicycle without juddering or failing miserably, and Schwinns derailleurs were pretty reliable for what they were. Paint on many Schwinns still looks good today, and those bikes are still around today, many of them. Metal shifters, as opposed to plastic shifters found on other bicycles, and at least Schwinns were electroforged instead of butt welded. I'm not saying Schwinns were the be-all and end-all, I'm just saying they were quite a step up for a country that was still pretty much based on a manufacturing/agrarian economy. People did not have the expectations of bicycles being as good as some are today. Yet you still see the same sort of goods being hawked in discount stores today. If you want people to see the bicycle as a serious mode of transport, and give the bicycle the respect it deserves, it may be better to insist that a better quality of goods are offered in the basic levels of cycling.
     
  16. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The Super Sports, Sport Tourer and Superiors were built in the Paramount facility. Yeah, the tubing was still plain gauge, heavy wall chrome moly, but they did ride and handle decently.

    Even the lowly Continental I started out on was good enough to get me through century rides without needing repair or adjustment. Schwinns weighty policy of strength and reliability were both its strong point and weak point. And life MLC stated, the Schwinn dealer network was a big plus back in the day.
     
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