Looking to upgrade my Schwinn High Plains

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by SunDog2710, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. SunDog2710

    SunDog2710 New Member

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    Hi,

    I have three options:
    1. Buy a discounted cyclo-cross bike on the net.
    2. Build a cyclo-cross bike myself with parts off the net.
    3. Upgrade my very old, circa 1990 Schwinn High Plains MTB with new drive-train, wheels, and tires.

    Is $323 a nice price for this frameset: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_555576_-1

    For my old MTB, this would basically be converting it to a cyclo-cross platform with replacing everything short of the handlebars and seat. Definitely the drive-train has taken a beating (replaced once in 2006). I travel a lot to rock climb and the bike sits on the back of my car, so gets a bit of a beating from the weather all year round. I only ride on tarred surfaces, so use Continental's hybrid touring tires. So far, no one has stolen the bike and I'd like to keep it that way, hence rebuilding the bike is higher on my agenda, than buying a fancy new one!

    I wanted to get thinner/lighter wheels and tires and move to a 10-speed cassette with 2 cranks on the front end, preferably a 36-52T and then something larger in the back like 11-26T or 11-32T on the cassette. I ride in the mountains alot, so going uphill I need some big gears on the cassette and going downhill, I need some big gears on the crank. I hope all this makes sense. I was looking at the Shimano 105 derailers, but would be willing to go with whatever people think might work. Of course, I don't have access to any tools right now, but could put this together myself, taking advantage of anyone who lives in the Houston, TX area!

    Thanks in advance for anyone/everyone's input.

    Cheers ... Sunny
     
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  2. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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  3. SunDog2710

    SunDog2710 New Member

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    I had mentioned that I only ride on pavement on hybrid tires that are slick in the middle with some tread on the edges, so you don't get completely bogged down on the shoulder, if it is sandy or wet. The mountain roads can be up at 10,000' or more, and going up and down the steep hills requires a large gear range.

    I started to look at the Deore XT cassette/derailer, which seems more suited to my needs range-wise, with an 11-36T cassette. The crankset/derailer could be the Shimano 105 with 53-39T, which also has the 10-speed compatibility. The shifters could be the Deore XT. The brakes are cantilever, so I would have to figure out what to use.

    Thanks for the response ... Sunny
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    HMmmm ...

    First, that's not a bad price for the frameset, but it may not necessarily be a great price ...

    And, FWIW, there are two things which many would consider to be positive features which are the two things which would possibly make me look for another frameset ...

    1. BB30 -- if you are going to have a frame with press-in bearings, I think the BB86 "standard" is probably a better option ...
    2. tapered head tube & fork -- I'm just not convinced that the tapered head tube & fork are anything more than an annoying gimmick whose beneficial real-world value is probably not provable for a Road bike ... heck, probably not for a MTB, either ...
      • why not just go with a 1.5"x1.5" steerer & sell another stem size!?! that would give those who need the latest-and-greates something distinctive looking for their bike(s) ...
    3. maybe Cannondale can just spare us the intermediate increments & implement a 2.0"x2.0" steerers & new stems on sooner-rather-than-later iteration of one of their "super" bikes!!!

    FWIW. Since you seem moderately inclined to rebuilding your current bike frame to suit your current needs, let me reassure you that it is pretty easy to DIY project ... and, only your budget is a limitation ...

    Here is one of my old Hardtail frames which I converted to a Road bike with 700c wheels & tires, et cetera ...


    [​IMG]
    The maximum tire size which you anticipate using should-or-can be your guide in choose the fork you use ...

    If you are planning on using 700x25 tires, then any Road fork will do ...

    • the fork I used is an Alpha Q ...
    • the resultant head tube angle is 73º ...

    Some CF Road forks can handle 700x28 tires ...

    Choose a CX fork if you want to use 700x32, or larger, tires.

    • of course, if your frame currently has a horizontal top tube, then you may not want to change the current fork to a Road fork ... THAT will, of course, depend on the crown-to-dropout distance on your frame's current fork ...

    Regardless, you should be able to simply use a LONG REACH (49mm-59mm) brake caliper for a 700c rear wheel mounted in the frame ...

    A long reach brake caliper may be adequate for the frame's fork with a 700c wheel installed.

    You may need to use a BB with a spindle which is long enough for a Triple Road crankset in order to achieve crankarm & chainring clearance of the chainstays ...

    Because the frame is alloy, I had to lace a 700c rim on a MTB hub, otherwise I would have respaced the frame's rear dropouts down to 130mm from 135mm.
     
  5. SunDog2710

    SunDog2710 New Member

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    I'm new to the DIY route, so most of what you said was Greek to me. I wanted to do it myself, as it does not appear to be very complicated, if you can handle tools. If I had the tools, or access to a coop close by in Houston, I'd go there, and I'm sure I'd be able to use this information to rebuild the old bike. Basically, a lack of information and tool resources at this time.

    Most likely, I will not replace the fork, since this is an old bike with the old style of stem; it is thin, and not sure what it is called. I think, the current gearing selections I have made below "should work." Here's what I came up with after my post last night:

    Front Cranks: Shimano 105 Black: FC-5700, 53-39T, 172.5mm Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 Black: FD-5700 (clamp band or brazen mount) Rear Cassette: Shimano Deore XT Black, CS-M771-10 (BK) 11-36T Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Black, RD-M780 Shifters: Shimano Deore XT, SL-M780-I (2/3 X 10 compatible, mounts to I-spec brake lever) Brakes: Don't know which ones will work with the canitlever setup I have. Chain: Shimano CN-HG94 10-speed
    I'm sure there are more things, like is the BB compatible with the crank I've selected, etc. The brake lever issue mentioned above. I think, I might have to stop by REI and get some advice.

    Here's a few resources for the bike:

    http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1990/MTB_And_Road/FULL/1990_MTB_Road_Cat_16.jpg
    Click the picture below to see a larger image of the specification.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Wait ...

    Just what are you trying to accomplish?

    If the primary purpose for the upgrade is to achieve taller gearing, then you are going about it the wrong way ...

    You simply need to change either the rear FREEHUB BODY or the rear HUB, itself, so that you can install a new Cassette whose smallest Cog is an 11t instead of the 13t smallest Cog which is on your current Cassette.

    Unfortunately, the age of your rear hub precludes simply restacking a 9-or-10-speed Cassette BECAUSE I'm pretty sure (unless you changed wheelsets) that your rear hub does not use a Lockring to secure the Cassette.

    So, while 700c wheels are better for riding on the road, you may not need to that extreme to achieve what you want.

    If you want to ride faster-and-further with the same amount of energy expenditure, then the thing you need to consider is DROP handlebars ... even a slightly more aerodynamic riding position will make a noticeable difference ...

    I don't know what crankset you currently have on your bike, but maintaining the same handlebars & riding position will be of limited benefit to your going faster-and/or-further ...

    Here is another one of my MTB frames in the process of being set up with DROP bars + Road shifters ...

    [​IMG]

    It is a Road Crankset, but THAT's as much of a cosmetic issue as a practical one since a 48t 104BCD chainring on a MTB Crankset would probably give me a tall enough gear when paired with the Cassette's 11t Cog.
     
  7. SunDog2710

    SunDog2710 New Member

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    I hope I was clear in terms of what I wanted to do with the High Plains. Basically, I need to replace the whole drivetrain, because it is just worn out. Nothing shifts well, no matter how much it is adjusted either by me, or 2-3 LBS I have taken it too in the last few years. I don't think I can just change one or two parts, so if I'm going to change the whole drivetrain, I'd like to do so with a gear configuration that would suit my needs, which is gears for uphill and downhill, only two front cranks, and index shifting, which it does not currently have. I don't think I mentioned anything about changing out the wheels, although I do plan to use some lighter and maybe thinner ones, but of the same 26" size. I'd like to go with airless tires, but haven't gotten hold of the manufacturer to figure out what I can get. I'd like to stay upright for right now. If I do end up getting a cyclocross, then I'll try to get as tall a frame as possible, so I'm not too hunched over. I've got back issues that get aggravated with bending over.

    I appreciate your responses, although I may not have enough knowledge about what I am doing ... yet.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    No. I do not think that you were clear ...

    AND, based on what you have stated, it isn't clear (to me) what is wrong with your bike if your intention is not to go further-faster.

    IMO, it's pretty hard to wear out a Friction drivetrain ... that's not to say that components don't actually wear out ...

    If the shifter is slipping, then the washer can be replaced ... either with a "factory" washer OR simply cut one from a milk jug's cap.

    If the chain isn't landing on the NEXT cog, then it is the USER's fault because the FRICTION SHIFTING relies on the user moving the chain the appropriate amount ... "trim" (as in "nautical" terms), as necessary.

    Having said that, EXACTLY what is it that you and the "Wrenches" at the LBSes cannot adjust?

    If it isn't shifting well, then perhaps the rear derailleur hanger may be bent ...

    • FYI. Indexed shifting theoretically requires MORE maintenance than Friction shifting ....... however, about a 14+ years ago, Shimano started RAMPING the teeth on the Cogs ... "ramping" makes a huge difference; so, stacking "new" cogs + the original threaded Cog may suffice ... an 8t jump isn't too difficult to accomplish with ramped cogs ...
    • the trick is unthreading that last cog!!

    BTW. What is your budget?!?

    1. I want to spend as much as possible
    2. I want to spend as little as possible
    3. I want to spend what is necessary

    Shimano SLX components are a better value than XT ... plain DEORE is fine for most people's needs ... LX (if they still make it) is in between. The difference in Shimano components which LOOK SIMILAR is mostly in the finish AND weight (where the less expensive "stuff" has more steel than aluminum), However, there is probably no reason to buy Acera/Altus/or-below components because the savings will be miniscule.

    • if the cantilever calipers which are currently on your bike won't work with the brake levers you get (the shifters are usually ALSO available without integrated brake levers), then presuming they are cable actuated (vs. Hydraulic shifters for disc brakes), you can just install a set of V-brake calipers on your bike.

    Regardless, IMO, you may be creating unnecessary issues for yourself with the changes which you want to implement ... there probably ISN'T a reason to install a Road crank on your bike ...

    I hope you realize that a Cyclcross "bike" uses larger circumference 700c wheels ...

    • a 50/34 "Compact" crankset + an 11-34 Cassette will be a better combination

    I do NOT know the Houston area, but just how hilly is it OR Katy? How hilly is the area to which you travel where you ride your bike?

    What type of crankset are you currently using?

    • IMO, the ONLY reason FOR YOU to change to a 53/39 Road crank would be for cosmetic reasons

    What are the chainrings on your current bike's crank?

    Are you currently using the LOWEST combination & in need of a lower gear?

    There is NOTHING wrong with making wholesale changes, but ...
     
  9. SunDog2710

    SunDog2710 New Member

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    Wow, that's a lot of questions! The bike is old. Most of the parts are worn out from being out in the elements and not being maintained very well. I climb in the western states mostly, so in the mountains. The only inclines in Katy, TX are when you transition from the road to the sidewalk ... seriously! If you get on the on ramp for I-10, you can see downtown Houston ... 30 miles away! So, this is not necessarily for biking here, but for getting out of TX.

    Again, I'd like to convert my "hardtail MTB" into a slighly lighter and faster bike by replacing the wheels/tires and getting [marginally] lighter parts. My rims are pretty much trashed from pebbles hitting them, while on gravel roads, so they could be replaced. I'd like a better gear ratio for going downhill as I "run out of gear" very often. I hardly ever use the smallest of my cranks, even on mountain passes; I might have once when biking Donner Pass.

    When I say, things seem worn out, it is because I have taken it in to have it tuned several times, and the last tech at REI said the chain needed to be replaced, but when I went to pick it up, his definitely, more experienced colleague let me know that the whole drivetrain was worn out, and replacing the chain would probably make matters worse. When the gears are adjusted to work in one part of the cassette, they take micro adjustments of the shifter to work in another part. Usually, it is either the larger gears and smaller gears, where it does not move from one to the next, or if these are adjusted to work, then the middle range has to be messed with. So, I am not sure if it is the shifters, the rear derailleur, the chain, the cassette, or the cables. Sometimes, they do work better (not completely) after being lubed up and things tightened a bit, but after a couple of rides, things start moving around again. Maybe, I'm not doing this right, but that's what I've got to work with. The rear derailleur, cassette, chain, and front crank set (not front derailleur) were replaced in 2006. I've been riding this bike for a long time, so I'm sure I'm not shifting wrong, as I've gotten used to having to shift exactly how the bike wants me to shift to do what I want it to do. Meaning, I don't think I'm shifting wrong, but I could be making incorrect adjustments. Also, unlike yourself, with all this experience with bikes, I don't sit around tweaking my bike, if at all.

    I don't have an unlimited source of money to have someone else do it for me every time it goes out of whack.
    I definitely don't have an unlimited budget, otherwise, I would've bought a new bike. I'd also like to work on this myself, if I can, as this would save me a couple hundred bucks, as well as I would learn how to do it. Lack of tools is definitely an issue. There maybe (they have not answered my v-mail) one place in HOU where I can do this, but it is over 30 miles away downtown, and to go there to pull the bike apart and put it back together may cost more than the nearby LBS!

    Here's my latest parts list. I've added the brake assemblies to it. I just need the brake levers really, since the current cantilever setup should continue to work. Most of the original components on this bike are bomber and have not failed yet. The headset needs to be rebuilt as it is all rusted out and has started to squeak a little as well.

    Component Front Cranks: Shimano 105 Black: FC-5700, 53-39T, 172.5mm Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 Black: FD-5700 (clamp band or brazen mount) Rear Cassette: Shimano Deore XT Black, CS-M771-10 (BK) 11-36T Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Black, RD-M780 (Long Cage) Shifters: Shimano Deore XT, SL-M780-I (2/3 X 10 compatible, mounts to I-spec brake lever) Chain: Shimano CN-HG94 10-speed Brake Levers: Tektro 2.1 (Eclipse) Silver Brakes: Tektro 710 Cantilever Brakes Brake Pads: Avenir Sticky Fingers MTB Post Cantilever
    Maybe you could just help me pick all the parts that I will need to get this thing going, rather than dilly-dally about the philosophy behind each of our thoughts. Obviously we both have different requirements from, and experience with, our bikes.

    Also, we could move this discussion offline, since no one else seems to be interested!

    Thanks again ... Sunny
     
  10. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for verifying that the part of TX which you are in is as flat as I had thought ...

    IF you do not have any of the components in your "component" list AND if you are working with a normal person's budget, then once again I have to say that there isn't a reason to choose the XT derailleurs ...

    And, there is no reason to choose the 105 crankset over the similar looking Shimano cranks which have FORGED (instead of Hollowtech) crankarms because the 105 cranks have the same indifferently ramped chainrings.

    If you insist on getting a "new" crankset, then I recommend that you choose a "compact" (50/34) crankset.

    • the reason that you are "run(ning) out of gears" is because your current Cassette only has a 13t smallest Cog ...
    • an 11t Cog is the current norm on MTB Cassettes -- that's a HUGE difference compared to a 13t Cog ... even a 12t Cog would make a noticeable difference

    Also, the Shimano MTB shifters will not be happy with the Road front derailleur, and vice-versa. You need to buy an appropriate MTB front derailleur based on the "speed" (e.g., 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed).

    From a budget stand point, a 9-speed drivetrain is a MUCH BETTER return for you buck than 10-speed.

    FWIW. I recommend that you choose the new wheels, first, followed by a 9-speed Cassette + 9-speed SHIMANO chain. You should be able to buy a pair of no-name, non-disc wheels for under $100 ...

    • put THOSE on your bike and see how everything functions with your current, Friction shifters.
    • without looking, I'll say that you can get a pair of 9-speed DEORE shifters should for under $30 on eBay
    • the crankset is possibly the last thing that you should buy

    IF YOU ARE A WISE SHOPPER (i.e. eBay) and pay attention to the pricing then you don't have to spend as much money as you would for the list of components which you indicated.

    I don't know what derailleurs are currently on your bike; so, despite what you say, all you may need to do is to put a drop of oil on each of the pivots to rejuvenate them ... wait, test, repeat as necessary.

    N.B. The axle spacing on MTB wheels have been 135mm for decades, but I do not know when that became the norm or if your bikes predate the current 135mm sizing. If your frame's rear dropouts are narrower, then you MUST respace them & align the dropouts if you want to use indexed shifting because ad hoc spacing will slightly skew the derailleur hanger ... and therefore, the rear derailleur. If nothing else, you will induce premature wear on the teeth of the pulley wheels.
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    You're riding a 23 year old bike worth $25.

    You have no tools or mechanical skills/experience.

    Go out and buy a used bike that meets your needs. Spray paint if shit brown all over if you are concerned with theft.
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with everything that comes out of CAMPYBOB's mouth, except when he's talking about bikes.
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "I disagree with everything that comes out of CAMPYBOB's mouth, except when he's talking about bikes."

    Live awhile longer...you'll learn. Soon, you'll be voting Republican, laughing at hippies and buying machineguns!
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Older bikes often need bike specific tools ...

    • most modern bikes can be worked on with a set of ALLEN Wrenchs + the appropriate BB tool(s) + Cassette lockring tool + chain tool.
    • you can buy the non-bike specific tools from HARBOR FREIGHT.
    • the bike specific tools can be purchased from your Local Bike Shop or on eBay.

    95+% of the information you need to work on bikes is available online -- either from Sheldon Brown's website, www.parktool.com, YouTube, etc.

    • there may be some nuances which are not be covered online ...

    If you have the time, POST pictures of your bike + components in their current state.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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