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Need advice on doing a somewhat modern build on a 87 Schwinn Super Sport frame.

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Need advice on doing a somewhat modern build on a 87 Schwinn Super Sport frame.

Old 10-05-22, 07:58 AM
  #1  
Indytriumph
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Need advice on doing a somewhat modern build on a 87 Schwinn Super Sport frame.

I have a 1987 Schwinn Super Sport that I recently picked up from a garage sale. Most of the components are there, just worn and not looking so good. I am debating on removing everything, have the frame and fork painted and then build the bike up myself. I have never done anything like this before but I do understand that I will have more money into this than I expect. I just want the joy of building it and riding what I had built.
My questions are, what am I getting myself into?
Also, I am looking for suggestions for the components. What works on this old frame? I see this bike becoming my light touring bike, credit card touring bike or just doing local century rides.
Who does good quality painting on bikes?

I have a love for this era of Schwinn's, its what makes me smile when I ride. I have a 87 Tempo and a 87 Prologue that I do club rides on. I would love to have one set up as my long distance bike.

Tom
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Old 10-05-22, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Indytriumph View Post
I have a 1987 Schwinn Super Sport that I recently picked up from a garage sale. Most of the components are there, just worn and not looking so good. I am debating on removing everything, have the frame and fork painted and then build the bike up myself. I have never done anything like this before but I do understand that I will have more money into this than I expect. I just want the joy of building it and riding what I had built.
My questions are, what am I getting myself into?
Also, I am looking for suggestions for the components. What works on this old frame? I see this bike becoming my light touring bike, credit card touring bike or just doing local century rides.
Who does good quality painting on bikes?

I have a love for this era of Schwinn's, its what makes me smile when I ride. I have a 87 Tempo and a 87 Prologue that I do club rides on. I would love to have one set up as my long distance bike.

Tom
Hey Tom, some version of this question comes up a lot and the general consensus is that you will be money wayyyyy ahead just finding a cheap bike that's in good shape already. Once you start talking painting frames, buying new parts, etc, you're gonna be into way more than you'll ever get out of it. Now I'm not saying don't do it, like you said the process is half the fun. But you asked what you're getting into, it's a lot. Post a pic of it, we'd like to see it as found.
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Old 10-05-22, 08:39 AM
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There are a lot of directions you can go with this. One of your biggest expenses is going to be paint. Groody Bros have a good reputation for that.

Some of the other bits can be a rabbit hole. Brifters or downtube shifters? Wheel size? Number of cogs in the rear? Upgrade the brakes? A lot of these upgrades are tied together so if you change one you need to change others. Brifters (usually) means changing derailleurs for ideal gear changes. Im not sure what is on your Schwinn but changing from 27 wheels to 700c may require brake changes. If you plan to run fenders/mudguards you need to check if those will fit or can be modified to fit.

I use a lot of qualifiers for my statements because each build presents its own challenges but if you are patient almost anything can be massaged to work.

Good luck!
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Old 10-05-22, 08:56 AM
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Components-wise, you can do all sorts of stuff. Depends on what you want and what parts you can find. I took an '88 Premis and built it with a Mavic Open Pro/Shimano R7000 wheelset, 6500 triple, 12-27 9 speed cassette, Dura-Ace downtube shifters, 6500 dual pivots, and BL-R400 brake levers. The build was pretty easy, and I wouldn't hesitate to take this bike anywhere.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:02 AM
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I recall a post here, not too long ago, where someone put either Shimano Di2 or Campy EPS electronic shifting on a mid-70's Schwinn Paramount. We ride and tinker with vintage bikes because it's fun. It sounds like a fun project to me, plus the enjoyment of riding your own creation in the future. I say get going and don't forget to share pictures here! Enjoy!
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Old 10-05-22, 09:03 AM
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I think this is a worthwhile project, but question the starting point. If you had a frame that didn't need painting, it would be much easier. I like an older frame with patina and minimal rust cleanup.
You might find that getting a frame cleaned and powdercoated would be an option.

Last edited by daverup; 10-05-22 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:13 AM
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What makes sense and what is fun to do aren't always in agreement. If you decide to move forward, I'd only entertain it if the frame fits you perfectly, and I mean perfectly. Otherwise I wouldn't bother. You are an experienced rider so you should be able to be honest about that aspect of the decision.

If you want to build a tourer, there are many limitations to that frame in my opinion. The limitations begin with water bottle mounts and continue on to the lack of mounts for racks, etc. There are work-arounds of course, but why force yourself into needing them?

I just don't think it is the best frame for the mission you are on.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:46 AM
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I looked up the specs on that bike. If all original like you say it is, nice components. Ifn twer mine I would get the original stuff clean and functioning properly, 28mm tires, hang a couple of bags on it and hit the road.

Im an unintentional Schwinn enthusiast so I get it. My baggy 1984 Super LeTour is a very pleasant bike to ride.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:49 AM
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I'd focus on holding the costs down. First, I'd try like heck not to paint the bike. That's a big cost. If you need to have it painted, try to find someone locally. Second, there's a lot to be said for 3 x 7 shimano indexing (or 3 x 9 if you spread the frame) as that is cheap and works well. You can pick up the parts used either here by putting up a WTB in the C&V for sale forum or locally. But if you want a long distance bike, indexed 3 by 7 works well I think for the kind of riding you are describing (long distance bike). That is how I set up my 1985 Cannondale ST 400 which is my go to long distance bike.

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Old 10-05-22, 10:30 AM
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You can easily modernize that '87 Schwinn. Certainly far easier with this era Schwinn than some older bikes with non-recessed mounting brakes, 120mm dropouts, or French bike with french bottom bracket, Huret RD mount or Simplex FD mount, etc.
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Old 10-05-22, 10:37 AM
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Two choices: find a donor bike that has good parts on it, or 2. Spend BIG $$ on new parts. Your choice. Me, I always go the donor bike route. Buy right, and a $100 donor bike can provide $500 to $600 worth of parts. I find it is more "fun" to be resourceful.

Painting a frame? Forget it. Typical do it yourself paint jobs are not nearly as durable as the original stuff, and take a lot of time and cost $$ to do a credible job. Me, I've used Testor model paint to do touch up and then embrace the battle scars as well earned patina.

Best starter project? Pick up a decent brand bike at a garage sale, from a neighbor, or whatever. Take it apart. Service everything, and put it back together. Not your size? No problem, sell it or donate it.


Pictures don't do this bike justice. It was MUCH worse than it looks $15 garage sale find. Want a real laugh? Count the chain rings on this bike!




Shogun donor bike.

Cimarron after parts moved.

So what is still original? Seat post, stem, frame, and fork. Lots of touch up paint on that frame. Looks good from ten feet. Everything else has been upgraded or changed. Sold the Shogun frame for a profit.

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Old 10-05-22, 10:41 AM
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By 1987, Schwinn had switched over from all the oddball proprietary sizes on its parts, so you can use pretty much anything you want. Just make sure the bike is a good fit before committing a lot of time and money to it. That goes for components, as well. I hate it when I have collected a bunch of parts to build a bike, only to find out that something doesn't work right with the chosen combination.

I understand wanting to do a project just for the experience and satisfaction. I did that with my Fuji S12-S LTD. I didn't start out with painting in mind, but when I got the bike home, I saw that it had been rattle canned and had homemade decals, so I decided to jump in with both feet. I stripped it down to bare metal, repainted in my preferred color, applied new decals, and built it back up. I kept as many original parts as I could, and similar parts for the rest. I get a good feeling whenever I ride it because of the work I put in to make it my own.


1981 Fuji S12-S LTD
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Old 10-05-22, 10:44 AM
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The thought of finding a bike that doesn't need work and set up they way I want has crossed my mind. The problem is my wife. It would be easier to spread the cost out over a period of time on parts here and there than it would be on a bike purchase. She seems to think that I have enough bikes already, which I find odd.

Tom
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Old 10-05-22, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames View Post
I looked up the specs on that bike. If all original like you say it is, nice components. Ifn twer mine I would get the original stuff clean and functioning properly, 28mm tires, hang a couple of bags on it and hit the road.

Im an unintentional Schwinn enthusiast so I get it. My baggy 1984 Super LeTour is a very pleasant bike to ride.
I really don't like the color at all, which is my only real hang up and why I want to paint it. The bike does have the Shimano 600 group set on it and I have thought about already about just get the components working properly and go. I would have the benefit of that no one would still this bike because of the color.
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Old 10-05-22, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
By 1987, Schwinn had switched over from all the oddball proprietary sizes on its parts, so you can use pretty much anything you want. Just make sure the bike is a good fit before committing a lot of time and money to it. That goes for components, as well. I hate it when I have collected a bunch of parts to build a bike, only to find out that something doesn't work right with the chosen combination.

I understand wanting to do a project just for the experience and satisfaction. I did that with my Fuji S12-S LTD. I didn't start out with painting in mind, but when I got the bike home, I saw that it had been rattle canned and had homemade decals, so I decided to jump in with both feet. I stripped it down to bare metal, repainted in my preferred color, applied new decals, and built it back up. I kept as many original parts as I could, and similar parts for the rest. I get a good feeling whenever I ride it because of the work I put in to make it my own.


1981 Fuji S12-S LTD
That is a nice build!
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Old 10-05-22, 11:00 AM
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Got a bargain on a bike where you hate the color and the parts are pretty worn?

Solution, sell it and add the proceeds to your "bike fund". Build up the fund and buy that perfect bike.
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Old 10-05-22, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jrg1244 View Post
I recall a post here, not too long ago, where someone put either Shimano Di2 or Campy EPS electronic shifting on a mid-70's Schwinn Paramount. We ride and tinker with vintage bikes because it's fun. It sounds like a fun project to me, plus the enjoyment of riding your own creation in the future. I say get going and don't forget to share pictures here! Enjoy!
Calling good friend and frequent C&V contributor @RiddleOfSteel for that one. He’s done lots of rebuilds/updates, and loves Schwinns as working canvases (as well as older Treks).

Lots of good inputs for this project. Surprised I’m the first to mention this long, and long-running thread FILLED with updated frames like the OP’s:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...i-s-ergos.html
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Old 10-05-22, 01:36 PM
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"What are you getting into"? A whole bunch of fun ! " The problem is your wife"? That can be a problem , your thought about a little at a time works for my wife too . Over the last 12 years (that's when I started) I have built around 15 bikes , lost money on every one of them . So my wife made a rule , start another bike , sell one first . I'm having a little trouble with that , I'll be OK .

Paint is one of my favorite things , my problem is I don't have a good place to to paint .

One thing I wish I had done at the start was to get a work stand . I like tools , bike tools are a little different then most regular tools , to start with I got headset wrenches , bottom bracket wrenches , and wheel cone wrenches , a chain breaker and Allen wrenches . You will need a lot more but that's the fun .

Good luck and keep us posted , Mark .
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Old 10-05-22, 01:45 PM
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You love your Mid-late Schwinn road bikes and this one you'd like to do something a little different. I get it. My Italian flag '87 Tempo was sweet and very fast. You can spread the rear drop outs and get em parallel -- DIY. Get it painted -- everyone is happy with Grody Bros. (let your wife approve of the color(s). When it comes back from the painter, collect parts. 9 or 10 speed Ultegra is the sweet spot in my opinion. Current cranks and HS will be good enough for a start. Learn to build the wheel set -- save money impress the wife.

BUT FIRST, build it up with parts on hand to make sure it rides like you expect it to.
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Old 10-05-22, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
Calling good friend and frequent C&V contributor @RiddleOfSteel for that one. Hes done lots of rebuilds/updates, and loves Schwinns as working canvases (as well as older Treks).

Lots of good inputs for this project. Surprised Im the first to mention this long, and long-running thread FILLED with updated frames like the OPs:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...i-s-ergos.html
@jrg1244 you remember correctly!

@Indytriumph it looks like you can fit some honest 28mm tires (not "28mm" written on the side of the tire as many are often smaller than advertised, and certainly so on vintage/once-normal rims like the ones from this era). That will help the ride, well, assuming it's not a Schwalbe Marathon Ultra Mega Plus 9000 IronXTred Apocalypse Edition pumped to 150 psi or something.

If you'd like to go for a wholesale replacement of the drivetrain, including wheels, I more than understand as it's what I often do. Many a used 9- and 10-speed Shimano groupset, or you could go new or nearly new with Shimano 8-speed Claris (R2000) and get the benefits of modern Shimano ergonomics and gear-handling capability without the price tag or need for expensive wheels. Color is great, too. If I didn't care about component weight or match q-factors (of cranksets) for all my bikes, I'd be a very happy camper with it. I did build a bike with it (to sell) and really liked it! Unfortunately for Claris, or Sora, I live in Seattle and have insane access to the embarrassment of riches that is the used bicycle and component market--both retail and via Craigslist etc--so I have a bunch of used Dura-Ace stuff that I paid way less than new Dura-Ace prices for.

I wish I could properly paint and had the access to do so. Painting can be so expensive if you want to have it done right. Powder coating is much cheaper and can have great results, a route I've gone several times.

Building a bike up from the frame without the parts it came with simply costs money. A la carte vs. combo meal. But we like what we like and get hung up on things, so we have to see if our desired path is a viable one (does my wife approve of this to whichever degree? does my wallet approve, too?) and then go from there. Do you have a photo or two of the bike? What color would you like to be? Would you like the new parts to be silver/polished or painted or does it matter? This is the dreaming stage for the bike--it costs no money to imagine and discuss, which is great.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:48 PM
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Just a side note to some of the excellent advice already given. Am a YUGE late 80’s Schwinn fan, for context.
The Prologue and Tempo (have owned multiple examples of both) you also own have virtually identical geometry to the SS(have owned a bunch of these as well). Only difference I can tell between the Tempo and SS of that year is the fork crown.
So, building it up as a light touring bike is pretty much like doing that to something you already own. And if that’s what you want, OK.
But.
Consider selling the SS and using the funds to find a low mileage Schwinn Voyageur of the same vintage. Still a Tenax tube frameset, but longer chainstays and designed for exactly what you want to do- credit card touring or long rides. Same ability to accept literally any modern, semi-modern or vintage component group. Cantilver brakes can be easily replaced with Tektro dual pivot calipers. Original components are VERY saleable in today’s market.

On the other hand, if you really want to do a total refurb on the SS including paint go for it. Lifetime bike.
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Old 10-06-22, 04:21 AM
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The ‘87 Super Sport is a fine machine for updating. It’s more of a go-fast racer so I’d plan on using it more for spirited club rides than centuries. Any 9 to 11 speed Shimano STI group would be a great match. 8 speed STI Dura Ace too if you have the wallet for it.

Sounds like the paint is in good condition but you don’t like the color. I hope you don’t want to respray a “pink” one I searched forever and eventually overpaid to get one of those gems.
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Old 10-06-22, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Indytriumph View Post
I really don't like the color at all, which is my only real hang up and why I want to paint it.
Understand completely.
Here is mine that I built up with different kit.
Love the bike...not so much the color.
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Old 10-06-22, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Indytriumph View Post
The thought of finding a bike that doesn't need work and set up they way I want has crossed my mind. The problem is my wife. It would be easier to spread the cost out over a period of time on parts here and there than it would be on a bike purchase. She seems to think that I have enough bikes already, which I find odd.
If you want to make sure you could sell the bike for the same amount of money you have into the project, then dont paint.
If that is not a priority and instead you are happy to let the cost of your hobby exceed the amount you spend on it, then paint it.

You could paint it on your own if you really want to spread cost out over a long time. Proper prep is critical and you can make it whatever you want.
Or powdercoat it. A powdercoater near me has charged $110-150 per bike frame depending on the powder. I have had 3 frames powdercoated by them and think the quality has been excellent.


I just mention all this because a common narrative on c&v is to not paint because you will never get that cost back once you sell the bike. Hobbies dont need to be a net $0 affair. They certainly can be, but they dont need to be.
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Old 10-06-22, 08:58 AM
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Bikes: 1984 Schwinn Supersport, 1988 Trek 400T, 1977 Trek TX900, 1982 Bianchi Champione del Mondo, 1978 Raleigh Supercourse, 1986 Trek 400 Elance, 1991 Waterford PDG OS Paramount, 1971 Schwinn Sports Tourer, 1985 Trek 670

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I’ve done what you are contemplating 5 times, and just to get you started a decent paint job with decals will set you back $500 to $750, Yellow Jersey did all of mine, so on the high side, but well worth it.
New built up wheels and components, you can pretty much double that. We have no pics of your bike, but I’m guessing you could clean up components, and just replace the chain and cables, and if high mileage, the cassette and chain rings.
I get repainting the frame, not my favorite color scheme, but my wife has one, and she likes it. Powder coating is much more reasonable, anyway best of luck, it’s a nice bike, but you better really love it to do all that, or just not care about the money.
Tim
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