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Another newbie question

Old 09-25-22, 12:03 PM
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sbuckaroo
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Another newbie question

I know this is a stupid question for an old dude like myself! But hope you indulge me.

I read many adjectives about the type of ride, as in "lively", "dead", "Twitchy", etc.

Could you help me understand what do these terms mean? I have three steel bikes: a 2017 Kona wheelhouse, a 1991 schwinn paramount series 3, and a late 80's IRO single speed. Should I tell a difference amongst them in terms of ride quality? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-25-22, 12:24 PM
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Describe your bike's Ride.
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Old 09-25-22, 12:28 PM
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Thanks. But that was my question. What is a lively ride? What should it feel like? Does it mean faster?.

Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Describe your bike's Ride.
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Old 09-25-22, 12:33 PM
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lively bike ride - Google Search
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Old 09-25-22, 01:19 PM
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Twitchy is used to describe a quick steering, quick handling bike, usually with a steep head angle and short wheelbase. People may say it as a negative but some of us like fast handling.
When someone says a frame feels dead it means the frame doesn't give road feel, like it's too stiff.
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Old 09-25-22, 01:33 PM
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Great. I will try to figure out the different feel of my bikes. I think for now I feel all of them to be fairly stable and I don't feel the road buzz as much. In terms of responsiveness I think the old schwinn is probably baby lightest and fastest to respond but I could be wrong.

Originally Posted by big john View Post
Twitchy is used to describe a quick steering, quick handling bike, usually with a steep head angle and short wheelbase. People may say it as a negative but some of us like fast handling.
When someone says a frame feels dead it means the frame doesn't give road feel, like it's too stiff.
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Old 09-26-22, 09:13 AM
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Everyone probably uses those terms slightly different and depending on whether it was a good sensation or not to them. What many call twitchy is just a change in the responsiveness from the deader handling bike they came from. And likely that would be something I'd describe as lively or sporty handling.

I just gave away last year my '91 Schwinn Paramount. It was a very nice ride, but very dead compared to the fun I'm having on the sportier handling Specialized Tarmac I now ride.

So those terms have to be looked at with a frame of reference of the one using them. Also, most people that say something is twitchy, will usually get used to it and probably months later describe that twitchiness differently or even not at all.
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Old 09-26-22, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for that. Very useful. Do you collect vintage bikes as well? The schwinn paramount was my first foray into this amazing realm.

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Everyone probably uses those terms slightly different and depending on whether it was a good sensation or not to them. What many call twitchy is just a change in the responsiveness from the deader handling bike they came from. And likely that would be something I'd describe as lively or sporty handling.

I just gave away last year my '91 Schwinn Paramount. It was a very nice ride, but very dead compared to the fun I'm having on the sportier handling Specialized Tarmac I now ride.

So those terms have to be looked at with a frame of reference of the one using them. Also, most people that say something is twitchy, will usually get used to it and probably months later describe that twitchiness differently or even not at all.
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Old 09-26-22, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sbuckaroo View Post
Do you collect vintage bikes as well? The Schwinn paramount was my first foray into this amazing realm.
Nope. I just liked the looks of them with their skinny tubes. Although the Paramount I think was a OS version or something they were experimenting with slightly different tube sizes. I'm out of the old bike game. I just got rid of my '78 Raleigh comp GS that was also a very fun ride and pretty bike but also heavy like the Paramount at 22.5 to 23 lbs.

For the hills around me and my age getting older, I just didn't need to be carrying around those extra five to six pounds those bikes had over newer bikes. My 17.5 pound Tarmac has made some hills disappear altogether on my routes and others that I use to do embarrassingly slow I now pass others quite easily on.
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Old 09-26-22, 10:34 AM
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The local bikeshare bikes have a stable, predictable steering response. They track straight down the road even when I turn my head to look behind me. And easily follow a pretty straight line at really slow coasting speeds -- like 1 to 2 mph.

It's the opposite of my nice carbon road bike, with lightweight wheels and very good, supple tires. The road bike is not really "twitchy", which is more of a racing bike thing, I suppose.

The road bike steering has an instant response -- it steers around obstacles that I don't see until the last second. And that's also related to the light weight of the bike -- it's easy to move it sideways a few inches with a bit of body english--no steering needed. The bikeshare bike is way too heavy to react like this.

As Iride01 said, fast response bikes will seem normal after some riding time on them. But it's really noticeable for the first few rides.

I think "lively vs dead" is quite subjective. But lively implies quicker steering responses and a reasonably lightweight bike. I expect my road bike to accelerate through an intersection with just couple of hard pedal strokes. The bikeshare is amazingly slow to to get moving, even when standing up and sprinting. A totally different feel!

Last edited by rm -rf; 09-26-22 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 09-26-22, 11:01 AM
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This makes the issue clearer to me. Having used the Washington DC bike share plenty a times (and still do on occasion) I can definitely relate to how they feel.

I have not yet tried a carbon bike and I am not sure I can afford one soon [or whether I will end up in the dog house if I mention this intent to the wife ] but I hope to try one in the near future. Cheers.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
The local bikeshare bikes have a stable, predictable steering response. They track straight down the road even when I turn my head to look behind me. And easily follow a pretty straight line at really slow coasting speeds -- like 1 to 2 mph.

It's the opposite of my nice carbon road bike, with lightweight wheels and very good, supple tires. The road bike is not really "twitchy", which is more of a racing bike thing, I suppose.

The road bike steering has an instant response -- it steers around obstacles that I don't see until the last second. And that's also related to the light weight of the bike -- it's easy to move it sideways a few inches with a bit of body english--no steering needed. The bikeshare bike is way too heavy to react like this.

As Iride01 said, fast response bikes will seem normal after some riding time on them. But it's really noticeable for the first few rides.

I think "lively vs dead" is quite subjective. But lively implies quicker steering responses and a reasonably lightweight bike. I expect my road bike to accelerate through an intersection with just couple of hard pedal strokes. The bikeshare is amazingly slow to to get moving, even when standing up and sprinting. A totally different feel!
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Old 09-26-22, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Nope. I just liked the looks of them with their skinny tubes. Although the Paramount I think was a OS version or something they were experimenting with slightly different tube sizes.
.
The original Paramounts were built by hand in the Waterloo factory. The Paramount Design Group bikes were made in Japan. I think some of the OS frames were made in Waterloo.
The Waterloo factory was kept by Richard Schwinn when the family name was sold. This is where the Waterford and Gunnar frames are made.
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Old 09-26-22, 11:53 AM
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It's like wine tasting: "This vintage has a heady bouquet with hints of strawberry, oak and courants."

What?

Unless I'm tasting wines side by side, they all taste the same to me.

I ride a 1989 Cinelli Supercorsa. With it's light tubing, parts and wheels, it's definitely "lively," and with steep angles, fairly twitchy at the bars. This is far different from my old Sears Free Spirit 10-speed, which was dead (heavy gas-pipe construction, steel parts) but which I could ride no-hands for miles, owing to its long wheelbase and slack angles.

For me, "lively" means I feel that each pedal stroke really thrusts me forward with minimal effort. "Dead" bikes sort of plod along, and may seem heavy. And probably are.
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Old 09-26-22, 04:16 PM
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I'll drink to that . Thanks for the response.

Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
It's like wine tasting: "This vintage has a heady bouquet with hints of strawberry, oak and courants."

What?

Unless I'm tasting wines side by side, they all taste the same to me.

I ride a 1989 Cinelli Supercorsa. With it's light tubing, parts and wheels, it's definitely "lively," and with steep angles, fairly twitchy at the bars. This is far different from my old Sears Free Spirit 10-speed, which was dead (heavy gas-pipe construction, steel parts) but which I could ride no-hands for miles, owing to its long wheelbase and slack angles.

For me, "lively" means I feel that each pedal stroke really thrusts me forward with minimal effort. "Dead" bikes sort of plod along, and may seem heavy. And probably are.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:39 PM
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A twitchy bike may be one where riding with no hands is difficult because any change in your leaning will make the bike quickly turn - usually a straight fork and a tight geometry. A dead bike is one you could ride all day with no hands and even make gentle turns by shifting body weight. It is slow to respond to acceleration, turns and just about everything else, like my old Schwinn Varsity. A twitchy bike is my racing bike - a Fondriest.
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Old 09-27-22, 12:33 AM
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I wish I knew how to ride with no hands! As it is, I have to stop over completely to grab the water bottle to take a dip! This is probably a skill that would be hard to learn in my age.

Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
A twitchy bike may be one where riding with no hands is difficult because any change in your leaning will make the bike quickly turn - usually a straight fork and a tight geometry. A dead bike is one you could ride all day with no hands and even make gentle turns by shifting body weight. It is slow to respond to acceleration, turns and just about everything else, like my old Schwinn Varsity. A twitchy bike is my racing bike - a Fondriest.
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Old 09-27-22, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by sbuckaroo View Post
I wish I knew how to ride with no hands! As it is, I have to stop over completely to grab the water bottle to take a dip! This is probably a skill that would be hard to learn in my age.
You don't need to ride no handed to drink from your bottles. But it might take a little effort on your part to get use to getting them out and putting them back in the bottle cage while riding. I generally go for the bottle on my down tube as it's seems the least awkward to get to and doesn't interfere as much with pedaling... though it does somewhat. I also generally will wait till I'm slowed up for a short climb and going a little slower.

Even my old Paramount wasn't the easiest of bikes to ride no handed. So I typically didn't even try. But riding with one hand should be no issue once you try it a few times.
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Old 09-27-22, 08:51 AM
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Thanks. I will need to work on the one handed steering. In fact, there was a bit of a learning curve when I bought the old Schwinn Paramount to be able to use the down tube shifters, and it took a while to be somewhat confident with it. Incidentally, somehow I really liked the friction shifters for some reason!

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
You don't need to ride no handed to drink from your bottles. But it might take a little effort on your part to get use to getting them out and putting them back in the bottle cage while riding. I generally go for the bottle on my down tube as it's seems the least awkward to get to and doesn't interfere as much with pedaling... though it does somewhat. I also generally will wait till I'm slowed up for a short climb and going a little slower.

Even my old Paramount wasn't the easiest of bikes to ride no handed. So I typically didn't even try. But riding with one hand should be no issue once you try it a few times.
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Old 09-27-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sbuckaroo View Post
Thanks. I will need to work on the one handed steering. In fact, there was a bit of a learning curve when I bought the old Schwinn Paramount to be able to use the down tube shifters, and it took a while to be somewhat confident with it. Incidentally, somehow I really liked the friction shifters for some reason!
Downtube shifters! I shudder at the thought!

I bought my '91 Paramount as a frameset only about 2016 and put a full Shimano 105 5800 11 speed groupset on it. My first experience with STI's on the handlebars. I'd never go back to shifters on the down tube. Now I can keep both my hands on the bars and shift while going down or up the twistiest or roughest of roads or paths.

Also allows me to have that one hand on the hood to shift or brake as I drink from the water bottle with the other hand!
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Old 09-27-22, 09:02 AM
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I hear you. I agree that the STI shifters are much more convenient, but for some reason I dig the old stuff technology as well. Maybe it brings back memories from 50 years ago! I also love the sleek old steel frames with thin horizontal top tube. Nostalgia!!

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Downtube shifters! I shudder at the thought!

I bought my '91 Paramount as a frameset only about 2016 and put a full Shimano 105 5800 11 speed groupset on it. My first experience with STI's on the handlebars. I'd never go back to shifters on the down tube. Now I can keep both my hands on the bars and shift while going down or up the twistiest or roughest of roads or paths.

Also allows me to have that one hand on the hood to shift or brake as I drink from the water bottle with the other hand!
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Old 09-27-22, 09:03 AM
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Downtube shifters are great, sbuckaroo. More reliable, lighter, and with less cable shredding. And certainly far more elegant for a frame of the Paramount's calibre.
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Old 09-27-22, 10:11 AM
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Indeed. That is what makes it hard for me to resist acquiring more vintage bikes

Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Downtube shifters are great, sbuckaroo. More reliable, lighter, and with less cable shredding. And certainly far more elegant for a frame of the Paramount's calibre.
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Old 09-27-22, 10:18 AM
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Here is my schwinn bike




Originally Posted by sbuckaroo View Post
Indeed. That is what makes it hard for me to resist acquiring more vintage bikes
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Old 09-27-22, 01:56 PM
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Yep--a very nice bike indeed!
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Old 09-27-22, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
The original Paramounts were built by hand in the Waterloo factory. The Paramount Design Group bikes were made in Japan. I think some of the OS frames were made in Waterloo.
The Waterloo factory was kept by Richard Schwinn when the family name was sold. This is where the Waterford and Gunnar frames are made.
The original Paramounts were made in Chicago, first by Emil Wastyn and later in a special section of Schwinn's Chicago factory. By the mid 80s, Paramount production was moved to a new facility in Waterford Wisconsin (not Waterloo Wisconsin; that's Trek's factory). When Schwinn was sold, the Waterford facility was spun off into a new entity headed by Richard Schwinn (Waterford Precision Cycles).

"No Hands" is an engaging history of the Schwinn Bicycle Company.
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