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Exercise in Futility?

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Exercise in Futility?

Old 09-10-14, 08:21 PM
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Exercise in Futility?

Hey everyone, I am the owner of a 1988 Schwinn prelude that I love. I love the feel of the steel bike and the fit just seems right. (my other bike is a trek 2.1 great bike but just not as comfortable.)

Anyway, the problem is, It's almost 30 years old and is just plain worn out. The teeth on the front rings are worn, the casette is worn, the derailleur is worn, you get the picture. Also, after riding the trek and getting used to integrated shifters, I'm kinda spoiled to that. So I really want the best of both worlds. My thought is, I could buy this bike Motobecane Sport 61cm road bike The frame is way too big, strip the parts and put them on my prelude and have it back up and running and in reliable mechanical shape. However, I don't know about clearances and compatibilities. Would this work or would it be a ridiculous amount of work?

Thanks for the input. P.S. I haven't done much bike mechanicing but I am pretty handy with a wrench and would attempt all of this on my own as a "learning" project.

What do you think?
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Old 09-10-14, 08:46 PM
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Old 09-10-14, 09:07 PM
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I would start here, and then read the related articles on the site: Upgrading Older Road Bicycles

A complete answer would require a list of the components on the "donor," which you might be able to find somewhere on the www. If you find one, then you can start taking measurements of your existing bike and start looking to see what will transfer and what won't.

Alternatively, perhaps you should just buy the donor, figure out what will transfer and what won't. This may be the best course of action if you can't find reliable specs on the donor before buying it. Before you start taking anything apart, make a list of what additional parts will need to be acquired and add up the total cost. Then decide if you want to proceed or just resell the donor, hopefully making back whatever you paid for it.
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Old 09-10-14, 11:26 PM
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One aspect of using s donor bike for the upgrade/rebuild is that the frame size should be close to the old one's. This way parts like crank arms, stems, handle bars will be close to what you are already use to. Then there's the BB shells being the same spec. Next might be the brake reach and mounting bolt style. How the frt der mounts comes into play when you try to transfer that over. Chain length might be the same, but might not be so. Cables all around will likely be replaced.

Then when the old bike is upgraded as you intended there's the issue of the old parts and the left over donor bike to be possibly built up and sold off, worn out as it is now. Andy.
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Old 09-11-14, 12:44 AM
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The key questions are:
1) how much do you value your time?
2) how much do you value your money?
3) how much do you like your old ride?

Being able to make a complete swap is quite rare, there'll just about always be some parts that won't transfer and will have to be bought new.
Apart from that, there isn't anything to your proposal that's outright impossible if you're willing to spend enough time/money on it.

So as long as you enter the project knowing that:
- all parts won't transfer
- you may have to search a bit for sources of small items (wraparound cable stops, guides and/or shifter bosses, inline adjusters, etc etc)
- it can easily cost you more money than what buying a decent, newer used bike would have needed.
- you will see some delays and expenses during build-up when you discover "oh, I need one of those too"
- and sometimes, you might not be able to find a commercially or financially sensibly item available.Then the ability to make a shim or a spacer or some sort of bracket yourself might be required to be able to finish the project in style, or indeed at all.

Then go ahead.
I'm all for keeping old rides rolling. There's a fair bit of pride that comes from riding something you've built yourself. And should something mechanically happen during a ride, you're far better prepared to deal with it.
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Old 09-11-14, 05:20 AM
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This is my 1988 Schwinn Prelude after some modification and getting rid of that horrible 80's paint scheme. It's the most comfortable, best handling bike I've ever ridden(including the ones I built myself to try to replicate it out of modern materials).
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Old 09-11-14, 10:07 AM
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Go for it! The Prelude is a great bike to update! The bikesdirect bikes are great for cheap grouppo's, and that motobecane at $150 is a bargain.

The wheels will fit fine (with a 4mm spread of the back triangle- no problem), the shifters will mount on your existing handlebars, the crank/bottom bracket will fit fine, the back derailleur will be fine, you might need to shim the front derailleur but it's likely to fit perfectly too. You will need cable stops for the cables on your downtube, and mid '80s Shimano bosses were not standard- you'll have to take a file and a dremel tool to some standard bosses to fit over the round base on the downtube bosses, but that's probably the worst.
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Old 09-11-14, 10:34 AM
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That Motobecane appears to be significantly newer than your bike so many components may not fit your frame. You might go over the Mb with some measurements before buying.
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Old 09-11-14, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
One aspect of using s donor bike for the upgrade/rebuild is that the frame size should be close to the old one's. .
Depends on the "deal" on the donor bike. Picked carefully, a lot of stuff will transfer regardless of frame size: derailleurs, shifters, and wheels. I rarely move the stem and handlebars, not often a need to do so.

For example, I picked up a mid 1990s Fuji Robaix, with full 8 speed 105, STI shifting, for $120. I used the wheels, shifters, derailleurs, and brake calipers to upgrade the late 1980s bike I had with DT shifters. I moved the crankset and BB as well, as crank length was OK. Then I put all the 7 speed stuff back on the Fuji. I resold the Fuji for $225. I was out the cost of new cables, housings, and a chain. So I ended up with an upgraded bike, with money left over. The "double swap" is how to end up at or near free. I just noticed your donor choice, not a good one for a double swap. Still OK as a donor, but not a slam dunk. Figure that Motobecane (Bikes Direct) frame is worth about zero once you strip it. And it has been up for sale for several weeks. Might be open to an offer, at which point, the economics get better and better.

Of course, the swap took several hours of my time. There is no totally free lunch.

On donor bikes, if the frame is OK, I save it to be rebuilt later. A frame with bad cosmetics, but structurally strong, goes to the co-op. A frame with structural issues goes into the recycle bin.

In the case of your proposal, seat post and stem will not swap, everything else should. Your Prelude surely has usable stem, seat post and handlebars. So those should not be deal breakers.

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Old 09-11-14, 07:06 PM
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The shifter bosses on my 88 prelude were square and a pair of Dura Ace cable stops fit perfectly.
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Old 09-12-14, 08:06 AM
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I'd go for it. The experience gained is well worth the time spent. And you might get $$ back selling the frame on ebay when you're done.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
The shifter bosses on my 88 prelude were square and a pair of Dura Ace cable stops fit perfectly.
Good to know! My '85 Tempo still had the keyhole-shaped Shimano "B" bosses, and they're a pain to work with.
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