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    Thread: A beginner buys an old road bike

    1. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      05-19-2019 05:34 PM #1
      I started running last summer for the first time since high school, and then started swimming over the winter. Now that the weather has gotten nice again, I decided that I may as well add the last triathlon facet and try out biking. My dad is big into it and has a road, mountain, and cyclocross bike. From hearing his stories about it all, I know this stuff can get mighty expensive, but I wanted to try it out without spending a ton of money in case I end up uninterested. I started researching entry level new bikes and also casually browsed Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace over the course of this past week. This morning I found this 1987 Schwinn Tempo that happened to be in town and my frame size, so I bought it! The guy was the original owner and says that he switched over to mountain biking shorty afterward, so the thing barely has any miles on it. I'm inclined to believe him, given the condition. It has a few scratches and scrapes, but looks great for being so old. I believe everything on it is original and it even has the original long-defunct bike shop sticker still on there. The price was only $60, so even knowing as little as I do, I could tell it was a pretty good deal. It even came with that sweet Cannondale water bottle, woohoo! Anyway, does anyone have any experience with these? How did I do?




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      05-22-2019 04:15 PM #2
      Well, since nobody else has jumped in I may as well do so.

      It looks like you got yourself a perfectly nice vintage steel bike with components that were quite good for their day. And for $60, you did very well -- just a quick google search found similar Tempos going for over $200!

      If the bike is completely original, I would take it in to your local bike shop to have them give it a once-over. If it has the original tires & tubes, you'll almost certainly want to replace them. It will probably need to be nicely lubed everywhere, along with checking the bearings to see if the grease is still good. Even with that additional money, you still probably got a good deal.

      You're absolutely right about cycling being expensive -- one of my favorite sayings is "I ride, therefore I spend." If you get bitten by the bug, there is always a better bike to lust after and another gadget to desire.

      Here's how I like to explain riding to newbies who aren't sure about cycling and are put off by the expense: a bike is a tool designed with a very basic purpose in mind -- getting from point A to point B. Exactly how you want to accomplish that task, however, determines what kind of tool you'll want or need. You want to road race at a high level? Get ready to spend lots of money on a lightweight carbon-framed bike with high-end components since that will be the right tool to accomplish your task Want an all-purpose bike that will let you get around campus and handle the occasional off-road adventure? A lower-end hardtail mountain bike would work. Want to look good on the beach and bike from bar to bar on the boardwalk? A cruiser would be a good bet.

      It sounds like you're thinking of trying to use your bike to exercise and possibly to try out triathlons. You can do that with the bike you bought, especially as you get started. Looking at the specs, it looks as if this was a decent road bike designed for club riding and perhaps some competition. In fact, I would guess it would be pretty close to my first road bike, a 1986 Ross Signature 292S, which I wish I still had.

      Here's the deal: for where you are right now, this is a good tool for you. You can tool (heh) around town on it if you would like, you can take it out to join in some entry-level club rides, and if you ride it enough you could enter some triathlons. If you do find yourself riding a lot, there are a few things that I would invest in: a helmet, a pair of padded bike shorts and a pair of fingerless biking gloves (they not only absorb road shock, they protect your hands in case of a crash). At least a pair of commuting shoes with a stiffer sole to use with those pedal clips (or even upgrade to clipless pedals at some point). A saddle bag so you can carry a a spare inner tube & multitool, and a small pump.

      It would also be a good idea to have your local bike shop at least give you an eyeball fitting to it -- the more you ride, the more you're locked into a single position, potentially for hours on end, doing repetitive motions that can lead to injury if you're putting stress in the wrong places (just did some quick math -- a 112-mile ride I did a while ago likely had me spinning my legs over 32,000 times over six hours).

      But remember: it's a 30-year-old bike and technology has left it far behind. It's a 12-speed road bike, compared to today's 22-speeds. The gearing likely is not optimized for hills. It has a lovely steel frame, which will give a very nice ride, but it's heavy. The shifters are on the downtube, which is far less convenient than today's integrated brakes and shifters. And today's handlebars and brake hoods, where your hands sit as you ride, are much more comfortable. So if you decide that you really like to ride, and you end up like some of us putting in thousands of miles each year and value getting faster, this bike may eventually be the wrong tool for the job. But maybe not -- maybe you'll decide that you just like to go out by yourself and enjoy being outside riding at your own pace without competing with anyone.

      Regardless, I hope you keep it because it's a cool vintage bike with decent components and a nice steel frame!
      Last edited by dts; 05-22-2019 at 04:28 PM.

    4. Member A1an's Avatar
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      05-22-2019 06:39 PM #3
      Nice find for $60! As stated before, get it over to a bike shop for a thorough once over. It will likely cost more than the bike but will be well worth it for safety and performance. Enjoy it!

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    6. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      05-29-2019 08:48 PM #4
      Ok, what did I do wrong here? I bought some new tires and inner tubes to replace the original ones that I don't trust, and the inner tubes are way, way too long. They're both like this. They're labeled 700 on the tires, on the tube boxes, and on the tubes themselves. They were just as bad without any air in them, I just put enough in there for them to hold their shape for the pictures. These are the ones that Amazon recommended as "bought together" with the tires, too.

      Last edited by r_fostoria; 06-07-2019 at 09:09 AM.

    7. Member A1an's Avatar
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      05-29-2019 10:08 PM #5
      Hmmm...and that 700 was the original tire on the bike?

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    8. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      05-29-2019 11:38 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
      Hmmm...and that 700 was the original tire on the bike?

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      No, that's a replacement Panaracer Pasela. The new tires are the right size, the inner tubes are all wrong though. The original tires are 700x25.

    9. Member A1an's Avatar
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      05-30-2019 11:59 AM #7
      Really strange. The only time I've had that sort of difference is if I messed up on the volume size for the tubes (ordered same diameter but with a range too large). Wonder if maybe the tubes were mislabeled or something. I would think based on what you ordered that they would work.

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    10. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      06-01-2019 10:01 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
      Really strange. The only time I've had that sort of difference is if I messed up on the volume size for the tubes (ordered same diameter but with a range too large). Wonder if maybe the tubes were mislabeled or something. I would think based on what you ordered that they would work.
      I took it to a bike shop and the guy didn't think it was unusual at all. He charged $7 to install the tube and tire and then I did the same thing he did with the rear wheel when I got home. I guess it was a non-issue. I took it on a couple of <10 mile rail-trail rides this week and it's pretty smooth. I'm enjoying it so far! I want to get to the point where I can ride to work maybe once a week.


    11. Member A1an's Avatar
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      06-02-2019 12:04 AM #9
      Very cool. It's been years since I've messed with tubes but never recall having that kind of issue. Glad it worked out. Enjoy the rides!

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    12. Member Cr4shT3st's Avatar
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      torque and no torque
      06-04-2019 01:50 PM #10
      If you inflate a tube outside of a tire, it will expand to a v large size. That's normal. You want to have juuuust enough air that the tube begins to be round-ish but still floppy when you install. Any more air than that and you'll never seat the tire and probably end up pinching the tube.
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    13. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      06-07-2019 09:00 AM #11
      I was finally able to ride all the way to work this morning. Fortunately, the York rail trail runs from my local park all the way to downtown where I work, so most of the commute was trail riding. I also go to meet this turtle!


    14. Member A1an's Avatar
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      06-07-2019 05:30 PM #12
      Awesome! Enjoy it!

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    15. Member GTaye's Avatar
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      06-26-2019 12:00 PM #13
      Very cool, I'll look for you on that classic steed on the YCRT. Love the new Northern Extension to Nixon park.

    16. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-08-2019 11:34 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by GTaye View Post
      Very cool, I'll look for you on that classic steed on the YCRT. Love the new Northern Extension to Nixon park.
      Oh yeah, I'm trying to ride to work from John Rudy Park down to George street once a week.

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