Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vintage Find- 1983 Schwinn World Sport

1983 Schwinn World Sport

The 80's brought more uniformality to the sizing ratios on most road bikes. To the modern restorer and enthusiast, this means less hunting around for quill stems that fit the headset and 1 to 3 piece crank converters. Case in point, this 1983 Schwinn World Sport I picked up for 40 bucks and restored in only two days.

This bike has modern cable guides brazed on the frame, so no need to buy the smaller, thinner housing of the past. This bike comes equipped with center pull touring brakes and 27" steel rims typical of that era. That means there are no quick stops on the road, especially in the rain. Schwinn even has a sticker on their old frames to increase the braking distance when roads are wet.

The handlebars on this bike are also seemingly higher. That is because I installed a Kaloi 1" quill riser stem with a machined hole in the middle of it to accommodate standard brake housing through the stem. This gives the handlebars a cleaner look as well as added height for my larger frame. I typically don't ride smaller bikes. I will probably sell or trade this one but it wouldn't be uncomfortable to ride as a grocery getter or short distance errand bike. 

Drawbacks on this bike would be that there are no water bottle holders on the frame. I don't know what Schwinn was thinking back then to not add braze-ons for water bottles. Even though the Camelbak pack hadn't been invented,  grocery baskets and pannier bags were probably other alternatives people could accessorize their bikes with. The front wheel is also bolted onto the frame as opposed to having a quick release skewer. Although long rides and even touring is doable on this bike, it would be ill advised to do so without some modifications or at least bringing the tools needed to change a flat tire. This bike was designed as a neighborhood bike meant to stay within it's city limits. That isn't a problem as long as the city has safe routes to ride on. 

You can find one of these bikes at a great price, sometimes with little or no restoration work needed. 1980's Schwinns and other road bikes have durable steel frames and are the low cost solution to get into cycling in a non-mountain bike sort of way.