Upgrades to my Schwinn in 2009
© by Chris Watson
When I got this bicycle in the early 1980s, it had a Shimano front derailleur and a SunTour rear derailleur. It may have originally come with a SunTour freewheel (stock Sportabouts did), but since my bicycle's original rear wheel was wrecked in 1993 I don't know for sure now.
For many years my bicycle remained virtually unchanged, just a little cleaner or dirtier from time to time, occasionally receiving new tires or tubes, etc. From 2001 to 2003 there were some upgrades, notably a professional paint job, quick release wheels and center-pull brakes. 2009 saw major improvements done to this bicycle, following through on all of the suggestions made by Raleigh D. in April of that year.
In 2008, the Shimano front derailleur was replaced by a SunTour one that needed a shim because the clamp wasn't made for Schwinn's skinny seat tube size. In that SunTour front derailleur was replaced by another SunTour front derailleur made for Schwinn that has the correct 1″ clamp size. The original Sportabout crankset was replaced by a Schwinn “diamond” crankset at this time too, one of Raleigh D.'s suggestions.
Raleigh D. says he would have replaced the original steel handlebar and stem with an aluminum handlebar and stem as his very first change to improve my bicycle. I had this done early .
The biggest change recommended by Raleigh D. was to replace my wheels' steel rims with aluminum rims. When the new wheels were built in late September / early October 2009, the LBS (local bicycle store) guy used Schwinn Approved hubs (similar to the ones on the earlier wheels) and laced them to modern Sun aluminum rims. The new rear wheel has a Schwinn spoke protector (pie plate, dork disk) and a SunTour freewheel.
Fall 2003 and Fall 2009 configurations
Not all of the changes happened in 2009, but most of them did. Click on the names to learn what they mean and why they changed from Sportinental to Super Sportabout .
Schwinn “Sportinental” in 2003
custom professional paint job
steel Maes-bend handlebar
forged steel handlebar stem
1 headlight and 1 tail light
cheaper stock Schwinn Sportabout crank
Shimano Positron front derailleur
regular Schwinn freewheel
Schwinn S-6 steel rims front and rear
regular brake pads
good tires but not the best available
black and red Schwinn seat from a BMX
Schwinn “Super Sportabout” in 2009
paint job has needed “touching up”
aluminum randonneur-bend handlebar
aluminum handlebar stem
2 headlights and 2 tail lights
better-looking Schwinn “diamond” crank
SunTour Spirt front derailleur
SunTour Perfect freewheel
Sun CR-18 aluminum rims front and rear
Kool-Stop “salmon” brake pads
pricey Continental Ultra Gatorskin tires
red glitter Schwinn seat from a BMX