Saturday, May 24, 2008

My 1999 Schwinn Peleton

In 1999 I bought a Schwinn Peleton. The bike is an 853 steel frame, very graceful S shaped stays, nice electric blue paint with “Schwinn” beautifully incorporated into a contrasting black on white down tube. The gruppo is almost all Shimano Ultegra except for the headset; this becomes an issue later in it’s life.

When I first bought the bike I was married to my ex-wife. The purchase of this bike was an unspoken sore spot in our relationship; added to the already mounting unspoken sore spots. Anyway, the beautiful paint started to chip off. I took it back to my LBS and they apparently had to go through 3 frames before they got a good one.

I then rode the bike for about 2 years until the single speed bug bit me and the bike sat for about 3 years. Then after I met my good friend Mike, I gave him the bike to see if his wife would become a bike spouse. Well that didn’t work and I got the bike back a couple months ago. No worse for wear, it had a Nitto stem and a new set of Conti Ultra Sports.

Now, since I parted with the Peleton my taste in geared bikes has matured. When I bought the bike I had the double crank changed to a triple. While the triple works the way it is supposed to, it is quite clunky needing two additional trim shifts to keep it quiet. Also after seeing the Nitto stem I decided it would look even better with a Nitto seat post and different seat.

First I decided to switch to a compact crank. I think it was the designers at Campagnolo that came up with the idea of a lowered gear crank. Instead of a 52-39 double or 52-42-30 triple, they came up with a 50-34. The 52 is only useful for 28 MPH plus, with a 50-34 you get most the gearing of a triple, without the chunkiness. The compact cranks also come in the new 2-piece with exterior bearings. I decided on the 105 level R600. Once I installed the crank, I found the triple derailleur worked, but not well. I scrounged up a double 9 speed 105 derailleur and after installing it I found that although Shimano says the triple derailleur works, I wouldn’t advise it. I also got two new tools in the process.

The OEM seatpost was a Titec and I changed the seat to a Specialized "Body Geometry" style. In 2008 this would not do. So, next I looked for a Nitto seatpost. The Peleton has a 27mm and I found that short of buying a double bolt NJS seatpost, the other Nitto posts only come in 27.2. Then as luck would have it I found a WEB Store, Peter Whit Cycles, that went to the trouble of ordering 50 Nitto Crystal seatposts so they could have them made on 27mm. SCORE! Now a seat. I first thought Selle Italia as I have the seat on most of my bikes. However, my wife is quite fond of the looks of Brooks saddles I have put on my last two projects. Certainly my wife will agree to fund most any seat, but if she actually likes the seat, well that’s uber cool. Anyway I found a black B-17 narrow that will do the trick.

The 1999 Peleton came with an aluminum fork. The popularity of aluminum forks was very short lived and although it looks nice, a carbon fork is certainly in order. Here I will have to admit I went uber cheap and bought a Nashbar Crabon fork, regularly $150.00, on sale for $80. When the fork came in I immedately pulled out the stem and removed the old fork. I tapped off the crown race and slipped it on the carbon fork; slipped it all the way down where it should have needed to be pressed on. The problem was obvious, the OEM fork is JIS. JIS is an older japanese standard that has been replaced with ISO, which is the now the industry  standard, but is still found on some inexpensive department store bikes. After I removed the head tube cups, I found that the head tube on the frame is ISO, which means the current headset is is half ISO and half JIS, so a JIS fork will work in an ISO head tube. I have seen these 50/50 headsets  for sale labeled a "30.2/27.0 headset." (30.2 for the ISO head tube cup ID; and 27.0 for the JIS crown race ID. If you then want to upgrade to an standard fork with an ISO, 26.4mm crown race, you can simply buy a compatible Tange ISO crown race (Tange sells them separately) or buy a new threaded ISO headset; I choose to do the latter. At this point I had a sudden realization of the obvious. I had wondered from the beginning why Schwinn has spec'd the cheaper Tange headset over an Ultegra headset that would have matched the spec on the rest of the bike. Well,  the reason suddenly became obvious; the Ultegra would not have worked with the JIS fork. So I picked one up and now the entire bike is finally Ultegra throughout.



Do the Math
Well the Carbon fork has too short. The original steerer was 170 mm (I thought 165). But there was a 7mm spacer so I figured I was set. Not. Turns out the Ultegra headset had a 4mm higher stack height then the OEM Tioga; due the math and I'm 7mm short. So the 160 is in the mail back to Nashbar and the 175mm has been ordered in it's place....
Its about a week later and as you can see it all worked out. I even threw on the short cage rear derailleur to finish it off.

17 comments:

Kris said...

any chance you still have the old fork? just found a Peloton at a garage sale ($100!) and would love to get an original fork. Let me know...

Brad G said...

Yes, I do have the old fork. What's it worth to you?

sonny said...

Hi, thanks for the detailed blog!

I have the same bike and also plan on swapping out the original aluminum fork with the Nashbar carbon fork just like you did (however, I'll be going even cheaper and using the fork with the alloy steerer). So, now I know I'll need to use a new crown race. My question to you is: will I need to replace the original headset even if it's in good shape? Is there some sort of size incompatibility that I should be aware of regarding the new fork and original headset?

Thanks, in advance, for any insight.

Brad G said...

sonny, I upgraded my blog to cover your question; the answer is most likely yes. First, if your new fork is ISO, you will need a different 26.4 crown race. The current crown race you have will be too big. A new race will run you $6 @ JensonUSA

sonny said...

Thanks for the detailed follow-up, Brad. Assuming the Nashbar fork is ISO (I still haven't received it), I'll pick up a 26.4 crown race and hope the setup works with the existing/original Tange headset.

What's your opinion on the Nashbar fork? Does it provide a marked difference in ride quality/feel? Is there a noticeable weight savings?

Brad G said...

You're not going to see any difference in weight. The OEM fork is 570gm, which is about the same as the Nashbar carbon fork. But you will notice a better ride. Aluminum road forks can be brutally rigid, as is the spec'd fork on the Peleton. It was not until I replaced the fork that I really appreciated the ride of the 853 steel frame.

William said...

I am thinking of ordering a carbon fork for my 99 peloton like you have done. When I do this is it possible to order a threadless fork and switch to a threadless headset? I want to replace the stem and it looks like they are made for treadless headsets only.

Thanks
Will

Brad G said...

No problem, as long as you find a 1 inch (not 1 1/8) fork. You will need a new head set (threadless), stem and possibly handlebar if your stem is for an oversize bar.

William said...

Brad,
I am wanting to shave as much weight as possible off of my stock 99 peloton. I just ordered a threadless headset to go w my nashbar fork which will allow me to add a lighter stem and handlebar. What Other parts on the bike do you think are worthwhile to upgrade (ie what are the parts on the peloton that weigh it down compared to the new bikes). I'm not sure how heavy the wheels are but do they need to be replaced? I will most likely be upgrading to a carbon bike in the next two years (maybe not if I can transform this thing into a light fast bike). Thanks for your help.

Brad G said...

William, you nailed it. The 1999 Peleton was made just before the explosion in inexpensive lightweight wheelsets. The OEM Ultegra/ Mavic cxp21 set weights in at 2300 gms. while a new Ultegra weighs in a about 1700 gms and a Mavic Ksyrium Elite weighs in a 1550 gms. Go with a new wheelset, which bang for the buck will make your bike lighter and faster.

poetrik econometrik said...

I bought a used Peloton in yellow from craigslist as my first road bike. I love it! However, I think I would prefer a shorter stem. I feel like I'm reaching a bit too far when I am riding in the hoods. I took it to my LBS, but they were unable to get the previous stem out. I have a feeling the previous owner must have had the bike in the rain or else sweat got in there. Has anyone else experienced this? Any suggestions? I think I'll first try another LBS. Is it even worth it to pursue this?

Thanks so much for your blog! I'm thrilled to see there are others out there enjoying this bike.

Brad G said...

Wow, quill stems usually don't get that stuck. At the very least you should be able to loosen it by banging the top of the stem with a hammer. Unless the stem is bottomed out in the fork this should work. Otherwise, if yours is the same as mine, it would be aluminum to aluminum; a good loosening chemical to use is Coke, which eats through aluminum fairly easily, especially anodized corrosion.

poetrik econometrik said...

Hi Brad,
I'm still working on trying to get the quill stem unstuck (I've set this aside for a few years), but if worse comes to worse, I plan to saw it off. Anyway, I want to upgrade the fork like you did, and I'm completely new to working on bikes.

I know I need to get a fork. I was thinking of getting a Ritchey Comp. This needs to be 1 inch (as opposed to 1 1/8"), right? I got as little confused reading about the JIS standard, but I know I need a new headset as well. What are the specifications for the proper threadless headset? Lastly, I will need a new stem. Anything else I will need for this step?

Thanks so much. I really enjoy your blog!

Brad G said...

If you switch over to 1" threadless system, than you don't have to worry about the JIS/ISO threaded headset issues with the OEM fork on this bike. You'll simply need a 1" threadless fork, a standard (not "Integrated") 1" threadless headset and as you said a 1" threadless stem. When you install the new threadless fork, you are going to need to cut the steerer to length, which is easily accomplished with a hacksaw, but it does have to be a straight cut. Usually a steerer is cut according to how high you want the stem, as you can stack spacers underneath to your desired height. However, you can always leave the steerer long and stack spacers on top the stem so you can experiment with different heights.

In regards to my last comment about loosening your stem. What I should have said was to loosen the expansion bolt and bang on the top of the bolt to separate the wedge from the bottom of the quill stem. Also I was mistaken about the steerer being aluminum, it is steel. Regardless, I recall the OEM stem was fairly inexpensive anyway. Just cut it, unscrew the locknut, unscrew the top race and it will all come apart. Good Luck

poetrik econometrik said...

Did you end up selling the old fork? If not, I'm interested.

Brad G said...

No, I haven't sold it. How about $20 + postage?

poetrik econometrik said...

Sounds great! Please send me an email at jaimeharris gmail com.