Thursday, June 19, 2008

my new 'mount


After a couple of weeks of VERY obsessive craigslist trolling, I came across a 60mm Schwinn Paramount for sale about an hour after it posted. This was in the 3rd week of May and after watching CL for some weeks, I was starting to notice a definite trend towards higher prices and faster snatching up of bikes that weren't higher priced. This bike was $450 and was already setup as a single-speed. I had just been getting hip to Paramounts a couple weeks before and this price seemed crazy cheap. It seemed like I had seen frames selling for less money than that.

I spoke to this gentleman on the phone on a Wednesday and found out the he was actually in Racine, WI but after talking for a couple of minutes, he volunteered that he'd come meet me halfway, up in the deepest outlying suburbs near the state line. After consulting with my better half about whether this was totally irresponsible madness, she let me off the hook and I made a deal to go Friday morning and pick it up.

I drove up there the next morning for an 11 am meeting at the Bass Pro Shop (!?!). He seemed to feel like that was a pretty easy landmark. I was flying by the seat of my pants, but with a coupe of well-timed cell phone calls I made it there.

I got to ride the bike around in the GIGANTIC parking lot of this mall that was like a proving ground at that time of morning. What a difference it makes to sit on a bike that fits you right (at least it's as close as I've come, more to come on sizing later)! Epiphany #2. I only had to ride it for about 30 seconds to figure it was a keeper. Had some nice Weinmann wheels with both a fixed and free hub on the back. The gearing was pretty short, like 45/18, but I figured I'd change out the wheels and chainring off of the Tempo. It also had Shimano 600 brakes, cranks and headset and some pretty nifty bigger bullhorn bars with nice bar end levers.

Here is how it came:

I gleefully drove this thing back home and changed out the wheels and chainring. We were going to Madison for some family time that afternoon, so I hurriedly got it ready so we could have some nice rides for the weekend. Here's how it came out:

This bike is really fun to ride! Yippee! It weighs in at 21.5 pounds, which (apparently) isn't that light, but is the lightest bike I've ever had. It's just got really comfy geometry.

Can I go on a bit more about it? It's an '86 "Paramount Standard" made in Waterford, WI. It's made of Columbus SP double butted tubing, which apparently is
a bit thicker than the SLX tubing used to make the smaller frames. This is Schwinn's flagship bike, when this bike was built, they made about 900 to 1000 of them per year.

You can get a whole lot of history and discussion on these fine bicycles through the Waterford Precision Cycles site. The factory where these bikes were made for Schwinn is since 1981 continued on after Schwinn was sold off in the 90s. It is still run by Marc Muller and Richard Schwinn, who were responsible for Schwinn's "Paramount Design Group" since it was moved to Waterford in the beginning of the 80s.

Yay, Paramount!

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