Friday, June 15, 2007

Project Suburban: Update

It's been a hectic June in the VelociPete household, as can be seen by the low mileage numbers for the month. I have managed to make a little garage time for making some progress on the Schwinn. I decided to start at the front of the bike and work my way back. I forgot to take any close up shots of the wheel before I started. It was coated with a layer of surface rust and various gunk. Here's a couple shots of the rear wheel, which is in similar condition, just for comparison.

I cleaned up the rim and hub with soapy water, steel wool and elbow grease. I also repacked the bearings in the hub so it spins smoothly and trued up the wheel. I lost a fair amount of time trying to figure out Schwinn's mysterious tire sizing codes. The rim is stamped with "S6 Tubular" so I purchased the only true S6 tire out on the market, a Kenda. However, the Kenda had a 26" diameter and when I tried to put it on the rim it was readily apparent that the rim was quite a bit larger.

I did some digging on the interwebs, and am now almost as confused as before. I believe, based on what I've read, that the S6 designation doesn't have a thing to do with diameter but instead refers to the style of the actual rim. Both the S5 and S6 are 1 3/8" or 1 1/4" rim width (there were both, to make things more confusing). The difference is whether there is a knurl in the center of the rim or not. And S5 and S6 rims are available in multiple sizes, including both 26" and 27" diameter. There were also S2 and S4 models, but I didn't spend much time on those.

There's even confusion about what wheel size came on the Suburban. This site lists a 26" wheel for the '74 Suburban, which clearly isn't the case. The same site then contradicts itself because it contains a scan of the original Consumer Catalog from 1974 which lists the tires as 27 x 1 1/4" gumwalls.

The scanned Consumer Catalog was as close to the horse's mouth as I was going to get, so I picked up a 27 x 1 1/8" Continental Ultra Sport tire in that size from Hiawatha. Jim was a little concerned about the lack of hook on the rim, but thought the tire would work. I mounted it yesterday and inflated it to 80 psi with no signs of sidewall bulging. I'll probably leave it at this pressure as I work on the rest of the bike, and maybe increase to 100psi to see how it holds up.

Date: June 9
Mileage: 30
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha Offroad/Miyata Shredder
June mileage: 78
Year to date mileage: 1700


rigtenzin said...

It looks like you bought a large tub of elbow grease, because those rims look great.

Try 200 psi in the tires. That's a real test. Just kidding. Don't blow up your face.

Tim said...

I just picked up one of those older Schwinns and I am trying to restore it (just enough to be usable for short trips). It has the exact same wheels as your Suburban, and the tires definitely need replacing. How is the Continental tire working for you?

Pete said...

I can't say yet, Tim. The tire is still holding air at ~80psi and hasn't popped off the rim, so that's a good sign. But I still haven't completed the build, so I haven't ridden a single mile on this yet. Stay tuned, because I'm getting close.