Thursday, December 08, 2022

Bikes Of 2022: Schwinn High Sierra

It's the end of the year and time to review what's up with the bikes I used over the course of 2022. You'll get a brief overview, any changes made, and what the future has in store for each bike listed. Enjoy!

The Schwinn High Sierra I have is an old mountain bike with a similar story to the previously mentioned Raleigh fixed gear bike I featured here on December 1st. It was also a bicycle gifted to me through my old boss at Europa Cycles. 

I was working there for only a short time when this happened, so I'm going to guess this was around 2003-2004. Back then I did have to cover a few night shifts, as the store was open until 8:00pm weekdays. This particular evening I was there waiting to bail out as it was slow and we were approaching closing time. I want to say this was in the Winter, maybe a November, if I am remembering this correctly. 

But whatever it was, this man came in and asked if we would just take a couple of bicycles off his hands. One was an old, obviously rattle-can painted mountain bike. The other was an old road bike. My boss said we would dispose of them for the man and we ended up with these two old, spider web covered specimens.

The Schwinn High Sierra hauling the podcasting equipment to record another show.

Now, typically I would not have been excited about any of what I just told you, except that I noted that this blue painted mountain bike had roller cam brakes. Now for whatever reason, I have been fascinated with roller cam brakes for a long time. You know that if you read this post from yesterday.

So, since it looked awful and my boss saw that I was interested, he told me to take it home. And there it sat.....

I don't think I got around to doing anything with the bike for maybe two or three years later, but I took it down to the frame and fork, stripped the paint, and had a local place powder coat it. I was asked if it was alright if it was done in "the color of the day", and I said as long as it was cheap for me to do, it was good. The textured "sage green" is what I got. 

I reassembled it with some of the original drive train, but I ended up doing a 1 X 5 friction shifted set up. I also used the original wheels form my Mongoose All-Mountain Pro bike for the wheels, which I shod with continental Winter Contact tires. . I had taken a Brooks Pro saddle on a trade, and that ended up on there as well. A rack, a set of fenders, my old Jaand Mountain panniers, and I was set 

Now it is my townie bike. I need to get the font roller cam working better, but otherwise I have no plans to change anything here. Well, unless I decide to do something with that Dorado bike I mentioned yesterday. That may impact this bike in a big way. Stay tuned....

Look for more Bikes of 2022 coming soon!


Owen said...

I appreciated your post on Rollercams. They're an amazing design, albeit one that's poorly understood. My own theory is they never gained traction because they were a) finicky to set up, b) required proprietary posts and c) Cunningham's placement under the seatstay was too weird for people and yes, it did clog with mud. Then V-brakes came along and killed everything, but properly set up Rollercams are still better for both power AND modulation.

The keyword is modulation. I live in the same area as Charlie Cunningham and know him peripherally, and was fortunate to have a conversation with him years ago about brake design. Marin singletrack is tight and technical, and Charlie designed the Rollercam for modulation and precision braking at low speeds in tight corners. Situations where unmodulated power would likely result in crashing. It's not that Rollercams lack power (quite the contrary), but that modulation was equally important to him. It's worth noting he refined the Rollercam design in two successive brake generations to work with suspension, the Toggle-cam (made briefly by WTB before the split) and the Lever-Link (made only by CC by hand in small quantities). Those who've used the Lever-Links say they're even better than discs...

For optimizing your Rollercams: try replacing the stock pads with KoolStop smooth post salmon pads--get new, complete pads and not just inserts as the stand alone pads are stiffer. Also if the brake need toeing in swap in the Rene Herse angled washers (for their canti and centerpull brakes) for the stock washers supporting the pad eyelets.

Sorry for the long winded post, but this is a subject hear and dear to my heart.

Guitar Ted said...

@Owen - No apologies necessary for these great tips! And the background info too. Thank You!