The Chainlink

Long story short I was leaving Door County Wisconsin tonight because my son will need to see his doctor tomorrow because his fever isn't going away. Well I brought both my bikes up (82 Conti and 92 Trek MTB), had them on the rack on back of the car and was backing up very slowly. My father in law shouted something at us and for that split second I looked away I bumped against a tree. Well the rack got bent, the rear window got broken out, and my road bike got the worst of it. Because i had the tires off the Schwinn the Trek bent and smashed the back of the frame so bad the seat tube braces (I forget the technical name) ended up all wavey. Trashed. Sad panda.

So anyone have a road bike I can borrow for the North Shore Century in a couple of weeks? Otherwise I am turning the MTB into a drop bar balloon tire road bike and hoping the best.

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Hi Nick

Take a look at a carbon steel fork blade. Hardest used tube on a bike. They have bends in them. Frequently bends much more abrupt than anything I see in the photo of the blue Continental.

My own 1958 Schwinn Spitfire, which I have owned since new, was bent much worse than the Continental. That bike was used by everyone in my family, my extended family and half the kids in the neighborhood. One of the neighborhood kids tossed it in the dumpster on moving day and it got bent pretty bad. Local Schwinn store said forget it so I straightened it myself. With my vast skills at age 12 I got it straight. I am still a crap mechanic and I remember it took a long time. That Spitfire still works. Fifty years after a home repair by a kid it still works. Never had any qualms whatsoever about letting small children and family members ride it.

I owned a Cinelli that got bent way worse than the Spitfire when it was almost new. Ron Boi straightened it, he wasn't sure he should.  It was bad. That Cinelli did 100,000 miles with me in the saddle. It got raced and it was raced by guys way more serious than me. Wayne Stetina had it as a race spare once and I think he punished it more in 50 miles than I could in thousands. Recently I saw my old Cinelli. Forty years now since it was bent and it is still going.

I don't even know what dug said. "It's done" might mean he straightened the bike himself and gave it back to Mike. Or it could be his opinion the bike is done for and irreparable. I don't really care.

Bikes get bent. Bikes get straightened. Being a bike mechanic means bending metal. Customers are horrified by the mere thought of bending metal. I know half dozen guys who would align that Schwinn for me. They're old like me and are max'ed out on dealing with  bike superstition and attitude. I'd love to recommend Mike to one of them but I've no idea what reception they would give him. If I walked the bike in myself they would listen for 5 seconds to my concern about possible weakening to that brake bridge and then get on with it. Heck, I've seen bikes bent worse than that straightened on the infield at the track and sent right back out to race. The guys racing them were not concerned, the guys racing next to them were not concerned, the officials were not concerned.

Nick G said:

+1  DUG.  Once the metal has a crease or bend, the strength of the tube is compromised and will be MUCH weaker from now on.  Depending on the severity of the bend/crease (those look borderline severe), it'll be either a very shady, flexy ride, or it could be downright dangerous.

I'm still trying to figure out how an 80's Continental qualifies as a "classic road bike".  Sure, it's old, and it looks like a road bike, but it's totally bottom of the barrel as far as quality and weight, basically the same as a bike you can get at Wal-Mart these days: They look like bikes and work mostly like bikes, but they are not meant for serious riding.  Go browse around Working Bikes and ask lots of questions.  You can get a real classic road bike for 2-300 bucks there.  The difference is seriously night and day.

notoriousDUG said:

Terrible advice; please learn about working with metal before offering opinions in the future.

It's done.

The only reason a VW Beetle or Model T is a classic, is because it's an example of a revolutionary, extremely popular idea.  The Model T is a classic because it represents the first mass-produced automobile, and is credited with popularizing the car as a mode of transportation in the U.S., not because it was a particularly good car.  Same with the VW Beetle.  It was popular because it was cheap, practical, well-styled, and had a revolutionary drivetrain layout which made it very reliable.  It was also not a very good car.

These two cars did things that differentiated them from other cars before them, whereas a 1982 Schwinn Continental only does what other bikes have done before - the bare minimum.  There is nothing revolutionary or interesting about it, and it's still not a very good bike to boot.

Crazy David 84 Furlongs said:

We will have to agree to disagree.   If you come from the school of thought that a VW Beetle or a Model T or Model A is a classic, then you will also find the Schwinn Conti to be a "classic".   They were all well known, very popular (the most popular of their particular item), and designed for the masses.   They were not the vehicles for the "experts" or "collectors".   They were the "item" that came to mind when the word "car" or "ten speed" was spoken to the general public at the time.   If you said "car" from 1909 to 1927 or so, the image of the Model T and name plate would come to mind.  In the US if you said name a "bicycle" maker through the early to mid 1970's, the first response would be Schwinn.  If you asked them to name a "ten speed" they would say Schwinn Varsity or Continental.  That, to my mind, is a classic.

Again, you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

While there is a limited amount of bending that should be done anything of the magnitude you see in the picture is not OK because of the nature of how steel bends.  When you bend steel like that the outside of the bend stretches and when you bend it back unless done properly with heat and quenching it does not shrink making it impossible to get the proper alignment without some kind of deformation in the stay as well as significant changes to the plasticity of the steel making something that is significantly weaker than what was there before.

The fork you use as an example is bent once to an intended angle with a bend that was designed to be there and not bent to one extreme and then returned to where it was supposed to be so it is not a good example. 

You state you are a crap mechanic which makes me wonder why you even offer advice to people...

John C. Wilson said:

Hi Nick

Take a look at a carbon steel fork blade. Hardest used tube on a bike. They have bends in them. Frequently bends much more abrupt than anything I see in the photo of the blue Continental.

My own 1958 Schwinn Spitfire, which I have owned since new, was bent much worse than the Continental. That bike was used by everyone in my family, my extended family and half the kids in the neighborhood. One of the neighborhood kids tossed it in the dumpster on moving day and it got bent pretty bad. Local Schwinn store said forget it so I straightened it myself. With my vast skills at age 12 I got it straight. I am still a crap mechanic and I remember it took a long time. That Spitfire still works. Fifty years after a home repair by a kid it still works. Never had any qualms whatsoever about letting small children and family members ride it.

I owned a Cinelli that got bent way worse than the Spitfire when it was almost new. Ron Boi straightened it, he wasn't sure he should.  It was bad. That Cinelli did 100,000 miles with me in the saddle. It got raced and it was raced by guys way more serious than me. Wayne Stetina had it as a race spare once and I think he punished it more in 50 miles than I could in thousands. Recently I saw my old Cinelli. Forty years now since it was bent and it is still going.

I don't even know what dug said. "It's done" might mean he straightened the bike himself and gave it back to Mike. Or it could be his opinion the bike is done for and irreparable. I don't really care.

Bikes get bent. Bikes get straightened. Being a bike mechanic means bending metal. Customers are horrified by the mere thought of bending metal. I know half dozen guys who would align that Schwinn for me. They're old like me and are max'ed out on dealing with  bike superstition and attitude. I'd love to recommend Mike to one of them but I've no idea what reception they would give him. If I walked the bike in myself they would listen for 5 seconds to my concern about possible weakening to that brake bridge and then get on with it. Heck, I've seen bikes bent worse than that straightened on the infield at the track and sent right back out to race. The guys racing them were not concerned, the guys racing next to them were not concerned, the officials were not concerned.

Nick G said:

+1  DUG.  Once the metal has a crease or bend, the strength of the tube is compromised and will be MUCH weaker from now on.  Depending on the severity of the bend/crease (those look borderline severe), it'll be either a very shady, flexy ride, or it could be downright dangerous.

I'm still trying to figure out how an 80's Continental qualifies as a "classic road bike".  Sure, it's old, and it looks like a road bike, but it's totally bottom of the barrel as far as quality and weight, basically the same as a bike you can get at Wal-Mart these days: They look like bikes and work mostly like bikes, but they are not meant for serious riding.  Go browse around Working Bikes and ask lots of questions.  You can get a real classic road bike for 2-300 bucks there.  The difference is seriously night and day.

notoriousDUG said:

Terrible advice; please learn about working with metal before offering opinions in the future.

It's done.

Wow, didn't mean to create such a stir!

As for sentimental value, there is plenty.  This got me back into cycling, turned heads when I road with guys who had thousands into their rides and I was keeping pace, aided me in losing 50+ lbs, and kept me sane because I could avoid traffic when commuting.  So the plan right now is to just keep it around, I am thinking about maybe making it into a trainer bike.  Meaning I would bolt it into a trainer and leave it there.  I could bend that all out and get it true enough to throw the wheel back in and put some time spinning in while in doors.  I definitely don't feel safe riding that on Chicago's streets.

I do appreciate all the info that has been thrown about, but I agree with DUG and I wouldn't want to put that back in the road.

Mike, can I assume at this point you have either found something to ride Sunday or decided not to ride?

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