Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Progression of Steel Bicycles

Picture Courtesy : Waterford

Here's a great picture showing a 1972 Schwinn P15-9 Paramount (inner bike) next to a Waterford fabricated 953 Stainless steel bike. For most, they might look like the same thing. The fact is, these two bikes are separated by almost 3 decades in time and technology.

Steel has come a long way. The 953 is stainless, stronger, and six pounds lighter than the '72 Schwinn yet retaining all the great qualities of a steel ride.

Click here to read all about the history of Schwinn Paramount.

Click here to read about the Reynold's 953 tubing.

1 comment:

Jay Batson said...

The bike in back that you label as the Schwinn was actually manufactured by Japanese manufacturer Nishiki, and sold as the "Nishiki Comp(etition)." (I worked in bike shops in those days, and we dealt a lot with the importer, and learned of this.) Nishiki was a popular bike in the '80s. They were the first manufacturer to ship with the Suntour parallel arm rear derailleur, and had a 1-year exclusive on it. According to (the late) Sheldon Brown's blog, Nishiki fell out of the bike shop world because they shipped a bunch of bikes into department store distribution, which created bad feelings with bike shops.

I still actually have my Nishiki Comp and ride it during bad weather. My "good weather" bike is a custom built steel Serotta (Cour d'Acier), with carbon fork & carbon seat stay. Frame geometry isn't quite compact, isn't quite old skool; top tube is slightly down-sloping.

There's a massive difference in ride between the two. The Serotta is much, much stiffer, which translates into putting more of your effort directly into the ground / forward motion. How much this is due to steel vs. geometry vs. frame size (Serotta is ever so slightly smaller). But the Serotta rides MUCH more stiff than the Nishiki.

Despite current steel being better, I'm still ready for full carbon, though. ;-)