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Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters

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mrshartley917 Offline
New Member

Manhattan, KS
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2014
Post: #1
Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
Hi I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on the shifters on this Schwinn Caliente (From 1980s). I just bought it from a guy I found on craigslist, everything is in great condition and the shifters work, they're just a little tricky seeing as how this is my first road bike and I am used to the cheap mountain bikes you get from walmart. I will post the only pic I was able to get before it got dark, if you need better pictures some direction on what pictures I should get would be great. Thanks in advance!! I'm basically wondering if I should look into replacing them if there is an easier option? Or if someone could give me good advice on how to learn to use the current shifters!

Thanks in advance!


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Feb 16, 2014 07:32 PM
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nfmisso Offline
Veteran Member

San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,326
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #2
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
Hi; welcome to the forum.

There are lots of choices, but the best advice is to learn how to use friction shifters.

They MIGHT work a little bit better if the cables were lubricated with light oil; but given the apparent condition of the bike, they probably are already properly lubricated.

Upgrading to index brifters is going to cost some $$$. You will need:
http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-ST-A070-Shifters-7-Speed-Black/dp/B007Q4MM1I/
http://www.amazon.com/SunRace-Freewheels-Sunrace-7-Speed-Freewheel/dp/B003LHMJRQ/
http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Tourney-TX35-Derailleur-Speed/dp/B003ZMH69S/
new bar tape
and new derailleur and brake cables.

Which is a bit over $100-; plus labor.

I would also STRONGLY suggest upgrading the brakes to Dual Pivots like the Tektro R559 - make sure you get brakes with the correct reach. And Cross Levers (aka Interrupter levers).

So you are looking at around $200- plus labor.

Nigel
Feb 16, 2014 09:35 PM
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Joe_W Offline
Veteran Member


Posts: 1,177
Joined: Jul 2009
Post: #3
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
Friction shifters are actually not that bad. Somebody suggested as a learning experiment to try and deliberately misshift between two gears (on a really quiet road with no traffic!). Once you realise how difficult this is (in the rear) you will feel much more comfortable. Riding friction shifters off-road is... more challenging, though.
The only weird thing is that you need to take the hands off the bars to shift... and there downtube shifters are actually easier for me than stem mounted ones (but then I guess it is a matter of taste / what you are used to).

As Nigel said: changing to STIs is costly. Replacing the brakes is however very sensible. The single pivot ones are... bad. Also get really good brake pads (like Koolstop salmon coloured). Replacing the rims would also improve braking, but this again would be costly - unless you get some used ones at the local bike shop. I picked up a pair of wheels for... dunno... 25 EUR or so. They probably will need to be trued and tensioned and the bearings need to be overhauled, which not difficult (esp. the latter).
(I don't see the point of cross levers, I had them on one bike and never ever used them, but that is just me.)
Feb 17, 2014 01:10 AM
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cny-man Offline
Senior Member

Syracuse, NY
Posts: 356
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #4
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
(Feb 17, 2014 01:10 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  1. Friction shifters are actually not that bad

2. Replacing the brakes is however very sensible. The single pivot ones are... bad. Also get really good brake pads (like Koolstop salmon coloured).

3. Replacing the rims would also improve braking, but this again would be costly. They probably will need to be trued and tensioned and the bearings need to be overhauled, which not difficult (esp. the latter)....

4. (I don't see the point of cross levers, I had them on one bike and never ever used them, but that is just me.)

1. True - many people managed for a long time without indexed shifting - works best when shifting to larger cogs/chainwheel if you overshift very slightly then move the lever back to centered over the gear. Stem shifters are a bit of a pain but useable. Absolutely do not "upgrade"

2. Single pivot calipers are not as effective but they're hardly "bad." Somehow we managed to not run into things using them for decades upon decades, even using them for racing. I agree with the advise to put on the Salmon pads for better braking. Steel rims indeed do not brake as well, and very poorly in wet conditions (even fog).

3. Makes no sense at all to purchase alloy wheels - better just to get a bike that already has them, as is true with the shifting.

4. The extension levers were called suicide levers for a reason. Even when fully engaged they do not put as much pressure on the calipers, and the hand position lends itself to broken or sprained wrists or complete loss of grip on the handlebars in a collision.
Feb 17, 2014 07:07 AM
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mrshartley917 Offline
New Member

Manhattan, KS
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2014
Post: #5
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
(Feb 16, 2014 09:35 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  Hi; welcome to the forum.

There are lots of choices, but the best advice is to learn how to use friction shifters.

They MIGHT work a little bit better if the cables were lubricated with light oil; but given the apparent condition of the bike, they probably are already properly lubricated.

Upgrading to index brifters is going to cost some $$$. You will need:
http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-ST-A070-Shifters-7-Speed-Black/dp/B007Q4MM1I/
http://www.amazon.com/SunRace-Freewheels-Sunrace-7-Speed-Freewheel/dp/B003LHMJRQ/
http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Tourney-TX35-Derailleur-Speed/dp/B003ZMH69S/
new bar tape
and new derailleur and brake cables.

Which is a bit over $100-; plus labor.

I would also STRONGLY suggest upgrading the brakes to Dual Pivots like the Tektro R559 - make sure you get brakes with the correct reach. And Cross Levers (aka Interrupter levers).

So you are looking at around $200- plus labor.

Thanks for the advice! I think I'll definitely go with upgrading the brakes, I'm taking it in to my local bike shop this week and very helpful to know what to tell them I need done. Also, this may be a dumb question but I was wanting to put new bar tapes on anyways because I don't like the feeling of the current foam type grip, so will it be hard for them to do that? Or does it actually make it easier for them to replace since I'm wanting to upgrade brakes as well? (As i said I'm still really new to the biking world so i have no clue how anything works! Glad to have knowledgeable people to help me out!)
Feb 17, 2014 09:54 AM
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cny-man Offline
Senior Member

Syracuse, NY
Posts: 356
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #6
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
Keep in mind that the cost to upgrade the brakes to dual pivot will most likely exceed the $100 mark, which by itself is more than the value of the bike. Of course it's your decision, but I don't think you derive much benefit for the amount spent. That bike is not going to be tearing down a hill at 40mph, and unless the rider has limited hand strength low speed braking will not improve all that much.

More important first is to have the bike shop do and estimate so they can tell you what needs to be done. Prioritize, match to your budget, and then see if the brakes still make sense.

The foam grips are easily removed with a box cutter, then padded tape can be put on. I would strongly advise if you don't change the levers to have the suicide levers removed.
Feb 17, 2014 10:10 AM
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Joe_W Offline
Veteran Member


Posts: 1,177
Joined: Jul 2009
Post: #7
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
I would also recommend trying to do as much as possible yourself. Wrapping bar tape is one of those jobs that are not too difficult... Sure, wrenching costs time and sometimes nerves, but doing some of the mainenance yourself is rewarding (and you save some money). You will also get a good feeling of how things really work and be able to judge after a while which jobs make sense (brake pads!), and which don't (replacing shifters), and which ones you'll do anyway.
Many people in this forum have a bad habit of sinking money in their bikes (me included)...
Feb 17, 2014 03:32 PM
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mrshartley917 Offline
New Member

Manhattan, KS
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2014
Post: #8
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
(Feb 17, 2014 03:32 PM)Joe_W Wrote:  I would also recommend trying to do as much as possible yourself. Wrapping bar tape is one of those jobs that are not too difficult... Sure, wrenching costs time and sometimes nerves, but doing some of the mainenance yourself is rewarding (and you save some money). You will also get a good feeling of how things really work and be able to judge after a while which jobs make sense (brake pads!), and which don't (replacing shifters), and which ones you'll do anyway.
Many people in this forum have a bad habit of sinking money in their bikes (me included)...

Thanks for the tip! I've actually watched about a thousand self installation videos on handle bar tapes so I think I've got that down. I also know I need a taller seat post, which I've been told I can pick up pretty cheap from a bike shop. Since you kinda sound like you've done a lot of DIY bike repairs/upgrades would you say switching the seat post is easy? Also, I was considering switching the seat clamp from one you need a tool to loosen to move the seat (I'm sure theres a name for this, but I don't know it) to a quick move clamp (one you can just pull the lever out and move the seat without needing any tools). What is your opinion on the difference between those? Or is that a piece that is more personal preference? Thank you for any (more) help!
Feb 17, 2014 06:24 PM
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nfmisso Offline
Veteran Member

San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,326
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #9
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
(Feb 17, 2014 06:24 PM)mrshartley917 Wrote:  ..... would you say switching the seat post is easy? Also, I was considering switching the seat clamp from one you need a tool to loosen to move the seat (I'm sure theres a name for this, but I don't know it) to a quick move clamp (one you can just pull the lever out and move the seat without needing any tools). What is your opinion on the difference between those? Or is that a piece that is more personal preference? Thank you for any (more) help!

It is an easy job; all you need is the correct size wrenches.

Q/R seat post clamp: http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Seat-Binder-Black-Skewer/dp/B002K2ON4K/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1392695877&sr=1-1&keywords=qr+skewer+seat+post
your LBS (Local Bike Shop) should be able to sell you one for less than $10- It is not something to mail order by itself.

Q/R vs bolt on is personal preference. If you are in area where seats of stolen, a Q/R is not such a good idea. Also if you are a heavy person (like me), the Q/R has less clamping force.

New seat post - get one of the same diameter as your current one - probably 25.4mm, but double check. Seat post come in increments of 0.2mm on the diameter.

We have several people on this forum that have built a few bikes, here are some of mine:
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-3216.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-3036.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-2920.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-3167.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-3598.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-4930.html
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-4198.html

For many of us on this forum, bike building is a hobby which does not make economic sense. For example, I have several times the $$$ into my World Tourist compared to what it is worth. Making decisions based on economic value is fine for a business, but not for a hobby.

Nigel
Feb 17, 2014 09:02 PM
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cny-man Offline
Senior Member

Syracuse, NY
Posts: 356
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #10
RE: Advice on Schwinn Caliente Shifters
(Feb 17, 2014 06:24 PM)mrshartley917 Wrote:  ...I was considering switching the seat clamp from one you need a tool to loosen to move the seat (I'm sure theres a name for this, but I don't know it) to a quick move clamp

Usually a Q/R seat bolt would be needed for a mountain bike where one may lower the seat when off-road, or when the bike will be used by more than one rider. Obviously the first one does not apply, and unless you are sharing the bike you would be substituting a solution that works very well for one that does not always clamp as well (especially if you have a steel seat post) and that allows your seat and post to be easily stolen.
Feb 17, 2014 09:41 PM
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