Pimp My Shwinn

I just picked up a schwinn 24". I want to put a big tire on it for muni and was just wandering how strong this uni is? How hard can a vintage factory shwinn be abused. I weigh 160# and tend to abuse things. Is the frame worth upgrading with a new hub and cranks or is that even a possibity? Any info would be much appreciated.

There were two people riding modded scwinns at Moab. One fellow had only switched out the tire and pedals, and did fine, for the most part.

The Scwinn frame isnt too small, as far as clearance goes, so you could probably throw a 2.5ish mountain bike tire in there and be good for now. However, eventually you might want to upgrade the ENTIRE thing to something a bit stronger.

You can put a Gazz or Kenda Kolassal 2.6" on there without any trouble. Get new Pedals, and probably a new seat if you want. If the unicycle is really vintage, you should look into replacing the rim, you can buy an alloy rim of the same size and lace that in, and it’ll reduce weight, and probably add strength. I put platform pedals on mine and the Kenda tire for Muni, but I still have the original saddle. The Schwinn frame is one of the strongest, because the 3 piece design allows for some movement of the parts so there isn’t a build-up of stress on the crown.

Schwinns rock, have fun.

The newer version Schwinn has 36 spokes and thereby stronger than the older models that had 28 spokes. I have owned them, and still have a newer version that I ride on occasion.
The Schwinn is very strong, but heavy, and so not the ideal ride for MUni - but it will work. The stock tire, and pedals need to be replaced, and you may want to check-out a new seat for comfort.

Schwinn’s have been around for years, and will probably outlast many other models in the same price category.

So, Congrats on your new piece of steel…

My vintage POS

I dissagree with others on this one.

  1. The frame bends very easily.
  2. The steel rim dents easily.
  3. The cotttered cranks break easily.

If you have a newer one than mine, the cranks may not be cottered.

Anyway, IMO, a vintage Uni should be cared for, not abused.

Mine is over 30 years old… and look how nice it looks.
Mine can be set back to original state by removing the seat extension I made.
(Although, no more whitewall tires anymore)

The photo reflects how nice it looked with an original Schwinn whitewall ‘Unicycle’ tire.

If your Schwinn is old enough to have cottered cranks, you don’t want to beat on it too much. Those cranks will probably come loose chronically.

A later Schwinn with cotterless cranks will be better, but still has the weaknesses below.

If your Schwinn is new (prox. 1997 or later), I don’t think it has the same level of indestructability in its frame than the older ones.

The old frames could take quite a bit of punishment, but suffer from two major flaws:

  1. One bolt holds the whole thing together. Seat adjustments are limited to 1" increments, which would be considered ludicrious to any bicyclist.
  2. The stamped steel frame is not only heavy, it is also flexy. Do not put in a tire with less than 1/4" clearance on each side. Even with that much, the tire will rub the frame when you pedal hard. Pedaling hard is what happens when you ride either uphill or downhill. Believe me, I know this from experience with my own Schwinns.

My recommendation is to keep the Schwinn for easier types of riding, and get a MUni for the trails.