Question for the experts 80's Schwinn High Sierra- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Question for the experts 80's Schwinn High Sierra

    I'm helping a buddy out with a purchase through CL and I've found these two bikes:

    I'm pretty sure the first one is 84 (I've been doing some research) the 2nd is an 87 not sure on that. I'm asking both sellers for $175.00 - is either one better or does it really make any difference. Option one appears to be in better shape than option two. Thoughts? TIA!

    Beautiful Schwinn High Sierra mountain bike

    Scwhinn High Sierra Mountain Bike

    and then there is this one for $149.00 from a bike shop: (sorry 3 options)

    1987 Schwinn High Sierra Vintage Mountain Bike

    Thanks again! (I'm hoping this post is ok in this section)
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  2. #2
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    Both are about the same. If the bearings (headset, bb, hubs) are in better condition in one of the bikes, it will likely be the better option. Also one has knobby tire (better for offroad) and the other has slicks (for road use). Depebding on how you'll use it, you might factor new tires into the cost.

  3. #3
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    I appreciate the reply laffeaux. Yes, I figured tires might need replacement regardless, in fact it will need something in between dirt and road, at least that reassures me they are very close.
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    One of the main differences between the first bike ('84) and the others is that is has traditional cantilever brakes front and rear, while the other two have cam style.

    It is worth considering that the brake posts for this style brake are positioned on the fork at a different height than most cantilever posts, and tend to only be compatible with cam style brakes. If you ever wanted to replace/upgrade/repair the cam brakes you would have a much more limited selection of parts available to use than with regular cantilevers. i.e. you're stuck with cam brakes forever (I should say that some people really love these brakes).

    With the '84, you can pretty much swap out the old cantilevers (if you want/need to) for any other pair of cantilever brakes, new or old.

    My personal vote would be for the '84 - I actually refurbished this same bike for my gf last summer. It's a great frame and a great platform if you ever wanted to upgrade/modernize. The slopping lugged fork is especially nice - compare it to the unicrown style of the other two frames for some aesthetic differences. The color is beautiful in my opinion and the bike you posted looks like it is in really good shape. Plus the seller is open to OBO.

    Good luck to you and your friend!

    PS Also size- which bike fits? And make sure you inspect in person for dents, structural frame damage etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exlibris View Post
    One of the main differences between the first bike ('84) and the others is that is has traditional cantilever brakes front and rear, while the other two have cam style.

    It is worth considering that the brake posts for this style brake are positioned on the fork at a different height than most cantilever posts, and tend to only be compatible with cam style brakes. If you ever wanted to replace/upgrade/repair the cam brakes you would have a much more limited selection of parts available to use than with regular cantilevers. i.e. you're stuck with cam brakes forever (I should say that some people really love these brakes).

    With the '84, you can pretty much swap out the old cantilevers (if you want/need to) for any other pair of cantilever brakes, new or old.

    My personal vote would be for the '84 - I actually refurbished this same bike for my gf last summer. It's a great frame and a great platform if you ever wanted to upgrade/modernize. The slopping lugged fork is especially nice - compare it to the unicrown style of the other two frames for some aesthetic differences. The color is beautiful in my opinion and the bike you posted looks like it is in really good shape. Plus the seller is open to OBO.

    Good luck to you and your friend!

    PS Also size- which bike fits? And make sure you inspect in person for dents, structural frame damage etc.
    Thanks exlibris, I was thinking about those brakes and in doing some research I get your point. I did read that the black model was more appealing but that 84 does look clean. You might have made the decision easier. Also the 84 is a lot closer to me.

    I saw an 86 with drop bars and sort of monstercross tires it was absolutely beautiful. If my friend backs out I might still grab it for a future project. Thanks again.
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    The black chrome is beautiful - I really like the anodized dirt drop stem / riser bar set up. The frame also sports fillet brazed joints at the head tube which is a super nice touch. Both are awsome bikes.

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    You can see my dilema lol
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    I'd go with the 84. It's alot cleaner, and that generation rode so nice. That same bike wass my first real mountain bike. Sadly, it was stolen in Riverside. That's not it though.

    The other two are 87's. The 88 had a tigged stem, flat bars, a under the chainstay Dia Comp U brake, and Suntour XCD 6000 components. It was my second bike.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I'd go with the 84. It's alot cleaner, and that generation rode so nice. That same bike wass my first real mountain bike. Sadly, it was stolen in Riverside. That's not it though.

    The other two are 87's. The 88 had a tigged stem, flat bars, a under the chainstay Dia Comp U brake, and Suntour XCD 6000 components. It was my second bike.
    Sorry to hear that Vader! he said he bought it for his wife a long time ago. Already set up a meeting to go check it out in the AM. Thanks for the input.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Sorry to hear that Vader! he said he bought it for his wife a long time ago. Already set up a meeting to go check it out in the AM. Thanks for the input.
    Mine was road bike size with no stand over and I had just turned 14, LOL
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    So went for it thanks for the help...Im keeping it I decided to do something with it in the near future. Figured I share a couple of pics.

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    Guys I do have a ? I couldn't find it under Sheldon Brown's site. Seat post diameter, does anyone know? Thx!
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    Hi All, I'm bumping this in order not to create a new thread. I'm going to take the Schwinn apart and found a place that will power coat it for decent price. I'm keeping the bike almost as is but there are some parts that I want to change or need replacement and that's where I'm having a hard time. I've been researching all this and I want to make sure I buy the right parts.

    I want to change Seat post/Saddle: The closest I found is 26.2 for the seat post but not exactly on an 84. Not sure if these change much through the years. (even under Sheldon Brown's site) It's not listed at the bottom of the seat post

    I also want to change the freewheel its 5 speed, is there anything specific I need to know? I don't want to change the wheels they are in prefect condition. According to the spec sheet I found is Suntour 5 speed 14/32. Will any 5spd 14/32 work? I saw some on fleabay.

    The thumb shifters look in good shape as well.

    Other than that, the chain, new cables, new brake pads etc those should be easy enough to get. Any tips will be appreciated, first time venturing into an older bike. Thanks in advance!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Hi All, I'm bumping this in order not to create a new thread. I'm going to take the Schwinn apart and found a place that will power coat it for decent price. I'm keeping the bike almost as is but there are some parts that I want to change or need replacement and that's where I'm having a hard time. I've been researching all this and I want to make sure I buy the right parts.

    I want to change Seat post/Saddle: The closest I found is 26.2 for the seat post but not exactly on an 84. Not sure if these change much through the years. (even under Sheldon Brown's site) It's not listed at the bottom of the seat post

    I also want to change the freewheel its 5 speed, is there anything specific I need to know? I don't want to change the wheels they are in prefect condition. According to the spec sheet I found is Suntour 5 speed 14/32. Will any 5spd 14/32 work? I saw some on fleabay.

    The thumb shifters look in good shape as well.

    Other than that, the chain, new cables, new brake pads etc those should be easy enough to get. Any tips will be appreciated, first time venturing into an older bike. Thanks in advance!
    In 86, the size was 26.0. I believe with the exception of the roller cam brakes that the geometry was the same as the 85s, which also had that funky quick release saddle post. Not to say that they might be drastically different, but I'd try a 26.0

    What's wrong with the freewheel that's currently on the hub? Oftentimes a little Phil Tenaceous oil goes a long way. Your Suntour freehub should swap easy with other Suntour, shimano, Sunrace, IRD and others providing they have the same threading and overall width (more gears will require you to re-dish your wheel and space out the drive side).

    Good luck! Old High Sierras are awesome bikes.

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    Did that kickstand do any damage to the chain stays?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nowhereyonder View Post
    Did that kickstand do any damage to the chain stays?
    Thanks for reply! Actually not there, but more on the chain side.

    The freewheel, to be honest it just looks old but not worn, I will follow the advice on cleaning it. You can tell the bike hasn't been ridden much. 1 last question wider tires? I was thinking 1.95? Im looking foreward to a ride 👍 Thx again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Thanks for reply! Actually not there, but more on the chain side.

    The freewheel, to be honest it just looks old but not worn, I will follow the advice on cleaning it. You can tell the bike hasn't been ridden much. 1 last question wider tires? I was thinking 1.95? Im looking foreward to a ride  Thx again.
    If the gears look good, lubing the freewheel will go a long way and they're pretty easy to lube- take the wheel out and lay it again something so that it's resting at a 45* angle. Spin the freewheel and lay a bead of oil at the small gap where the gears meet at the body. Let it soak in and spin it around. Lay another bead and spin it again letting gravity pull the oil inside. Keep adding more oil until it quiets the pawls of the freewheel. Done. Again, you want something thick, like Tenaceous.

    I had 1.95s on my '86, but switched them out for a 2.3 k rad in the rear and a 2.4 DMR moto in the front. Personally I don't enjoy skinnier tires, but YMMV...

  18. #18
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    ^^ Thanks so much for the tips! On tires, great news I also prefer wider 😊
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    ^^ Thanks so much for the tips! On tires, great news I also prefer wider 
    Here's user jeremyb's bike for inspiration. I don't remember the thread, but I think he said the tires were 2.4s. Your 84 should have better tire clearance than the later HSs.

    Question for the experts 80's Schwinn High Sierra-1106728d1479849868-my-86-schwinn-sierra-img_9060.jpg

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nowhereyonder View Post
    Here's user jeremyb's bike for inspiration. I don't remember the thread, but I think he said the tires were 2.4s. Your 84 should have better tire clearance than the later HSs.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Beautiful! I will see if I can find that thread..something very similar to my hpoes. Thank you!
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    Found it. The thread was on bikeforums...

    Schwinn Sierra aka Poor Man's Fat Bike - Bike Forums

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nowhereyonder View Post
    Found it. The thread was on bikeforums...

    Schwinn Sierra aka Poor Man's Fat Bike - Bike Forums
    Excellent Thank you! I was just digging it up in google as you posted. His is the regular Sierra not sure if same clearance but hoping to go as chubby as allowed
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Excellent Thank you! I was just digging it up in google as you posted. His is the regular Sierra not sure if same clearance but hoping to go as chubby as allowed
    I would bet a small sum that the geometry is the same and that the only difference is tubing material.

    I had an '86 Sierra as well as my '86 High Sierra, both 20". The geometry was identical, but the Sierra was made with a double butted frame vs. the High Sierra's triple butted. The Sierra was a nice bike but the High Sierra just rides better.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nowhereyonder View Post
    In 86, the size was 26.0. I believe with the exception of the roller cam brakes that the geometry was the same as the 85s, which also had that funky quick release saddle post. Not to say that they might be drastically different, but I'd try a 26.0

    What's wrong with the freewheel that's currently on the hub? Oftentimes a little Phil Tenaceous oil goes a long way. Your Suntour freehub should swap easy with other Suntour, shimano, Sunrace, IRD and others providing they have the same threading and overall width (more gears will require you to re-dish your wheel and space out the drive side).

    Good luck! Old High Sierras are awesome bikes.
    Old thread but wanted to add some clarity regarding the 86 High Sierra seatpost size. I ordered a 26.0mm seatpost based partly on the comments in the post above. Received and tried the post but it was clearly too big. Should have looked more closely at the post as the seller had sent me a 27.0mm by mistake. Returned and 26.0mm received back and this is the correct fit. My apologies for any confusion as the information provide by both the Schwinn catalog and nowhereyonder’s post was indeed correct with the 26.0mm being the correct size. Just felt like eating crow and setting the record straight. 🙂

    Question for the experts 80's Schwinn High Sierra-cbf47ad5-cda3-4a4a-89c1-81f7c5be0983.jpgQuestion for the experts 80's Schwinn High Sierra-e74ecdb3-2c2d-404e-9f29-7d6008db3941.jpg
    Last edited by N10S; 10-20-2019 at 11:28 AM.

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