Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coffee with sugar

I decided to upgrade my Coffee a little and now this project is almost completed. I mentioned earlier that the one part I really disliked about it was the saddle. I replaced it with a sprung Brooks B67. It still has to be broken in a bit but I can already feel the difference in my butt. The new saddle is noticeably heavier, but I guess it doesn't really matter since this bike was not lightweight anyway.
I also added some cheap leather grips, to color-match the saddle. They are not exactly the same color (Saddle is dark brown, grips are honey color), but still look better than the stock, black rubber grips.
I added two lights on the rear rack. I feel safer with two lights, especially now, during the winter months when I have to ride back from work in complete darkness. Usually I set the bottom 5 LED PlanetBike light in continuous mode, while I keep the top Cateye TL-LD150-R flashing. This should increase my visibility.
There is also a new brass bell on handlebars. Loud and shiny. I found my old panniers in the basement and now they work pretty well as simple bags to carry my stuff to work. They are easily 12 years old but I didn't use them much and they are still in a pretty good shape.
The last thing was the front light. I would like to use something retro and I remember that I still have the old headlamp from my grandfather's commuter bike. It must be easily 30 years old. It has a mounting bracket to attach it to the side of the fork and it also has a bottle-type dynamo on it. It is pretty simple to install, still works, looks classic so why not use it? Since I left it in my parents house in Poland, I would have to get it the next time I visit them. For now, I use the light I had on my cyclocross bike. It is an older Dinotte headlight. Incredibly tiny, yet still outputs 300 lumen beam on full power setting.

The bike is complete now. Looks pretty good, I think and rides nicely. I am glad that I bought a bike that has handlebars positioned at the same height as the saddle. Plus, handlebars are swept back, but not as much as in Dutch bikes. This requires me to lean forward just a bit so I don't really sit fully upright. All this is good, since my work commute takes me through a number of hills. After riding this route several times I have a feeling that a fully upright 3-speed Dutch bike would not work well for me. It would be difficult to ride uphill and could make my commute unpleasant.

Total cost after all upgrades was about $550.


  1. That's a gorgeous Schwinn. I'm partial to cream tires and hope someday to use them on my Miyata. I like how you are resurrecting a perfectly good bike and making it look beautiful again.

  2. I got inspired a lot by reading your blog about bike.
    Now I already bought Schwinn Coffee 1 too :).
    It's a lovely bike.

    Keep on writing, Sir.

    Best warmest regards from Malang, EastJava, Indonesia.

  3. Any thoughts as to whether it could take studded tires for winter riding?

  4. @thouis
    Yes, easily. I was actually thinking about installing studded tires this winter but so far we have no snow/ice.

  5. Excellent, thank you for the reply. I ordered one for my son (found a deal online). Probably will add mudflap extenders once I know their size.