para 02This is a bike that I literally just stumbled upon but one it seems that fate arranged for me to have. It belonged to an old friend of mine who no longer rides due to physical issues. He was the original owner and even though he had changed out some parts over the years he still had all of the original equipment. It had not been ridden in several years and was in need of a serious cleaning. It didn’t really look that great but I could see beyond the grease and dirt so I offered to purchase it from him. He agreed to sell it to me only because he knew that it would be resurrected to its former glory. He had a sentimental attachment to the bike and wanted it to go to a good home.

Through the late 70’s the Schwinn Paramount was the most successful racing bike built in the USA.

Based on the serial number this was the 103rd Paramount built in 1973. It is designated a P-13 which is a racing model and came spec’d with tubular rims and no eyelets on the fork or frame. Paramount’s of this year were either built in Chicago by Schwinn or in Racine Wisconsin under contract. It is not possible to tell which for any particular frame since they were numbered after manufacture.

para-06This bike came originally with Weinmann center-pull brakes and levers although Campy brakes were more common on this model. They were probably changed out at the local dealer as a cost saving measure for the buyer. I decided to correct this down-grade and found a nice set of Campagnolo Record brakes and levers to replace the originals. Sadly, I used my only set of replacement brake hoods for it.

para-05The saddle is also original, a Brooks Professional. It was in great shape which is a testament to the durability of Brooks Saddles. It needed only some treatment with mink oil to bring it back to life.

The canvas tool roll is new, made by Mopha in Portland OR. It is a great way to keep your spares and tools handy. It easily holds tools, a spare tube and inflator cartridges!

para-04The original Campagnolo crank-set was in near perfect condition. It had been traded out for a Sugino crank with a wider gearing differential early on. It had been collecting dust for most of the last 40 years! Same with the Campy pedals and Christophe toe clips! All it took was some cleaning, repack the grease and we were as good as new! I sourced some NOS Christophe straps from eBay.

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As a matter of fact, the entire drive is original on the bike except for the chain. I did have the original chain but it just didn’t shift well so I used a modern chain instead.

The wheels look good but are not actually correct. I used the original Campagnolo hubs but I replaced the tubular rims with a more modern Mavic Open Pro clincher. The ERD of the rims was not the same so the original spokes were too short and were replaced with new DT 14/15 double butted spokes. Although this may be viewed by some purists as “incorrect equipment”, I view it as a necessary upgrade. With this durable wheel-set, the bike will be ride-able for many decades to come. Rims have a limited lifespan, much like chains and cables and tires. For a bike that is expected to be a real rider changes like this are to be expected!

I am 5′ 11 inches in height and normally ride a 58cm frame size (approx. 23 1in), but this is a 25 inch frame.  I have never tried to ride a frame this size but I thought it just might work. With a fairly low seat height it actually works out okay. The top tube length is similar to my other bikes so I think this could be a regular rider. Once again, lucky me!

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