Whimsical evil


Out on my 1989 Waterford-built Schwinn Paramount this early Sunday morning, I managed to stay just ahead of the incoming thunderstorm. After a hilly second half of yesterday’s BikeMo 2017 I woke this morning feeling a little stiff, but not at all sore. In fact, I felt chipper enough that a spirited ride seemed in order, so I pulled out of the drive way atop the Paramount.

Most of my riding is done on brevet-style bikes, sometimes for long distance comfort, but mostly for the “any distance” comfort. Fat tires, drop bars, stretched out position, granny gears for the hills – it’s all part of my daily bread and butter. My speedier bikes, quite frankly, don’t get nearly as much ride time.

When I refer to “speedier” bikes, by the way, it’s relative to me and my small collection. Notice that the Paramount sports a triple with a wider range cassette, and it really shouldn’t be confused with an actual competition racing bike. But it’s a fast bike for me. See? It’s all about context.

And I’m always happily surprised at how responsive and quick this bike seems to be when I’ve jumped off my regulars to give it a spin.

In a couple of days we celebrate the Paramount’s 29th birthday. For as long as I’ve owned it, this bike has always been fully dressed out in an evil looking black kit, offset only by the silvery graphics. For its birthday, I’ve replaced the black handlebar wrap with a much happier and decidedly more whimsical lime green. This one change is jarringly different to my eye, but I think I rather like it.

A couple of other mods have taken place as well. I swapped out the 3ttt racing bars for a Nitto B135 randonneur handlebar. A lengthier 3ttt stem allowed me to inch the saddle forward a little bit, which more accurately mimics the fit of my brevet bikes. As I get older, I find a stretched out and longer cockpit to be more and more comfortable. My bikes have been correspondingly refitted.

The other mod was pedals: Much as I used to like SpeedPlay, I’ve grown to appreciate a larger and more stable platform. Sometimes I’d experience hotspots on the flat of my foot if I rode with SpeedPlay pedals for more than an hour or two. I’ve had excellent experience with VP-001 Vice pedals, and with an extra set already on hand I reasoned that these might better encourage more ride time on this terrific bike.


Now, as the thunderstorm has caught up with me and I sit in my studio typing this missive and staring out the window as fat drops of rain smack against the glass, I ponder a shower as well as the various projects I’ve set aside until the winter months arrive. September will be here in just a couple of days and I grow antsy, knowing that daylight is already growing shorter. I glance over by the wall of books and see the Paramount leaning against the shelves. I smile at the whimsically evil bike.

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3 thoughts on “Whimsical evil

  1. john hawrylak says:

    The lime green tape looks spiffy. As Grant at RBW said about the Tektro RRL brake levers with black hoods, don’t use black bar tape because there will too much darkness.

    The B135 ramps look pretty flat with very little rotation of the drop flats. The B135s seemed to have more slope in the flats in the standalone pictures.

    Does the Paramount “plane” for you or compared to your Boulder. It looks like it has OS tubing. Just curious.

    Pedals, I’ve had good luck with the red Look delta cleat using the old Shimano PD1056’s from eBay.,never experienced hot spots.

    John Hawrylak
    Woodstown NJ

  2. I don’t find the Nitto randonneur bars to have as much curve as the VO rando bars have. Even the old SR rando bars (with the misspelling of “randonneur” that I always find so amusing) have more curvature to them. While the Nitto bars do precisely what rando bars are supposed to do, which is provide a variety of hand positions, I prefer the slightly more extreme curves of the VO bars. The drops on the VO bars also have a little more extension toward the rider.

    Y’know, both of these bikes were built by Waterford, albeit years apart. They have a very similar fit overall, but the forks differ quite a bit. Both ride nicely, but my Boulder is the only bike I’ve owned that planes – or at least what I define as planing – as perceptibly as it does.

    Regarding pedals, I’ve got the Shimano M324 model on several bikes and really like those for clipping in. If I just want to hop on and ride in whatever street shoes I happen to be wearing at the time, the reverse side of the pedal is a commuter style platform. I now have the VP-001 pedals on three bikes – those that are seemingly dedicated to the “jump on and go” life.

    • I should add that while I don’t experience the same level of planing as on the Boulder, the Paramount is definitely a faster bike in most conditions. Most notably, I find I can climb relatively quickly on it.

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