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Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?(13 posts)

Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Spinchick
Aug 22, 2001 2:28 PM
From what I understand, they are steel. Aren't most racing bikes aluminum or Ti?
Not historically ...Humma Hah
Aug 22, 2001 2:37 PM
... the material really does not make nearly the difference that some people would have you believe. Each material used in bikes today has its strengths and weaknesses, yet all can produce competitive bikes.

Steel is denser than Ti, Al, and carbon composites, and has less strength per unit area. However, it is a high-modulus material (i.e it is stiff), so a smaller area can produce the required stiffness. Steel bikes have a "lively" feel that some riders just like, and if you like a bike, that means something.

Plus, steel is easily fabricated for custom bikes. Top racers want a really good fit, and for many that means custom.

The engine is what really matters.

Waterford teamed up with Schwinn in 1939 to build the Paramounts, but even before that, they were making legendary track bikes. They're no dummies.
Speaking of historyCliff Oates
Aug 22, 2001 5:09 PM
Humma, the Paramount name got its start in 1938. The Waterford name came on the scene in 1981 when the Paramount production facilities were moved out of Chicago to Waterford, WI. Richard Schwinn and other employees bought the Paramount production facilites the last time Schwinn was on the ropes in 1993 and named the company Waterford. I presume Schwinn (not Richard) wanted to retain the Paramount brand, but since the Waterford name had recognition with the Paramount afficianados, it was chosen for the new company.
"Scuse me, let me get my W's straight ...Humma Hah
Aug 22, 2001 5:30 PM
The original company in question was Wastyn. Emil Wastyn had been building bikes in the US (Chicago's West Side) since about 1910. His product was mostly European-style racing bikes, one-off custom jobs, not for the riff-raff.

The Schwinn Paramount was the result of a partnership between Wastyn and Schwinn in 1938, and were always intended to be among the best in the world. The production facilities were never closely tied to Schwinn mass-production. The bikes were, if _The American Bicycle_ is correct, the first in the US to be made of chrome-moly aircraft steel tubing.

The Waterford bikes are basically this US-built Paramount line. I don't think this is true of the latest bikes bearing the Paramount name, including the ultra-lightweight Ti bikes.
Thank goodness we're talking W's and not Dubya's...Cliff Oates
Aug 22, 2001 5:59 PM
Wastyn was the builder, but the Paramounts were sold under the Schwinn name. Long before my time, but detailed at the link I gave you in the previous post.

The ti bikes were built by Serotta, I think. I have no idea if they are ultra light or not, but that depends on how you define the term. I believe someone in this forum said the recent steel Paramounts were built by the now defunct Match bicycles of Seattle. I never saw last year's aluminum Paramount. My LBS had one on order since the Interbike show, but it never showed up. I think he finally gave up and killed the order.

Waterford stopped building for Schwinn in 1994, according to the Waterford web site. Waterford also makes Gunnars, and I have a Crosshairs frameset on order, and they did the Heron frames in cooperation with Rivendell too.
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Cliff Oates
Aug 22, 2001 2:59 PM
They are steel. Lugged steel, even. Why do you ask?

Cliff the Waterford owner
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Spinchick
Aug 22, 2001 4:11 PM
Well, since you ask why I ask: I am toying with the idea of road racing (next year). I asked my LBS owner his opinion on custom built bikes and he spoke highly of Waterford. He said the geometry would probably work for me since I seem to like to sit behind the pedals a bit. Do you race with yours?
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Cliff Oates
Aug 22, 2001 4:55 PM
No, I don't, nor am I ever likely to. I'm just out there for the freakish pleasure of riding up and down the hills (and mountains) of Northern California all day long.

You definitely wouldn't want to race crits with it, or with any other nice frame for that matter. From what I understand, crits can be hard on bikes and bones, and crit bikes are usually on the inexpensively replaceable side. I'm not the person who can confirm that with first hand experience though.

For a lugged steel frame, the Waterford is pretty light. I could probably get my bike down to around 18.5 pounds with pedals if I upgraded some components to Record from the current Chorus and if I replaced the steel fork with an all carbon fork. That's for a 56cm frame. Based on what I see here, 18.5 pounds is a bit heavy for a road _racing_ bike. Waterfords are a sweet ride and mine climbs better than any other bike I've ridden, although the 74 degree head angle coupled with the short trail makes it feel a little twitchy on descents.

You have a fair number of choices, and if weight was a primary consideration, I think I would put carbon fiber at the head of the list. Do you need custom geometry for the frame, or by custom bike do you mean a custom build?
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Spinchick
Aug 22, 2001 5:19 PM
No I don't really think I need custom geometry. I'm hoping there are enough frames out there with the geometry that will be comfortable for me. I've heard LeMond frames are good if you like to be behind the pedals. I really have my work cut out for me as far as learning about all the bikes out there. Not sure I'll be racing crits either. Maybe I would have before I became somebody's parent :-)!
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?Cliff Oates
Aug 22, 2001 5:29 PM
Last time I looked (which is about as often as I can, especially if she's cute), most women have relatvely short torsos and relatively long legs. Relative to most men, of course. That's usually not a good fit with Lemond frames, which have long top tubes. Colnago frames, on the other hand... FWIW, Lemond frames are not in the same league as Waterford. On the other hand, Lemond framesets aren't $1600+, either.

You might want to explore Colorado Cyclist's fit guide, if you haven't done something similar already, to get a sense of what size frame would likely fit you.
re: Know anything about Waterfords as racing bikes?keith m.
Aug 23, 2001 5:38 AM
I bet we would all be suprised how many pros ride lightweight steel bikes that are painted to look like off the rack units.
Waterfords & Gunnars are really nice.MB1
Aug 23, 2001 4:53 AM
Gunnar bikes are tig welded Waterford frames (for a little bit less $$$). I can't imagine you could go wrong with either. And they have pretty good customer service. Call them and you might even talk to Richard Schwinn.

As far as using one for racing goes Waterford sponsors a racing team which is the usual way to demonstrate their bikes are fine for racing.

And if you end up not racing much you will still have a frame good enough for a lifetime's use. Don't forget it is not about the bike (it's about the rider).
Beautiful bikes, and solidAlexR
Aug 23, 2001 5:52 AM
My LBS' racing team rides baby blue Waterfords. Very handsome bike and much loved by the folks who ride them.

Personally, I have a Gunnar single speed cross bike and it is far and away my favorite bike. Rock solid would be a good description.