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* METH PEOPLE * Custom Theft Recovery *

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Klein design Schwinn 974 58cm 1989

3TTT & Cinelli Alter

974 custom extruded w/ chrome dropouts & NJS Falcon Tange

Custom Dura Ace hub laced w/ black spokes to Mavic CXP21 w/ Michelin tires

Custom Dura Ace hub laced w/ black spokes to Mavic CXP21 w/ Michelin tires

Dura Ace cranks & Dura Ace B.B.

Koobi Titanium & Sugino post

Time ATAC & Dura Ace chain

Dura Ace 8 speed grouppo

Campy "Skeleton" calipers & Dura Ace Brifters

9T-21T w/ 53/42 chainrings


Okay, I'm not celebrating tweakers and meth heads, in fact I hate them, this is about a recovered bike that a tweaker stole.

The story goes like this... I started road racing juniors back in '86 on a used Cannondale, this 1989 (Klein inspired and licensed) Schwinn 974 was my first legitimate race bike and it's stayed with me through the years as numerous newer bikes have gone away. I love it, it's my baby! A while back at my shop in an industrial complex, "The Shed", a cool work space since I have limited room at the house, it's where I built up and kept my extra bikes. Let me say the meth element has to do with the tweakers that rolled through constantly. One day one of them got brave and grabbed my 974 from inside my shop when I was working. This bike is a rocket and tweakers ride hard, so the bastard was gone. I tried to chase him in my truck but he cut through a neighborhood and disappeared. I'm raging pissed off driving all over now, so I head back to the shop and on my way I see the tweaker's buddy messing with his bike on the side of the road. I roll up on him and start laying into him about his buddy, he started playing dumb... I figured he needed some "encouragement" and he quickly found himself duct taped and sitting next to me in my truck. He still doesn't want to give up his buddy, so I threatened to throw him out of the truck as we're rollin' along. He freaked out because he could see I was serious and he gives me directions to his buddy's sh*thouse. More duct tape for my navigator since I don't know yet if he's telling the truth and I approach the garage. I can hear someone working inside, I look in the window and find the scumbag tearing my baby apart. I lose it and burst in! I grabbed the closest metal object and hit the piece of sh*t upside his head, a few swift kicks for good measure, and I grab my 974 and the parts and head out to my truck. I pull "Mr. Duct Tape" out of the floor of my truck, give him a few lumps to emphasize my seriousness and let him know that my bike is off limits and to spread the word.

To get over my anger that some piece of sh*t had messed with my bike, I decided to go over-the-top in rebuilding it and have some fun. Not long after finishing the build, those two tweakers were roaming through by my shop again, so I rode up and surprised them. I figured I'd jar their memory with a few extra lumps to the dome and while they were thinking it over on the ground, I reminded them that the yellow "Meth People" bike was mine and I'd better not have any more problems. After that day, I never saw those two tweakers ever again. I know I made my point because I still keep my 974 by the front door of my shop, tweakers still roll through and look at it but keep walking. I hit one up the other day when I caught him eyeballin' my ride, all he said, "Sorry man, no-no, I heard about you!" Perfect!!!

People who friended this bike incredibleting, cannonhugodale, the fumingator, Ben Holley, M0THER, e-unit, YOTOC2000, Aaron C, veloantigua, 8vpete, The_Don, racerblur, Brannigan, iscratchmymind, vqstaphbeard

Schwinn Aluminum Bicycle Group!

Schwinn Aluminum Bicycle Group!

Schwinn Alum. Bike Group

I've never felt compelled to create a Facebook account... however, your group sounds promising! I'll sleep on it and give it some thought, thanks!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

Your tenacity


Your passion for these bikes is catching... ever since I posted my comment on your blog, I've had two messages from people claiming to have owned a Schwinn Aluminum Series bike... they both regret having sold them along the way! There is the truth!

"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

Awesome... now we need more people!

Hey Don,

We need more people!

That is all....

Have a great weekend!

Upgrading to an 8 speed

Nice bike! I have a lower end model a 564, but I still wanna upgrade it. I was wondering about the rear axle spacing. What did you do to fit 130mm in 126mm space? =) Was that even a problem?

Thanks! You have an awesome bike!

Strong arm it into shape!

Hey Racerblur,

Thanks for the kind words! I love my baby... I feel bad if more than a day or two pass without hitting the pavement!

I don't consider any of the Schwinn "Aluminum Series" to have a high or lower end, as it was mostly to do with the parts hanging on the frame as new. Since they didn't even offer a Dura Ace model, I see little to no difference. I've ridden a few different models and they are all rockets thanks to the butted tubing and the yoked rear end. Speaking of that, I have no clever answer for you, I simply strong armed the 130mm wheel into the 126mm drops. Crude I know, but that's what we all did with our steel frames back in the day when we upgraded to 8 speed. You can get away with it as the yoked rear seat stay keeps the line and the small amount of flex allows you the room needed to make the wheel drop in. Not ideal if you're goin to race this bike and need to change a rear flat in a hurry. If I were to race this frame again, I'd take it to a local builder and have the rear opened properly to 130mm. I have a Schwinn Circuit from the same year, I bought the top aluminum and steel frames that year, as I would need a different set up based on each race. I had my Circuit "opened" to 130mm by a pro builder because the stays on that Columbus SL frame are so skinny and I knew I could mess up the alignment.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be more than happy to assisit if I can.



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized


A friend of mine, wasn't riding, and was going to give me one of two bikes, one was a Bianchi, the other was a 974. I picked the 974, took it to the LBS. He aired up the tires, and checked it out and said, "what a sweet bike".

It's pretty much stock, but would like to upgrade it, so appreciated the info I've seen on this forum. I have a newer bike, but still take out the 974 on occasion. I have done some upgrades on my new bike, and have passed down some parts to the 974, wheels, and eventually brifters, etc.

Thanks for listening.


stem and fork

Hey neo_pop,

I have never rebuilt a bicycle before and I was wondering the why you changed the stem. Do you know the size of the fork, steering tube and stem? I'm thinking about going with a carbon fork as well as new stem. I have the old style stem and neck combo. I guess around 1990s they started using 'mountain bike' style necks and stems. Is there reason why you changed yours? Was it for looks? Or what?

I'm just dream out loud (I must likely won't upgrade as much as I want to)... I'd love to upgrade the whole bike except the frame. This was my first real road bike! And I wanna celebrate it by giving it more modern gear as well as replaced the worn out parts. My bike came with Shimano Exage LX Sport Group and it works fine, but it's old and a bit used up. I'd like to see at least 105 if not Ultegra all over the bike, I'll keep you posted.

I guess that's it for now

Thanks again....

Upgrading & retrofitting

Hi Racerblur,

I've built hundreds of bikes over the last 25 years for myself, family, friends, and (thankfully) faithful customers... I can give you both sides to upgrading.

Tossing budget aside, my main reason for upgrading is versatility and a bit of aesthetics too. As far as my specific stem, I love ControlTech but I did want a long stem with a slight rise (not a drop). Also, going with a modern stem allows you to swap the stem (length and rise/drop) based on the ride/race you're doing without having to remove your bar tape and mess with your levers or brifters. It's as simple as undoing the face plate and letting your bars hang as you swap stems and then a quick assembly and you're ready to roll. The old school quill stems are wonderful for that classic look, I dig it! However, we had to keep a full set of extra bars, stem, and levers to change out your set up before a race plus you had to run new brake cables each time. I tend to fight modernization but when it comes to a stem, I think it's a must.

As far as a carbon fork, you will need to find a 1" (one inch) steer tube to retrofit it to your frame's head tube. That will take some hunting, Ebay will likely be your best bet. That said, keep in mind that if you find a carbon fork without a threaded steer tube (1' threaded carbob is probably the rarest of all 1" steer tube carbon forks), you will be replacing the headset and stem, so keep that in mind. I would also caution you about "old" carbon components, they do not have the integrity of new carbon, the technology has come a very long way. As carbon ages, it loses its structural integrity and can/does fail. Even new carbon fails but they've figured out where to overbuild it for strength. Oh yeah, older carbon is heavy too compared to modern, so you not save much (if any) weight over your stock fork. Both of our bikes have Tange steel forks and steel (in my opinion) has the best ride quality, even over carbon. Here are the specs for our forks from the 1989 spec sheet:

Schwinn 974:
Tange Aero. Chrome-Moly. Full sloping crown and forged dropouts with chrome faces

Schwinn 564:
Tange Mangalloy. Semi-sloping crown with forged dropouts

Now, the money you don't spend on a carbon fork, you can put into modern brifters. Your LX group was basically 105, just like the 600 group that came on my 974 is now called Ultegra. I've learned my mistake, stay away from 8 speed Dura Ace because it's not compatible with any other group... so, I'm forced to pay vintage prices and fight it out with everyone else on Ebay! Go with a 105 8 or 9 speed (Ultregra if you find a deal) group, I see them on Craigslist pretty cheap. You'll need the brifters, a rear derailleur, a chain, and new cable stops to cover the shift bosses on your down tube. That should do it! You can hang all the parts yourself with only an Allen wrench set, then let your LBS run the cables for you. You'll have the modern set up on your great frame and you'll save yourself a grip'o'dough over a new bike!

Let me know if there are any other questions or if you want the specs for your bike.



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

I found an upgraded 564 on velospace!

interesting upgrades...

Solid build on the 564

Yep... that pretty much how I pictured yours looking after you swapped the front end out for a modern set up. It looks solid and he probably was able to do it affordably because Performance (Forte, Performance's house brand) offers package deals. I did one for a customer who got a new threadless headset, threadless Forte carbon fork, and a threadless Forte carbon stem for a couple hundred dollars online through Performance's website. Some bars and a drivetrain and you're ready to roll. Obviously, the frame is the most important piece, so you're set there. I wouldn't have forked out the dough and then put a Tiagra drivetrain. You should save your coin until you find a good deal on a 105 (or Ultegra) set up.

Keep me updated, I dig seeing how other people trick out their bikes.



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

Wheels off... getting ready to start working!
Here is a picture of my project bike! I am so excited! Wheels are off... ready to start ripping apart... Of course I don't have any parts yet...

Bottom brackets question... is there a different in size? do I need anything special? I assume English threading? right?

Suggestions on tools I should have? I a standard tool box, I have a park pedal tool and a park bike repair stand...

Thanks again for all your help! I think I am going with Ultegra and I might actually get a carbon fork... we'll see...

974 upgrades

I love your bike. I love mine too - I have a 974. It's mostly stock, as near as I can tell. Would you mind describing your upgrades - I'm particularly interested in putting brifters on it. Any tips for the novice DIY'er appreciated.

Hey gooddan, Thanks for the

Hey gooddan,

Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the kind word. Congrats on being fortunate enough to own a 974! You're pretty lucky (as am I), as far as I've been able to deduce, they did not do a large production run on the 974. They did produce large numbers of the lower models but those lacked the fine details that the 974 offered. The 974 is a super frame for a rebuild or modernization, every solid build starts with a great frame!

As far as upgrades, it pretty simple...

If yours has the original Tange Falcon heaset and Sugino bottom bracket, keep them, they are both excellent quality! Simply service (clean and repack) them with some Phil grease.

I would suggest if you're going to go for modern "Brifters" that you go with 9 speed, Shimano or Campy doesn't matter, the 9 speed can be picked up a lot cheaper than the 10 or 11 speed drivetrain. Keep your budget in mind but know you will need:
front derailleur
rear derailleur
cable stops (that mount on your downtube shifter posts)
new chain
cables and housing
rear wheel that is compatible with the cassette

Don't make the mistake I did in going with 8 speed Dura ace, as it's proprietary with only other Dura Ace 8 speed. Lame!

That's pretty much all you need, seems like quite a bit! I suggest trying to find a used complete grouppo of Ultegra 9 speed on Craigslist or Ebay, you'll spend a large chunk up front but save in the long run. I've seen used Ultegra 9 speed grouppos going for 250 dollars (without the wheels) on Craigslist here in SoCal. If you buy piece by piece, you'll be competing with a larger group of people who are trying to replace a broken/worn out part, and a single rear (right hand) brifter commands a premium on Ebay. Plus it will take you a long time to gather a single part here and another part there... no fun!

Any other questions, feel free to send me a message and I'll do my best to help. Thanks again and good luck!


p.s. Keep me posted with updates and pictures.

"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

Awesome Crazy Story!

I'm glad I live in a country where we don't have to deal with that kinda stuff.

The worst we have here are late night drunken salarymen, but they usually only steal bikes with crappy locks and only from their local station to the front of their house!

My friend parked his bike outside a convienince store one evening (unlocked) and came out to see his bike missing, only to look up the street (about 15 meters) to see a drunken salary man fallen over after being too drunk to try to ride the bike away!

Culture, Integrity, & Behavior

The Don,

I do appreciate your "name" as most of my life I have gone by "The Don", "Don King", or simply "King" when called out by a friend.

I certainly wish all the riff raff that plagues my society would find something better to do other than destroy their lives and any others they infect! I have no tolerance for such behavior, I never have and probably never will! I'm not up on a high horse, I don't care what someone does, whether it be booze, drugs, whatever, as long as they handle their business. When that mess spills over into my life or those close to me, I feel compelled to act swiftly, and I frankly have no regard for the outcome. I'm an old punker, I've been idealistic and involved when it comes to fairness and equality for all, I will not stand for those that would trample or consume another. I have lived by the notion that you get what you give... if you force me to act, my response will be far greater than I initially received. Why not? I want to end the conflict as quickly as it started! Sloppy, scummy, ignorant people lack culture and awareness... I have no time to waste on that sort of low-life puke! I have no interest in trying to assist them with their issues as there are so many in my country in need, I choose to help others who haven't resorted to theft or criminal behavior just to survive. I've found that those who have so little (compared to others) still carry themselves in a manner that retains their integrity and fine behavior, those are my people, the ones I care for.

If you truly are not troubled by issues like this in Japan, consider yourself fortunate that you do not have to deal with the mess under our feet, here in America. It's the smallest percentage of my society that cause the rest so much trouble! I have hope that with time, we will become more peaceful and refined... gotta hope!

Thanks for the reply and best regards!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

VERY nice

VERY nice story you typed out

those tweaker DESERVES what they get for stealing bike(s) *your personal favorite bike*

i think i too shall carry a roll of duct tape in my bag in case i do see bike thief :)


Hey NightStalker-

Thanks for the kind words! Hell yeah, hook up a roll of duct tape and you're officially in the elite club, you too are now a Duct-Man! Righting bicycle injustice one tweaker/scumbag at a time!

We work long hours to get enough scratch together, gathering the parts needed, and customizing our bikes... how can we not take it personal? At no point did I think woe is me, now what am I going to do? Madness! No way!!! I'm going to get my bike back, period! I can't understand people who do not have that killer spirit.

Thanks again and safe riding!

"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

you seem like as much of a

you seem like as much of a thug as them.........guess if you're enjoying riding it......have fun!

Thug Life

I'm a thug? As much as "them"... a pair of tweakers who steal from hard working honest people. You must be joking! I'm nothing like the scum that stole my bike!!! You must not have ever lost anything you cared about to theft, if so, you wouldn't make such a ridiculous comment!

I do enjoy riding it, always have, I have numerous great memories of racing with this bike! Thanks to my "thug" behavior I am able to continue to create more memories while I log the miles. This works for me, the happy ending and all... I'm not a victim, I did something about a bad situation!

"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

that's fuckin br00tal

props, dude.


Thanks! I'm all about giving a kickin' when it's do! Maybe I'll write a book about the clever uses of duct tape. Check the headline, Duct Tape Curbs Drug Abuse! Vigilante justice on the rise... tweakers beware!

Anyway, let me know if you ever plan to sell that Celeste beauty, I dig having first crack at it!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

Awesome story - see more

Awesome story - see more here on the velospace forums: crazy bike recovery stories

Recovery stories

Hello Greg,

Thanks for the kind word! Big thanks for the link to the recovery stories, that's too cool, I had no idea that forum existed. I'm going to go back and read through some more, I dig the thread topic! It's nice to know there are some positive endings!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized


Bad ass!

Makes me wonder


Seeing your name and your comment got me thinking what would "my mother" think of my actions? Would it be a prideful pat on the back or an earlobe twist??? Probably both, the pat for the recovery and the twist for leaving where some piece of sh*t could steal it!

"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized


great story! you should change the sticker to Meth Heads! hahaha

Meth Heads!

Thanks IdahoKid,

I appreciate the comment! You comment got me thinking, try saying "Meth Heads" five times, by the fifth it sounds like "Methods" and that's totally appropriate for this story. It's all about personal methods! Thanks again!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

awesome bike, even better

awesome bike, even better story



Thanks, I appreciate the compliment and I'm glad you enjoyed the story! I bet, given the situation, you would have done the same! Seeing some scum molesting your ride would make anyone go nuts!

Thanks again!


"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

good story

i think you showed restraint, honestly. he should be lucky he's alive.

Restraint... slammed!

Hey Fixed Intl.,

Thanks for the comment, you're right, he is lucky to be alive. I know now that I showed restraint but that day I wanted to kill the tweaker! Until I saw that fool later with his buddy by my shop again, I wondered the whole time if I did kill the guy... I hit him so hard in the head, I'll never forget the weird sound that nail puller made going upside his melon!

I actually thought that I might get slammed by the forum for posting this story on my description, glad to see others are like-minded!

F*ck 'em, right?!!!



"I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life!" -J. Pierce Spaceman3/Spiritualized

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