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  1. #1
    Fat man on a little bike.
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    Schwinn Traveler...into a bike to loose weight on

    First a little about me. I am 34. 5'9.5 and about 205. Last year I got into MT Biking with my son a little bit...and I have a decent Trek Mt Bike. At the end of last year I was working at a place that was only about 5 miles from my home, and so I picked up a red Schwinn Traveler to use as a commuter bike. It is an 81-82 I think. Heavy as heck...and a 10 speed. The guy had said that he lubed, and had it all tuned up etc. The wheels are very true, and it seems in decent shape...but it is 26 years old and feels "rickety" to me.

    This year I had not ridden as much, but over fathers day I went on a 60 mile ride, and then this Thursday on a 20 mile ride, and have started to remember what I enjoyed about riding so much last year. I want to ride more...alot more. the long rides I have gone on were on my Trek Mt Bike, and I just know they would be so much better on a rode bike....but I am just not sure that I like mine.

    I started to look at something new, and learned that 700+ is bottom dollar on a new one (unless I get something from Target/Walmart) so that leaves me with the Schwinn again.

    What would you do to an old bike like this to make it feel more road worthy, knowing that the guy I bought it from already had hubs, and everything apart and greesed etc?

    Any advise, or ideas to make it feel more "modern"? I live in hilly West Omaha, NE...and yes...it really is hilly, and I dont know that 10 speeds is enough range either...of course it could be me just being too dang picky....lol.

    Thanks in advance.

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    First thing we need to know is exactly what year is it to determine what changes need to be made. My '77 for instance has a one piece crank and is very heavy. But in '78 they went to a regular three piece crank that is quite a bit lighter. Then sometime in the mid '80s they went to a lightweight cromoly frame, like on the '87 Traveler in my sig below. I'm guessing yours is somewhere in between.

    Look on the headbadge for four lightly stamped numbers. The first three numbers are the day of the year, the last number is the last number of the year itself. For instance 2502 was made the 250th day of '82.

  3. #3
    Novist senior member tolfan's Avatar
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    If you just want more gears you can replace the 5 speed on the back wheel with a 7 speed. That is about the cheapest upgrade you can do. You can also put a triple chain ring on the front instead of the double you have now. If your wheels are steel replace them with aluminum for a much better ride.
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  4. #4
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Another thing that you might want to try is putting some narrow slicks on your mountain bike and see how that rides...

  5. #5
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    The adaptability of your Traveler is nearly unlimited. Mine now has a 6 speed freewheel, 13-34, and a triple crankset, 30-40-50, alloy rims, areo brake levers, and barend shifters (cables are all under the bar tape), Brooks saddle, alloy seat post and clipless pedals. I've also added fenders, rack, and bar bag. Ebay and trades are your friends to make these upgrades.
    Last edited by pastorbobnlnh; 07-01-07 at 02:24 AM.
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  6. #6
    Fat man on a little bike.
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    I think then that it might be an '80. There are only 3 numbers on stamled on the head badge, and one of them is 1/2 off the badge...like it did not get stamped on square. It has a 3 piece crank, and near as I can tell, it is 100% stock. it has what apear to be the original tires. Steel wheels etc.

    The guy told me that it was tuned and everything but if I run the peddles backwards the chain gets slack and things clog up. not a great description, but I hope you understand what I am saying.

    Thing weighs in at about 28 pounds as it sits...not that bad I guess. My Mt Bike is about 30.

    so my options are.

    1...buy a $150 bike from Target/Walmart (yes I know all the bad stuff...but realistically I need to get through till spring...and in NE we dont ride a lot inthe winter)

    2...Get thinner high presure tires on the MT Bike, and use it.

    3...do some mods to this beast, and make it a real road worthy bike that I could put serious miles on.

    my first choice would be something that is pretty fast...but keep in mind I am 205...so I know that can have an effect sometimes. and...I am a newbie...so I appogize in advance for anything that I say that makes me look totally ignorant....really I am only 97% ignorant.

    :-)




  7. #7
    Fat man on a little bike.
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    PS...the bike is a little big for me. I dont know how big...but if I stand ofer the bar in front of the seat flat footed, then the top bar is touching me. If I were to fall forward, and my knees flexed a little, I would be hurting. That being said...it is not a problem to ride...just an observation.

  8. #8
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I have an 84 Traveler and I really like it. If you stay with the Schwinn (and that would certainly be my choice) I would look for another yard sale bike with 27 inch alloy rims and retire those steel rims. That would be my first change. It would lighten the bike, improve the braking and IMHO, alloy rims are easier to keep tru than steel. The 84 Traveler has them.
    There is one option you did not mention, spend $150 for a newer used bike off Craigslist. You might be able to sell the Schwinn for $70 or $80 (maybe more?) and add that to the funds.
    Still, that's a good looking Schwinn.
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  9. #9
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    If the wheels are steel and you replace them with an alloy set you'll be amazed at the improvement! When I swapped by original steel set for a non steel 700c set it was like I had bought a new bike. I went to 700c from the original 27 1/4 size, but you can find original sized replacements on ebay and from other online suppliers.
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  10. #10
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    (The guy told me that it was tuned and everything but if I run the peddles backwards the chain gets slack and things clog up. not a great description, but I hope you understand what I am saying.)

    Try running some oil into the freewheel..where it turns....lay the bike down on it's side drivetrain up and let it set like that till the oil all runs in. But replacing it altogether is a better idea.

    I think it's a very nice bike that you can work with...much nicer than anything you could pick up new unless you were willing to spend as you said. I only mentioned the option with your MTB as many people are not aware that they can do that and the slicks make a big difference in the ride.

  11. #11
    Fat man on a little bike.
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    I had looked at craigs list, and even some pawn shops etc around here. I am in Omaha, and it is not a HUGE cycling area, there just does not seem to be much on there. That being said I am sure if I kept my eye out for a while, I could find a deal, and I will look...but I want to do somethin sooner rather than later.

    I think that I am going to get some new tires for the mt bike to use on a rails to trails trail near here...
    and I think that I will try to find some new wheels and tires for my Schwinn, and maybe over time upgrade the components etc. Now, there seems to be no where that has a cheep wheels...arggg...time to go check out ebay.

  12. #12
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    What you might find on craigs list or at a yard sale, is an inexpensive bike with 27" or 700c wheels that are in decent shape. Think about it, if you pick up an ok bike for $50-75, but only use the alloy wheels, that's cheap for wheels. Be patient and you can probably find something for even less.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    PS...the bike is a little big for me. I dont know how big...but if I stand ofer the bar in front of the seat flat footed, then the top bar is touching me. If I were to fall forward, and my knees flexed a little, I would be hurting. That being said...it is not a problem to ride...just an observation.
    This doesn't mean it's too large at all. You'll often see advice that there should be an inch or more of "clearance," but this really means you should be able to lift the bike an inch or so before it hits pubic bone, not before it touches soft parts. The scenario you posit just isn't one that's likely. If you've been riding this bike, you've probably already developed the instinctive practice of leaning it when you stop, and you'd do the same in a "forced get-off." Basically, if you can stand over the bike flatfooted, then you don't really need to worry about hurting yourself. You might want a smaller frame for racing (or as a matter of taste), but looking at the amount of seatpost showing in your photo, that looks like a very nice distance/comfort fit (except for the tilt of that saddle).

    The bike doesn't need to be any lighter to be roadworthy. It'll just be easier to ride, which is not necessarily a plus if your objective is losing body weight. As for losing bike weight, I second the lighter wheels suggestion, particularly if those are steel rims. You'll notice immediately that the bike accelerates more easily, and that your brakes work better. Over the past month, I've been doing some comparisons of two bikes I've been alternating on my 28-mile commute. One bike is about 26 ounces lighter on the scale, but the difference is almost all in the wheels. That difference tends to take about 8 minutes off each 14-mile leg of the ride.

  14. #14
    Fat man on a little bike.
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    ok, Today I got my little schwinn computer from Walmart, and aired up the tires, and took the bike out. our right. It is going to be fine. I would love to find some chhep alloy wheels, and there are some tune up things that I would like to do...but she rides good.

    Thanks for the advice.

  15. #15
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    Thing weighs in at about 28 pounds as it sits...not that bad I guess.
    Not bad, really. I rode a bunch of centuries on a 27lb Miyata, and I outweigh you by a fair bit. The cool bit about heavy bikes with heavy riders is that they fly downhill. I used to coast by skinny folks that were pedaling in earnest.

    Pull the rear wheel and drip some lightweight oil into the face of the freewheel. Spin-drip-spin-drip..... that should free it up and get rid of the chain sag. Put on alloy wheels if yours are steel, and ride it.

    Inexpensive, new alloy wheels:
    http://www.bikepartsusa.com/view.asp...l&f_c2=27+inch

    If you need parts, let me/us know. We all have boxes of junk laying about!!
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    My fuji is 28 pounds and rides like a champ.

  17. #17
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    There is a guy on e-bay that sells all kinds of Schwinn stuff. It called the Schwinnstore go figure. I have bought a couple of things from him he has lots of wheel sets that include a new freewheel and gear cluster and quick release also. I'm not affiliated with this guy just giving you a heads up. There are tons of Schwinn parts out there you just got to look for them.

  18. #18
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman
    The cool bit about heavy bikes with heavy riders is that they fly downhill. I used to coast by skinny folks that were pedaling in earnest.
    I fall into that catagory, even when on my Paramount, which while not heavy compared to the rest of my bikes, weighs a ton when compared to my buddy Charlie's $$$$ carbon fiber triatholon bike. I weigh about 30 or so pounds more than Charlie, so when we come to descents, I smoke him. Of course he tends to ride the brakes and I rarely touch the levers. It's kind of surprising since he used to earn a living landing fighter jets on aircraft carriers.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    I fall into that catagory, even when on my Paramount, which while not heavy compared to the rest of my bikes, weighs a ton when compared to my buddy Charlie's $$$$ carbon fiber triatholon bike. I weigh about 30 or so pounds more than Charlie, so when we come to descents, I smoke him. Of course he tends to ride the brakes and I rarely touch the levers. It's kind of surprising since he used to earn a living landing fighter jets on aircraft carriers.
    That explains it...those are nothing but barely controlled crashes...now he wants to MAKE sure he controls the crash

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  20. #20
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    We're going down... hit the brakes hit the BRAKES!!!

    PS Dad was a fighter pilot and was the slowest driver on the road. Mom on the other hand... :-)

  21. #21
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcompton1973
    81-82 ... a 10 speed
    ... It has a 3 piece crank...
    Do you mean it is a triple? — has three front gears? I can't really tell from the photo. If so, it would be a 15-speed.
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  22. #22
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    Do you mean it is a triple? — has three front gears? I can't really tell from the photo. If so, it would be a 15-speed.
    I think he means three piece, as in two crank arms and a bb, as opposed to a one pice crank ala the Varsity.


    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    I fall into that catagory, even when on my Paramount, which while not heavy compared to the rest of my bikes, weighs a ton when compared to my buddy Charlie's $$$$ carbon fiber triatholon bike. I weigh about 30 or so pounds more than Charlie, so when we come to descents, I smoke him.....
    Well, 30lbs is 30lbs. You'd still smoke him, even if you were riding a balsa wood bike.

    I'm not much slower going downhill on my CF bike, as opposed to my Palo Alto or my Miyata. Gravity will have it's way, and Im big and heavy enough to render the bike weight relatively insignificant.

    As it happens though, my personal speed record (56.3mph ) was recorded on the Miyata back in 2005. I've yet to beat that on any other bike, but then again - I'm not trying any more. I crashed last February at just under 30mph, and walked away relatively unharmed. I saw Jesus that day. He suggested that I might consider slowing down.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    That's the exact same Traveler I am buying today off Craigslist. (http://dayton.craigslist.org/bik/736463415.html). I just wish I could find out what the model year is (I haven't picked it up yet and the owner has no clue and can't be bothered to look). I'm 6'2" and 215, so I'm thinking it'll fit like a glove!

  24. #24
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    here's some photos an information on what I did to my 80ish traveler (my first road bike): http://thecuda.com/Traveler.htm

    Swapping out wheels is probably the best first step you can make.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Caferacernoc's Avatar
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    "The guy told me that it was tuned and everything but if I run the peddles backwards the chain gets slack and things clog up. not a great description, but I hope you understand what I am saying."

    I think you might need a new chain or one of the derailler gears is sticky.
    And, I agree, these make a fine bike with a few mods. I put the cheapest available alloy wheelset, 7 speed freewheel, alloy seatpost and handlebars, and new tires, tubes, and chain from Niagara Cycle and it really is a great bike for the under $200 I have in it including purchase price.

    http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk158/Caferacernoc/
    Last edited by Caferacernoc; 07-05-08 at 02:42 PM.
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