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  1. #1
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    Old Schwinn and Falcon, Can someone tell me what I have?

    Hey all, I've been looking at Bikeforums for a while now, but just registered because I really can't find enough information on these two old road bikes I have. If anyone knows anything about them, and which one might serve me better for daily commuting/sporadic sprint triathalons I'd really appreciate any input. (EDIT: Both bikes are currently at my parents house in Virginia, I'm a student in Indiana, so I can't look at them very easily.)

    The first is a Falcon Monaco "racing" bike (according to the frame). Its got pedal clips/cages and friction shifters on tube. According to one of the decals it says 453 (the rest is illegible), but I'm assuming that means Reynolds 453 tubing. I picked this thing up a year or two ago at good will with the intention of fixing it up a bit. I got about halfway through the project before I realized the city I lived in then was not conducive to thin-wheeled road bikes. Only fixed a broken spoke and brakeline.
    EDIT: Its a 10 speed I think

    Pic> falcon.jpg

    Second up is a Schwinn Traveler I was given by a friend. Its in kind of rough shape. It says its got a 4130 chromoly main tube. 12 Speed, friction shifting on the down tube. That's all I really know about it, other than it was made in Taiwan and says "Schwinn Chicago" on the label.

    Pic> Schwinn.jpg

    Basically I'm hoping to get back into riding a bit for fitness reasons. I'm hoping one of these is a decent bike so I don't have to buy a new one. The city I live in now is really bike friendly and doesn't have glass all over the street. The bike I have now is not the greatest (old western auto bike) and is about as cheap as they come. I'm an unfunded grad student, so I can't fix both bikes, which one is best to sink a few bucks into?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by WeAreMarshall; 04-29-12 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Providing additional information

  2. #2
    Senior Member Der_Kruscher's Avatar
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    I'm not really familiar with Falcon but it appears to be the better bike by a wide-ish margin judging by the components. The Traveler is a pretty cheap bike but probably rides OK. The bigger question is; which one (if either) fits? The Schwinn appears to be a smaller bike by a few centimeters. Which one will let you get the saddle in the right spot and the bars where they need to be? The best bike in the world won't be fun to ride if it doesn't fit. If one fits better go with that one.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response. I've never really rode the Schwinn, just looked at it over Christmas break. The Falcon might have felt a little tall but rode rather comfortably. My parents are bringing both up when they visit next week so I can give the Schwinn a try, maybe take them into a local bike shop and ask for advice.

    If anyone has any information about the Falcon, I'd love you know more, I've been looking for stuff for a while now and haven't turned up much.

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    That Traveler needs A LOT of work, and you will be upside down on it by the time you are done. The Falcon is in better shape, and is a better bike. Do not focus on the brand, instead, look at the components (model, not just brand), and the weight of the bike. Almost all of the manufacturers made a myriad of models, from really basic, to good, to really good. The Falcon has some good signs on it in comparison to the Schwinn including rear derailleur attaches directly to the bike frame instead of a claw hanger, alloy chain rings instead of steel, etc.

    Again, Schwinn is going to take quite a few bucks, by your description, that is a poor choice.

    City not conducive to narrow tire racing bikes? Then sell them both, and buy an older bike shop branded MTB. They are cheap, use standard parts, are versatile, able to handle fenders, racks, and whatever.

  5. #5
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    The Falcon is a better bicycle, from a quality point of view and will certainly offer better ride quality.

    The Falcon looks to be built up from a generic Asian frame set, similar to this one I picked up a couple of years ago...

    Falcon_Comp_52_Drive_1.jpg Falcon_Comp_52_Full_Side_1.jpg Falcon_Comp_52_Full_Side_L_2.jpg

    Falcon_Comp_52_Decal_Tubing_1.jpg Falcon_Comp_52_Tube_HT_2.jpg
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  6. #6
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Just srtait up the Falcon is a better bike while not high end it has much better frame.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    That Falcon looks to be a great bike . The Traveler looks like a seller on Craigslist to get funds for finessing the Falcon .

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    Thanks for all of the feedback! Can anyone suggest what aspects I need to concentrate on first to get this thing in the best condition? Are there any parts I should harvest off the Schwinn? I've posted a couple extra pictures of the bike that focus on the bars and pedal/chain/cassette.

    bike.jpg

    bike2.jpg

    Also, I'm still fairly new at this, can someone explain some of the aspects (such as frame) that make the Falcon better? I don't doubt that it is better, just curious as to why.

    @wrk101 - I'm in a new city now, with clean streets and lots of bike paths. Won't be having a problem anymore. Thanks for the advice though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Suntour AR Derailleurs may be nice for the future, if you run across some bike you want to fix up and sell . Shifters too are okay. But this was a bike as a unit that was not outstanding and the Falcon is lighter and 501 steel is a better ride . 4130 is a step up from "gaspipe" quality . These frames are okay, but having ridden both , the falcon is nicer. Quality is much better on the Falcon

  10. #10
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    @Gravity, thanks for the info I'll keep all of that in mind for the future. It looks like this model is a little different than the Yellow falcon posted by randyjawa. It has 453 steel, is that something I should be concerned with at all?

  11. #11
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeAreMarshall View Post
    Thanks for all of the feedback! Can anyone suggest what aspects I need to concentrate on first to get this thing in the best condition? Are there any parts I should harvest off the Schwinn? I've posted a couple extra pictures of the bike that focus on the bars and pedal/chain/cassette.

    Also, I'm still fairly new at this, can someone explain some of the aspects (such as frame) that make the Falcon better? I don't doubt that it is better, just curious as to why.
    .
    Traveler is bottom of the barrel, so it really isn't hard to be better. Heavy parts, heavy frame, bottom end components, etc. I would not salvage anything off that Schwinn, I would keep it whole and donate to the charity/thrift store of your choice.

    Suntour AR is OK, nothing special, and if you are going to toss the Schwinn, I would salvage those. But really, it would be more useful to the next owner to keep it complete. Its suitable for someone who wants a very basic bike, and has the tools/aptitude/space/access to cheap parts. Otherwise, even if the Traveler was free, by the time it is fixed up, the new owner would be upside value wise.

    First place to start? Find a bike co-op. Will save you a lot of money, aggravation, and time. Then address everything with bearings: bottom bracket, hubs, headset. Then cables and housings. Then chain and freewheel. Then tires, tubes, rim strips. See, this can get fairly expensive.

    +1 To below: Glad you are already checking into a co-op. They are gems! I donate to the one in this area all the time. I would donate that Traveler to them (in fact, I have one just like it in my "to donate" pile). They will get it back on the road at a reasonable price. And sometimes they will trade you decent used parts in return for your donation. Last time I donated, someone was already building up a frame I had just donated, while I was still there. It was great to see something I had no use for, get recycled back into something useful.

    I bought a pile of bikes earlier this week, had to take them all, or nothing. I'll keep the two I wanted, the rest will go to the co-op.
    Last edited by wrk101; 04-30-12 at 09:38 PM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks wrk101, will do. Actually talked to the co-op today and they seem pretty awesome. They let me look at their price list for parts and everything seemed a heck of a lot cheaper than the LBS and even Amazon ($6 for a new chain for example). I was a little surprised at how great that set up was.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Numbers in Reynolds Steel have to do with the alloy mix , ratios of one alloy ore to another . 531 was what most bikes were built of back in the day. There was also gradation as to how much of the bike was built with 531 as well as whether it was butted . Some 531 bikes were just main triangle, Headtub, seatube, toptube, and downtube . Others had chainstays and seatstays also 531. Some were butted on all or some counts . Butting means the tube is thicker at the ends than at the middle, making the frame lighter as well as thicker where it joins the lugs . I'm sure others on here have the info as to what the mix would be for 453, and it's quality .

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