Meet Annie Oakley. She's a 1999 (I think, after doing some research on old Schwinn catalogs I found online) Schwinn Frontier. My BF recently treated himself to a Long Haul Trucker and wants to do some bike touring next year. I can't logically add another bike to my stable at the moment (I have 4 & limited space) but I was thinking that while it's no LHT, this little Schwinn could do the trick. Annie was my first "real" bike after graduating college in 2003, and cost me $25 from a friend who had too many and needed to downsize. I've heard that these older steel non-suspension bikes if kitted properly can be fine little tourers. I think I've already eliminated the worst hurdle; I've ridden her a lot and she fits me. (19" frame)
Everything on her looks original except for the derailleurs(?), fenders, rack, shifters, saddle and tires. I think my friend may have swapped out the derailleurs but I'm not certain; the rear derailleur doesn't have the red cog that I'm seeing in the product catalog. The catalog also mentions twist grip shifters, but mine has trigger shifters. I like trigger shifters so I'm not complaining. The saddle is a stock whatever from another bike. I do have the original "Schwinn comfort" saddle from her, but sincerely doubt it'll be comfortable enough for touring. I'm planning on putting a nice leather saddle on her as my big splurge. The tires are some Michelin Country Rock tires that I installed along with the rack and fenders to make her more commute-friendly. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use as much of the original bike as I can. She's in good shape, I don't beat the crap out of her and I treat her well.
Will the existing gearing be low enough to handle touring, and are the stock Alex rims decent enough? I weigh about 130lbs soaking wet so my BF said they should be sufficient even after I put bags and stuff on the bike but I want to make sure. I'm very new to the touring game so any assistance you can offer is much appreciated, even if it's "no, that totally won't work, start over with something else." I'm also happy to take more/different photos if there's anything you guys need to see in more detail.
Surly-LHT & KM, Ross 1K, Schwinn-World, Cimmaron, High Sieria, Giant Rincon, Marin Kentfield,Soma Saga
Recently finished outfitting two older MTB, for touring. Giant, Rincon, (pict. ) and a Specialized Hard Rock. These are much like your Schwinn, and equip'ed both with trekking bars, and was pleased with the placement of shift leavers on the inside curves of the trek. bars. Have front and, rear racks, and used Country Rock tires.They are on the heavy side. DSCN0595.jpgDSCN0598.jpg
I would agree that gearing seems fine for most touring except perhaps for super-hilly terrain w/heavy load. Seems like a very upright riding position but lots of tourists use flat bars & a fairly non-aero position. Another poster recommends trekking handlebar, perhaps simply adding on handlebar extensions might help too to give alternate more forward position. Leather saddles can be nice but test them first, they can have bothersome quirks such as being too narrow/wide, apron causing chafing etc. Synthetic racing saddles sometimes don't give perfect fit but are also sometimes more forgiving than Brooks saddles with the sharp difference between rear width & nose width.