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What to do with this 1990 Schwinn Traveler I just picked up

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What to do with this 1990 Schwinn Traveler I just picked up

Old 06-12-15, 01:04 PM
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What to do with this 1990 Schwinn Traveler I just picked up




I just found this bike in my size on Craigslist for $35! Help me decide what to do with it! The paint is not in the best shape so if I kept it I would either strip the frame bare and clear coat or have it powder coated. Also I already own a CAAD10 but have been thinking of replacing it with a vintage steel bike with a modern groupset. I can't justify having two road bikes in the house (along with my touring bike, cx bike, and 29er).

so should I:

a) replace the tires, tubes, saddle and add handlebar tape and resell for a small profit

b) sell the CAAD10 and current components, strip the paint/powdercoat and update the wheels/drivetrain
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Old 06-12-15, 01:25 PM
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Put a decent saddle on it and ride it for a week, then decide.
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Old 06-12-15, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Put a decent saddle on it and ride it for a week, then decide.
What he said...
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Old 06-12-15, 01:50 PM
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If you want a steel frame to upgrade with modern components, keep looking. Traveler was pretty low on the Schwinn totem pole. If you want a Schwinn, look for something like a Circuit, Tempo, Premis, Prologue, Super Sport, or, of course, a Paramount.
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Old 06-12-15, 01:55 PM
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That isn't going to replace your go-fast bike. Can always strip the components, build it as fixed and then sell it.
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Old 06-12-15, 02:04 PM
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can someone educate me on the quality of this steel vs that of higher end models? it was my impression that 4130 was decent tubing (decent enough for current brands like surly) and my goal for a road bike now is less based on performance and more on comfort, ease, and looks.
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Old 06-12-15, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
can someone educate me on the quality of this steel vs that of higher end models? it was my impression that 4130 was decent tubing (decent enough for current brands like surly) and my goal for a road bike now is less based on performance and more on comfort, ease, and looks.
1030 Hi tensile steel is the lowest end.

4130 cro mo is middle of the road to nice, but it depends on how its used. The nicer stuff will be double butted (thinner walls at the center of the tubes), and the fork and stays will also be cro mo. The lower end stuff will be straight guage (same thickness throughout), and the fork and stays will often be hi tensile. Looking at the 1990 catalog, that Traveler will be 4130 butted with 4130 fork and stays, nicer than I initially thought actually. Catalog spec puts it at 25 lbs complete:
Schwinn catalogs, 1981 - 1990 (453 of 456)

That's roughly equivalent quality to a lot the modern 4130 frames coming out of Taiwan (like Surly), and could make a really nice rider. But you could also do better. One of the advantages of getting a vintage steel frame as opposed to a modern one is that high end steel, nicer than 4130 was widely available and much cheaper than it is now. A lot of the high end '80s Schwinns were made of Columbus Tenax, much lighter than 4130. Other earlier models were made of Reynolds 531, also nicer than cro mo. These frames are worth seeking out, and are generally much lighter and better riders than modern off-the-shelf steel, unless you go much higher end (and pricier).

All that said, you've got the Traveler on hand, and it looks to be in pretty good shape. Those components are pretty nice and also bomb-proof. If you can get used to the downtube shifters, It's worth riding as is to see if its your thing.
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Old 06-12-15, 02:27 PM
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True Temper butted chromoly is good tubing and under appreciated. I have a 1988 Trek 360 made of the same material and it is a responsive and comfortable frame.

Since you have other bikes for other uses, this will be a more than decent city rider that you can take anywhere and not worry about it getting stolen!
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Old 06-12-15, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
1030 Hi tensile steel is the lowest end.

4130 cro mo is middle of the road to nice, but it depends on how its used. The nicer stuff will be double butted (thinner walls at the center of the tubes), and the fork and stays will also be cro mo. The lower end stuff will be straight guage (same thickness throughout), and the fork and stays will often be hi tensile. Looking at the 1990 catalog, that Traveler will be 4130 butted with 4130 fork and stays, nicer than I initially thought actually. Catalog spec puts it at 25 lbs complete:
Schwinn catalogs, 1981 - 1990 (453 of 456)

That's roughly equivalent quality to a lot the modern 4130 frames coming out of Taiwan (like Surly), and could make a really nice rider. But you could also do better. One of the advantages of getting a vintage steel frame as opposed to a modern one is that high end steel, nicer than 4130 was widely available and much cheaper than it is now. A lot of the high end '80s Schwinns were made of Columbus Tenax, much lighter than 4130. Other earlier models were made of Reynolds 531, also nicer than cro mo. These frames are worth seeking out, and are generally much lighter and better riders than modern off-the-shelf steel, unless you go much higher end (and pricier).

All that said, you've got the Traveler on hand, and it looks to be in pretty good shape. Those components are pretty nice and also bomb-proof. If you can get used to the downtube shifters, It's worth riding as is to see if its your thing.


this was my basic understanding. i've been tempted to pick up a surly pacer frame and this seemed like a good value for the same function.
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Old 06-12-15, 03:07 PM
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also part of my issue with searching for vintage frames is a functional one. many older frames tend not to have water bottle mounts on the seat tube and even though there are workarounds i find it messes with the aesthetic.
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Old 06-12-15, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
also part of my issue with searching for vintage frames is a functional one. many older frames tend not to have water bottle mounts on the seat tube and even though there are workarounds i find it messes with the aesthetic.
Look harder. Almost any decent steel road bike from the early 1980s on had at least one set of bottle braze ons. Bikes in the 1970s or earlier tended to not have bottle mounts.


Traveler is a very basic model. Change out the saddle, tune it up, sell for a profit. Then use the proceeds to upgrade. A couple of upgrade cycles like this and you will have yourself a fine vintage bike.

Last edited by wrk101; 06-12-15 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-12-15, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
also part of my issue with searching for vintage frames is a functional one. many older frames tend not to have water bottle mounts on the seat tube and even though there are workarounds i find it messes with the aesthetic.
I see two set of water bottle bosses on your frame. For $35, I'd just fix it and ride like Oddjob said. Who knows - you have a cheap new town bike. If you don't like it, you can always pass it on.
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Old 06-12-15, 03:55 PM
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Put the widest tires on it possible. Install upright bars and a rack and fenders. Now you have an errand bike.
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Old 06-12-15, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
I see two set of water bottle bosses on your frame. For $35, I'd just fix it and ride like Oddjob said. Who knows - you have a cheap new town bike. If you don't like it, you can always pass it on.

yes i was referring to many vintage frames found in the 80s when pumps were attached to the seatpost.
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Old 06-12-15, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Put the widest tires on it possible. Install upright bars and a rack and fenders. Now you have an errand bike.

but i've already got this beauty for that job

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Old 06-12-15, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
but i've already got this beauty for that job
Oh goodness, you're right. What a beauty. Flip this bike.
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Old 06-12-15, 04:55 PM
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thanks
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Old 06-12-15, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
but i've already got this beauty for that job

I kind of like that. This one is currently a work in progress. I might "borrow" some of your ideas.
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Old 06-12-15, 05:04 PM
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haha go for it
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Old 06-12-15, 05:29 PM
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If I were looking for a go fast bike in that size in the DC area, I'd get this one.

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...062034582.html
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Old 06-12-15, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
If I were looking for a go fast bike in that size in the DC area, I'd get this one.

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...062034582.html
Yes, that's a good one at a good price.
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Old 06-12-15, 08:56 PM
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so much biopace on this thread
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Old 06-12-15, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by multivac View Post
so much biopace on this thread
What would you expect from a bunch of eccentrics?
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Old 06-12-15, 11:55 PM
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If you were to keep this one, you might find yourself in a similar situation to mine. I have several bicycles that fill niches very nicely. The odd man out, so to speak is my Fuji Finest. I have thought of selling it and making space, but what deters me is this... if I could only keep one bike for some reason, it might be that one. Not the best at any one thing, but quite competent at doing almost anything.

When I replied earlier, I was not intending to disparage the Traveler, but it simply is not going to be satisfying as the replacement for your CAAD 10 in its role.
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Old 06-13-15, 07:02 AM
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i think i'm just going to fix it up for my own use and since the top tube is slightly shorter than my other bikes it could be a good candidate for finally trying out mustache bars. if i don't like it, i'll sell it and still come out on top.
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