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Would you go across the USA on a 1983 model touring bike?

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Would you go across the USA on a 1983 model touring bike?

Old 02-01-20, 09:30 AM
  #26  
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To just answer the question, Yes!
Tim
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Old 02-01-20, 09:42 AM
  #27  
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As with any plans for future long bike rides, load it up and take it out for 40 miles or so on mixed surfaces and terrains so you can troubleshoot any issues that prop up.
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Old 02-01-20, 09:47 AM
  #28  
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My thoughts on it are this.
I am a driven man but still very green in the cycling world. I have a whole story about life awakening ,change ,spiritualism. At one time I was a 360 lb red neck southern conservative licensed minister. I am now a 170 lb health conscious aspiring to be cyclist. Wow,that was a lot! LOL

I have never ridden even a drop bar bike. I will ride to Colorado on something soon! I was thinking this bike ,at the least would let me experience a touring bike so I know if I need a Long Haul Trucker. It would be all I could do to buy a new bike ,but it is possible by my selling some stuff I use to hold dear. I don't necessarily want to do that,but I especially don't want to do it not knowing if I would prefer a LHT or something much more like my current bike like an Ogre. If I drop $1500 on a new bike, I will be stuck no matter what, with that bike.

Best case I like the style bike and it turns out to be mechanically sound and I learn mechanics on it to make it sound where it isn't. Worst case. I hate it and have to sell it but I don't know enough to find the reason the last guy sold it and it winds up costing me most of my money. That's the real question I suppose. Other than frame failure.is there anything on this Schwinn that could make a $275 bike into a $00 bike? I can accept spending $100 on it or even losing that much in a sale as long as I got to ride the bike enough to learn something about that style bike ,and if I want to buy a new one.
Thanks so much guys, ya'll are awesome.
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Old 02-01-20, 10:02 AM
  #29  
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Worst case scenario: consider you are "renting" that Schwinn for your ride. So you lose the entire $375 you put into the bike. Thats CHEAP! And the odds of it going to zero? Negligible. Will you get ALL of your money back? I doubt that too unless you are a world class shopper, and you make hunting bikes a full time job like this "guy I know"......

I went on a 21 day motorcycle ride to Alaska, camped every night. I bought a nice North Face tent at a garage sale for $10. Used it the 21nights, and then dropped it off at a local consignment shop where I netted $125 for the tent. So its possible to break even or even make money on tour gear, but it takes a lot of hunting. Of course, the trip did not pay for itself. Lets see, 11,000 miles worth of gas, a set of tires, etc....

Want to spend less than $275 on a good used touring bike? Shop harder. But realize that takes TIME and EFFORT.
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Old 02-01-20, 10:21 AM
  #30  
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You'd be fine with that bike as long as it fits you and appears to be in generally good shape.

Buy it, ride it, and it'll be there for you when you take those repair / maintenance classes.


I toured from Washington State to Colorado on a 40 year old bike in 2017 and I saw a few others on old bikes doing the same.

Heck, one guy I met was on an old mountain bike and he ultimately ended up riding all the way to the southern tip of South America on that thing!


Good luck
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Old 02-01-20, 11:02 AM
  #31  
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Go for it! I rode an ‘85 Trek 620 from Erie, PA to Denver, CO a couple years ago, and had no real problems. The main things to make sure of, are your bottom bracket & hubs. I saw that you have a high spoke count, but didn’t see which hubs you have. I’d guess probably at least decent. 😉 Oh, you’ll definitely need a ringy-bell, too. 😁 Good luck.
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Old 02-01-20, 11:23 AM
  #32  
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First of all good on ya for planning a cool bike touring trip! 2nd that voyager should do fine assuming it fits. If it were me I would be sure do to a full overhaul including all bearings - new grease and bearings and maybe a sealed cartridge unit for the bb and I would be sure all the contact points were dialed in - saddle bars, pedals I tend to swap out bars and stem so I can get wider bars and a taller stem - YMMV. Have fun and take lots of pics!!


PS On my Nishkiki Cresta GT touring bike (1987) I am running Swift sand canyon 27 x 1 3/8 and like them - very plush and made by panaracer.
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Old 02-01-20, 11:40 AM
  #33  
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I don't know enough about proper fit to know much. I will be able to stand over the top bar with about 1/2 inch to spare according to the measurements I have got from seller. I have about a 32-33 inch inseam and the bike is a 59cm. I have a long torso and long arms. I'm 6'2 and need tall and thin clothes but can only find fat and tall here in the boonies. I wear 29waist 32 inseam Jeans cause I can't find 33's.
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Old 02-01-20, 11:50 AM
  #34  
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I toured for collectively a year (2x 3 months and 1x 6 months) on an old frame like this, with a relatively heavy camping load in Ortlieb waterproof panniers. It was fine, the frame is still in one piece. I am happy that I used 700c wheels with freehubs, because I broke a lot of drive-side spokes and having a freehub makes them easy to change, and it was easy to get tires. I am unhappy that I used Blackburn welded aluminum racks, because these broke. I could always fix them with hose clamps and spokes and rope, but it's not great.

It's nice you have the 40 spoke rear wheel. Those things are TOUGH, and probably the only 27" wheels I'd even think of touring on. If you replaced the hollow quick-release axle with a solid nutted axle, you'd have nothing to worry about with breaking axles. But if you have the money, getting a nice set of 700c wheels (freehub in back, dynamo hub in front, Mavic A319 or Rigida Sputnik rims) could be helpful. You'd have to spread the rear triangle, but that's not hard. The advantages to new 700c wheels with freehub and dynamo are: 1) you can have lighting/USB charging, 2) better tire selection, 3) lots more gears, 4) stronger rear axle, 5) ability to change broken spokes on the road with normal tools. I bet you could set yourself up with a good 700c wheelset for under $300. I like the Mavic A319 rim and basically any Shimano hub spaced at 135mm over the locknuts.

Does your bike have a rear rack at all? If not, I'd recommend the Tubus Cosmo or Nitto 33R. I've broken a few of those old welded aluminum Blackburn-style racks. I don't really recommend them for heavy camping loads.
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Old 02-01-20, 12:33 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I toured for collectively a year (2x 3 months and 1x 6 months) on an old frame like this, with a relatively heavy camping load in Ortlieb waterproof panniers. It was fine, the frame is still in one piece. I am happy that I used 700c wheels with freehubs, because I broke a lot of drive-side spokes and having a freehub makes them easy to change, and it was easy to get tires. I am unhappy that I used Blackburn welded aluminum racks, because these broke. I could always fix them with hose clamps and spokes and rope, but it's not great.

It's nice you have the 40 spoke rear wheel. Those things are TOUGH, and probably the only 27" wheels I'd even think of touring on. If you replaced the hollow quick-release axle with a solid nutted axle, you'd have nothing to worry about with breaking axles. But if you have the money, getting a nice set of 700c wheels (freehub in back, dynamo hub in front, Mavic A319 or Rigida Sputnik rims) could be helpful. You'd have to spread the rear triangle, but that's not hard. The advantages to new 700c wheels with freehub and dynamo are: 1) you can have lighting/USB charging, 2) better tire selection, 3) lots more gears, 4) stronger rear axle, 5) ability to change broken spokes on the road with normal tools. I bet you could set yourself up with a good 700c wheelset for under $300. I like the Mavic A319 rim and basically any Shimano hub spaced at 135mm over the locknuts.

Does your bike have a rear rack at all? If not, I'd recommend the Tubus Cosmo or Nitto 33R. I've broken a few of those old welded aluminum Blackburn-style racks. I don't really recommend them for heavy camping loads.
All great info. That's the kind of stuff I am just beginning to learn. I need to anyway cause I'm too broke to just pay someone else to do it. I have a good shop where I can learn and even use their tools for free but it's a an hour and a half one way, on the interstate, by my truck, which ain't just real cheap on gas. Did I mention that I have been transformingg into someone I wouldn't have known 2 years ago.LOL, From a gas hog truck to a bicycle.

I read somewhere stainless racks were good. Thoughts? I'm fairly crafty too. The kind of guy who might use bailing wire and tape in a clinch but still innovative when proper equipment isn't available. I've made pliers from a piece of string and a stick in a pinch before, kind of thing.

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Old 02-01-20, 12:56 PM
  #36  
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It is more important to know that YOUR bike is up to the task than it is to know about a make/model.

Check the wheels - spokes and rims and tires/tubes.

Check the chain

Check all bearings (if you didn't personally clean and lube it, open it up).

Torque every nut and bolt.

Take it on several LOOONG shake-down rides to surface the problems and will help your fitness.

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Old 02-01-20, 01:12 PM
  #37  
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I went across N.America on an older bike than yours, but then it was in 1980. Aluminum racks were the only ones readily available at the time I had an Eclipse rear rack and a Blackburn front. They stood up well, but are flexy. I had 700c wheels and it was hard to find them back then, now it's just the opposite.


The biggest problem with freewheels is that if you do break a drive side rear spoke, you ned a wrench with enough leverage to get it off.


Dynamo hubs and lights are nice, but the ones with the least resistance are expensive, and in the late Spring and early Summer, not that necessary.


I like fenders; not only do they keep water off your feet and back, but also a lot of other stuff.
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Old 02-01-20, 01:17 PM
  #38  
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+1 with what everyone has said here, but I would make a few modifications/ assurances of my own if I were you.
Make sure the spokes are stiff and trued properly. Look for an alternative RD mech-you can use a Shimano Altus RD for $20 and it'll be more reliable than what you have. Invest in good tires and look into buying a more upright stem. Drop bar is good and all, but you'll find more comfort with an upright stem for long hours in the saddle.

Buy a new chain, perferably a KMC 7-8 speed, just cut it down 2-3 links and you are set.
Lastly, invest in good racks. The ones you have are good, but not good for the type of journey you want. It is better to invest now than have to end up with broken parts along the way.
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Old 02-01-20, 06:19 PM
  #39  
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That bike should be okay. I'd keep my load as light as possible.

Is there a bicycle co-op anywhere near you? I ask because those are a great place to get a complete overhaul done so that YOU know it was done right. They have people who can tell you how worn your components are and show you how to do the needed work on your bicycle. THe co-op I volunteer at show the people hot to do the work but I don't actually do the work on a person's bicycle. We feel it's much better if the person with the bicycle learns how to work on their own bicycle. The co-op has all the tools need plus inexpensive parts and/or components so that a vintage bike can be brought back to like new condition.

Some co-ops even sell new tires. Ours has new cables and other consumables.

I'd buy one spare folding tire for a just in case even where an existing tire got too damaged to use. I had a wire rod go through an MTB tire side to side, ride up until it hit the brake bridge/seatstay junction where it tore 4 inches long slices in both sides of the tire. Fortunately there was a story not to far down the road that I was able to buy a new tire from. Now when I tour any distance I carry a spare folding tire.

Cheers
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Old 02-01-20, 06:40 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
That bike should be okay. I'd keep my load as light as possible.

Is there a bicycle co-op anywhere near you? I ask because those are a great place to get a complete overhaul done so that YOU know it was done right. They have people who can tell you how worn your components are and show you how to do the needed work on your bicycle. THe co-op I volunteer at show the people hot to do the work but I don't actually do the work on a person's bicycle. We feel it's much better if the person with the bicycle learns how to work on their own bicycle. The co-op has all the tools need plus inexpensive parts and/or components so that a vintage bike can be brought back to like new condition.

Some co-ops even sell new tires. Ours has new cables and other consumables.

I'd buy one spare folding tire for a just in case even where an existing tire got too damaged to use. I had a wire rod go through an MTB tire side to side, ride up until it hit the brake bridge/seatstay junction where it tore 4 inches long slices in both sides of the tire. Fortunately there was a story not to far down the road that I was able to buy a new tire from. Now when I tour any distance I carry a spare folding tire.

Cheers
We have a similar shop about 1.5 hours away from me. They have helped me replace my MTB cassette and chain and cables. I am taking a several part Masters mechanics class through them starting in March. My plan is to assure reliability of whatever bike I ride.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:16 PM
  #41  
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You can way overthink this. If you're tight on $$, you've already got a fine bike. Everyone's pretty much telling you that you should make sure it's in good shape and recently overhauled. The only thing you should really think about spending money on is tires. If you're willing to sacrifice some performance for durability, many tourists count on the Schwalbe Marathon series of tires, which you can get for around $35 each. I'm sure there will be lots of opinions on that. Oh, and find a saddle that you get along with.

You're going to need something to carry your gear with. To save money, look to friends, eBay, Craigslist, or even Bike Forums for sale section. Lots of people go on one tour and never use their gear again.

Go on an overnight trip. Figure out what went wrong, fix it, try it again. Or maybe it went fine, then graduate to a multiple day trip. It's a pretty good rule of thumb that if you can do a week long trip, you can get across country on the same gear.

Don't overthink it. Just do it.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:19 PM
  #42  
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Yes to that great bike and adventure.

As mentioned, take apart completely - not only to possibly cover error or lack of prior service but also in getting familiar with it. Make up a small tool kit that would allow virtually every part on the bike field serviceable though consider minimalist with such one do-it-all as large slip joint pliers. Learn how to remove a freewheel, replace spokes, etc..

The 27 inch replacement tires are fine and don't fret. READ: Wal-Mart is your friend. Also, get on board with Amazon Prime. One can connect just about anywhere and if need to, have a part overnighted to campground, bb, etc..


Have fun!

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Old 02-01-20, 07:55 PM
  #43  
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That bike is as likely to make it to the end of the trip as you are. Maybe even more so. That's what happened to me last trip; the bike was still doing fine when I called it quits.

Load it up and do some shakedown rides. Find your longest and/or steepest local climbs and see how the bike feels going up and down with a full load. Make sure your gearing gets you up and your brakes get you down.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:58 PM
  #44  
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Like everyone is saying, it's fine. I did 3-4 week tours on an 1983 touring bike BITD when there was no choice. No need for a super heavy duty Surly etc unless you plan on carrying a really heavy load.

Good advice so far. Here's couple things to add to what everyone else has said:

Bring some spare spokes and a freewheel tool. Know how to use it. But, IMO, don't bother with a giant heavy wrench. With 40 spokes in back, you'll be able to ride all day or more with a busted spoke. It can wait until you find a garage or shop or something where you can borrow a wrench. Do make sure your freewheel threads are very well greased.

For sure do a practice overnighter or short trip.

If you'll be camping out of a few weeks, a liquid stove is pretty much required. Canisters are only good for weekenders.
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Old 02-01-20, 08:55 PM
  #45  
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Here's a good suggestion: go to crazyguyonabike.com and read the stories of many people who have done exactly what you're planning. You'll find those on custom bikes, excellent modern production bikes, quality vintage bikes, mediocre bikes, and crappy bikes.

These are people that have actually ridden as you plan. You'll learn a lot!
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Old 02-01-20, 09:20 PM
  #46  
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Assuming no glaring issues- Go
now, I would probably use a Phil rear hub or freehub to totally avoid axle trauma as I am assuming loaded rear axle.

fresh cassette or freewheel, new chain and chainrings in good shape. similar as what I would have done way back.

totally missed the Bike-centennial way back- I was sick. An employee of mine a few years later did it- was very satisfied he did.

i do see there is a plan for a cross country route using old rail right of ways - generally the steepest would be 2.2% pretty good. I hope it gets fully built.
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Old 02-01-20, 09:57 PM
  #47  
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Looks like everyone else has confirmed that the Voyageur SP was made for long distance touring, even if it was over 35 years ago. BTW the front rack is the hard one to find. Rear one should be much easier.
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Old 02-01-20, 10:35 PM
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Will your master mechanic training include lacing and building wheels?

Can one mount a 700c (622mm) rear wheel on this bike, instead of a 27" (630mm), and still be able to adjust the cantilever brake pads for proper contact with the rims for good braking?

If you have no choice but to use 27" wheels, might building your own custom rear wheel with a modern Shimano Deore hub AND a 27" rim become a viable option? Will you have dropout alignment tools available for properly cold-setting the rear dropout to accommodate a wider wheel (126mm? -> 135mm)?

This reads like you're intent on becoming more than just a casual bicycle rider.
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Old 02-02-20, 04:50 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
We have a similar shop about 1.5 hours away from me. They have helped me replace my MTB cassette and chain and cables. I am taking a several part Masters mechanics class through them starting in March. My plan is to assure reliability of whatever bike I ride.
No matter what bike you choose, this is probably the best thing you can do for yourself in preparation for any length of trip.

Know thyself and thy bike. The rest will follow - you’ll know what to do as it comes.

Congrats on all the positive life changes and welcome to BF!
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Old 02-02-20, 07:08 AM
  #50  
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Panaracer Paselas would be a great option for tires and if needed you may be able to get a better gear spread in the back. Sunrace and Shimano have great replacement freehubs for not much dough with wide gearing like 14-28's or so.

Pics of the actual bike would help the crowd of folks here give you even more accurate advice.

Also, so what if stuff fails, it's apart of the adventure to get it all working again right?
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