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Confused by Schwinn Travelers

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Confused by Schwinn Travelers

Old 05-13-20, 10:42 PM
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WGB
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Confused by Schwinn Travelers

Picked up two Travelers very cheap, covered in crusted oil. PO bought both in 198-something (doesn't know exact year) at Bert's in Buffalo.

Most Travelers I have seen seem to be cheaper variants with stem shifters or at best band-on downtube shifters. I have seen a few with brazeons and Suntour downtube shifting. This one has brazeons with Shimano Light Duty index shifters, FD and RD.

Both bikes bought at exact same time, at exact same outlet, and at exact same price. One is a 19in frame and one is a 22. Owner did nothing except switch in newer seats, even tires were Schwinn. You'd think both would be the same components, but no....

The 22in frame (pictured below) has what seems to be better brakes (Dia Compe 500) and the wheelset is Weinmann rims with Shimano hubs and a Shimano 6 speed Z012 freewheel
The 19in frame (not rebuilt yet, so no photos) has what seem to be cheaper brakes (Dia Compe 400) and the wheel set is Weinmann rims with Normandy hubs and an Atom 77 narrow 6 speed freewheel.

Since I still don't have a 20 spline freewheel tool I met Bertinjim and he removed the Atom with his tool. I traded the Atom for his Maillard Course, 6 speed (he has Atoms and Heliomatics exclusively on all his rides). I don't think it matters which freewheel I use for the smaller frame as neither fit me and I'll flip them out anyway.

22in frame before


23in frame after (switched the CCM seat on it for the San Marco saddle from the 19in frame)





I tried to look at the catalogues but can't find what year these were.

Can anyone advise?? The white frames are more of a cream if that helps.

Also were they made in Greenville, MS or overseas?
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Old 05-13-20, 11:52 PM
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Look for a four-digit number stamped on the head badge. Last digit is the year within the decade, first three digits are the ordinal day within the year.

That livery corresponds to 1989-ish.

Edit - based on the color and components, they look like '88s - Schwinn catalogs, 1981 - 1990 (346 of 456) - Schwinn catalogs, 1981 - 1990 (343 of 456)

And yes, they weren't always this caliber. My wife's '85-ish Traveler has plain-guage 4130 and stem shifters.

Last edited by madpogue; 05-14-20 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 05-14-20, 04:22 AM
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I have an 84 i am giving away that was straight guage chromoloy, i think 85 they went double butted on the traveler.
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Old 05-14-20, 03:00 PM
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^^^^^ Yeah my wife's might be an '84 actually.
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Old 05-14-20, 04:02 PM
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I think they moved significantly upmarket over time. I had a '78 with hi-ten steel and stamped dropouts that was made, if I recall correctly, by Bridgestone in Japan. It worked fine as a single-speed frame/fork only build, but was otherwise rather uninspiring and had no bottle bosses.
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Old 05-14-20, 05:07 PM
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While entry level, I've always felt that these bikes have good "bones" for a gravel grinder project.
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Old 05-15-20, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
I think they moved significantly upmarket over time. I had a '78 with hi-ten steel and stamped dropouts that was made, if I recall correctly, by Bridgestone in Japan. It worked fine as a single-speed frame/fork only build, but was otherwise rather uninspiring and had no bottle bosses.
They were actually made by National (aka Panasonic) I believe.

People do weird things to bike components or the shop does it and they don't know what has been changed from original over time. Here is my 1977, with full Campagnolo Chrous 8-speed, I think other than the frame and seatpost is the only original component left.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:20 PM
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Travelers from the 80's are good bikes. They are more mid range models. One problem with the Traveler name is that it was used on so many different bikes through the decades.

I've got a late 80's Traveler and like it a lot. I didn't even change much on it. I think the only thing that I exchange was that I went to Aero brake levers. I just like the cleaner look and I had them available.

I had a Serotta Club Special decades ago, and as the name implies, it wasn't the raciest model but, among my cycling buddies, some with fancy Italian racing bikes, they all praised the ride and said it didn't beat them up. This Traveler, that I have, feels a lot like the Serotta. I might get some slack for saying that because there are things about the Serotta that the Traveler could never be in it's wildest dreams, however, for a production mid priced bike, it's pretty good. It has double butted True Temper tubes, probably in the main triangle only. And the geometry seems to work well. Plus it fits fenders.

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Old 05-15-20, 11:40 PM
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The "Traveler" model actually started out in the late 50's or early 60's as a three speed model. I think I still have a 1962 model here somewhere.

About 15 years ago I bought a mint clean his and hers pair of Schwinn Traveler bikes. The ladies model had steel rims, steel mid flange hubs, and Shimano 400 deraileurs and brakes. The man's model had an unmarked front derailleur a Shimano Altus rear derailleur, and Dia Compe center pull calipers. Both bikes were from the same dealer, bought by a neighbor who said he nor his wife ever used them. They were in new condition. Both had steel wheels, the ladies model had wider rims, the man's model had Shimano high flange alloy hubs. Both had sprung quilted pattern saddles. The mans model had 27x1 1/8" tires, the ladies model had 27x1 1/4" Schwinn 'Puff'' gumwall tires.

Back in the day, when I worked at a bike shop, mostly in the late 70's and early 80's, it was very common to open two boxes with identical model bikes to find a mismatch of components. The shop owner would shake his head and just tell us to assemble the bike. We did on occasion switch components around if we found a bike to have been built with say two different brand rims, hubs, or derailleurs. I remember one bike sales rep saying that they would often substitute parts if they were having trouble getting a particular component. Sometimes it was an upgrade, other times not so much.
This happened on all grades of bikes, but it was more common on the lower to mid grade models.
In some brands, things like tires, saddles, grips, hubs, or derailleur brand would change so often there would be multiples of a given model on the floor at one time and none would be identical in equipment. Most people though never noticed it, most just never looked or cared I suppose. Most weren't buying an entry level or mid grade bike for its components, it was usually just all the bike they could afford. In 1980, around $200 got you an entry level Ross Gran Tour, maybe a Peugeot A08, or a Scwhinn Traveler or Continental. None of which were high end models. To step up to a Letour, you were looking at another $35-40, and another $100 to jump up to the Super Letour.
The top of the mid range line up was the Voyager at about $350. I think many people had a problem spending more than a week's take home pay back then on a bike, the $200 mark was usually the limit back then for most people buying a bike. Bikes over that price point weren't big sellers. I'd guess that we sold 50 sub-$200 bikes for every $250 or higher priced model. It was hard to get most people to step up even $15-20 into even a bike at the $200 price range because they didn't have the extra to cover the sales tax.I see the same thing even today, a lot of bike buyers have a mental block as to what a bike should cost, many will pay $100 all day long for a used bike, but not many will pay $150 or $200 regardless of how much nicer that bike is.
I suppose that as time went on, the substitution of components got more common as bikes were being built to a price point.

What used to bother me was opening up a box with a bike that was advertised as being all Shimano 600 in the brochure and seeing a it didn't even have a matching set of derailleurs or hubs. Tires were also often mismatched. When it came to tires it was often a matter of it being the same tire but with different scripting on the sidewall. Maybe one scripted with one brand, the its mate with another brand, The worst case i remember was one bike which was supposed to come with alloy rims, came out of the box with a lesser model's wheelset and steel rims. We dug around and found a better wheelset for that bike before putting it out on the floor but it happened a lot.
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Old 05-16-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
^^^^^ Yeah my wife's might be an '84 actually.
my 84 that is being gifted is a really excellent frame. Light for a 23 inch and pretty snappy. I just got a 89 letour, which usually was the next model up. Its true temper but by 89 the tire clearances were pretty tight. Gonna go 650b on this one.
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