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New bike or Fix-up what I have??(11 posts)

New bike or Fix-up what I have??Ben from WI
Aug 8, 2001 7:51 AM

I am just getting back into biking. I haven't been riding regularly for many years. My goal is to do a sprint Triathlon next summer.

Anyway... My bike is about 13-14 years old. It's a Schwinn Traveler with Shimano Exage group, Super Turbo saddle, comp, cork tape, tucked brake cables, couple small scratches in paint-- everything original but saddle, comp and cork tape. I'm 5'4" so bikes my size seem harder to come by. This one was fit for me by the local Schwinn dealer when I was 14 (about 4'10"). I'm not sure of the size- I think the smallest adult bike (48cm?), just that it still fits pretty well... but maybe not perfect.

If I had about $200-$300 to spend, might I be better off updating some components on my bike (rims, wheels, etc) or getting a new bike. (classifieds or new/used from local bike shop) I'm not sure which would help more.

For that money, I didn't know if I could get much. I thought of maybe saving, waiting until next year (to make sure I'm still sticking with it) and getting a $500 or $600 bike.

I know with most equipment, better goods doesn't make a better athlete, but I also know there is a point where better goods can improve and help an athlete.

I know the Traveler is towards the bottom of the Schwinn class for that year (premis, tempo, prelude, prologue, paramount) but I know it's still a pretty good bike.

Anyway.... thanks in advance for any advice.

Have a great day!

Eau Claire, WI
Depends what you want, but on that budget...cory
Aug 8, 2001 8:11 AM can't make a lot of difference beyond just getting everything working the way it did when it left the factory (I'm not knocking it--most of us have been there).
You're right about the frame, I think--it's not worth spending much to upgrade components. Assuming you just want a reliable bike for riding and training, I think I'd tune the stuff you have, which you can do cheaply (bearings, tires, brake pads, grease the cables, a thorough adjustment and lube). If the shifting's not indexed (I forget when that came in), I don't think I'd try to convert--you can learn to friction-shift, and the parts to convert an older, probably 6-speed bike may include shifters, derailleur and a new wheel or hub. You can spend your whole budget right there.
If you do most of the work yourself (yes, you can--there are excellent books, starting with Zinn's and the Bicycling Manual), a decent tune-up with a few parts shouldn't cost more than $40-$50. New tires will be about the same for a pair (if they're 27-inch instead of 700, your choices will be limited, but they're out there). You may need basic tools, but they'll last forever. That leaves money for a new saddle if you want one, plus a start on your savings account for the new bike you'll buy next spring... Good luck, and have fun.
re: New bike or Fix-up what I have??Chas
Aug 8, 2001 8:27 AM
I rebuilt my mid 1980's traveler last winter and spent under 300.
I upgraded the shifting to index on the rear which required a new derailleur, stack, chain and shifters. (moved shifter from down tube to the stem). Wheels are aluminum and if in good shape should be ok.(I had to replace one). You will want to replace all the cables, brake pads and tires. Clean and lube bottom bracket, maybe replace bearings.

I enjoyed the process and learned enough to build up a Trek 2300 frame this spring. I did learn you don't save any money building the bike yourself. The mechanical experience was worth the difference.

I don't think you will be able to find a new bike that is that much better for 500 to 600. The Giant OCR3 small frame would fit you at just under 600. It has all sora components and STI shifting but is kind of heavy. Not really a racing bike.

Clean up the Schwinn and save your money until you can get what you want.
re: New bike or Fix-up what I have??MikeC
Aug 8, 2001 8:36 AM
I think Cory's and Chas's responses are spot-on. I used to have an Exage group, and it was indexed, so you might not have to fight that fight. Make sure your Traveler is well set-up, get a new set of tubes and tires, get a pair of clipless pedals and shoes for about $150, and re-tape your bars with something wild. And remember, even Lance was using a downtube shifter for his front derailleur until recently!
concerned with money, don't spend $150 on shoes/pedals!Haiku d'état
Aug 8, 2001 11:54 AM
nashbar double-sided entry spd=$20-$30
specialized sport mtb shoes=$31

leaves plenty of money for tires/tubes/cables/brake pads and pabst blue ribbon!

have fun and good luck!
I'm tryin' to give him some style on his warhorse, man! ;-) nmMikeC
Aug 8, 2001 12:05 PM
word. nh (no haiku)Haiku d'état
Aug 8, 2001 12:15 PM
re: New bike or Fix-up what I have??Rusty McNasty
Aug 8, 2001 11:14 AM
FWIW, $500 won't get you much in a new bike. Actually, a $500 new road bike is pretty crappy. Don't spend a lot on this old iron, either. Ride it until you can afford something which will last-probably closer to $1000
Hey BenMel Erickson
Aug 8, 2001 4:42 PM
Guess what, I'm from Eau Claire too! Fancy that. A quick search of the classifieds on this site revealed some interesting stuff. A Cannondale CAAD3 in 52cm for $350. A Tommasso in a 54cm for 300 and there were plenty more. I think you'd be better off looking at one of these than investing 200-300 in your Traveler. Virtually all of them are better frames and components and you would probably be able to resell them in a year or so. I don't think you'd ever get much for the Schwinn.
priced a traveler at the local schwinn dealerHaiku d'état
Aug 9, 2001 5:29 AM
we have a dealer (not really a LBS) in town that acquires old bikes and refurbs 'em, then sells them like new at an affordable price. schwinn traveler: $275. keep in mind this is shop work and the bike probably looks like it popped off the assembly line yesterday.
priced a traveler at the local schwinn dealerMel Erickson
Aug 9, 2001 7:22 AM
I'm not into vintage bikes but I wasn't aware a Traveller was a desireable vintage steed. If it is pristine and if the right buyer comes along maybe the dealer can get his price. He may be willing to sit on it for awhile. I just don't think your normal Joe Blow will be able to sell a used Traveller in good working order but not "like new" for much money, if at all. The market is just too thin. He would have a serviceable bike if he fixed up the Traveller. It would do what he wants and he could achieve his goals. I'm certainly not against him fixing it up but think he should consider other options.