Old bike needs love...

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by Last_Place_Pete, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    So I just ended up with a Schwinn Traveler. From what I can tell by the numbers on the badge, it was made in Taiwan in 1983. How, may you ask, did I end up with such a relic? Simple: My Specialized got stolen + found the Schwinn in my dad's garage = now it's mine.

    With that said, I'm looking for tips/advice/suggestions on making upgrades to the bike. Obviously I'm not looking to spend big money on such an old bike, but I would like to hopefully rebuild most of it (shifters, wheels/tires, brakes, seat, bars, etc). For a bike that is almost 30yrs old it is in remarkably great shape. Most of the paint is in mint condition, but there is some rust on the exposed chrome parts (ends of the front fork, wheels, some of the hardware, etc). Everything on the bike is original with the exception of the pedals, which I installed today.

    Please let me know what you all think, and thanks in advance!!

    -Pete
     
  2. billnuke1

    billnuke1 Member

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    Hey Pete,
    Try riding the bike the way it is. I rescue old /older, unridden, neglected bikes. These are great old bikes! A little bit of tinkering and I'm ready to go. I can usually get a month or so out the tires. Cables, usually I just spray the cable with my cable sprayer and I'm good to go. My bikes are 10/12 speed road bikes from the '60's and '70"s. Anywhere from Motobecanes, Bianchis, Huffys, Schwinns. It is a blast to pull 10 to 12 bikes out to get to my work area, and ride them all back to back! So different! Some times the dept. store bikes surprise you!
    Grease it and ride it!
    Bill
     

  3. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    As for the rust on the chrome parts. I learned a trick here to get rid of it. Use aluminum foil and lemon juice. Crumple the foil up and scrub the rusty chrome using lemon juice as the cleaner. When I did my wife's Schwinn it worked like a charm to clean the chrome up.
     
  4. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    A little grease and polish is all I would put into it. But I'm jealous.
     
  5. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    You don't think I should make any upgrades?
     
  6. billnuke1

    billnuke1 Member

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    You will really appreciate any upgrades you do later. I consider myself lucky that I get to ride all of these old bikes. When I do upgrade an "unrideable" ride, I will have a solid idea of what I want.
     
  7. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Seat and brake pads. Maybe brakes. I beat the crap out of a Traveler for years, and it was perfectly serviceable in stock condition.
     
  8. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    I don't doubt that she'll get me from A to B. I actually went on a short ride yesterday. However, the more I ride at it or look at it, the more things I find that I don't quite like. The frame is in ridiculously great shape, but it seems to be everything else that needs a little love. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

    1) The handle bars have the original tape on them, which is now dry and flaky.
    2) The brake pads are harder than an old pencil eraser, and split.
    3) ...So are the tires.
    4) Both wheels have quite a bit of rust, and the front one is bent.
    5) The seat is original nylon/vinyl (ow!).

    I added more pics of her to the bike registry page if you'd like to take a look. What I'm hoping to do is take care of these issues while improving overall performance and comfort. Like I said, I don't doubt she's great. Doesn't mean she can't be made even better with some love :)
     
  9. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well the tires, brakes, tape and seat are to be expected. They also are not very expensive. Cleaning the rust off the wheels will take time, but you might be surprised at how well they will clean up.

    The bent may be more of an issue. There is bent, and there is bent. Bent as in impact with something like a curve is one thing. Out of round where you see the wheel isn't rolling straight, can usually be fixed by what is called truing a wheel.

    Anything more than that starts to get into the should I do this category. Buying better components at this point may be better spent buying a new bike. A new quality wheel set is going to be expensive and you can get a new entry level bike that will likely be much lighter, modern technology, and better for competition if you are going to do tri's.

    For me I am looking forward to redoing an old ten speed from the early to mid 70s. Why? I had one like that as a teenage and now that I am an old geezer, I wish I kept it. Will it make any financial sense to do it? No. I'll spend more to redo it than its worth, if it had any value as a collectible I am likely to destroy it by either a new paint or powder coat job, and I won't care a bit. I may spend more just rechroming parts than my dad spent for a bike like that new.

    If it means something that you actually compete on a bike that was once owned by your dad, then do it. I don't keep up with the race stuff. Hack and many of the others do and know what is compatible with what.
     
  10. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Things get tricky with the wheels. If they're those old school taller wheels, you can replace them cheaply enough, then get some long reach brakes dirt cheap on eBay. The argument against the long reach brakes is that the arms are long and flex, making them less efficient. But compared to the stock brakes on a 1983 Schwinn, they're probably fine.

    This just reminded me that my neighbor has offered a similar vintage (I think) Fuji for me to do as I wish. I need to go have a talk with him.
     
  11. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    Would you happen to have any recommendations for specifics? From what I can tell, it's go Shimano Dia-Compe brakes on it. They seem to work fine so should I just do the pads for now? The bent front wheel seems to be the culprit of most braking issues.. Call me ignorant, but what's the best way to know whether or not wheels will fit before getting them home and it dawning on me during installation?

    EDIT: Probably helpful info: The OEM tires are Schwinn Puff High Pressure Road Racer's. They are 27" x 1.25" on Schwinn S-6 Tubular wheels.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  12. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    The 27" wheels are a losing proposition. Not at cheap as 700c, and tire choice is limited. But when you replace them, you'll need longer brake arms. I would ride it as is, and keep an eye on Craig's or your local classified's for a suitable donor wheelset. It's easy enough, but you want to keep spending to a minimum, as that bike has limited value.
     
  13. billnuke1

    billnuke1 Member

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    Hey Pete,
    Ahh! The quandry! You have a great bike there! Tires, brakes, handlebar tape! Fun stuff! Hit some of the tire discounters and read all of the reviews befor buying! Get good tubes! Taping bars can be fun and frustrating! A lot of interesting designs, too! I usually hit the bike tutorials just to refresh my memory of things I fixed when I was a kid. I still have all of my old bike tools! Oh! Yeah! Get a cable oiler! A lot of the old cables just needs oil. Take your wheels off, grab some newspaper, (for under the wheel) bronze or steel wool, a small can of WD40.(had a can!) Someone may suggest something else. Spritz and rub! About an hour +/- per wheel!
    I picked up a Raleigh Gran Prix yesterday and a Motobecane Mirage today. These bike had not been ridden according to the original owners for 20 to 30 years! Within a couple of hours each night, both bikes were being ridden! I love these old steel bikes! I will retape the bars and check the brake pads at a later date. This summmer, all of the bikes will be washed, degreased and relubed completely. Good luck! Have fun!
     
  14. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    Bill, thanks so much for the how-to!! I'm afraid you've opened a can of worms... Any tips on fixing a bent rim, or lubing up an old bottom bracket? The wheel I'm thinking I can fix with a rubber mallot and a bit of elbow grease- maybe at the same time I undertake the Wax-On/Wax-Off technique you mentioned for polishing. The rim only has one bend on it, maybe 1.25" long. Its bent to the outside (away from the hub). Maybe just tapping on it with the mallow while the tire is still on/inflated will do the trick? I guess we'll find out! On the subject of the spritzing... Should try removing the spokes or just work around them? Can I apply the same spritzing technique to the seat post, etc (anything thats chromed and un-painted)?

    I believe that's it for now. Thanks again!

    -Pete
     
  15. billnuke1

    billnuke1 Member

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    Rust removal...

    Hi Pete,
    I myself would not remove the spokes. With my luck, I would break a number of them and force my hand. I',m not prepared to learn to lace wheels right now. No room! I picked up some cheap/inexpensive little bronze polishing brushes to use with my drill. I have not had a chance to try them yet. I have some real bad wheels that I will try them out on first. I might start out with steel/bronze wool on the heavily rusted stuff, then try the aluminun foil thingie to finish up. I read somewhere to be extra careful with steel wool. May be too agressive. I guess practice on old stuff first.
    Have fun!,
    Bill
     
  16. billnuke1

    billnuke1 Member

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    Hi Pete,
    Forgot the bent wheel. I have, with controlled application, unbent, bent wheels using various wrenches, pliers, channel locks, and vice grips! I also have some pointy auto body tools and hand anvils that I have used. Patience and control! Slow, steady pressure.
    Good Luck!,
    Bill
     
  17. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    Thank you much, kind sir. Leave it to a fellow MASS-hole to come thru with the know-how! Go SOX!!
     
  18. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    I've been known to carefully wedge a piece of lumber into a bent wheel, and use a drilling hammer to persuade it back into shape, but only on a steel Huffy wheel.
     
  19. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Pete Sorry we are going to knock you out of the play offs again this year, but at least I am a charter member of the anyone but the Yankees fan club. Go Rangers.
     
  20. Last_Place_Pete

    Last_Place_Pete New Member

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    Reno under way!

    Spent another rainy day indoors working on the old gal. Here are a few pics of the progress made so far. Thanks again for all your help and friendly advice!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011