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I'm just getting into the biking world and I am in the market for a better bike than my current Huffy bike. I'm looking on Craigslist and I came across a 1980 Schwinn World Traveler bike for $120. Obviously I will be trying to talk down the price but is this going to be a solid bike? Or should I shop around a little more and find something better. If it helps I can post the link to the craigslist page. Thanks for the help!

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    The Traveler of that era was a decent bike (and well-suited for a beginner), but it's apt to need significant maintenance unless it's been kept up, and it's pretty antiquated technology. (Unless it's in perfect condition with new tires it's it's not worth $120, but maybe half that.) Unless it's been well-maintained figure on dropping another $50-100 having a bike shop tune it up. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 2 '15 at 22:10
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    You can get a fairly decent new bike for around $400, which may ne more economic in the long run. They are also much lighter than a 1980s steel bike. – Kim Ryan Aug 2 '15 at 23:20
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    Before you buy any bike, do you understand bike fit? – Carey Gregory Aug 3 '15 at 5:19
  • An old steel bike of that age may have rust in the inside of the frame which cannot be seen. It depends on how it has been maintained and stored. Long term rust inside the frame can lead to structural weakness and hence accidents. – Craig Hicks Aug 3 '15 at 19:13
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Solid, yes. Worth it? Probably not.

Unless it has been kept in perfect running condition, a 30+ year old bike is going to need lots of maintenance. IT will also have really outdated parts. Finding spares will be difficult, newer parts might not fit at all. All this boils down to maintenance nightmare.

Even if you find bike that's perfect to ride, it will still be an old bike. It will be heavier and its' gears and brakes won't be as good as in newer models. Unless you get a kick from riding vintage bike (nothing wrong with that), I'd go for more modern one.

This site has 1980 Schwinn Traveler specifications: http://schwinncruisers.com/catalogs/1980.html.

At least the 27" wheels that the Traveler has are going to be trouble. 27" size is not used much these days. Finding new tyres/inner tubes in case of flats will be tricky.

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    27" tires are generally available, unless you want something exotic. And 700C tubes fit 27" tires just fine. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 3 '15 at 16:56
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I owned mid-80's Schwinn Traveler and Le Tour bicycles. They were good quality entry-level road bikes for their time. That said, I would likely look for something else for the following reasons:

  1. Unless it was very well maintained and recently serviced you could easily spend $200 on parts and service to have the bike overhauled. A neighbor wanted to start riding his early 80's bike again after years of it sitting, and spent over $300.

  2. Rust works it's way from the inside out on old steel frames like these. While if it has been stored and maintained well it would be fine for years, if not frame could crumble with any significant use.

  3. Parts, while available, may not always be in stock for a bike of this vintage. Things like 27" wheels and tires, and 5-spd freewheels may be hard to find locally.

If you decide to move on, these may be helpful questions to review:

Buying a used higher quality bike vs a lower quality new bike?

What are some red flags to look for when buying a used road bike?

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