Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jeffrey's Mid 1980's Schwinn Traveler Restoration

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo - Side View

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Bike Before

I am putting the mystery Schwinn on hold until the summer and I can properly set up the paint booth.  In the mean time I started work on Jeffrey's mid 1980's Schwinn Traveler.  I like these mid 80's Schwinns, I also like the color, Reminds me of the Bianchi green.

The Schwinn Traveler already has new tires, from there it will be a complete restoration.  New cables, housings and bar tape along with new brake levers and pads will bring this bicycle a little more up to date.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Bike Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Rear Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Rear Derailleur - Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Brake - Before
I started by tearing the bike down to the bare frame.  The frame is dirty and greasy, but the paint is in good shape.  There are some pretty big chips in the paint I would like to fill, this color will be a hard match, I hope I can find something.

With the frame stripped of components I started the cleaning and polishing.  I used a pretty strong paint cleaner on the light color to remove some of the staining and then polished out the paint.  The frame and fork polished nicely, I am pleased with the results.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Frame BB Before Cleaning

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Frame Rear Before Cleaning

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Frame Before Cleaning

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Frame Cleaned & Polished

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Frame Cleaned & Polished
While I have been working on the frame I have had the bottom bracket and headset soaking in the crock pot on low.  Dish Soap and water in a crock pot set on low does a great job of removing dried grease from bearings and small parts.  The crock pot finished up this morning and I wiped off the last of the grease, later today I will polish the pieces on the bench top buffer.  After the headset and bottom bracket are complete I think I will start work on the wheel set.  Check back for more.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Bottom Bracket & Headset - Before Crock Pot

I started work today by polishing the headset and bottom bracket components.  The headset polished very nicely along with the bottom bracket.  I assembled the headset and bottom bracket, the headset works wonderfully, the bottom bracket did not.  There was a grinding in the bottom bracket, I disassembled it a second time and check things out.  There is no wear, so I was not sure why there was grinding, assembling it the second time there was still a slight grind so I took it apart again.  After closer inspection I could not see anything wrong, so my solution was to replace the ball bearings with new.  I reassembled it and it is very smooth now.  I will be replacing the wheel ball bearings also just to be safe.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Bottom Bracket & Headset - Polished

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Headset Bearing Packed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Headset Complete

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Headset Complete
With the headset complete I started work on the stem.  The stem is painted black so I can not polish it on the bench buffer like I would with an unpainted stem.  The paint was dull and has two bad scratches in it, the scratches will repair pretty easy with touch up paint and a little sand paper.  I will do the touch up after the bike is complete.  The stem did polish very nice, I think it will look great with new handlebar tape and polished headset and bars.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Stem & Handle Bars Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Stem Polished

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Stem Installed
With the headset, stem, fork and bottom bracket installed I decided to start on the wheels.  The rims have some tarnish and scratches and are dirty but otherwise in good shape.  The hubs are dirty and tarnished but will polish nicely.  The bubs and bearings where very dirty and show a little wear but have plenty of miles on them yet.  With the new bearings the front wheel turns very smoothly.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Wheel Hub Cleaned

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Wheel Hub Polished

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Wheel Installed
I have the rear wheel disassembled and the components in the crock pot.  Tomorrow I will polish the wheel and assemble it and after that I have not decided what I will tackle next.  Check back tomorrow.

The last Couple of Days I have had the Flu that has been going around, it was awful.  Today I felt good enough to get some work done.  Today I finished the rear wheel.  There is a lot of corrosion on the wheels, after a good amount of polishing the hubs look great and the rims look pretty good.  I installed new ball bearings in the rear wheel also.  After Installation both wheels turn very smoothly.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Wheels Overhauled & Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler  - Rear Wheel Polished
With the wheels finished I started work on the crank, brake calipers and derailleurs.  I cleaned each components with soapy water and a brush, I then disassembled the crank and started polishing.  The alloy crank polished nicely on the buffer and the black chain ring polished pretty good by hand.  The black ring is painted and took care to polish correctly.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Crank Before

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Crank Disassembled

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Crank Polished & Installed

With the derailleurs and brake calipers cleaned they will polish up quickly tomorrow.  I was not at full strength yet today, so hopefully tomorrow I will get a lot done.

Update 1-12-13

The remnants of the flu has hung on a little, I have been a little weak and slow the last couple of days but got a lot done on the bike.  I would have been done with the bicycle a couple of days ago if it wasn't for the flu.

I polished the brake calipers and derailleurs, I also cleaned and lubricated the freewheel and pie plate.  Only thing left to do is clean and polish the seat post and peddles, and then run the housings, cables and bar tape.

The brake calipers cleaned and polished beautifully, I completely disassembled the calipers to do the polishing.  New Jagwire brake pads where installed.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Brake Caliper - Right Before - Left After

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Brake Caliper - Polished & Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Rear Brake Caliper - Polished & Installed

The derailleurs took a little more time then the brake calipers to clean, polish and lubricate.  One of the jockey wheels bolt was frozen in place and it looked like someone damaged the bolt in the past trying to remove it.  I used a lot of penetrating oil and a socket with absolutely no depth to it, this means the socket does not have a rounded edge to it, the socket teeth start right at the edge.  With the bolt removed I was able to polish the derailleur and overhaul the jockey wheels.

The derailleurs take patience to get to look nice, it is a combination of  bench top buffer and hand polishing to get into the nooks and crannies.  The derailleurs look great installed.

In the rear derailleur photo you can see the freewheel installed, the freewheel was cleaned and lubricated and turns smoothly.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Front Derailleur Before - Poor Photo

1980's Schwinn Traveler -  Front Derailleur - Polished & Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Rear Derailleur & Free Wheel Installed

Next I will clean and polish the seat post and shift levers and then update photos with the cables run.  Check back soon.

I finished off all the little details and tuning today.  I installed the cables and housings, peddles, chain and handlebar tape.  Everything turned out pretty nice.  It took sometime to get the rear derailleur to shift correct, but now it works smooth.  I still have to do the test ride in the morning and final tuning and photos.  I also am working on finding a touch up color that will be at least an okay match to the green.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Chain & Peddles Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Shift Levers Polished & Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Handle Bar Tape Installed

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Bicycle 99% Finished

I test road the Traveler and took final photos today.  It road smooth, the brake pads and rims need some time to break in, when rims get polished they need to be broken in.  It shifted well for a friction shift drive train, over all it road very smooth and tight.  It may ride even better then that, it is just to tall for me and I had to pay attention to the height more then the ride.  I really like the looks of the bike, I like the Bianchi type green and I really like the white, green and polished metal.  Thank you Jeffery for bring me the bike, I really enjoyed working on it.

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo - Side View

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo - Angle View

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo -
 Front View

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo - Drive Train

1980's Schwinn Traveler - Final Photo - Rear View


  1. Looks great John, I think the black accent pieces give it a really nice look with the color. May I ask what kind of tires it has and what kind of saddle is that.

  2. Hi Emmett,

    The tires are Forte Strada-k and the saddle is a Royalgel S2. I have not seen the tires before but they seem to be pretty nice tires. I also like the black and white against the green. I got a good start on your bike today Emmett, photos will be up tomorrow.


  3. Just stumbled across this site when I did a Google search for 80's Schwinn Traveler. Amazing work. I was just recently given one of these and hope to be able to spruce it up just as nice. I also saw the photos of the Specialized Hard Rock. I rescued one of those off the back of our local scrap guy's pickup. My co-workers thought I was crazy, but I see the same treasures lying beneath all the dirt as you I guess. Keep up the good work!

  4. Amazing! What is your secret for polishing? I am building a 87 Traveler into a commuter right now.

  5. The paint on my bike is pretty scrapped and has a few surface rust spots. Any tips on how to either salvage my paint job or what colors could I use to still give the appropriate period look?

  6. I have this same bike and it's this color I am wanting to sale