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Need Advice: Vintage Trek vs Schwinn
Hi, I am fairly new to bikes, but have been trying to find a cheap, yet light and durable bike on Craiglist. I found these two in my size (46 to 49cm), but I'm wondering which is the better bike.

I'm inclined to go with the Trek simply because I know the name is reliable, yet the Schwinn looks like it has been kept in better condition. Does anyone know which will be the better bike in the long-run? Which will requires less tune-ups or problems down the road? This will be my first road bike, and I plan to learn about bikes and fix it on my own if something were to go wrong.




Both nice bikes. Similar equipment, frames etc. I kind of like the Schwinn 12.2 ,Super Le Tours were nice. I think Schwinns hold their value a bit better, but Trek is good too. Depending where made. Schwinn frames made in Japan by Panasonic are great, Taiwan is OK.....Doubt any are USA made, if so get it........becoming rare. Looks like the top brake lever was a dealer option.


Pick the cleaner one with service including bearings( wheels, crank. steering) ..........Both should have aluminum rims, stainless steel spokes are a plus.......

Which color do you like better. Good luck. Do some bargaining , never hurts to ask.
Never Give Up!!!
IF in equal condition there is no difference. Both are cro-mo.

It comes down to which feels better during the test ride.
Is it just me or does that Schwinn have 27" wheels & the Trek 700c? I would never suggest the former for a first bike to learn to work on & keep for a long period.
27" tire selection is a joke versus 700c.
It's expensive to convert to 700c down the road.
They both have freewheels & old discontinued groups. I would rather have the Trek. You'll need a pump compatible with presta inner tube valves.
I'd start out with a larger rear tire for a few months, a 28mm if it will fit. Going from a MTB/City bike to a roadie with 23mm knife edge tires can be a bit of an eye opener. Watch out for potholes.
Have you bought bikes on CL before? The Trek needs a new chain ($15-20ish). You need to measure it to check for stretch, you might need a new rear freewheel too ($20ish). Squeeze every pair of spokes to look for broken ones. Are the wheels, especially the rear, fairly true? Brake pads fried? ($10ish per pair). Do the brakes release properly, or does one side rub after a few uses?
As nfmisso said either frame should last a lifetime, it's just to me, I don't like 27" wheels they're a deal breaker to me.
OK, I admit it, the Schwinn is better looking.
Had no idea that the 27" wheels required so much more work than the 700cc. AS per tire selection I got mine at a bike shop around the corner, no problem work fine for me. Have not converted to 700cc, have no plans.:-)))

No I would not make that a deal breaker. Otherwise as have been said close call....Get the nicer one. If you can test ride.
Never Give Up!!!
You should give them a test ride before they are sold. If that Schwinn was a few years older I'd check to make sure there was a lip on the rims.
Jeff - I don't see a conversion issue, both the front and rear brakes on the Schwinn have more than enough pad travel to change to ISO622 (700c).

I agree with George, ISO630 (27") vs ISO622 (700c) is just a minor difference, the choice should be based on riding and condition.

So far, my World Tourist with ISO630 wheels is still my nicest riding bike. Am starting to really work on understanding why.
10-4 to that. Great butted cro mo steel frames . I love the way my 85 Fuji feels so lively ( quad butted valulite frame) and just inspires me to explode.:-) Its 27 inch wheels. Everyone who tries it is impressed with the ride .
Never Give Up!!!
(08-13-2013, 12:23 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  Jeff - I don't see a conversion issue, both the front and rear brakes on the Schwinn have more than enough pad travel to change to ISO622 (700c).
I didn't notice that the brakes had enough adjustment, good call. You & George have had different experiences with 27 wheels than myself (& every bike friend I know). Nigel builds wheels, which makes problems a moot point. Also tire selection is about 50 to 1 for a given width.
Bike manufacturers may have stopped using 27" wheels for the irrelevant 130g per bike it saves, who knows.
I'm going to stick with my initial feeling, if both bikes ride nicely I'd take the Trek.
C'mon Caceres18, what did you decide?
Just found the specs for the 560 Trek, yes indeed if its in good condition grab it. Its 3 lbs lighter than Schwinn and USA made from what I read.

Never Give Up!!!
I am shocked that the Schwinn is only 3lbs heavier.
But as a wise man told me, older frames made for 27" wheels often have more relaxed frame geometry (except uber race models) so you get that more pleasant ride experience.
With the same rider, the Trek will probably feel like a slightly more nervous twitchy ride, but if you want quick......
1FJEF...... You should educate yourself about the vintage bikes, some great ones out there. The Schwinn Paramounts can weigh under 22 lbs and the Super le Tour made by Panasonic in Japan had great frames at 24 lbs. Panasonic." Team America " and the 4000dx and 5000dx bikes were wining big races.
Panasonic, Fiji, Bridgestone, Miyata and few other Japan made bikes in the 70-80's were great, on the mid to top end.
My Fiji del Rey is around 24 lbs naked and 27 with all the extras.

Many modern bikes weigh a lot more , those figures are no longer given in specs., but close to 30 lbs ....... at the $3000 + you start finding light weights, but mostly composite.


You are right about the relaxed geometry. the Trek is more racer specked.

Another MIA poster, at least gave us something to talk about.
Never Give Up!!!
Not MIA! I've truly appreciated your responses, but am not as knowledgeable as you all and didn't know when to jump in!

But I asked a friend about the wheels and he said to go for the Trek as well because it'll be easier if I need new tires, replacement wheels, etc. But that it's not the worst if I go with the 27" wheels. Which sounds exactly like the conversation on here, except you all provided more information.

Conclusion: Jeff: you asked if I had bought bikes on Craigslist before and I have not; I called the Trek and asked them some questions (without seeing it) and it seems like I would have to fix it up a little bit, but completely do-able fixes. (I also noticed that he lowered the price down $20 after that.)
George, you mentioned which color I liked better (and I did like the black) and made it sound like if I wanted to change wheels or anything, it wouldn't be a problem for the Schwinn.
Someone also mentioned it being a quick racer bike, which is not necessarily what I'm looking for in my first road bike...maybe later when I'm more experienced.
So I'm going to check out the Schwinn on Friday!

Thank you all very much for your help. I learned quite a bit and started to research some more things from your conversation. I'll keep you updated!
Cool, thanks for the update, good luck,you cannot go wrong with either bike. Test ride will be great at showing differences. As has been said the Trek is more hard core, the Schwinn more relaxed, also it seems serviced and ready to go. Its a win , win situation..........Do not wait too long, here in CA the bikes get snapped up quickly, we have year round riding.
Never Give Up!!!
(08-14-2013, 01:25 PM)GeorgeET Wrote:  1FJEF...... You should educate yourself about the vintage bikes, some great ones out there.
My touring bike is from 1984-86, 27" wheels. I had no idea that this particular Schwinn was anything other than the low end of mid level. I guess they wouldn't call it Super Le Tour if it wasn't upscale. It is a pretty bike. I bet it needs new tires/tubes. Maybe brake pads too.
George, the rims won't be the lipless ones, right? That was earlier?
Seems like almost every CL bike I look at needs a chain & rear gears once I inspect it.
(08-15-2013, 04:59 AM)1FJEF Wrote:  I bet it needs new tires/tubes. Maybe brake pads too.
George, the rims won't be the lipless ones, right? That was earlier?
Seems like almost every CL bike I look at needs a chain & rear gears once I inspect it.

Maybe. maybe not, the ad says that it was just tuned up.

The original tires were 80 or 90 psi; same as the World Tourist. I wish it were my size, the double butted cro-mo frame is nice.
The Super le Tours were in the upper end of Schwinns bikes. There were changes over the years with the last ones being made again in USA with Columbus Steel frames, same as top end bikes....

I am surprised this one has the upper brake levers usually seen on "beginner" bikes, easily removed if so desired. . May be a dealer add on. Very nice bike. I could not find any here in CA and got the Fuji del Rey from my neighbor which turned out to be a great quad butted frame bike. Yes it needed tires , BB, wheel ball bearings, seat, but it was well worth it.
Never Give Up!!!
(08-14-2013, 02:35 PM)Caceres18 Wrote:  Not MIA!
So I'm going to check out the Schwinn on Friday!
I'll keep you updated!
So update us, lol. I noticed that the Schwinn listing is deleted.

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