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Old 06-23-02, 09:22 AM   #1
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Bike Found In Trash - Please Help!

Yep, it looks like a 70's-80's model Schwinn Le Tour large steel-frame road (tour - my size!) bike, 10-speed. It's got serious issues, although the frame, fork and handlebars are intact.
No brake pads on front. Chain, crank, pedals, rims, spokes, derailleurs and the rear gear sprockets are super-rusted. It looks like a possible whole drivetrain replacement and for that matter, probably needs new brakes - well, let's just say maybe everything except frame, fork and handlebars.
My questions to you are: is it worth fixing up? Is there a complete component replacement package available for old bikes? How much is something like that (surely, there's a wide scope)? Since there are semi-horizontal drop-outs on the frame, would this be a good candidate for internally geared hub?
Thanks,
Dying for a good road bike
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Old 06-23-02, 01:43 PM   #2
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Strip the bottom bracket and check the chainstays for internal corrosion.

Sounds like a potential for hub gear conversion, but check the rear width of the dropouts. According to
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/nexus.html
you need 130mm
Here is another similar conversion:
http://www.phred.org/~alex/bikes/trek400.html

The Nexus hubs and shifters are fine, but forget the cranks.
You can get versions with internal hub brakes, not as sharp in the dry, but better in the wet. If your frame is for 27" rims, you can just build up with 700c rims, and enjoy the extra clearance.
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Old 06-23-02, 03:03 PM   #3
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Internally geared hubs require a 135mm dropout spacing, and the old Schwinn 10-speeds have a 120mm dropout spacing. since the bike has a lot of rusted parts already, I would say that this frame is a very poor choice for such a project. spreading these dropouts will likely result in catastrophic chainstay failure. Besides, it sounds like you could buy an entire bike for less than the $$ it's going to cost you to put this thing together. Once it is built, it's still going to be on an old, cheap, heavy, worn-out frame; what's the point?
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Old 06-23-02, 10:47 PM   #4
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Bikes-N-Drums; you ended your questions with: Dieing for a good road bike. The Schwin isn't it. It is good for casual riding --going to the store, knocking about the neighborhood with little kids etc-- but it's not a good road bike.

Unless you have a source for inexpensive parts, it might become costly. I doubt that you could buy a new bike for what it will cost to fix this one and I woulldn't go with 700 wheels either --you'd have trouble trying to find brakes that would fit the smaller rims. All the rusted stuff can be cleaned up with sreel wool and chrome cleaner from the auto supply store--even the Freewheel. Soak the chain in oil and test it link by link for frozen links or buy another chain for $10. or less.

...but it will never be a good road bike. It could be a good Interum bike, while you are saving for the good road bike.
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Old 06-24-02, 09:13 PM   #5
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Hey B-N-D, I agree with the others. It would be a good beater but not much more. Inspect the tubes thoroughly before riding.

If you don't have parts lying around then it might be a losing proposition. save up a few bucks and check out some garage sales for something more worth it.
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Old 06-24-02, 11:24 PM   #6
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Well, I strongly disagree with anybody who says that the Schwinn Le Tour is a beater.

The Schwinn Le Tour (especially the Super Le Tour) is an excellent bike by ANY standards. It was not the typical gas-pipe Schwinn bicycle.

It is quality lugged butted chromoly 1020 tubing - very light and very strong. The components are all of very good quality. The Le Tour was 100% made in Japan as were ALL of it's components with the exception of the rims which were imported from Holland.

I question the cranks rusting, however. My Schwinn Super Le Tour has aluminum cranks which do not rust.

My personal opinion is that you are lucky not to have the wheels. The sidewalls of the rims were a bit short and there was no tire-bead flange, so it limited the tires to 70 psi and were prone to blow-outs. Get yourself some aluminum rims/wheels from a 1980's bike.

Brake pads are easy to get. I would avoid the cheapo pads from X-mart, though. They do not brake well.

I say rebuild the Le Tour and you will have a respectable road bike.

Last edited by mike; 06-24-02 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 06-25-02, 04:01 AM   #7
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This sounds like a good candidate for the bicycle-coffee-table mentioned in another thread....minimal $ invested, and you'll have a neat-O story about how you found it, stripped it, painted it psychedelic orange-yellow-green-blue whatever to wow your coffee and tea drinking friends
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Old 06-25-02, 04:53 AM   #8
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With the exception of Mike, nobody seemed to want to do anything to this bike. In fact, when I told people "I have a Schwinn Le Tour", the next thing heard was a noise like someone stepped in a dog pile - kind of an "uuugggh". The guys at the Schwinn shop suggested I just get a new bike (naturally). A couple of other guys who rebuild old bikes (after giving the obligatory "ugh") also declined from helping. I tried to give it to another guy for parts and he told me to keep it. One guy said he could do it, but it was 2-3 hundred just to get it rolling again and we could go from there, but I'd be way better off just getting a new bike. My junkyard-junkie roommate seems to think he can get as much as $2 for the steel in the bike and it's possibly headed out to the scrapyard.
In this Schwinn adventure, I found that one of these guys has a nice Raleigh R500 on which he's improved the components that he'll part with at low price. At this point, it seems a better way to go than rebuilding this old Schwinn. Thanks for all the advice. If anyone wants this thing drop me a line.
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Old 06-25-02, 04:59 AM   #9
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If Mike says it's a good road bike, I retract everything said above, and bow to his greater wisdom. My experience with Schwinn is that they are heavy and beautifully made works of art. Mine is lugless, slightly less than a ton and is used only when riding with the grand kids. (It used to be my everyday commuter.) But this is the only kind of Schwinn I'm familiar with, so again, I say, if Mike says it's a good bike, I believe him. Fix it, ride it, enjoy it. You won't be sorry.
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Old 06-25-02, 06:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by ljbike
If Mike says it's a good road bike, I retract everything said above, and bow to his greater wisdom. My experience with Schwinn is that they are heavy and beautifully made works of art. Mine is lugless, slightly less than a ton and is used only when riding with the grand kids. (It used to be my everyday commuter.) But this is the only kind of Schwinn I'm familiar with, so again, I say, if Mike says it's a good bike, I believe him. Fix it, ride it, enjoy it. You won't be sorry.
Thank, ljbike. You see, like ljbike, most people hear "Schwinn" and they think of the old welded gas pipes. The Le Tour was a very unique bicycle in the Schwinn legacy in many ways.

It was made in Japan to compete against the up-scale European bikes that were taking over the market in the late 1970's.

There were several models of Le Tour and several Schwinn touring bikes made in Japan - quite rare actually. Some of the high end Japanese Schwinns are just gorgeous bicycles of outstanding quality. I thought I had seen everything until I saw - what was it?... a Japanese made Schwinn deluxe Tourist? Something like that. My teeth almost fell out of my head it was so beautiful.

Just to be sure, I started the quality check with the rear drop-outs. No more stamped out chunks of iron on this bike. NOOoooo, this was a handsomely crafted drop-out of superior quality. All the components were top-drawer. The workmanship was artistic.

Don't jump to conclusions when you hear the words "Schwinn Road Bike". An old Schwinn Paramount, for example, will ride as nicely as just about anything you get in the bike shop today that you don't have to special order.
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Old 06-25-02, 08:53 AM   #11
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So you won't think me totally ignorant, mike, I did know about the quality of the Paramount, but that's where my knowledge ended. I have a couple friends who still ride them.

Thanks for the history lesson.
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Old 06-25-02, 10:26 AM   #12
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FYI, Schwinns higher-end road bikes were hand fillet brazed in the same shop as the paramonts. Once they were built, they got the same paint and serial numbering scheme as the low-end bikes, so they're pretty obscure.

Unfortunately, I do not beleve this is one of those bikes (the super sport, sports tourer, superior models), and is only as valuable as the money you put into it. If you want to doublecheck, flip the bike over and look at the bottom bracket shell. If there is a seam across the bottom, its an electro-forged steel frame, not a fillet brazed frame.

From my perspective, I say keep it anyway. You can never have too many. (I have 16, including a 65 Supersport and a few low-end electroforged models.
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Old 06-25-02, 11:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by stumpjumper
FYI, Schwinns higher-end road bikes were hand fillet brazed in the same shop as the paramonts. Once they were built, they got the same paint and serial numbering scheme as the low-end bikes, so they're pretty obscure.

Unfortunately, I do not beleve this is one of those bikes (the super sport, sports tourer, superior models), and is only as valuable as the money you put into it. If you want to doublecheck, flip the bike over and look at the bottom bracket shell. If there is a seam across the bottom, its an electro-forged steel frame, not a fillet brazed frame.

From my perspective, I say keep it anyway. You can never have too many. (I have 16, including a 65 Supersport and a few low-end electroforged models.
Again, the Le Tour was made in Japan. It was not made in Chicago and it was not electroforged. It was lugged butted tubing.

It is a completely different bike than the Supersport. The only thing Schwinn about the Le Tour was the decal.

By the way, Stumpjumper, it's neat that you have 16 bikes!
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Old 06-26-02, 10:19 AM   #14
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chuckles and reads ALL of your post this time

Sorry, I'm stuck in the 1950-1975 era of bikes!
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