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Old 04-01-09, 09:22 PM   #1
Mockingbirdblue
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1988 Schwinn Le Tour shifter upgrade, Indexing?

I have a 1988 Schwinn Le Tour that I just bought off a guy, here in East Tennessee. The bike rides smooth. The problem that I have with it, is that I hate the down tube shifters. I was looking at my 2008 Raleigh Mojave 2.0 and realized that the trigger shifters, which I find to be amazingly comfortable, would fit on the drop downs. I have been reading up on this though, and it seems that I will have a hard time switching from friction to indexing. I am very new to biking and I am at a complete loss as to what I am getting myself into. How possible is this going to be? Everything that I have read says that I (from what I have gathered) should be able to switch the Rear Derailleur, but will have major problems with the FD. I don't have to go with triggers, but they are most comfortable to me. Either way I would really like to get rid of the down tube friction shifters.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:03 AM   #2
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Rear indexed shifting requires the same number of gears in the freewheel/cassette as the shifter. The shifter, cassette, and chain need to match the number of speeds. Depending on the current rear derailleur, it may also need to be replaced so it matches the cable pull ratio of an indexed shifter.

Also, based on a quick search, the Mojave appears to be a MTB. The shifters and brake levers have a clamp diameter of 22.2mm. Most drop bars have a 23.8mm diameter, so they won't fit.
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Old 04-02-09, 06:50 AM   #3
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I thought that there would be a reason that the shifters wouldn't work on my bike. I knew that it couldn't be that easy. Can you point me in the direction of some reading material that could show me how to do what I am talking about. My Google skills only take me so far.
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Old 04-02-09, 07:03 AM   #4
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The problem is that what you're talking about doing is arguably one of the more expensive upgrades to a drivetrain. So expensive that it's actually cheaper to find yourself a good, used, more modern bike with easy-access indexed shifting.
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Old 04-02-09, 01:18 PM   #5
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I am starting to find this out. Thanks for the help guys. This is disappointing news, but not entirely unexpected.
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Old 04-02-09, 03:57 PM   #6
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Can you point me in the direction of some reading material that could show me how to do what I am talking about.
http://sheldonbrown.com
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Old 04-02-09, 05:40 PM   #7
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As I recall, the 88 Schwinn Letour retailed for around $300 or so...I remember buying the Schwinn Traveler in 1986 for about $250.00 and the Letour was the next model up from the traveler so it wouldn't have been too much more expensive.

That should give you a relative idea of what this bike's value was so you can decide how much you want to invest in upgrading it. The frames of these models were quality though not very remarkable...they were built with double butted cro-moly tubing and if they were taken care of should still be good to go. I gave away my traveler a few years ago, I had converted it to a fixed gear way back when I was in college. We were moving across country and I had to pare down our belongings.

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Old 04-02-09, 09:47 PM   #8
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I have really fallen in love with this bike. I really plan on riding it until it dies, or I do. It has been well maintained, and I have my LBS ordering some parts for me. I have figured that I am going to go with friction shifters right on top of the bars. I have seen some bikes this way, and would love it way better seeing how my knees wont keep me from shifting anymore. This bike is my project for the next little bit, then I have a Fuji Monterrey, for my wife, and a 1978 Motocabane Grand Touring. My docket is pretty full. The Schwinn is my pet project, and I am going to eventually turn it into my dream bike. I am planning on painting it with a Raleigh Sojourn paint scheme. Though I would like to add some green to it.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:53 PM   #9
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Would you consider using barcon shifters (the levers are mounted in the ends of the bars)? If so, you will find this to be a much easier, cheaper solution.

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Old 04-03-09, 08:11 AM   #10
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I have never ridden with Barcons, I don't know how comfortable they would be for me, the biggest issue was having to stop pedaling so I could shift, my knees kept blocking my hands. I think that I could handle Barcon shifters, how expensive are they?
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Old 04-03-09, 09:04 AM   #11
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+1 to bar end shifters on that bike, I bet you would like them.

BTW, I like '80's le tours also. I've got three '80's le tours (also had a '79 Schwinn Traveler), don't ride them much anymore, but I can tell you the le tour had quite an evolution through the years, and by the late '80's was a very nice, affordable bicycle (actually, for any given time period, it always was). And from 1983 through the time Schwinn went bankrupt in the early '90's, they were made in the USA (Greenville, Mississippi Schwinn plant)-

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Old 04-03-09, 09:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
The problem is that what you're talking about doing is arguably one of the more expensive upgrades to a drivetrain. So expensive that it's actually cheaper to find yourself a good, used, more modern bike with easy-access indexed shifting.
Your best bet is to find a donor road bike with the type of components you are seeking. Hit the garage sale/thrift store circuit. Warning: the donor you find could well be a lot better than your LeTour.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:33 AM   #13
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i should chime in.....if you do the work, consider it a labor of love & do it to enjoy RIDING the bike...that way the $$ put in becomes rather moot.

I have an '87 LeTour that I really dig. I kept the friction drivetrain (for now), but use suntour bar end shifters, 105 brakes/aero levers & a moustache bar. You could do 9 speed indexed bar ends & find some pretty inexpensive modern wheels (=< $150 new, much less used) that will take a 9 speed cassette (=< $20 used with some Ebay luck). The wheels will likely be 700c, so you may be maxed out on stock brake caliper reach & need some of the Tektro longer reach road calipers (about $40 bike island). The 9 speed bar end shifters go for between $45-$75 on Ebay. You could end up wanting some new levers (free to $30ish). So, basically throw another $300 or so into it & you have "modern" convenience with cool old-school lugged steel....which you can buy new for maybe $2500 these days (albeit, a much finer build in every respect...but you don't find economy new lugged steel frames these days, right?)

In truth, my LeTour was probably about $150 total & it's a pleasure to ride....but I don't have to have indexed shifting to be happy.
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Old 04-03-09, 09:06 PM   #14
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I agree that I don't need indexing to be happy. The biggest problem I have is that the friction shifters are in the way of my knees. I have ridden a couple of bikes with the shifters mounted on the stem, and I am much happier with this setup. I simply wanted indexing, but am cool with anything as long it is not in the way.
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Old 04-27-09, 10:09 PM   #15
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This may be a little late, but I have an '87 LeTour (used) that came with (and least came to me with) a Shimano Light Action RD and a corresponding 6 speed freewheel. This was an early, I think, Shimano indexing system. Not sure if this is similar to your '88 LeTour, but I was able to find some used (got in used bin for a few bucks) Shimano, SIS, 6 speed indexed stem shifters. Stem shifters mount up on, well, the stem near the center of the handlebars. This way, I get the indexing and have the shifters up top (where I like them on my around town bike). Even if you don't have an indexing system, it should be pretty easy to get friction stem shifters that you could put on the bike. This would get the shifters away from your knees. Any LBS that sells used bikes, or has used parts, should have a million of these - and cheap. On ebay as well. The FD is just plain old friction, which is fine when you only have a couple chainrings.
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