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Old 07-03-11, 03:53 PM   #1
bluefoxicy
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Schwinn Le Tour from 20-ish years ago?

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/bik/2433522778.html

This came down from $195 but I'm thinking I only want to go like $60-$100 in. The reason is, of course, the bike hasn't been ridden in 100 years so I'm thinking:
  • It needs new cables
  • It needs new brake pads (good pads will work fine on old style cantilevers, right?)
  • It definitely needs new (27-inch) tires

That derailleur and cassette will need some attention too (rusting, but I think it's usable), and the wheels... maybe a 700c upgrade is warranted; but an upgrade is necessary if they're steel and rusty. They look in good condition from here, though.

The whole thing will need to be taken apart, lubricated, and tuned up regardless. I don't know if those wheels need to be trued or rebuilt; do the spokes eventually go bad from hot-cold cycling between 100+F and 10 below freezing in the garage?

I'm thinking it'll take about $70-$100 of parts (cables, brakes, tires) to make it road ready and a lot of work, plus tons of labor (my own time or paying a mechanic). I'm looking for a bike I can take out at night with the risk of it getting stolen, not a new regular commuter; I don't want to sink $400 into it.

Maybe I'm undervaluing the bike itself, though, since it is a nicely built Panasonic; but that's an issue for Classic & Vintage. At the moment I'm concerned on the hidden costs of buying a garage-sitter that's been inactive for 20 years.
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Old 07-03-11, 04:02 PM   #2
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Could be a perfectly good steel frame , to build as a core up from.
they had a contract with a Japan based factory I believe..,then.

but , you can get a good ready to ride bike, new, for $400.

If you don't get any pleasure out of restoring an older bike,
then Buy a new one..

or upgrade your locking system to secure what you have , to the best practical.. level.
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Old 07-03-11, 04:04 PM   #3
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I can't read the tubing sticker, but if it is 1020 hi-tensil steel it's worth 70-ish. If it is 4130 Cro-Mo I would say around 100. That's if I was buying it for myself. I have run across them for 20-50 in "need to be rebuilt condition" to flip.

As long as the cables aren't rusted, they should be ok. Same goes for the spokes/wheels. clean and re-grease bottom bracket, headset, wheel bearings, lube chain and cables. New tires, tubes and brake shoes. Unless it has been subject to damp weather, and everything is rusted. See if shifters move the derailleurs and brake levers move the brakes.

A lot of LeTour's I run across have aluminum rims.
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Old 07-03-11, 04:09 PM   #4
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I intend on locking the thing up with a Krypto Evo-4 Mini or whatever the "can't be beat" lock is for around $40-ish. Sometimes it doesn't matter.

I don't think I can get a full Shimano Sora set for $100, or I'd spend $40 on a frame (there's plenty of Panasonic etc frames out there for $40 or less) and slap on some cheap wheels and components.

The current bike I'm riding is a bike I got for $450, which is what I'm trying to not take out under elevated risk of theft. I have a coworker who's gone through like 8 Wal-Mart bikes when he lived in my area. One he lost because some guy used a battering ram to tear down his front door and steal it; then he bought a $200 solid security door and a $15 Wal-Mart bike to replace it, and a month later came home to find his solid security door torn down by sledge hammer and his $15 bike gone. I'm going to park mine chained to a pole downtown in the street after 10pm for 2-4 hours while I'm blocks away.

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As long as the cables aren't rusted, they should be ok. Same goes for the spokes/wheels. clean and re-grease bottom bracket, headset, wheel bearings, lube chain and cables. New tires, tubes and brake shoes. Unless it has been subject to damp weather, and everything is rusted. See if shifters move the derailleurs and brake levers move the brakes.
Ah, cool, so not that expensive. Pretty much it's just going to need a simple tune-up and tubes/tires then, in the most likely case. Actually, my local bike shop does a full tune-up for like $75 which includes cleaning/adjustment/greasing of all headset/bottom bracket/axle bearings, adjustment of all cables, replacement of any worn cables, truing of wheels, and some other stuff.

So all I gotta do is find some 27 inch slicks and tubes. Throw some good brake pads on, get a $9 spoke wrench and true the wheels, ... I have no idea how to get inside any of the bearings though. I may need tools for that, or just pay my LBS to do it.

Last edited by bluefoxicy; 07-03-11 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 07-03-11, 04:16 PM   #5
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Single speed conversion would be pretty cheap..
A rear freewheel hub can be 'de-dished',
and work fine, with a few axle spacers swapped around
to center the hub between the dropouts.

pick up a chain and a freewheel and pick your ratio..
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Old 07-03-11, 04:21 PM   #6
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Single speed would be like .. fatal. Why would you ever do that? It'd be impossible to get around town, except near the harbor where the land's flat.
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Old 07-03-11, 06:10 PM   #7
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Single speed would be like .. fatal. Why would you ever do that? It'd be impossible to get around town, except near the harbor where the land's flat.
A week ago my wife and I went on a 50-mile ride, with 1,000 feet of climbing/descending in the middle 10 miles. We were passed by an older gent riding a single-speed. It was impressive.
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Old 07-03-11, 06:25 PM   #8
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The Le Tour IV is from 1979. That one is "Frosty Blue, " looks like a 21" frame (the smallest offered that year). 1979 and 1980 are the only two model years that Le Tours were built in the Chicago Schwinn plant, FWIW.

http://velobration.com/sldbconsumer/1979/79ccpg04.html
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Old 07-03-11, 07:53 PM   #9
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http://www.velo-pages.com/main.php?g2_itemId=27987

"Certified 1020 Aisi Tubing": Fancy way of saying hi-tensile steel.

Steel rims not so good for utililty use.
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Old 07-03-11, 08:38 PM   #10
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Personally I think $150 is too much for that bike...but that's just me and some here would probably argue against me on that, but that's OK. If the bike was never ridden much you probably wouldn't need new cables for a while. You may not even need brake pads if their not worn, just run a piece of fine sand paper or emery paper across the surface of the pads to remove surface hardening due to age. Before you buy tires check to make sure they need to be replaced; if so Nashbar sell a few 27" tires including a decent Conti Gatorskin if you want a really good tire. If you need new tires you need new tubes, you can get those at Nashbar too in that size or even a 700c 20-23 tube will fit as long as it's a Schrader valve. I converted my Le Tour Luxe to a Presta valves by using a simple rim hole adapter; see: http://www.amazon.com/Schrader-Prest.../dp/B000XNZU1S I did that so I could use any of my presta pumps on it and tubes are easier to find.

Personally I think if the bike is in great shape then I would offer $125 and explain you need to do a lot of work to it to make it rideable and point out those things. But again, I wouldn't buy one. I got the Luxe used with about 250 original miles, and the owner kept it covered since 85 and it looked brand new and needed nothing, so I gave him $80 for it which was his asking price.
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Old 07-03-11, 10:13 PM   #11
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I used to sell those and assembled quite a few.
At the time that model was a huge improvement in the Schwinn lineup. Much lighter and better handling than their long in the tooth butt welded behemoths.
All that said, I was not overly impressed with the early Le Tour and felt the frames had a real dead feeling ride. For a few more bucks you could have a ChroMo tube Voyager that had nicer components and was a very nice riding bike.
I'd pass on the Le Tour unless it was in the 50 buck range and even then I probably ride it as a beater.

$0.02
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Old 07-04-11, 07:03 AM   #12
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+1 Not worth the effort.

I buy (and sell) quite a few vintage bikes. For it to make sense financially, the best deals are bikes in "project" condition (need work, often a lot of work), and then you have to have the time/tools/aptitude/space/interest/access to affordable parts. If you have to pay someone to do the work, a great deal quickly can become a bad deal. Its pretty easy for a shop rehab bill to exceed the cost of the finished bike. So even a free bike can be a "bad" deal financially, depending on condition and who does the work.

This particular bike is in project condition, but priced as if it is ready to ride (actually higher than that, the last LeTour IV I sold went for $125, and it had new tires, cables, tubes, bearings, grease, fully serviced and ready to go: clearly I did not make much on that one....)

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Old 07-04-11, 07:37 AM   #13
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Problem with old bikes is that some bikes are selling for far more then their worth, it's difficult to find an original Schwinn Varsity for less then $100 and those things were 48 pound piles of junk when they were new! So if I had to chose between a Varisty and a Letour for the same price or close I would get the Letour. Again personally I wouldn't buy the Letour.
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Old 07-04-11, 08:18 AM   #14
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Realize at the price range you want ($60 to $100), you are going to have to look very hard to find something in a good market like Baltimore. And the best deals on C/L last about a nanosecond. So you have to be able to quickly spot a deal (no time for a "hey is this one a good deal?" thread), get in the car and drive. I can guarantee you that there are knowledgeable scoopers in your area doing this all of the time. So to compete with those guys, you have to move lightning fast.

And chances are, anything decent in that price range (not an XMart bike) is going to need a lot of work. So that is back to the question do you have the tools/time/knowledge/aptitude/access to cheap parts, and so on.

At the low price point you are hoping to find, is often better to use less public sales, like word of mouth, or garage sales (but on garage sales, you are lucky to find a decent bike, and when you do, chances are it is not going to be your size).

And the better deals will probably be MTBs.
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Old 07-04-11, 10:35 AM   #15
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+1 Not worth the effort.

I buy (and sell) quite a few vintage bikes. For it to make sense financially, the best deals are bikes in "project" condition (need work, often a lot of work), and then you have to have the time/tools/aptitude/space/interest/access to affordable parts. If you have to pay someone to do the work, a great deal quickly can become a bad deal. Its pretty easy for a shop rehab bill to exceed the cost of the finished bike. So even a free bike can be a "bad" deal financially, depending on condition and who does the work.

This particular bike is in project condition, but priced as if it is ready to ride (actually higher than that, the last LeTour IV I sold went for $125, and it had new tires, cables, tubes, bearings, grease, fully serviced and ready to go: clearly I did not make much on that one....)
You finished my thoughts pretty well. Maybe we are related.

I too enjoy rescuing vintage bikes. The place I usually pick them up is at the local recycling centers where they are headed for the scrap heap.
I've picked up some very nice bikes over the years but if I can't get them for less than 20 bucks it is usually not worth the eventual cost/effort and that is with me doing all my own work.
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Old 07-04-11, 11:23 AM   #16
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And the better deals will probably be MTBs.
Everyone here has a mountain bike. Road bikes are nearly unheard of. Having drop handle bars might be an effective anti-theft strategy. O_O Kind of like a car with a stick shift...
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Old 07-04-11, 02:53 PM   #17
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I can't read the tubing sticker, but if it is 1020 hi-tensil steel it's worth 70-ish. If it is 4130 Cro-Mo I would say around 100. That's if I was buying it for myself. I have run across them for 20-50 in "need to be rebuilt condition" to flip.

As long as the cables aren't rusted, they should be ok. Same goes for the spokes/wheels. clean and re-grease bottom bracket, headset, wheel bearings, lube chain and cables. New tires, tubes and brake shoes. Unless it has been subject to damp weather, and everything is rusted. See if shifters move the derailleurs and brake levers move the brakes.

A lot of LeTour's I run across have aluminum rims.
I can't speak for pricing, but that's an accurate assessment of what is probably needed to get an old ten speed on the road that we haven't seen. Clean and grease all bearings, not forgetting the pedals, adjust the derailleurs if needed. There's a reason that bike boom ten speeds are still a common sight on the bike trails.

When your finished, MOVE THE HELL OUT OF BALTIMORE! When bikes thieves use battering rams to get at the goods, it aint worth hanging around.
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