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Old 07-08-06, 07:46 AM   #1
Little Darwin
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Schwinn LeTour II / III / IV

Let me preface by stating that my first road bike was a LeTour IV that I bought new. There is one on eBay that looks identical, and is the same size... I am thinking of bidding on it, but as I looked at it and other bikes, something hit me as strange.

The LeTour IV has a label on it for 1020... No big deal, I don't need light weight.

However, I saw another LeTour on eBay (II or III, I forget which) that it stated was cromo... Was the cromo statement wrong, or did the numbered LeTour frames take a downgrade for the IV? Perhaps they did what some modern manufacturers do, and low numbers are better?

Any insight on the hierarchy?

And on a side note, would the LeTour IV frame hold up well with a mega-clydesdale?
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Old 07-08-06, 08:00 AM   #2
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I know I love mine, which is also the 1020 version. http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j7...dt/letours.jpg


I'm down to 215 now, but it held up well when I was at 240 (I was over 317 a a few years ago. Biking saved my life). Schwinn's reputation was made on the strength of their frames. I think you'll be fine (and delighted) with the LeTour.

Yes, many LeTours are chrome-moly. They were made in Japan, Mississippi, and Chicago.

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Old 07-08-06, 10:23 AM   #3
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Darwin,

Until 1976, there was only the Schwinn-Approved "Le Tour", which was imported from Japan and was the only Schwinn leightweight with a lugged frame besides the Paramount. The frame was single butted 1020 steel and weighed ~31 pounds.

In 1976, the "Ultra-Lightweight 'Super Le Tour 12.2'" was added to the standard "Le Tour" in the lineup. The Super Le Tour 12.2 used double butted chrome-moly top and down tubes and weighed ~26.5 pounds. The Superior had chrome-moly frame.

In 1977, the standard Le Tour morphed into the Le Tour II, 1020 single butted carbon steel weighing ~29 pounds while the Super Le Tour 12.2 remained pretty much as it was in 1976. The Volare this year had a Reynolds 531 double-butted frame, and the Superior had a 4130 chrome-moly frame.

1978 - Super Le Tour 12.2, double butted chrome-moly top and down tubes, ~26.5 pounds; Le Tour III with 1020 carbon steel weighing ~31 pounds. The Volare this year had a Reynolds 531 double-butted frame.

1979 - Super Le Tour II with torch brazed lug frame of 18 ga. 1020 carbon steel built in the Chicago factory weighed ~28 pounds. Le Tour IV with Chicago factory built torch brazed lug frame, 18 ga. 1020 carbon steel, weighed ~30 pounds.

1980 - Super Le Tour and Le Tour, both with torch brazed 18 ga. 1020 carbon steel frames. Super Le Tour weighed ~28 pounds, Le Tour weighed ~30 pounds. This year the Voyageur 11.8 had 4130 chrome-moly double-butted top and down tubes.

1981 - Le Tour, Super Le Tour, and Le Tour Tourist all had 1020 carbon steel frames. This year the Superior had Reynolds 531 frame and the Super Sport had 4130 chrome-moly with double butted top and down tubes.

1982 - Super Le Tour, Le Tour, and Le Tour Tourist all had 1020 carbon steel frames. The Superior had Reynolds 531 double-butted frame with Tange front fork, while the Super Sport, Super Sport SP, Voyageur SP, and Voyageur 11.8 all had 4130 chrome-moly frames.

1983 - Super Le Tour, Le Tour Luxe, an Le Tour all got 4130 chrome-moly. The Super Le Tour frame was double-butted, but the Le Tour Luxe and Le Tour weren't double-butted. The Superior still had a Reynolds 531 frame, and the Super Sport SP, Super Sport, Voyageur SP and Voyageur all had Tange Champion No. 2 double-butted chrome-moly frames.

1984 - Le Tour Luxe had 4130 chrome-moly double butted man tubes and chrome-moly stays. The Peloton and Voyageur used Columbus SL and SP tues, while the Super Sport, Tempo, and Voyageur used Champion chrome-moly custom blend double-butted tubes.

1985 - Le Tour and Super Le Tour had Columbus Tenax double-butted main tubes, while the Le Tour had 4130 chrome-moly double-butted main tubes. The Peloton and Voyageur SP had Columbus SL and SP mix double-butted tubes, while the Super Sport, Tempo, and Voyageur had Columbus Tenax chrome-moly custom blend double butted tubes.
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Old 07-08-06, 11:13 AM   #4
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Stan,

Great information! I really like my 1982 Le Tour l but I can sure feel its heft when I hoist it into my truck.
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Old 07-08-06, 09:31 PM   #5
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Thanks Stan!

When I had my Le Tour IV I was a Marine, and weight was not an issue....

I lived on the first floor and didn't have a car, so no rack there either.

I do remember I descended some slopes really quickly.

I also remember it being a pretty stable ride...

Maybe I will have to go make a bid on a Le Tour IV for sentimental reasons...
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Old 07-08-06, 10:15 PM   #6
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I have my bid in for this sweet looking Le Tour IV...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=300004275384

But for bidding purposes, I wonder if anyone can tell me about upgrading.

Is the headset a standard 1" threaded? I know some early Schwinns weren't. but I wonder about the Le Tour IV in 1979...

Also, what size is the BB?

I have a bid in for what I would like to pay for it on its own, but may consider increasing the bid if it can be upgraded a bit with pieces I have.

Maybe I have found a replacement for my Cannondale... I know the FD won't transfer, but if everything else will, I would love to swap them... and probably at some point swap everything back when I get to where I can ride my real lightweight.
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Old 07-09-06, 07:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgregory57
I have my bid in for this sweet looking Le Tour IV...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=300004275384

But for bidding purposes, I wonder if anyone can tell me about upgrading.

Is the headset a standard 1" threaded? I know some early Schwinns weren't. but I wonder about the Le Tour IV in 1979...

Also, what size is the BB?

I have a bid in for what I would like to pay for it on its own, but may consider increasing the bid if it can be upgraded a bit with pieces I have.

Maybe I have found a replacement for my Cannondale... I know the FD won't transfer, but if everything else will, I would love to swap them... and probably at some point swap everything back when I get to where I can ride my real lightweight.
The bottom bracket should be 68mm, English thread, spindle length will depend on cranks, of course. What you'll probably find regarding the headset/stem/fork is that the inside diameter of the steerer tube and the diameter of the stem's quill will be an odd size, 21.15mm (usually marked .833" on the stem) instead of the more common dimension of 22.2mm. The threads on the fork, and everything about the headset will be ISO except maybe the crown race (which might be the JIS dimension, although the le tours I've worked on had an ISO crown race, I believe). And to top if off, the lock nut on the top of the headset assembly will have the odd size (.833") inside diameter, so that it fits closely around the stem as it goes down into the steerer.
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Old 07-09-06, 08:16 AM   #8
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Darwin,

If you get that bike I think you'll find the headset is in excellent condition. I doubt if it will need anything but fresh grease - I find that the old grease is usually dried to the color & consistency of old beeswax.

Even on well kept bikes you can find trouble in the bottom brackets. It just doesn't take much water to cause some pitting on either bearings or cups. The good news is you can change that out quite quickly if you discover any problems while repacking the BB. I'd also repack the wheels and pedals.

That bike looks perfect. I'd bet it really doesn't need any upgrading.
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Old 07-09-06, 08:34 AM   #9
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Silversmith,

I agree based on what I see that the bike should be ridable the way it is.

The changes I would hope to make would be to move to a triple crank and a Technomic stem...

The granny gear is really helpful by someone my size on any significant hills, and I have a hard time gettin in the drops without the extra height of a Technomic stem.

There are other ways to deal with my need for upgrades, and that is to get in shape and lose my gut... this could eliminate the need for the Technomic and gearing changes... I am just looking for temporary solutions until I accomplish the permanent ones.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:09 AM   #10
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You can put most any crankset on it, with the proper bottom bracket, but the Technomic stem's not gonna work with the Schwinn fork because of the reasons I listed above.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:26 AM   #11
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Don't give up on the Technomic until you try it. I'm not sure when things changed or with which models, but I put a Technomic stem in an '85 Schwinn Traveler with no problem.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:31 AM   #12
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Thta is a nice looking bike. When I refurbished my schwinn Approved traveler, I found the head set and BB as Silversmith described: the grease was like thick beeswax. It cleaned off with a pine/degreaser without any problem and with new grease everything operates smoothly and as well as my new bike. I have the one piece/ashtabula BB, but it still operates flawlessly.

One note: the traveler is from 1975 and is a 1020 lugged frame. So, Schwinn was importing some bikes with lugged frames prior to 1976. Also, I did change over to alloy wheels, which ride much better than the original wheels.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:59 AM   #13
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The granny gear is really helpful by someone my size on any significant hills,
Yes. Or you can also add a different freewheel. If it hadn't shelled out, I'd have gladly sent you my old Sun Tour freewheel with a 14-38 cogset. That thing used to literally winch me over the hills. 32 and 34 tooth cogs are easy to come by. Harris has new Shimano Mega Range freewheels at a reasonable price .
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Old 07-09-06, 12:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KDB
One note: the traveler is from 1975 and is a 1020 lugged frame. So, Schwinn was importing some bikes with lugged frames prior to 1976.
Right you are! I somehow managed to overlook that.
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Old 07-09-06, 01:45 PM   #15
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Don't give up on the Technomic until you try it. I'm not sure when things changed or with which models, but I put a Technomic stem in an '85 Schwinn Traveler with no problem.
dgregory57 won't know for sure, I guess, unless he actually gets the Le Tour IV and checks it out. But I've had a '79 Traveler, '82 Super Le Tour, '83 Le Tour Luxe, and '84 Le Tour, and they all had the odd sized (.833") stem/steerer. I've even wondered if the inside diameter of the steerer couldn't be reamed out to the 22.2mm size on a Schwinn fork with the odd size, so that a normal 1" quill stem would fit.
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Old 07-09-06, 04:05 PM   #16
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I'm getting a lot of good input in this thread, thanks to all! A few things I knew at some level, but they were good reminders in any case.

If the fork is the odd size, I will probably opt for trying to sand the stem before the tube... just because if I am able to ride it in its original configuration at some point, I will want to... for sentimental reasons.

I do have a megarange RD available, so I definitely have the availability of at least a 34 tooth cog on the freewheel for a reasonable cost... by just swapping the freewheel and RD. Maybe that will be enough if so, maybe I leave the rest of the bike as is... If not, then maybe I will consider the the BB and cranks from my Cannondale (or pick up a triple that will work if it doesn't swap).

The other thing that I will probably address if I do win the auction is to go with a set of alloy rimmed wheels for braking efficiency...

Of course, there is a part of me that is thinking I will move over the Cane Creek brake levers, Nashbar interuptors, Kelly Takeoffs and Nitto randonneur bars along with the Technomic stem... Since I won't need them on the tweaked Cannondale frame if I use the Le Tour as my daily rider.

I sure do enjoy this forum! Thanks again to all of you participants!
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Old 07-09-06, 07:08 PM   #17
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Hi,

I recently aquired a 1973 Schwinn World Voyaguer (Lugged 4130 Chromoly/ Dura Ace Cranks eys and a 1976 Super Le Tour 12.2 (Lugged 4130 Chomoly). Both bike needed very little to be ridable, are in great shape and great riders. Total cost for the bikes? Under $200. Both bike look greta and "retro cool" Show me a a 4130 frame ANYWHERE today, let alone lugged and Chromed lugs (World Voyageur)for effectively a $100? Go check the Surly web site and see what they get for a frame of 4130 that is not even lugged! Many of the old Japanese schwinns are great, hand made bikes thatare often overlooked, so good luck! Also check in the links in the sticky in classic and vintage here for the schwinn lightweight data book link. It will give you a bunch of great info!
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Old 07-09-06, 07:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fender1
Hi,

I recently aquired a 1973 Schwinn World Voyaguer (Lugged 4130 Chromoly/ Dura Ace Cranks eys and a 1976 Super Le Tour 12.2 (Lugged 4130 Chomoly). Both bike needed very little to be ridable, are in great shape and great riders. Total cost for the bikes? Under $200. Both bike look greta and "retro cool" Show me a a 4130 frame ANYWHERE today, let alone lugged and Chromed lugs (World Voyageur)for effectively a $100? Go check the Surly web site and see what they get for a frame of 4130 that is not even lugged! Many of the old Japanese schwinns are great, hand made bikes thatare often overlooked, so good luck! Also check in the links in the sticky in classic and vintage here for the schwinn lightweight data book link. It will give you a bunch of great info!
Amen!
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Old 07-10-06, 10:05 AM   #19
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One more question... after a brief story.

I had decided recently after perusing online information that my memory was playing tricks on me (as it has on other issues). After looking at the Schwinn Lightweight data I saw that in 1979 the Le Tour IV came in two colors, Frosty Blue and Red... So, even though I remembered my Le Tour IV from many moons ago being dark blue, I decided that it was a memory issue, and that it really was a lighter blue than I remember. I made that decision based completely on the fact that light blue is closer to the dark blue I remembered than red is.

Now, with the one I am bidding on, I see that there really were Le Tour IV bikes available in a darker blue, and my memory in this case may really have been right!

I strongly suspect that I bought mine in 1979 because I remember riding it for at least a few months before I received orders and was transferred from Camp Pendleton in early 1980.

The question is... Did Schwinn sell bikes in colors different than were in their catalogs, or was my bike possiubly an early 1980 model? It doesn't make any real difference to me other than to satisfy my curiosity.
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Old 07-10-06, 10:38 AM   #20
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From "Dopey" on the Schwinn forums;

"When the LT IV came out around Christmas '78, it sported two brand new colors, Frosty Blue and Strawberry Red. But by the time Spring came 'round, trouble with the pigments had already caused Chicago to drop those colors and fall back on trusty ol' (and boringly ubiquitous!) Sky Blue and Cardinal Red."

Your darker blue was the Sky Blue. I have seen quite a few cases of bikes of a certain year in a color not specified in the catalog. The catalogs were produced during the previous year and sometimes changes occured to the bikes that actually went into production.

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Old 07-10-06, 11:53 AM   #21
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OK, I went and looked, and now it makes sense... I had the information available to me if I just looked a little deeper.

Last year I had a blue 1979 Suburban for a while... It is the color I remember having on my Le Tour. In 1979 the Suburban's listed shade of blue was Frosty Blue, so they apparently made the change there too.

I am just so happy when snippets of my memory bank actually work!

It had a strange effect on me when I thought that my memory of the color was wrong.

It also just occured to me that I can probably put the fenders from that suburban on the Le Tour (if I get it) and the color should match perfectly. I had been wondering why I kept the fenders...
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Old 07-13-06, 07:06 PM   #22
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Well,

I made a decision to be aggressive for the Le Tour IV, and decided I was willing to pay as much for the bike plus shipping as the original retail. Probably more than it was worth...

I was outbid.

Oh well...

I was actually interested in this specific bike because it was exactly like the one I bought in 1979, and it was from Indiana. When I was transferred in 1980, I sold it to my room-mate who was from the mid-west... The chances that it was my bike are almost zero, but there was still the thought.

So, my search continues...
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Old 07-13-06, 07:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by dgregory57
Well,

I made a decision to be aggressive for the Le Tour IV, and decided I was willing to pay as much for the bike plus shipping as the original retail. Probably more than it was worth...

I was outbid.

Oh well...

I was actually interested in this specific bike because it was exactly like the one I bought in 1979, and it was from Indiana. When I was transferred in 1980, I sold it to my room-mate who was from the mid-west... The chances that it was my bike are almost zero, but there was still the thought.

So, my search continues...
Did you this this chicago letour for $99 buy it now...


http://cgi.ebay.com/Schwinn-LeTour-C...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 07-13-06, 07:36 PM   #24
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Did you this this chicago letour for $99 buy it now...


http://cgi.ebay.com/Schwinn-LeTour-C...QQcmdZViewItem
Yeah, I saw that one, it is a couple of inches too small for me... I ride 56-58 cm...

Thanks for the info though!
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Old 07-13-06, 07:43 PM   #25
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Yeah, I saw that one, it is a couple of inches too small for me... I ride 56-58 cm...

Thanks for the info though!
No problem. You should also check Panasonics, (who made the Le Tour frames in the late 70's). I got one at a flea market recently in awesome condition, I really like it, and it's pretty much the same bike as my wife's '78 letour, comp and all.
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