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Old 04-26-03, 01:20 PM   #1
nemo
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Schwinn Le tour

A good friend of mine bought one of these in the early 80's when she was riding a lot. as a matter of fact she commuted 25 miles each way on it. She has offered the bike to me I wondered if anyone knew much about them or where i could find any info on this bike. I have not laid eyes on it yet, but from talking to her I do know she bought a lot of upgraded parts for it. Purchase price as she remembers it was around 900 usd. She said the lbs owner ordered many parts such as the wheels, tired and part group. when i mentioned shimano she thought that did not sound right, so i showed her campy logo from that period and she recognized it! she describes the wheels as being not standard spoke wheels but what sound like carbon fiber or resin wheels? was carbon available in the early 80's? she did say she broke one once and it did not bend but cracked. I wonder if the price sounds right for a Le tour with full campy group? would what were exotic wheels and tires then be servicable now? All in all it sounds like an awesome piece of history! She remembers it as being something around 16 lbs! in may we go back to tenn and will get it then. Any resources would be very helpful. the only stipulation is that I never sell the bike or its original components. This seems Like the start of a collection!!
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Old 04-27-03, 01:27 AM   #2
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My brother in law owns a 83 Le Tour he bought new and nothing has been upgraded. It uses Schiwnn Cro-Mo dbl butted main tubing (but I would have to look to get more info if your interested). It also used Suntour VGT derailleurs which were middle of the line Suntour and a Sakae crank and bottom bracket along with Dia Comp brakes and Araya AL rims (can't recall the hubs but can look if interested). Schwinn also had a habit of buying whatever manufacture could offer them the best price on a particular part so parts changed every year. The bike overall is heaver than mine and mine has Renolds 531cs tubing, so the weight of 16 pounds does not seem remotely possible. My 531cs in racing form with tubulars, short stem, lighter racing seat, CF fork and handlebars would probably bring the weight down in the range of 18 pounds maybe high 17 range but that would be pushing it. And carbon wheels are actually HEAVIER than standard tubular rims, its the aerodynamics that is better with CF wheels at higher speeds- but they are also less reliable.

The bike your interested in has been upgraded after the early 80s. The question is how much is the bike worth? How much is she asking? Have you rode it to make sure it rides well and fits you? If outfitted with Campy components which ones and what % of the components are Campy? Just the derailleurs? or all the components? or something in-between? Personally I would not pay more than $100 if it looked like it was in good to excellent condtion...especially knowing she commuted 25 miles one way for years, and what if anything do you know about the rust going on in the inside of the frame? Plus it sounds like there are a lot of miles on the frame and components.

Sorry for the negative spin. But if you really want a piece of bicyling history you need to be looking at Italian bikes with all Italian parts no newer than the early 80s. The only Schwinn that comes close to that league is Paramount, but some years are worth more than others and I don't have enough info to give you the best years.
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Old 04-27-03, 07:25 AM   #3
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I "worked" in a Schwinn LBS in the later 1970s as a kid doing "gofer" stuff and sort of lusted after the LeTours but I have to doubt your friend's memory a little bit. The nicest one we had was a full chrome LeTour 12.2. Sweet bike and it retailed, in a shop that charged top $, for about $450. An early 80s bike wouldn't be too much more. I guess if she had the SunTour or Shimano 600 swapped out for Campy N. Record prior to delivery the price could've been driven up to somewhere near $900 though.

However, if someone chose to double the price of their bike with a component swap you'd think they'd remember the components?

Schwinn started selling LeTours in 1974 or so and for years imported them from Japan, they were made by Panasonic. Nice bikes with either SunTour or Shimano (usually 600) drivetrains and chro-moly frames. A nice one would go about 24#. Pretty respectable when the pros in Europe were riding 21 lbers. Reasonably priced as well. Unfortunately for Schwinn the US market was flooded with similar bikes from Europe and Asia and Schwinn began to lose market.

Back to the point. Sadly, the only way I can see your friend's bike with a $900 original retail is either with a component swap or it's a later '80s bike as prices began to balloon to the current level of today where $1000 gets you a nice "entry level" roadie. In either case the bike won't bring big $ today. If it's got nice Campy she's probably better off parting it out. However, if she maintained it it'll be a nice smooth ride and certainly worth considering if the price is right.

Please check back if you find out more.
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Old 04-27-03, 08:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, I will see sure when I go down in a couple weeks. She is just giving the bike to me on the condition I never sell it or any of its components. (she wants it to get used again) Like I said she bought a man's frame and rode that 50 miles a day for several years. Knowing here and the cost of the bike at that time, It will be well take care of. It is in storage now and has been for oh i guess 6 yrs or so. She let the air out of the tires and hung the bike up when she stored it. So I imagine it will need some tlc.
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Old 04-28-03, 03:08 AM   #5
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The Le Tour is a very good bike. I have rebuilt them, ridden them, and gone on tours with people who ride them.

The frame is lightweight butted and lugged chro-moly. All the components are good quality Japanese made. The Le Tour was a bargain in the '70's and 80's and just made it under the wire before bike manufacturing went from Japan to Taiwan due to cost considerations.

Take the Le Tour and thank your friend profusely.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:52 AM   #6
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What are the brand name of the downtube cable guides on a '74 Le Tour?
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Old 12-05-08, 04:13 PM   #7
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Shimano. Roger
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Old 12-05-08, 07:07 PM   #8
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Sorry for the negative spin. But if you really want a piece of bicyling history you need to be looking at Italian bikes with all Italian parts no newer than the early 80s. The only Schwinn that comes close to that league is Paramount, but some years are worth more than others and I don't have enough info to give you the best years.


Im sorry but that was REALLY funny!
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Old 12-05-08, 08:02 PM   #9
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And the only way to truly appreciate a vintage 80's Italian frame is to equip it with Dura Ace. Not having to put up with inferior Campagnolo parts allows you the time to appreciate the beauty and functionality of 80's Italian frame design and construction.

It's about the riding, not the snob value.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:15 PM   #10
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The stock LeTour sold for around $350 in the early to mid eighties. A bare frame in decent condition is currently worth maybe $50, so the value of the bike in question is dependent almost entirely upon what model of Campy stuff we are talking about, how much of it there is, and what kind of condition it is in.

I would tend to guess it would be something lower end, pretty well used, and consequently not worth all that much.

As far as carbon wheels/rims, no. They did not exist at the time. The earliest disk wheels did come out at the time, and were made of something called "metacrillium", which was simply aluminum on a funky honeycomb core as far as I could tell.
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