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Old 10-06-08, 08:58 PM   #1
GearsForFears
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Le Tour dream - advice wanted

Having a hard time getting reliable search results on "Le Tour" so sorry if this has been dealt with on other posts.

My teenage bike was a 1974 opaque blue Schwinn Le Tour. I believe this was the first year Le Tours were available; my parents really shelled out for that bike as a birthday gift and an upgrade from my lemon yellow Manta Ray. I adored that Le Tour the way only a teenager can adore a bike. When I returned from freshman year of college to find my father had been riding it and left it unlocked in our garage with predictable results - well, I've forgiven him, but I've never forgotten that bicycle.

Now in middle age I've become freshly smitten with bicycling, and while the 1984 Raleigh Alyeska I bought to replace the Le Tour is still in loyal service and has become a classic at least in my mind, I have an urge to revisit my youth and make an opaque blue 1974 Le Tour my first vintage bicycle acquisition and project. Questions:

1) How hard would it be to find such a bike and what would be the reasonable price range for something rideable and improvable? One went not long ago on Ebay for $60 but I've seen old Le Tours for hundreds on Craigslist.

2) Would this be a project worth undertaking or is my memory romanticizing the bike? What is the reputation of the early Le Tour? Cheapo or classic or somewhere in between? How would it compare to my Raleigh? The verdicts online seem to be mixed.

Opinions welcome, thanks.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:15 PM   #2
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I'm not a C&V expert, but many of the 70s Schwinns are well regarded for being reliable and good-riding bikes, including the early Le Tour. I have seen a few for sale locally in the last year, but they were all yellow.

I see no need to spend over $100 unless it is in exceptional condition. A bike like that won't be worth spending hundreds of dollars on, unless you want to ride it and it is something you enjoy.

With any luck, pastorbobnh will drop by and post his blue '79 Traveler. I love that thing!!
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Old 10-06-08, 09:23 PM   #3
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Old 10-06-08, 09:30 PM   #4
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Gorgeous. That's a few years newer than my old bike - I can tell from the decals - but that's basically what I have in mind. These days I'm a total singlespeed convert and my commuter is a one-speed Surly Cross-Check. But I nearly bought an '08 Schwinn Madison instead because of the beautiful opaque blue paint job, similar to this.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:43 PM   #5
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Around here you will pay significantly more than $100 for a clean one, unless you get real lucky. Basically, you can probably get one cheap but it will be a slow and difficult search, or you can find one fast and it will be expensive. So if you want the "easy" way to find one, then save a search on ebay and go for it.

I found this clean opaque blue Super Sport at Goodwill for $13. I have visited thrift stores hundreds of times this year (kind of a hobby), and have found about a dozen really good deals. Its not like they have deals like this every day....

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Old 10-07-08, 03:33 AM   #6
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Patience and careful searching will yield the result you are looking for, a '74 Le Tour in this case.

It does sound as if you have done your homework and know something about the bike. Keep in mind that it was sort of a "middle of the road" bike, well made for your average teen, but a long long way from the top of the line Paramount, and completely different from the Sports Tourer both made in Chicago.

Instead the Le Tour, in its debut year, was a solid bike, well made by Panasonic in Japan, and equipped with reliable and sturdy components. This is why, some 34 years later, you might find one, that has been well ridden and the paint is not the best any longer, it is still a very reliable bike.

One final word of advice: When vintage Schwinns start getting under your skin, watch out. They are addictive. I speak from experience. Best of luck on your search!
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Old 10-07-08, 05:01 AM   #7
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Here is an interesting possibility:

Classic Schwinn 10 Spd Le Tour - $130

http://nh.craigslist.org/bik/862780667.html

"Bicycle bought new in 1974 in California and has been stored moving to the East. Bicycle has been tuned and kept in like new condition. Cleaned and always polished."
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Old 10-07-08, 10:00 AM   #8
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One final word of advice: When vintage Schwinns start getting under your skin, watch out. They are addictive. I speak from experience. Best of luck on your search!
I'll second that..I'm living proof..Plus I can't resist a good thread to post a picture of my LeTour.

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Old 10-07-08, 10:19 AM   #9
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While not a 1974 model this does give you a local CL pricing point,
LeTour III for $60 posted on Oct 6th so still fairly fresh:
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/869127019.html
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Old 10-07-08, 11:17 AM   #10
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When looking for a specific model, it can be feast or famine...

My personal holy grail was a 1979 LeTour IV which I could find occasionally, but on Ebay the bidding usually ended up higher than what the bike cost me new...

Then someone here had one in a different color, and I decided that color wasn't as important as the model, and I bought it for under $100, and a few hours of driving. Then one showed up on a local Craigslist for well under $50 in the right color, so now I own both available colors of the 1979 Le Tour IV model.

If you are patient, and get enough eyes looking, a 1974 LeTour can be relatively affordable (especially since it is Hi Ten steel).

Simply by posting here, I know you have a couple of extra sets of eyes looking.

What size are you seeking?
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Old 10-07-08, 11:22 AM   #11
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As far as quality, the LeTour is heavy due to the Hi Ten steel frame and steel rims, but they ride nicely.

Your Alyeska is a classic touring frame, higher quality in general than the LeTour as I recall, partly by being higher in the food chain, and partly by being newer. But frankly, nostalgia isn't always about the highest quality.

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Old 10-07-08, 11:45 AM   #12
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Heavy bikes are great training bikes..."It's all about the engine". That's a way for us classic types to justify bike weight..
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Old 10-07-08, 12:46 PM   #13
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In cm I fit a 58 or 60 frame. No idea how the old Le Tours were sized or what size mine was. I'm 6-1 but with slightly less reach than normal for that height. I did see the Le Tour III on Milwaukee CL, thanks for calling it to my attention though. The photos are terrific; I think they are incredibly handsome bikes.

If the Le Tour rides anything like the Alyeska does, I'll be thrilled. The Alyeska has a Buick-like quality that makes me glad to get back on it after riding almost anything else. Definitely I'm not a weight-weenie so bring on the hi-ten steel. I'm more interested in smoothing the rattles and bumps for the good of my middle-aged back.
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Old 10-07-08, 12:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearsForFears View Post
In cm I fit a 58 or 60 frame. No idea how the old Le Tours were sized or what size mine was. I'm 6-1 but with slightly less reach than normal for that height.

My '77 Le Tour II is 62cm C to C and fits my 6' 1" frame quite well. It seems to me that the reach on my Le Tour is shorter than modern bikes.
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Old 10-07-08, 01:01 PM   #15
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Here's a link to the '89 LeTour I picked up earlier this summer with some good links posted by folks:
Late '80's Schwinn LeTour

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Old 10-07-08, 01:26 PM   #16
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This seems to have turned into a Le Tour photo superthread. Awesome. The next best thing to having one.
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Old 10-07-08, 02:13 PM   #17
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I picked up a black one for $10 a couple weeks ago. Needs cleaning up but the paint is real nice.
The model should be more important than the color but I have been looking for a blue continental and the yellow one and the brown one that I found just didnt give the same feeling as finding the blue from when I was a kid.
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Old 10-08-08, 06:50 AM   #18
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This seems to have turned into a Le Tour photo superthread. Awesome. The next best thing to having one.
As long as we are posting LeTour photos, here is my 1988 model.

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Old 10-08-08, 08:49 AM   #19
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Here's mine, not sure of the year but from what i've gathered its one of the early ones. Soon to be 650bee'd and dynamo'd for the winter.

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Old 10-29-08, 10:29 AM   #20
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Just yesterday found a '74 LeTour in opaque blue at my local thrift for $10. It's 60cm, Sun Tour XV derailleurs, Aluminum Sunshine hi-flange hubs, chromed steel rims. The paint is in pretty rough shape. I've got it stripped down to the frame and have started cleanup. I'm going to update the wheels to cut a little of the weight and commute on her this winter. Should be a fun project. Keep hitting the thrift, yours will come. Good luck.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:06 AM   #21
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Don't know if you are still looking or not but here is one available.

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/bik/895532832.html

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Old 10-29-08, 11:37 AM   #22
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That's real close to mine..That has to be in the early 80's. Almost a twin of mine when I first got it...Price is a little high,but I would consider it if I did'nt already have one...

Last edited by brandenjs; 10-29-08 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:58 AM   #23
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To answer the OP's question #2 - IMO, it's in between. A little closer to the bottom than the top, and that varies a bit from year to year.
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Old 10-29-08, 03:20 PM   #24
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Since we are showing off. '77 I found in the garbage(in Milwaukee WI) and sold, after fixing it up, for $125:
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Old 10-29-08, 03:24 PM   #25
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GearsforFears, are you looking for a done bike or a project?
I live in Milwaukee and have a black early eighties Le Tour in a 58cm size. It needs a resto so you would need to paint and get decals but I'd let it go for next to nothing.
PM if interested.
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