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  1. #1
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    Touring bike advice

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to this site and don't know a whole lot about biking except that I have been doing it for the past 4 years on my early 80's vintage Schwinn Voyageur.

    I was thinking about doing a cycling event that will take me from SF to LA and was curious if taking this steel tank of a frame on a 600 mile trip would be a problem? I know there are a ton of these new, shiny lightweight, carbon/aluminum/titanium frames out there-- is there really a huge advantage to these new toys or should I just save the money and invest in perhaps doing a good overhaul of my old Schwinn?

    Any and all responses are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks.
    H

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I use an 86 Schwinn Passage for touring......

    It's brutally simple and reliable, with downtube shifters and 27" Tires and Schraeder valve tubes, so I can get a tire or tube at Western Auto if I have to. Oh yeah, it's easier to do field expedient repairs and if I have to, I can pretty much use any old part bin dérailleur if necessary to get a replacement in backwoods USA. I can also get chains or whatever at Walmart in a pinch Universal cable kits at Box Stores work well too.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
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    I just picked up an '88 voyageur. I'm planning on updating the wheelset and changing out the biopace crankset for a sugino triple. Should cost me somewhere around $300, which is well under the cost of an ugly tig-welded Surly frame, and I think it's lighter too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    My Voyageur's my only touring bike. Bought it new in 1991 and it has given me near-trouble-free service while biking/camping cross-country and on many other tours. I've never wished to trade up.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/79/23...0b3fe3d6_o.jpg
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  5. #5
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    After all the money is spent 90% of the performance is the motor.

  6. #6
    It's as easy as riding a dannwilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helent View Post
    should I just save the money and invest in perhaps doing a good overhaul of my old Schwinn?
    That is what I would suggest. I scoured the internet looking for an old Voyageur and wasn't successful. I think it is a perfect bike for touring, a friend was lucky enough to find a used one and he loves it.
    "It doesn't get easier, you just go faster."

  7. #7
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    Four weeks ago , I saved this 89 Voyageur from being converted to a Fixie

    http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s...ageur/Bike.jpg

    http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s...ikeCloseUp.jpg

  8. #8
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    Love mine!!
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  9. #9
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    Need help replacing my 1980 Schwinn Voyageur fork

    I bought i Dynamic stem that was longer to stretch more and didnt know every measurement before getting the new stem.Going by the Harris Cycle site i can switch to a 25.4 modern fork and get a bmx headset?? Someone please help me figure this out so i can finish fixing this great old solid frame. The old 1980 Schwinn Voyageur's have a .833 stem diameter .

  10. #10
    Hi. I'm in Delaware. Robbykills's Avatar
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    I have an 85 that I love. Got it for $15 at the local thrift store with Campagnolo rear derailleur and almost new looking Brooks Professional!!!

    Here's a catalog scan of it given to me by a member on these forums, mine is similar except for it has stickers like the one posted above me.


  11. #11
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    A World Voyageur (opaque blue - 23-1/2" frame) was my only touring bike in the 70's. 30 years later I still wish I hadn't sold it. And I'd love to find another. I'll even accept one of the other colors.

    You've got a good enough frame there to last the rest of your touring days. Anything more expensive is just that, more expensive - not better.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  12. #12
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    I'm not a gearhead, but I'm going to disagree here. I am 51 years old, so I remember the old Schwinn bikes, and I have seen a few quite recently. I think the name "Schwinn Voyageur" (the brand name, that is) maybe has been applied to a number of bikes over the years. And Schwinn is just a brand name, after all.

    The original Schwinn was the better-than-department-store grade bicycle of the 1960s, when I was a child. At a time when European racing bikes were barely known in the USA, and the auto reigned supreme, it was a made-in-the-USA bicycle that was of better quality than the standard kid's bike with an Ashtabula crank. At that time, many quality bikes in the USA came from England. But the Schwinn philosophy was basically to do what the American auto industry had done with the car, by mass producing brand name bicycles, with slight model year changes. For children, there were fads and styles. Remember the banana seat? The Varsity and the Continental were Schwinn's cheapo answer to the European derailleur bicycles, when they first appeared in the late 1960s.

    I remember that the Voyageur and several other models were Schwinn's inept attempt to copy better bicycles coming out of Europe, and then Japan. It's not that the United States couldn't make a great bicycle, but it took a new company (Trek) to do the job.

    Maybe some people have nostalgia for what they owned in the 1970s. I actually still own one 1970s bicycle, a Sekai (Japanese) frame that I took over from my father (now deceased) as he became too infirm to ride. For me, the reason to keep this bike is that I can lock it in the city and not feel too bad if it is ever stolen. I can leave it in the garage and not bring it upstairs with me at night. Like the Schwinn Voyageur, it is an imitation of better bikes, with an overly sporty geometry. You can like anything you are used to, right?

    If you can afford to put a new wheel set onto an old Schwinn frame, you can afford to buy a better frame for those same wheels, or buy a newer bike that will make you much happier. Life is too short to fuss with such a frame.

    Howard

  13. #13
    Senior Member xiaodidi's Avatar
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    To actually answer your question (something that hasn't been done yet ), yes, use the Voyageur.

    The trip is a 600 mile trip, a bit of a touring cakewalk really.

    If ,after this jaunt, you decide to upgrade, then by all means do so.

    My opinion: 80's chromoly rides better, farther, and a hell of a lot cheaper that anything the uppity LBSs will try to sell you. Spend your money on good wheels, bulletproof tires, and a truckload of saddles (until you find THE ONE your cheeks like).

    Enjoy the ride.

  14. #14
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    Metzenberg:
    I'm not a serious Schwinn historian, and can't tell you much about the Voyageurs before 1983, but from 1984 to 1990 they were far from being poor imitations of Japanese bikes. In fact, during that period many were made in Japan by Bridgestone (I think, or one of the other good Japanese brands). They were serious touring bikes, well-made, with high quality Columbus or Tange tubing and good, touring-specific components. In fact, I think they're nicer than just about every mass-produced touring frame on the market right now. I've done a fair amount of research and have decided that a mid 80s Voyageur is my dream tourer and am looking hard for one in my size right now.

    xiaodidi:
    I agree with your advice, although all things being equal I doubt the OP will want to upgrade.
    Last edited by digitalbicycle; 03-16-08 at 06:02 PM.

  15. #15
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    The three most stressed parts of a touring bike used for loaded touring are the frame, the fork, and the hubs. The Schwinn Voyageur frame and forks from the 1980's represent the best of the "golden age" of bike touring: high quality design and high quality steel construction.

    There are NO frame and forks built in 2008 that are superior for loaded touring compared with the 1980's Voyageurs. So, if you can find a Voyageur with a frame and fork in excellent condition, you have the "core" of a touring bike that can do the job as a new $2,000 or $3,000 bike.

    I have a Centurian Pro Tour from the '80's built with that same fanatical Japanese attention to quality control. All original, except for the tires and tire tubes. Even the original hubs and wheel bearing. After almost 30 years on the road, the only parts that may be needed replacement are the hubs...everything else still functions like new.

    Note: after the Schwinn name got sold to a toy importing company, the "Voyageur" name was used on some low priced communist Chinese made bikes. These bikes, made in the past ten years, are NOT in any way related to the Japanese made Voyageurs of the 1980's. They are "light duty" bikes, and are not designed or built for loaded touring.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 03-16-08 at 03:36 AM.

  16. #16
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    The 1980 Schwinn Voyageur was made in Japan as someone pointed out before on here

    I think my info and some recent persons post here said they were made by Panasonic or another careful japanese frame maker. And yes Panasonic made made some great bikes and still do. See the yellow jersey site in Madison Wisconsin. Too much money for my pocket, the new ones that is. Just missed a oppurtunity to buy a DX 4000 complete for 100.00

  17. #17
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    Actually, my advice for the first short trip within the USA (600 miles or less) is to go with the Voyageur, no matter when it was made, and no matter who made it! I only advise against making some classic bicycle of the past your expedition touring bike. You already own it! After you have made a short trip with it, you'll have a much better idea of what you want.

    I haven't done the Silk Road, Capetown to Cairo, or the Austral Highway yet, and perhaps I never will. But I have been to places where for political or economic reasons, it is impossible to find some particular size of tire, spoke, rim, or whatever. For example, I have been behind the Iron Curtain searching for replacement spokes to rebuild a wheel with. (I took a bus back to Vienna.)

    My advice against making the 20-30 year old bike as your expedition bike is, that no matter what you know about the bike, there is what you don't know about it. The industrial standards that bicycles use (for example, how the bottom brackets are threaded, or how the headset mounts) change very gradually over time. If you are traveling thousands of miles from home, wouldn't you like to have something that uses very standard modern parts, parts that can be replaced anywhere, with tools that any bike shop owns?

    Quote Originally Posted by 118 black View Post
    I think my info and some recent persons post here said they were made by Panasonic or another careful japanese frame maker. And yes Panasonic made made some great bikes and still do. See the yellow jersey site in Madison Wisconsin. Too much money for my pocket, the new ones that is. Just missed a oppurtunity to buy a DX 4000 complete for 100.00
    Now I am so amazed that you mention the Yellow Jersey in Madison, Wisconsin, here, because that is where all of my first bicycles came from. I grew up in Madison. While the Yellow Jersey has been selling great bicycles for about 40 years, some of the earlier models they sold would not be bikes that you would want to take on an expedition today, although they might make great urban cruisers or conversions. For example, I can remember as a teenager at the Yellow Jersey, learning about such forgotten technologies as cottered cranks.

    On my first overseas trip, in 1983, I discovered during the trip that there was an almost arbitrary line across Europe between English/German standards (27 inch wheels, English threading of screws) and French/Italian standards (700C wheels, everything metric). A lot of the utility bikes seemed to be English/German, even where the racing bikes were French/Italian. And the English made some very good touring bikes with 27 inch wheels, like Raleigh and Dawes. Of course, the Japanese made great copies of both, selling them into the respective markets. So the Yellow Jersey late 1970s Sekai that I took over form my father when he stopped riding it has 27 inch wheels. I would say the frame is a bit too sport, but I have actually done some short tours on it, with rear panniers only. However, it would be completely inappropriate for an expedition.

    My main consideration in choosing a good expedition touring bike is to get one for which you can buy new parts (the basics, not a new bottom bracket or headset) whereever you are going. I sure appreciate how much easier it is to work with modern headsets. Would you really want to mess with the headset on an early 1980s Voyageur in some out-of-the-way place?

    Howard

  18. #18
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
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    Question, I have had a Schwinn Voyageur for over 15 years, and I purchased it from someone who got it long before that. The name badge says Schwinn with Voyageur underneath, not Chicago. The number stamped on the name badge is 3555, I'm assuming by other posts it was made the 355th day of 85? Would it be 75? Seems from other pictures it would be 85, there is a sticker on the downtube by the pedals that says Made in Japan For Schwinn Bicycle Company, Chicago, 60639. Just trying to confirm the date. Also is the the 11.8? It seems light by bike standards, but not compared to some crazy 2000 dollar frame on these new bikes.

    Where can I locate the serial number?

    Also, I would like to do complete overhaul this late winter. I'm handy, and very good at reading directions, but don't know a ton about bikes. This is a great bike and I love it dearly so I don't want to damage it. Are there any sites I should be aware of with details on how to do it. The main issues are, limited stopping (I need to adjust the brakes), seems it could use a new chain, and my lowest gear wheel (sproket? I don't know the terminology yet) by the pedals is bent so I cant use gears 1-5 just 6-15. Where can I find a new shimano gear wheel or am I better off moving to something different.

    Budget is obviously very limited, and the bike rides great, I just want to get it in top form for riding around Chicago and along lake Michigan . . . I like to ride in traffic and very quickly. It is in pretty good shape, little nicks and bruises, decals are still in place, etc.

    Thank you for your help,
    John

  19. #19
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    John

    You would be better off to start a new thread than to ask for help on this one year old thread.

    Here is a link to the 75 Voyageur brochure page. http://www.geocities.com/sldbconsume.../75ccpg13.html
    Here is a link to the 85 Voyageur brochure page. http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1...985Ltwt14.html
    Last edited by cb400bill; 02-01-09 at 03:33 PM.
    "I just replaced the inner tubes so that the flow of everything is solid."

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  20. #20
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    john,

    Here is the scan from the 1985 catalog:



    There is also a Voyageur SP that sold for a higher price and had Columbus tubing. Does your bike look like one of these and have the components listed?

    I would suggest that you get a copy of Zinn and the Art of Road bike maintenance. He has sections that cover older bikes like yours as well as newer ones. Then make use of Sheldon Brown's info.

    If you've been riding for 15 years, you will probably want to overhaul the bearings in the headset and bottom bracket. Depending on the type of hub, they may also need to be overhauled. Otherwise the bearing races can get damaged and then you have to replace the hub, headset or bottom bracket. If you learn how to overhaul bearings, it is cheap and not that hard to do. You'll probably also need to replace brake cables, cable housing, and brake pads (I recommend koolstop salmon). Sounds like you have a damaged small chainring. It probably is a size 74, but you'll want to measure to be sure. Here's the link to Sheldon's info on that. If you are going to replace the small chainring, it might be a time to re-evaluate the size of that ring. If you are going to use the bike for loaded touring, then a smaller one may be useful. A new chain would be a good ideal. Newer chains will run smoother than older chains.

  21. #21
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
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    Thank you cb400bill and icenine. You have been very helpful. It definitely looks like the image of the 1985, down to the color and the icon on the brake handles.

    The only weird thing is the decals are different. Seems strange, but down to the Boss things, the bike looks the same.

    You guys have given me confidence it starting to overhaul the bike . . . do you know of any forums specifically geared towards the overhaul, should I start a thread myself? I do plan on taking photos.

    Thank you again for your help

  22. #22
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    There is a forum called Bicycle Mechanics. Any specific questions are probably best asked there.

    The Bicycle Tutor has a video tutorial on How to Overhaul Bearings. In his tutorial he says you need 13 and 15 mm cone wrenches, but in my experience that is not always the case so you might want to measure the size of your cones before you purchase cone wrenches.

  23. #23
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    I had a 1985 Voyageur that was one size too small, but was otherwise an excellent touring bike. 600 miles? A walk in the park for the Voyageur. Any miles you can do...it can do. Enjoy your trip!

  24. #24
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I was contemplating building up a road bike for myself (I am a clydesdale) with a modern touring frame such as the LHT, and opted instead for a 1986 Voyageur that I was fortunate enough to find locally. It is a fine touring bike with lugged Columbus tubing built in Japan and it rides very well under my 360 pounds. I have little doubt that a Voyageur that is in good shape would make a suitable tourer.

    I have modernized the components on mine, and am much happier with it than I would have been with a modern frame of double the cost.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnknappcc View Post
    The name badge says Schwinn with Voyageur underneath, not Chicago. The number stamped on the name badge is 3555, I'm assuming by other posts it was made the 355th day of 85? Would it be 75? Seems from other pictures it would be 85, there is a sticker on the downtube by the pedals that says Made in Japan For Schwinn Bicycle Company, Chicago, 60639. Just trying to confirm the date. Also is the the 11.8? It seems light by bike standards, but not compared to some crazy 2000 dollar frame on these new bikes.

    Where can I locate the serial number?
    The serial number could be on either the left drop out or on the bottom bracket. The overseas frame builders did not always follow a date code method for frame builds.

    The head badge 3555, would be the 355th day of 1985, the day the frame and tha parts were combined to make it a bike. This late in the year of 1985 would make this a 1986 model.
    Here is a image from the 86 catalog - http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1...986Ltwt16.html
    Also, the specs for a 1986 is located here - http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1...986Ltwt31.html
    Last edited by bab2000; 02-04-09 at 10:27 AM. Reason: correct 2nd link

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