Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    converting late ('78 '79) scwhinn le tour into safe lighter touring bike. need help!

    Hello!
    I bought this Schwinn Le Tour with the intention of touring with it this summer. I recently have learned that Le Tours are not the best for touring but I'm wondering what changes I can make to make it work. I like the bike but I have noticed that it is very heavy compared to my alluminum single speed, and imagining riding it with stuffed panniers and other luggage up and down hills does not sound fun or safe.

    I've read that the araya wheels are no good but would switching to an alloy wheelset really make a difference? Would they be weak under a steel frame and luggage?

    I was planning on switching the 21.15 quill threaded steel stem to a alloy upright one and possible get an adaptor, will be replacing steel bars with alloy upright (cruiser) bars.

    maybe a lighter seat post? I don't know the size of that.

    what would you all suggest i do that won't cost a ton?14586_10203114495015049_1993260607_n.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    My Bikes
    2012 Salsa Casseroll, 1997 Bianchi Advantage, 1994 Trek 930.
    Posts
    1,975
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For sure, switching to alloy wheels, but don't forget the chain rings. Do you really want to do loaded touring with a 39 tooth small chainring?

    While LeTours were fine recreational bikes, you might be better off buying a bike purpose built for touring.

    Better yet, if you want to tour on a flat bar bike, why not just get an old mountain bike and mount some good touring tires and racks? Most of them came with alloy wheels, can accept wide tires, and the gearing is far better suited to loaded touring, (24 or 26 tooth small chainring).
    Last edited by MRT2; 03-29-14 at 09:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Hainan, China
    Posts
    538
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    yeah, i think "le tour" was used to associate the product with the tour de france, NOT
    with loaded cycle touring.

    sure, you can tour on just about anything, but not necessarily happily when heavily
    loaded.

    lots of stuff to think about when converting a mid-to-low range recreational sport cycle
    to a heavy tourer.

    are there rack/fender mounts?
    what is the gearing?
    will you need new chain and cassette and rings and bottom bracket?
    gotta replace the derailleurs and shifters, too?
    how 'bout them caliper brakes?
    what is the rear spacing?
    and..........how long are the chainstays?

    i did a google image search, didn't see any le tours with racks or panniers.
    they're probably too short, you'll be hitting your heels each revolution.
    unless you go with a trailer.....
    Last edited by saddlesores; 03-30-14 at 12:11 AM. Reason: the voices!!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,215
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by megmote View Post
    I like the bike but I have noticed that it is very heavy compared to my alluminum single speed, and imagining riding it with stuffed panniers and other luggage up and down hills does not sound fun or safe.

    I've read that the araya wheels are no good but would switching to an alloy wheelset really make a difference? Would they be weak under a steel frame and luggage?

    I was planning on switching the 21.15 quill threaded steel stem to a alloy upright one and possible get an adaptor, will be replacing steel bars with alloy upright (cruiser) bars.

    maybe a lighter seat post? I don't know the size of that.

    what would you all suggest i do that won't cost a ton?14586_10203114495015049_1993260607_n.jpg
    I would suggest a couple of options starting with making sure your intended use doesn't exceed the bikes capabilities. If you don't take a heavy load, pack lightly and the mechanic at the shop says the wheels are ok, especially the rear wheel, and the tires are ok, and you know how to change a flat I'd just ride it as is, don't put any money into upgrades. Make sure the brakes are adjusted well and don't ride in the rain as chromed rims are simply awful for stopping. Put money into the racks and gear that can be transferred to the next bike.

    Wrt weight the steel wheels are a significant part but comparing a steel wheeled road bike to a modern fixie is irrelevant, your gear will make any light bike heavy. Pretty sure the bars and stem are aluminum.

    i've met folks riding old entry level road bikes like that with big loads. It can be done. The problem is if you're riding up and down big or steep mtns in wet weather and you're heavy and the rear wheel was marginally built to begin with, none of which can be determined by a picture.

    the problem with any significant wheel/drivetrain upgrade is lack of interchangeability with modern bikes and it'll probably cost more than you bought the bike for. So if you're young and light, pack lightly, no epic climbs or descents in the rain go for it. Learn to do all your own work and scrounge for free stuff but don't scrounge for free from the bike shop, they need money.

    Oh, other option, freecycle and yard sales for a bike with aluminum wheels and wider range of gears, learn what you need and what is out there first before putting money down. Updating old bikes only makes sense if you have the tools and a pile of parts, updating an old bike with retail parts or entire drivetrain will cost as much as the cheapest new bike.
    Last edited by LeeG; 03-30-14 at 03:53 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Pearland, Texas
    My Bikes
    Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana
    Posts
    5,417
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    megmote, Welcome to the forum.

    About the only thing I'd do with a Le Tour is mount a large saddle bag and day trip with it. To make it a more modern touring bike out of it would be expensive. Enjoy it for what it is. As far as lightening overall bicycle weight? You can drop 3-4 lb. as I did with my old Raleigh, but it'll still be a heavy bicycle.

    Full rigid mountain bikes and hybrids are better choices for touring bike conversions.

    Brad

  6. #6
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chapin, SC
    My Bikes
    surly LHT, surly CC, trek 5000, paris sport fixie (my 1970 bike...repurposed
    Posts
    1,327
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +1 to all that LeeG said.

    When I was touring in Canada I met two 19 year old girls who were riding from Whitehorse, Yukon heading to Vancouver. They were both were riding '70s era 10-speeds , one on a Varsity and the other was on a Le Tour. The bikes had front baskets and old Pletscher racks. They only had one pair of old, very worn, panniers between the two of them. Their camping equipment was a mix of hand-me-downs and Walmart purchases. Most of the stuff was just lashed onto the bikes. When I met them they had gone about 400 miles. Their only complaint was that the campsites they stayed in were over-priced. I have no idea if they made it but they were, tough, determined, and having the time of their lives.

    Additionally I personally toured 1,800 miles, back in 1979, on a 10-speed with steel wheels. I broke a lot of spokes, but I and the bicycle survived. It can be done.
    Last edited by BigAura; 03-30-14 at 11:39 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Up
    My Bikes
    Masi (retired), Giant TCR, Eisentraut, Jamis Aurora Elite, Zullo (trainer bike), Cannondale, Stumpjumper, Waterford(N+1), Tern D8 (N+1)
    Posts
    2,779
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I did my first tours in 1980 on a Schwinn Super Le Tour. I had a Blackburn Rack and Cannondale Panniers. I had and still have size 12 feet and didn't have problems with heel strike. I would suggest that you evaluate your tour and decide if the gearing will be sufficient. If you are riding across Illinois, which is pancake flat, the gearing will be fine. My wheels had alloy rims, if yours are steel then that is one place that I would upgrade, just to improve braking. Most other upgrades should not be necessary unless you want to change the gearing. That is all I would do for the first couple of tours and when you catch the touring bug start looking for a better suited bike.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,215
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    +1 to all that LeeG said.

    When I was touring in Canada I met two 19 year old girls who were riding from Whitehorse, Yukon heading to Vancouver. They were both were riding '70s era 10-speeds , one on a Varsity and the other was on a Le Tour. The bikes had front baskets and old Pletscher racks. They only had one pair of old, very worn, panniers between the two of them. Their camping equipment was a mix of hand-me-downs and Walmart purchases. Most of the stuff was just lashed onto the bikes. When I met them they had gone about 400 miles. Their only complaint was that the campsites they stayed in were over-pricede.
    When I was 24 cycling through Utah I met a French Canadian fellow looking to be late 40's who was riding a steel wheeled Gitane loaded up. He was on his second rear wheel and he said it was holding up much better than the first since he learned how to true wheels.

    on megmotes Le Tour the only thing I'd change, assuming the chain and freewheel are in good condition are the pedals, I don't recall those types lasting long.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    39,147
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It will be expensive .. the frame is decent steel all the parts are maybe best-case replaced .

    But Touring is the trip not the bike .. though you would be wise to have resources available ,
    to replace things when they break ..

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •