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$40 1991 Schwinn Le Tour? (Worth the Upgrade?)

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$40 1991 Schwinn Le Tour? (Worth the Upgrade?)

Old 01-17-19, 10:01 PM
  #1  
Kamkam89
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$40 1991 Schwinn Le Tour? (Worth the Upgrade?)

Hello all,

I am almost more than certain that I bought a 1991 Schwinn Le Tour, but the handle bars completely threw me off and I'm more than 97% sure they're a botched third party. (they wiggle a lot and it's not road safe)

Now, I matched it (besides) the handle bars with this catalogue I found.The wheel size matches, the down tube shifters match, the logo.

SO my question is.

I want to upgrade it, is it worth it? As of right now, the seat is all the way down, I can have my feet flat on the ground over the frame but its a LLIIITTLLE big. (I think this is a 55 frame and I'm 5'6")

I was thinking of the following

The Needs:
  • New Handle Bar
  • Change tires and tubes (700x28c)
  • Change chain and breaks
  • Upgrade downtube shifters to handle shifters on a drop bar ( don't think I'd ever get use to the downtubes)
The wants:
  • Hopefully to repaint the whole thing
  • Upgrade derailleur (though this may need to happen anyway because of switching out downtube shifters)
  • Upgrade gears (as above)
  • New Pedals

This will potentially be my first time really getting my hands dirty and working on a bike. OBVIOUSLY I will probably end up spending more on repairs and upgrades on the bike itself. But the frame isn't bent. TRUE it feels a little big but I don't know if it's passable and something I can get use too (again, feet on the ground with my crotch over the top tube of the frame -tires are flat though)

IS it worth the work? I'd like to open this up and customize it, get something really simple and classy. (also not 2K and die if it gets stolen) I'm pretty good with fixing things in general, though I don't know if I'm in over my head.

Second. Do you guys have a reliable or cheap resource for good parts.

How will I know if parts fit? Or if they're compatible?
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Old 01-17-19, 10:10 PM
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OP,
We all get excited about our first bike or a bike that is a super deal...before I would start on a complete refit I would be certain that the bike fits...unless your legs are long a 56 may be as you said "a little" big and if that is the case it may not be enjoyable to ride.
You will invest quite a bit into a frame that does not fit you..currently, you are out 40.00 but that may add up to a lot of money for a bike that you can't ride.
JM2C's, Ben
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Old 01-17-19, 10:34 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
OP,
We all get excited about our first bike or a bike that is a super deal...before I would start on a complete refit I would be certain that the bike fits...unless your legs are long a 56 may be as you said "a little" big and if that is the case it may not be enjoyable to ride.
You will invest quite a bit into a frame that does not fit you..currently, you are out 40.00 but that may add up to a lot of money for a bike that you can't ride.
JM2C's, Ben
Most definitely right to say that the frame fit is the most important part. I think for this frame, I'd guesstimate it between 54-55 cm frame. I know that's probably at the edge of my height range. How much clearance would you say is "comfortable" when your ontop of the frame?
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Old 01-17-19, 10:45 PM
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Bikes need to fit when you are riding. Standover is part of the fitment process, but not the acid test some make it out to be.
Having said that, the bike is probably too big by the sound of it. Also, Schwinn measured in inches I think, so you might have a 21" frame". Of course that depends on how you measured, C to T or C to C.
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Old 01-17-19, 11:00 PM
  #5  
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Old 01-18-19, 08:30 AM
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Good Morning and welcome to the forums!!

Originally Posted by Kamkam89 View Post
Hello all,

I am almost more than certain that I bought a 1991 Schwinn Le Tour, but the handle bars completely threw me off and I'm more than 97% sure they're a botched third party. (they wiggle a lot and it's not road safe) Get this bike to a shop and have this inspected by someone more experienced than yourself.

Now, I matched it (besides) the handle bars with this catalogue I found.The wheel size matches, the down tube shifters match, the logo.

SO my question is.

I want to upgrade it, is it worth it? As of right now, the seat is all the way down, I can have my feet flat on the ground over the frame but its a LLIIITTLLE big. (I think this is a 55 frame and I'm 5'6")

I was thinking of the following

The Needs:
  • New Handle Bar What is wrong with the current handlebar? Did someone switch them from drop style bars to flat or upright bars?
  • Change tires and tubes (700x28c) Are the tires dry rotted and cracked? you may just need tubes or even just air. Air up the tubes and let it sit for a day and see if they hold air.
  • Change chain and breaks Why a chain? unless the bike has in excess of 1000 hard miles on it the chain may be OK and just need cleaned. What is wrong with the brakes?
  • Upgrade downtube shifters to handle shifters on a drop bar ( don't think I'd ever get use to the downtubes) What kind of shifters on drop bars? The shifters intergrated into the brakes levers will be expensive to retrofit on this bike.
The wants:
  • Hopefully to repaint the whole thing Why? Is the bexcessively scratched or rusty?
  • Upgrade derailleur (though this may need to happen anyway because of switching out downtube shifters)
  • Upgrade gears (as above)
  • New Pedals
This will potentially be my first time really getting my hands dirty and working on a bike. OBVIOUSLY I will probably end up spending more on repairs and upgrades on the bike itself. But the frame isn't bent. TRUE it feels a little big but I don't know if it's passable and something I can get use too (again, feet on the ground with my crotch over the top tube of the frame -tires are flat though) If you cannot stand comfortably over the bike, tires inflated, with one to two inches of clearance the bike may be a bit big. It isn't the end of the world though.

IS it worth the work? I'd like to open this up and customize it, get something really simple and classy. (also not 2K and die if it gets stolen) I'm pretty good with fixing things in general, though I don't know if I'm in over my head.
Second. Do you guys have a reliable or cheap resource for good parts. There are lots of reasonably priced places to get bike parts on line, however supporting you locak bike shop (LBS) will prove invaluable as a source of help and information.
How will I know if parts fit? Or if they're compatible? In general buying parts of the same brand will usually mean they are compatible to a degree.

Where do you live? Is it riding season there now? Here is what I suggest. If you don't already have one, find a LBS and take the bike there for a tune up and get the drivetrain cleaned. Yes I realize you want to learn to do this yourself but I think most importantly you need to get this bike safe and functional. Now you can go out and enjoy it. Even if the bike is a tad big your better off spending the money to have it made ready to ride and enjoy it. Then after you have a few miles on it you can decide if you want to spend time and effort upgrading it or look for something that fits better and has the type shifters you want.

Also where do you live? many of us are very friendly and don't mind helping someone get started down the path to vintage bike repair, collecting and enjoying!

Post a few pics like this, or since your new you can email me and I'll post them for you. BianchiGirLL@yahoo.com

This helps show the brand and model of components, and again the condition


A pic like this gives us a good overview of the bike and rough idea of its size and condition.

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Others but still loved; '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape SLX Bertoni "Speckled Trout"
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Old 01-18-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Kamkam89 View Post
Most definitely right to say that the frame fit is the most important part. I think for this frame, I'd guesstimate it between 54-55 cm frame. I know that's probably at the edge of my height range. How much clearance would you say is "comfortable" when your ontop of the frame?
I like to be able to stand upright without hitting or scraping anything...get my point? A little lean of the bike might work for you but leaning a lot is problematic to me.
Best, Ben
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Old 01-18-19, 03:35 PM
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I re-read your post and saw that you mentioned replacing the brakes. That is almost never necessary nor is it desirable if there is nothing wrong with them. Now if you meant replacing the brake pads, that is different. I typically look at the pads and if they aren't worn too bad, I scuff them up with some fine sandpaper and then try them out. Most of the time they work just fine. What happens to brake blocks is that they get glazed on the surface from heat and friction. I suppose the rubber compound also ages, so sanding a bit off gets down to some fresher material probably. What you might wish to do is replace both brake and shifter cables. Housing too if it is in bad shape. Again, that oftentimes is just fine and just needs cleaning and some tri-flow lube.

If you want the shifters on the bars, I guess you are wanting STI brake/shifter combo style levers. That is generally referred to as a "brifter" for brake-shifter. I believe you can still find 7 speed brifters or at least brifters that will work with 7 speed shimano. Otherwise, if you bump up to 8 speed you will need a new freewheel. You might entertain going to a set of upright bars and trigger shifters. Much more comfortable for occasional riding for recreation as compared with drop bars.

For the brifters, look for Shimano and Microshift. For trigger, Shimano.

Park Tools has a website that gives great information on general bike repair. I suggest you look at the videos. Otherwise, go on Youtube.com and you will find videos ad nauseum showing how to do most any replacement or repair on bicycles. They vary in quality and accuracy, but there are some very helpful ones for sure.

Bianchigirll had some good observations, she usually does. Make sure of what you want to do before dropping a load of coin on fixing up a bike that doesn't fit or you end up deciding you don't like riding after all.

When you decide exactly what you want, I bet the right bike will be there. The Le Tour is a nice, middle-of-the-road bike with True Temper, double-butted frame, so is a decent base to start from, but again, not if it doesn't fit.

Fit can be controversial, but none of my bikes have 2" of clearance when I stand flat-footed over the top tube. Most of them rub my crotch. I am 5' 11-1/2" with average length legs and ride a 23" or 58cm comfortably. I seldom have to do anything to those sized frames other than raise or lower the saddle. Or move it up or back a bit.

I will sometimes change up the stem, but typically just to get the bars higher so I don't have to bend over too far. I like seeing without craning my neck too far. Again, the most important thing is to size the bike for how it feels when you are pedaling. Unless you intend to spend most of your time standing. I have never, ever had an issue with the height of the top tubes before, during or after a ride.

Good luck!
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Old 01-19-19, 07:17 AM
  #9  
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Pics are here!!!!!!!

I got some pics from KamKam89 last night. As I suspected someone put a small riser bar on the bike and the clamp bolt is likely lose. It looks like they at least put decent lever on it. @Kamkam89 sadly it does look a tad big, if I was selling this to you new I would certainly get you to at least try something smaller. The good news is your only into this for $40 so far.

I am not sure just where Arcadia is but since your in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County I wouldn't be surprised if there is a member close by to help you tune this up.

Looking at the pics I don't see any reason for the chain to be replaced for 'safety reason' and although it is just a small section of the tire I again see no reason to replace them at this time. Remember you want to get this bike safe and functional so you can see if the fit is OK and you like it. All I would do at this point is figure out why the bars are loose, I suspect the clamp is just loose, at worse the wrong size bar was used. Then I'd just give it a good tune up, make sure the chain did not have any stuck links, and replace the brake pads. Even if you go to a shop to get just that done if all you need is brake pads I don't think you'll be spending much. If you don't like the ride/fit you don't have a lot invested and should be able to resell it pretty easily.



Suntour Blaze, nice derailleur but a bit problematic for getting those fancy 'brifter' type shifters.


We used to refer to this as a 'upright conversion' but it really wasn't that upright compared to riding on the 'top' of regular drop bars.




Looks like good quality brake levers.


Someone may be able to tell you the day this frame was welded together


Nice looking bike


Don't be afraid of down tube shifters. Properly adjusted just a simple pull or push to the next click is all you need to change gears so it isn't like your hand needs to be down there for a long time.


It does look just a tad big.
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Old 01-19-19, 08:40 AM
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That bike is large for you. Your stand over picture is with flat tires. You can add at least an inch in lack of clearance with good tires. Too large is a personal preferance. I predict that in an emergency dismount you're gonna have an issue.

However it is a great candidate for a flip! That bike (properly rehabbed) is a $250 - 300 in some markets. You can then take that money and buy/rebuild a bike that fits you. Good luck!
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Old 01-20-19, 08:47 PM
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Also, I'd also agree this is too big for you. The handlebars are definitely not original. It is a nice bike, a classic. Yes, rehabbed these bikes can be flipped for $200-$300 in some markets, which should be enough to get you into a bike which fits you better.
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Old 01-23-19, 11:20 AM
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The markets mentioned above are few and far between. Around here, $125 and it could take a while (and would need to be road safe). Accushift plus Blaze is not really classic IMHO.

Fixing and upgrading older bikes is best suited for someone with the time/tools/aptitude/pile of parts. The moment you take it to a bike shop to do upgrade work, you will be upside down on it $$ wise. And upgrading a bike that does not fit makes even less sense.

Sell it and move on. Now my entire collection of bikes and my assortment of tools all started with a $10 bike that did not fit. Did really minor adjustments, sold it for $100. Rolled those profits into additional bikes, eventually working my way up to more flips, more $$, better personal bikes, and so on. The only money that came out of the family's funds was that initial $10.

Last edited by wrk101; 01-23-19 at 11:30 AM.
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