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Painting/modifying Schwinn World Voyageur

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Painting/modifying Schwinn World Voyageur

Old 04-02-19, 10:10 AM
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WizardOfBoz
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Painting/modifying Schwinn World Voyageur

Just purchased a '73 Schwinn World Voyageur. Previous owner worked in a Schwinn shop (like me) and was Schwinn factory-trained (unlike me) so mechanically its pretty sound. He put on Dura Ace side-pull brakes from '73 (though he included the original center pulls). I'd like to clean this up to near-original condition, with some differences to allow for riding the thing. Here's the plan:

1) Paint is in poor shape - chipped, scraped, etc. Plan on stripping, polishing the chrome, then painting with orange paint and new/repro decals.
2) Generally, disassemble and clean/polish, relube and (as necessary) replace stuff. I'm hoping that the wheel bearing cups and cones are ok.
3) Replace tires (which are original, but which are bulging), probably with Panaracer gumwalls.
4) Clean and polish up all parts. How do people generally handle vintage wheels and hubs? Disassemble and rebuild the wheel?

So first, comments? Next question: Does anyone have a color match number for "Kool Orange" that these frames were painted with? One hint was that it was possibly GM "Hugger Orange", which is color code 990, or WA3959. But on some sites this looks to be red-orange, not orange-orange. I'm thinking of using the spray-max system. Anyone use this? Type 1K or 2K?

Thanks!


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Old 04-02-19, 10:33 AM
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Nice project. If I had the wheels, I would check to be sure the sides of the rims were not worn from the brakes before doing anything else. If the rims were not too worn, I would then check to be sure the wheels were true and round, with acceptable spoke tension.

Then I would remove the freewheel, pull the axles, and look carefully at the races on cups and cones. If they were in good shape, I’d replace the bearings, lube it all up, and put the hubs back together.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:16 PM
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That paint does not look like it's in "poor shape."
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Old 04-02-19, 12:36 PM
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If you want a near-exact match you'd be best off taking the fork to an auto paint shop for matching.

When I got my WV it had a long scrape under the driveside downtube decal, and some little spots here and there. I tried the Kool Orange from Koolest Kolors that are supposed to be an exact match but found it to be darker - possibly sun-fading on mine or whatever. In the end I mixed my own using Model Master's International Orange as the base with some Guard Red and White mixed in small amounts until I wound up with a near-perfect match. I light-sanded the edges of the scrape and airbrushed a light primer followed by my brew - feathered it in and rubbed it out. Only a very close inspection reveals the touch ups which works for me.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:40 PM
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In that picture your paint doesn't look too bad, I find that car wax especially a 3 step approach like Meguiar's clean/polish/carnuba can do wonders for old paint. It won't be perfect but it will be an improvement and still original. Just saying - shiny new paint is nice too. Have fun with your Schwinn. I have a LeTour I need to finish up.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:44 PM
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If the wheels are steel, I'd replace them with new-ish aluminum wheels for the improved braking. If you consider the originals to have any value, store them somewhere safe as an investment for your grandkids (or some such).

If they're aluminum, then I'd make sure they're straight and round and don't have any visible damage, then double-check the spoke tension and service the hubs. New rim tape, tubes, and tires. The usual.
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Old 04-02-19, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
That paint does not look like it's in "poor shape."
This.

Too many folks are too quick to rid original paint.
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Old 04-02-19, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This.

Too many folks are too quick to rid original paint.
Truth. I can see a scraped-up chainstay but otherwise it's reasonable.

I would disassemble the bike and then give the frame and fork a thorough, gentle cleaning. At the most I would work over the paint with white polishing compound and follow with a good wax. The old Schwinn paint comes back nicely with this treatment.
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Old 04-02-19, 09:59 PM
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Only a fool would repaint this bike.
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Old 04-03-19, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
Truth. I can see a scraped-up chainstay but otherwise it's reasonable.

I would disassemble the bike and then give the frame and fork a thorough, gentle cleaning. At the most I would work over the paint with white polishing compound and follow with a good wax. The old Schwinn paint comes back nicely with this treatment.
Look at this restoration of old Schwinn paint with just rubbing compound by @Kdogbikes Electro-forged Schwinn Continental at just 39 lbs. !!
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Old 04-03-19, 06:27 AM
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REALLY NICE! I have the same model and color, and agree the paint and decals on yours look good to me, to0 good to strip as a first choice--would definitely try polishing/touch up/waxing first (though the original decals will be fragile and you'll have to work around).

The freewheel on yours is not original, but the original freewheel was HUGE so I think what you have makes sense. In addition to repacking the bearings, I'd polish your hubs and rims with Mother's Mag polish, I think you'll like the results. Your bars, shifters, and perhaps even tape all look original, cool! The prior owner did what I did and took off the "turkey lever" brake safety levers, and added the brake cushioning hoods--I think that is an upgrade. The original seatpost you have is very nice--mine came with that but without the original saddle so I put on a brooks. One change I made to mine (which I am debating un-doing) was replacing the bar-end shifters with a suntour ratcheting down-tube shifter--still period correct and what I am used to. I saved the original (they were sticky and needed a tune-up) and MIGHT put them back on. Your brake and derailleur cable housing look grey, and the originals were spiral steel for both, which you can get at Velo Orange with a modern teflon liner (if you want to get THAT particular). The original pedals on mine were BOAT ANCHORS and I replaced them with silver double sided Shimano spd pedals.

all FWIW.
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Old 04-03-19, 07:17 AM
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“When I got my WV it had a long scrape under the driveside downtube decal, and some little spots here and there. I tried the Kool Orange from Koolest Kolors that are supposed to be an exact match but found it to be darker - possibly sun-fading on mine or whatever.”

I had the same experience with Kool Orange brush-on touchup paint from another vendor.
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Old 04-03-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This. Too many folks are too quick to rid original paint.
For purists and true collectors who value the original paint, I agree. And some unknowing teenager stripping a 1963 Colnago frame is cringeworthy. Purists get to do the preservation job they desire, limited by time and money. But this is my bike! I got this because I use to set these up in the bike shop when I was a kid, and wanted one I can ride. So my criteria is for this to look like it came out of the box, looking as good as it did in 1973 (Lord knows I never will look that good again.. alas). The pictures don't show the scrapes, rust, etc. that this frame has. (See add'l pic below). In fairness, the seller put together a nice writeup that described the thing pretty well. I'm adding it in below, because it might be of interest to some.

So... Horses for courses. I don't value a chunged-up paint job, even if its original. I value a paint job that looks nearly original. But I'll tell ya what: I'm going to clean the frame up really well and try some cutting compound and wax. It will look better, but I suspect it won't be satisfactory to me.

The sales spiel, from eBay:
For auction is a 23"/58cm 1972/1973 Schwinn Voyageur. First the history: these bikes were built for one year only, in 1972 for the 1973 model/catalogue year.For a number of business reasons, the Schwinn bicycle company decided to build a very limited number of high end bikes, "World Voyageurs" in Japan, rather than Chicago. These bikes are not the same as or even similiar to later "Voyageur" models. To begin, Schwinn selected the proven Paramount P-10 geometry for the frameset builds. The construction of the frames was to be of top end double butted chrome moly tubing (Champion), and the frames were to be hand brazed rather than mass produced. Finally, the components on the bike were to be top end Japanese rather than the European components used on the Paramounts. To a large extent the project was doomed by its own success.The resulting bikes were every bit the equal or better than the Chicago built Paramount P-10 models. The Champion tubing was as good or better than the Reynolds 531 used on the Chicago built Paramounts, the long point lugs were better heat sinks for the brazing process and spread stress better than the Nervex lugs used on the Paramount (so much so that later Chicago and Wisconsin built Paramounts were switched to the long point lugs). The Japanese jigs and brazing were impecible--beyond the standard of Chicago. The Suntour dropouts stacked up well against the Campagnolo units used on the Paramount.A side by side component comparison put the World Voyageur well ahead of the Paramount P-10. The Shimano Dura Ace crankset had a wider gear range than the Campagnolo unit while being of equal quality. The Shimano Crane (First generation Dura Ace) derailleur easily outperformed either the Campagnolo long cage or Huret long cage derailleur on the Paramount. Headset and brakes were fundtional equivelents, and while the Shimano hubs lacked the finish of the Paramount's Campagnolo hubs, the Japanese clincher rims were far superior to the European model used on the Paramount.With that outcome, the World Voyageur project came to a screaching halt after the production of a very limited number of bikes.NOW, this particular bike is in good to excellent mechanical condition and has been well maintained over time. It is not a museum piece or cosmetically perfect. Shimano Dura Ace crankset, Shimano Crane derailleur (and in fact all the shifting), wheels, bar/stem combo, and seatpost are all original and in good working condition. The brakes were upgraded from the original "Schwinn Approved" badged Dia Compe centerpulls to Shimano Dura Ace sidepulls very early on. (The original brakes are in a plastic bag labelled "VGR brakes 2/78 and included with the bike as extras). At some point the pedals were upgraded from the original steel "rat trap" units to Look clipless pedals. The bike has been used continually over time for sport touring, century rides, later charity rides, and perhaps a couple "citizens races" in the 1970s.The bike shows the cosmetic wear of time and use. The paint is a little faded and chipped (but there aren't any dings or dents), the chrome lugs, forks and stays are in good shape. The rubber covers on the shift levers are faded from the sun and weather. However the bike has been well maintained, shift and brake cables have obviously been replaced over time, as has the chain. Brake shoes have only a little wear. Saddle is not original, but in good shape. Brake lever hoods are replacements and in good shape. The tires work fine, but probably should be replaced for the season. An extra freewheel and a brand new unused Regina chain are also included with the bike as extras in addition to the original brakeset in the bag. My husband took the bike on a 38 mile ride last week. He said it rides comfortably and is easy to ride no hands.The bike is priced to reflect both the mechanical condition and the cosmetic flaws. This is your chance to own a very special and unique bike.


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Old 04-03-19, 01:16 PM
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Thanks, guys. BTW, the seller shipped me this with Look pedals and all my shoes and other bikes are Shimano. So I'll be selling the Looks and will probably put on shimano ultegras. But in case I want to go original with the pedals (boat anchors that they were), what model/make were they? Available, or rarer than hen's teeth?

Of course, I could put the old campy Super Record pedals with Christophe clips!

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Old 04-03-19, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by schwinnderella View Post
Only a fool would repaint this bike.
+1,000,000 it’s only original once. If I want perfect paint I’ll just buy something new. One reason I like C & V is I prefer “patina”. My favorite bike ever was a Schwinn World Voyageur with lots of missing paint.

originsl freewheel was skip tooth which is cool in its own way. Reminds me I have one in my project queue right now.
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Old 04-03-19, 08:20 PM
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I think the seller was full of sheet with that description and bullsheet comparison to Paramounts.
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Old 04-03-19, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
I think the seller was full of sheet with that description and bullsheet comparison to Paramounts.
I thought it was a little overblown, too. But the writer was the wife of the owner, a guy was a Schwinn-trained bike shop guy for years We communicated, and I even suggested the same thing you did. Nice person. She suggested that hubby was privy to a lot of Schwinn marketing decisions back in the day.

I'm looking at this with things I can verify. The geometry is easy enough to check. The Japanese had (and still have) some folks that are really good at making bikes. Were their framemakers as good at brazing as the superlight shop in Chicago? Or Don Mainland in Racine, Wi? The lugwork I recall from 1973 was fantastic. Not sure if was as fantastic as US Schwinn, but still very, very good. Same thing for Champion tubing. As good as 531? Likely not. But still good. The frame is heavier than a Paramount, so there's that. First gen Dura Ace? Probably pretty near Campy, except the pantograph RD, which I think shifts better.

But I didn't buy it because it was as good as a Paramount. I bought it because it reminded me of what I used to do, and what I used to be (younger, for one!). So I'm not too concerned about any hyperbole in the ad. I look at it as another point of view, and learn what I can from it.

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Old 04-03-19, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
+1,000,000 it’s only original once. If I want perfect paint I’ll just buy something new. One reason I like C & V is I prefer “patina”. My favorite bike ever was a Schwinn World Voyageur with lots of missing paint.
Again, if the owner doesn't give a rat's heinie about "original", then "original" is immaterial. Golly, I guess I shouldn't tell anyone here that I plan on buying a mid 70's racing Paramount and then adding a 3 chainring front.... And also repainting it if needed...

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
origin[a]l freewheel was skip tooth which is cool in its own way. Reminds me I have one in my project queue right now.
Agree. I received a freewheel and a spare chain. Haven't checked to see if its the skipped tooth original setup.
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Old 04-03-19, 09:05 PM
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Testors sells a "gloss competition orange" enamel in a small spray can that might match pretty well for touch up. I bought a can based on the color of the cap to touch up a few spots on my WV. I haven't tried it yet, but the cap is almost a perfect match.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Thanks, guys. BTW, the seller shipped me this with Look pedals and all my shoes and other bikes are Shimano. So I'll be selling the Looks and will probably put on shimano ultegras. But in case I want to go original with the pedals (boat anchors that they were), what model/make were they? Available, or rarer than hen's teeth?

Of course, I could put the old campy Super Record pedals with Christophe clips!
The original pedals were KKT-SF pedals with toe clips and white straps. The pedals are not difficult to find. The original toe clips and straps might be.

The original saddle would be a Fujita Seamless Super YFC
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Old 04-04-19, 07:29 AM
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I think as a PSA, it's worth reminding everyone what a PITA it is to paint a bike, even if you are not that picky about the results. But if you insist on perfection, and are not a professional painter by trade, expect to spend months and hundreds of hours, and endure frustration after frustration after setback. I have painted several frames and it was absolutely maddening, and I still didn't get the results I had hoped for. Don't underestimate what you will be getting yourself into. And once the original paint is gone, there is no turning back.

Would Not Recommend.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:51 AM
  #22  
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Lemond1985, Good general information. Interestingly, I recently bought a 1999 Lemond Zurich, and the paint was chipped (and the previous owner had touched up white paint with something cream colored - it looked disgusting). I sanded off the smooge, and touched the thing up the white paint. I did have a color match done (but the Sherwin Williams color sensor doesn't work too well on curved surfaces like frame tubes) but ended up using a standard white from a rattle can. Turned out great and was only marginally a PITA.

I find the touchup work more frustrating and less satisfactory than the strip and paint approach. But, given the chrome lugs and the masking that the Voyageur will take, your warning is a fair one.

There is a point that many here have ignored (this is a web forum - everyone has the right to ignore any point made - it's almost obligatory!). That is this: It's my bike that I bought for my pleasure and enjoyment. The paint is chipped, and has been "touched up" without any fill or paint build and without any sanding, repeatedly. To me (the owner and rider) it looks bad. I don't like it. So, if every time I look at the bike I'm turned off, what is the benefit of "original finish"? I mean, it would be more of a crime against humanity if this was a 1960s Colnago or De Rosa that I'm desecrating. There is the story of a guitar that Jeff Beck hand-painted for Jimmy Page. With a cool dragon. Page let someone stay at his house and as a "gift", the guest stripped off Beck's paintjob and repainted the thing. This isn't the situation here. Repainting a 1973 Voyageur is not desecrating the frickin' Mona Lisa.

Painting CAN be a PITA. For some. But some of life is enjoying the path, not the destination. Read Sheldon Brown's accounts of refinishing bikes. He was having a blast and found the work interesting. So, what is a PITA for some is a joy for others.

But I've gotten useful info from everyone, including many who have said that repainting is hard and politely warning me off, and at least one that said that anyone repainting this bike is an idiot (and many who implied something of this nature).

I plan to take off all the parts and ultrasonically cleaning them and buffing them out. Then, I'll hit the frame with a good cleaning, sticker adhesive removal with goof off, getting rid of oxidized finish wiht cutting compound, and a wax.. If its still as bad as I think it is, probably will strip and paint.

I have a Schwinn Superior that I'm also going to refurb, but for that I don't think I'll strip it. I may just remove the downtube Schwinn decal (it's totally crazed and cracked) and hit that with black paint, a new decal, and a clear overcoat. One thing I really want to keep is an old League of American Wheelmen sticker that's on the bike!

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Old 04-04-19, 08:28 AM
  #23  
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I have nothing constructive to add to this discussion. It's a lovely bike, though.
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Old 04-04-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
The original pedals were KKT-SF pedals with toe clips and white straps. The pedals are not difficult to find. The original toe clips and straps might be.

The original saddle would be a Fujita Seamless Super YFC
Wow, thanks Mr. K. Good info. However, looking at KKT-SF's on ebay... They ARE boat anchors. If this was supposed to be a superbike, I would have expected allow pedals.
I think I'm going to go with a Brooks Professional, or B-17, and Ultegra road pedals. This is going to be a rider.
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Old 04-04-19, 11:14 AM
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WizardOfBoz
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I thought I'd posted this question, but can't find it. The Voyageur was apparently made from Tange Champion butted Cro-Mo tubing. Retrogrouch's useful blog covers some Tange history: https://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com...-ishiwata.html

Tange Champion was made in 5 classes. From 1 (very light - lighter than Columbus SL) to 5 (which I presume was "heavy".) Anyone know which type Champion tube was used in the Voyageur?

FWIW, the tubeset specs (in 1988 catalog) state that Champion tubesets started with the "Pro" model (1600g) and then went from #1 to #5 (1960 to 2230g). So from #1 to #5 is about half a pound (270g).
https://www.os2.dhs.org/~john/catalogs/tange-catalog.pdf

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 04-04-19 at 11:34 AM.
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