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1985 Schwinn Voyageur SP [Project Title]

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1985 Schwinn Voyageur SP [Project Title]

Old 02-05-21, 01:38 AM
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Rooney 
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1985 Schwinn Voyageur SP [Project Title]

I keep posting updates in "Post Your Schwinn Voyageur!" so I figured it was time to make a dedicated thread about this bike and its on-going changes.

I bought this Voyageur SP in May 2018 after months of research. I was living in Brooklyn at the time, and my friends were excited I had a bike to ride with them. I'd previously had my dad's '76 Schwinn Continental, but it was too small and made my back and legs hurt. I knew I was looking for a touring bike with the intention that I would eventually do some level of touring or at least some weekend camping trips. This Voyageur kept popping up during my craigslist searches, but I didn't know much about it and wasn't initially interested. The more I learned (partly from this site and the Voyageur thread), the more I realized it was probably the bike I should buy. After a brief test ride, I took home this "beauty".





Very few original components remained, but overall the bike was — to my untrained eyes — in good condition. I pulled off the fenders, had a shop tune it up, bought a bell and lights, and got some black bar tape. As a note, wrapping the bars was my first experience doing anything to a bicycle other than pumping up the tires. By August, it was looking a little better (using a camera helped). Oh! I changed the pedals to SR SP-11's, which would have originally been on the bike, with MKS cages and straps.
​​​​​




That's how the bike remained for the next two years other than the addition of Jim Blackburn front and low-rider racks and water bottle cages. The bike didn't get ridden much during 2019. Part of that was due to constantly being busy with school, but the seat was also incredibly uncomfortable. From the first day I had the bike, I knew I wanted a Brooks saddle but never ordered one.

In May 2020, I moved into a new apartment with one of my friends who finally pushed me to replace the seat. The seatpost wouldn't hold its tilt, so I ordered a replacement for that as well (the VSP requires 27.2, not the 26.8 I was lead to believe and ordered — oops!). Since I was ordering things, I figured it was a good time to grab a Nitto Technomic stem and bring the handlebars up a little. Then came new tubes and tires (Panaracer Pasela 27 x 1 1/4"). I didn't know how old the previous ones were, and I wanted gumwalls. The light brown (tan, really) MKS straps were swapped for brown Christophe's, which matched the honey Brooks better. This is where the bike stood at the end of August 2020.





I started collecting parts to replace various components not long after initially buying the bike. I had a Mountech FD, Cyclone MK-II GT RD, Sugino AT (26-36-46), Suntour barends, and Shimano aero brake lever waiting to be installed. Not wanting to continue paying NYC rent while the pandemic continued, I moved back home to PA in mid-Sept. I had a shop there swap the cranksets, then I installed hammered Velo Orange fenders (that was an experience) and ordered 46cm Nitto Noodles. This meant getting a new stem as the Technomic was a 25.4mm clamp-dia and the Noodles are 26mm. Forethought, who needs it?

With the new handlebars and stem installed, I attempted to change the brake levers, cable housing (Jagwire Sport in Carbon Silver), and install new pads. Setting up cantilever brakes isn't like wrapping handlebars. After a couple of attempts, I headed back to the bike shop and let them do their thing. They do typically offer bike maintenance classes, but ya know — 2020. Early in January, I visited a friend who, being a former bike mechanic, helped me swap out the derailleurs, install the barends, and run new shifter housing (also Jagwire Sport in Carbon Silver). It was a great learning experience. The less great part was that, at this point, I thought going to 44cm Noodles would be a good idea. It wasn't. I didn't like them. The 44cm bars have already moved on.

About two weeks ago, I wrapped the (46cm) handlebars with yellow Newbaum's, twined the ends, then gave it six coats of amber shellac. I kept the brush in denatured alcohol between coats. This made the first side come out lighter than the second because the shellac was slightly thinned. I switched which side I did first each time to get even results. Here's how the VSP looks as of earlier tonight (iPhone shots for the time being, unfortunately):









I had VO Moderniste bottle cages before but got rid of them. Then I realized I like using vacuum-sealed stainless water bottles, but they wouldn't fit in the Blackburn cages. Cue ordering another pair of VO cages. The two most recent additions are possibly my favorites: a Nitto rear brake cable hanger and Dia-Compe quick-release straddle hangers. The parts are so beautiful! I kept them on my desk for weeks to look at before installing them.

I'm quite happy with what this bike has become. It finally feels like mine. It's also satisfying to finally have the seat and handlebars (and toe-straps) match after thinking about it, essentially, since day one. The next planned change is a 700c conversion. I'm currently leaning towards Velocity Dyad rims and SunXCD high flange hubs (open to input). That probably won't begin to happen until the spring or summer. For now, I'm squeezing in rides whenever it's not below freezing.


That's all for now. Quite an adventure, making a bike your own. How many more times can I buy and re-buy parts? The fun never ends!

Last edited by Rooney; 02-06-21 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:47 AM
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Fantastic bike!!! I've got an 84- same frame, slightly different graphics and came with slightly different components.

Seeing your description of everything is something EVERYONE has gone through. Whether it's something won't work with a dream part, or the one that's on there doesn't do what you want it to do or it's time for something new, or bars are too narrow or too wide or too narrow for the parts you wanted to use, or it's you buggered it up installing it... . I always like to read stories like this, not just for the "adventure" of it, but also to remind myself that it's not *just* me.

I really like the direction you've been headed in- I LOVE your cable housing choice (where did you get that? I've been looking for more!) and I really like that you routed the cable under the handlebar tape. I think modern cable and housing is so much better that it lends itself to those goofy bends and still works great- and it won't interfere with anything you decide to put on the front, like racks or bags or whatever. You made a great choice with the fenders- I've had to try to crimp the fenders I've used- and I've trashed 2 sets of aluminum fenders trying to do that.

One of the things that's kind of unique to these bikes is the narrow distance between the canti posts on the front- I don't know if yours are as narrow as mine- but mine has 50mm between the posts. That REALLY limits the brakes you can use. The DC 980s look neat- but I can totally understand how someone would have trouble with them- they were designed before the really adjustable brakes were designed around 84 or so.

Congratulations! I hope you're enjoying it!!!!
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Old 02-06-21, 08:08 PM
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This is an outstanding build! Honestly it could look better and it should be great for touring.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:34 PM
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The Golden Boy — One of your posts about your VSP was what convinced me to investigate the model further and ultimately lead to me buying this bike. So, thank you! It's definitely intimidating seeing all the well-executed build threads posted by so many talented people while feeling like I'm fumbling along, but the adventure and journey teach you a lot. Both the brake and shifter housings are Jagwire (Sport) in Carbon Silver [Housing info has been added to the original post]. I bought the kits but needed a longer front shifter cable. I'd thought about using their Sterling Silver housing, which would've been closer to the white in the decals, but I felt like the worn paint lent itself to the darker carbon silver better. It also creates a nice 3-grey gradient in conjunction with the decals. After I read multiple reports of people successfully running modern housing under the tape, I knew that was the direction I'd go. It's such a cleaner, tidier look. No problems to report with the shifting either! The rear fender went on easily, but the front definitely took some gentle persuading to wedge under the fork crown. At some point, I may remove it to dent/flatten the area where it meets the crown, but it's fine for now. I haven't measured the canti post spacing yet. It wouldn't surprise me if they were 50mm as well — it's tight!


Pcampeau — Thank you! I can't stop staring at the last full-bike photo! I definitely wanna grab the DSLR this week to take better pictures and detail shots.

Last edited by Rooney; 02-07-21 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 05-05-21, 08:11 PM
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There hasnít been a whole lot to add lately. Iíve been thinking about wheels a lot but Iím not any closer to having a new set.

A couple weeks back now I picked up a 3-pulley cage and transplanted it onto the Cyclone mech. The plan is to eventually utilize as much of its 42T capacity as possible. (Please excuse the dirt, itís getting cleaned tomorrow.)




Probably around the same time I found a set of Dia-Compe 982 cantis for a solid price, so I had to buy them. The 980s have worked terrifically for me, but these 982s are so pretty. Today was the first time Iíve successfully completely set-up a set of cantilevers on my own, and it only took a long time. But they work! The original seller didnít include one set of the washers, so I had to find replacements which meant digging up diagrams ó the 960 and 982 use the same concave and convex washers btw. A little hiccup delayed getting the correct parts, but allís well now.





Next up is replacing the locknut on one of my barend shifters. The original fell out sometime back in January, and last week I was lucky enough to find a NOS mounting axle set. Nothing super exciting. Iíve been using a regular nut for the time being. Itís worked well, although the leverís a bit stiffer than Iíd prefer. Iíll be sure to pick up some Loctite to use this time as well!



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Old 05-05-21, 09:43 PM
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Your SP looks great! Hard to beat the front & rear racks like you have with the Brooks & matching bar tape AND nicely set up fenders! It looks clean & sleek.

I'm impressed you were able to mount the 3 pulley cage on the Cyclone MkII. Was it terribly difficult? I've seen other posts about trying that, but I don't remember which derailer was used.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:22 PM
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thorstein Thank you! I spent a lot of time finding and/or perfecting those specific points. I am a little torn about what to do with the front rack though, it's not as useful for my purposes as the lowrider.

I dug through several threads on the forum about the 3-pulley topic, the conclusion being the cage was available for two different bodies. The LePree, XC (and the "Sport" version), and third-gen Cyclone share a wider hanger bolt, while the ARX and Cyclone Mk-II shares a shorter hanger bolt. I found the cage on eBay and exchanged a couple of messages with the seller until I was as certain as I could be that it was the proper cage. The swap was as simple as in the thread I linked. From what I've seen in other threads, it seemed problems arose when trying to put a short hanger bolt cage onto a longer hanger bolt body, or vice-versa.
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Old 05-06-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rooney View Post
thorstein Thank you! I spent a lot of time finding and/or perfecting those specific points. I am a little torn about what to do with the front rack though, it's not as useful for my purposes as the lowrider.
Thanks for the info on the franken-derailer. I just put one on my Stumpjumper & like it so far - love the quirkyness of it

I have the same front rack set up as you on my '89 Voyageur & like it a lot. I sometimes put a handlebar/ randoneur-style bag on it or add the lowriders for front paniers. When I don't plan to use the lowriders for a while I take them off as it looks a little excessive without paniers.
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Old 05-06-21, 07:13 PM
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"Today was the first time I’ve successfully completely set-up a set of cantilevers on my own, and it only took a long time. "

The 'it only took a long time' made me laugh,..... been there
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Old 05-06-21, 09:06 PM
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thorstein The quirkyness of this derailleur is the key! I'm running old Cannondale bags, so I can get away with not needing the front rack, which is the biggest reason for feeling "eh" about it. For as long as I spent hunting it down, I may end up selling it off to someone who will actually put it to go use and mount a basket or something on top. I don't know that I really ever see myself using it.
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Old 05-06-21, 09:15 PM
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Excellent build. Have had one of those on my "gotta have list" for a long time. Those frames are excellent!

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Old 05-06-21, 09:51 PM
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Looks nice without the front rack, much cleaner since you've got the bag up on the handlebars. It's a shame those front paniers can't be mounted on the rack without resting on the brakes - at least that's how mine sit. Not going to risk ruining the panier and probably the cantilevers.
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Old 05-07-21, 05:48 AM
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with the 982s and the 3-pulley surgery, you are now officially my frikkin' hero. loving the things going on here (and very impressed with your learning speed compared to mine!)


Originally Posted by Rooney View Post
thorstein Thank you! I spent a lot of time finding and/or perfecting those specific points. I am a little torn about what to do with the front rack though, it's not as useful for my purposes as the lowrider.

I dug through several threads on the forum about the 3-pulley topic, the conclusion being the cage was available for two different bodies. The LePree, XC (and the "Sport" version), and third-gen Cyclone share a wider hanger bolt, while the ARX and Cyclone Mk-II shares a shorter hanger bolt. I found the cage on eBay and exchanged a couple of messages with the seller until I was as certain as I could be that it was the proper cage. The swap was as simple as in the thread I linked. From what I've seen in other threads, it seemed problems arose when trying to put a short hanger bolt cage onto a longer hanger bolt body, or vice-versa.
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Old 05-07-21, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by niliraga View Post
with the 982s and the 3-pulley surgery, you are now officially my frikkin' hero. loving the things going on here (and very impressed with your learning speed compared to mine!)
Haha, thank you! The 982s are visually very similar to the 980s, but so much cooler. I love em. There could be more derailleur surgery moving forward. Iím back and forth between a 7- or 8-speed cassette. From what Iíve read, the Cyclone may have trouble with 8 cogs, but extraneous material can be filed away to make it work. I need to dive into those threads some more. Which is also what I owe my progression to ó lots of reading, asking questions, and patience (and walking away to take a minute) when things donít work out at first.
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Old 08-04-21, 08:26 PM
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Some good, some bad

UPDATE: Changes have been slow because back in Feb/March I got a Trek 710 frame and built it up as a 650b conversion, so the Voyageur hasn't had as much riding time.

I finally decided to commit to the 700c conversion and was about to go with some Sta-True wheels, but my friend told me he had a set for sale. They ended up being Mavic Open Pro rims with an Ultegra front hub and Cycleops rear hub. I bought some 35mm Panaracer Gravelking SS's and an 11-30t 8-speed cassette. While everything was in transit, I took the Schwinn to have the dropouts spread (that was a week ago).

Today, I picked up the bike. The initial test fit of the wheels went well. I needed a new chain, which wasn't a surprise, and the rear tire cleared the fender and chainstays without any problem. The Gravelking's measure the full 35mm. All other tires I've had seem to come in ~2mm smaller than labeled. The front tire seems to be rubbing slightly on the front fender. I'm not sure if it's just the "feelers" or more, but I plan to do some more precise manipulation to the fender in the hopes of better clearance. It's worth noting that the 35s fit very tightly between the cantilevers and, at least upfront, a 32 may be better.

I'm curious: Other people with Voyageurs running fenders and tires labeled 35mm — what is the actual measured width of your tires?

The real problem/heartbreak, however, came with the brakes. The Dia-Compe NGC 982 simply can't make the conversion. I'd test fit a 700c wheel and thought there would be enough adjustment but must have missed something. Unfortunately, this means the Schwinn is unrideable until I figure out a brake situation. I may go with some Shimano Altus brakes to get it moving ASAP while I search for something that satisfies my aesthetic needs. I was a bit deflated today. The barend for the rear seems like it may need some tinkering as getting into the 30t cog was slightly challenging. I'll have to wait until the bike is rideable to see what the case actually is. It's very frustrating to be so close and not be able to finish this thing up. Anyway, here's a shot of the Voyageur as it currently sits, and a shot of the clearance in the rear.


The 22" 950 Single Track is a recent acquisition (EDIT: I'm just noticing in this photo vs. the one with the panniers I seem to have the cross piece on the low riders positioned incorrectly. While this must have applied some downward force to the fender, even after I removed it the tire still made the same amount of contact with the fender.)



35mm tire w/ fender appears to be the max. possible

Last edited by Rooney; 08-04-21 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 08-09-21, 09:11 PM
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After being out of service for two weeks, the Voyageur finally rode again today!

Like Schwinn Voyageur owners before me, I turned to the Dia-Compe 981 w/ Kool Stop Thinlines to assist in the 27" to 700c conversion. I'm still bummed the 982s didn't work, but they've found a new home on my 1990 Trek 950 project. The rear derailleur shifted through all the gears without a problem during the ride. The bar ends are usually a little more difficult to operate while the bike's in the stand. Clearly, the front fender has been left off in the photo. I wanted to check my brake setup before futzing with the fender. I'll indent for the fork blades and flatten the section that meets the underside of the fork crown. Hopefully, that'll provide enough clearance for the 35mm tire. If it's still too tight, I may go for 32mm tires instead. I hadn't secured the rear fender completely, and at one point, it came loose, rubbing against the tire. Readjusting took some time, and there wasn't much wiggle room.

Ultimately, I'm happy with where things have ended up. The extra tire width is incredible! The previous 27 x 1 1/4" tires measured anywhere from 28-30mm, so the change is significant. Cadillac, freight train, all those things. The next step for this bike is an S24O (or two, or three), then a weekend-long trip ó just in time for autumn.
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