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Old 01-07-06, 09:15 PM   #1
DiegoFrogs
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Schwinn Le Tour III: Worth the Trouble?

What would you all think of a ~1979 Le Tour III (made in Japan, I'm assuming Panasonic?)? I saw one today at the local Salvation Army Donation Center, a nice change of pace from the Free-spirts and 1980's Huffy mountain bikes that tend to dominate there.

Orange in Color with some sort of rainbow victory stripes on the seat tube. All the components were pretty shoddy looking, but I didn't exactly get to inspect the bearing races. There were some blemishes in the paint and the chrome fork-tips were marked, but I think I could bring them back up to speed. The biggest deal that I noticed was the seatpin, which tells me that the bottom bracket is probably in pathetic shape too, depending on how it was stored all these years. That and the headset. The rest of the stuff I have spares available.

It was the 23" model, which should be ideal for either myself or someone else who I have in mind and to whom I owe several favors. I was thinking of building a fixed gear from the frame and whatever else was in good shape.

I didn't get it, and now I'm kicking myself, but nobody else around here will know that the frame is actually well built. What do you all think? Should I pick it up for the (probably) modest price when it opens tomorrow morning? How does the "Le Tour III" stack up against other bikes from this period? The plethora of Le Tour models perplexes me a bit. Is it worth the trouble?
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Old 01-07-06, 10:19 PM   #2
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The 1978 Schwinn line-up (from the top by price) included the Touring ($785), Racing ($800), and Track ($559) Paramounts; Volare ($550); Super Le Tour 12.2 ($250); Superior ($230); Le Tour III ($180); Continental II ($165); Suburban 10-speed ($160); Caliente ($157); Traveler III ($150); Varsity ($147); then the Collegiates, Runabouts, Sportabouts, Speedster and Breeze.

Here's the catalog page for the Le Tour III. The one you're looking at is probably Pearl Orange -



In 1979, Schwinn had the Super Le Tour II and the Le Tour IV, but no Le Tour III.





These are nice mid-range bikes, and if it's in decent shape and the price is right, I'd grab it.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:44 PM   #3
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Thanks scooper! Any idea whether the 1978 Le Tour III would have an ISO or a JIS fork crown race? I think I'll probably get it tomorrow.
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Old 01-08-06, 06:54 AM   #4
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I have a Super Le Tour and I think it is a great machine - it was certainly an excellent bike for the money in the 1970's compaired with other offerings. Those were in the days when Japan had excellent quality and cheap prices. Unfortunately, that didn't last long as costs caught up with them in the 1980's.

I also have a Le Tour III. In my opinion, there is a big quality difference between the Super Le Tour and the Le Tour III with the Super LeTour being superior.

HOWEVER, for the thift store price (under $50.00?) you would pay for the LeTour III, it should be worth it if all the components work and if the rust isn't too bad.
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Old 01-08-06, 08:23 AM   #5
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I think I'd pass on the le tour III and keep my eyes open for a le tour from the mid-'80's. They're much better frames, 4130 chromoly compared to the 1020 high carbon steel used on most of the less expensive Schwinns of the '70's and early '80's. You can probably find one very reasonably priced, most people selling them don't know the difference. If the decals are still intact, just look for "4130" or "chromoly" in regard to the tubing material. And a fairly easy way to determine the date of manufacture of most old Schwinns is to look on the head badge for four small numbers stamped on it. The first three digits will indicate the day of the year, and the last digit will indicate the last number of the decade it was made. Example: 1455, assuming it's an '80's bike, would indicate the bike was manufactured on the 145thd day of 1985. Also, Travelers and several other models were greatly improved in the mid to late '80's, compared to the bikes of the '70's and early '80's. Good luck-
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Old 01-08-06, 09:41 AM   #6
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I have to agree with both Mike and well biked. The late seventies Le Tours all had 18 gauge 1020 carbon steel frames, while the ones from the mid-eighties used 4130 chromoly.

With regard to the fork, the simple answer is I don't know. The 1978 catalog didn't have the detailed model specifications that the 1979 and later catalogs had. The 1979 Super Le Tour II and Le Tour IV both have tubular forks. The Super Le Tour II fork had a semi-sloping chrome plated fork crown and 6" chrome on fork sides. The Le Tour IV had a chrome plated crown cover and 6" chrome trim on blades.
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Old 01-08-06, 10:31 AM   #7
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It was pretty heavy... and in awful condition. I know a bit about the schwinn lightweight line, my only ride is a 1986 World Sport made by Giant. Definitely a good value in its time (and certainly for what I paid!). Maybe I'll look again, maybe I'll pass...

Thanks for all the responses.
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Old 07-01-08, 09:42 PM   #8
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Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but I figured it would be worth it to add a photo. Here's a '78 Le Tour III I picked up not long ago and then spent all day overhauling. I think it came out pretty good. Rides really smooth, shifts great. If it was bigger I'd keep it.

IMG_1400rs.jpg

Last edited by djmuff; 01-29-09 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 07-02-08, 11:05 AM   #9
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Looks nice. My wife has a '78 women's version and my commuter is a '77 Le Tour II - both orange - and they ride great but are a bit on the heavy side.
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Old 07-16-17, 12:32 PM   #10
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Scooper and Le Tour Mixte Bikes

Scooper,

I hope you are well. You seem to be in all the bike forums I have been visiting.

I re-discovered my love of bikes with a 1982 Schwinn World Tourist (I know, it has a quirky gear system).

Now I'm wondering if a Le Tour mixte would suffice for my faster cycling (hey, I'm 66, so it's not real fast). I purchased a flat out beautiful 1982 forest green Super Le Tour but now realize it's 21" frame is a bit too small for me. Hoping to find a Le Tour mixte with a 23" frame.

Scooper and others, any comments on the quality of the Le Tour mixte models?

Thanks everyone. I'm glad these bike forums exist.

Richard
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Old 07-16-17, 03:30 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. I'm glad these bike forums exist.

Richard
A tip for you: note the date of the last posting when replying to a thread. Note that this thread was last touched 9 years ago.

As to the Le Tour mixte models... they had the same components as the "standard" frames. Barely average by today's standards and much tougher to find replacement parts than a newer bike.

(I had an orange Le Tour III back then. My first 10-speed...)
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Old 07-16-17, 04:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rkraneis View Post
Scooper,

I hope you are well. You seem to be in all the bike forums I have been visiting.

I re-discovered my love of bikes with a 1982 Schwinn World Tourist (I know, it has a quirky gear system).

Now I'm wondering if a Le Tour mixte would suffice for my faster cycling (hey, I'm 66, so it's not real fast). I purchased a flat out beautiful 1982 forest green Super Le Tour but now realize it's 21" frame is a bit too small for me. Hoping to find a Le Tour mixte with a 23" frame.

Scooper and others, any comments on the quality of the Le Tour mixte models?

Thanks everyone. I'm glad these bike forums exist.

Richard
Hey Richard,

Welcome to BF! Love of cycling is a great thing for any age. Glad to read you are still active with your passion. If the 21" frame is a little small then there is two options for you.

- find a 23" Schwinn Mixte frame and move the parts over.
- sell the 82 Schwinn and find a Schwinn Mixte that fits.

If you are handy with tools and have access to vid instruction, then you can learn how to do this yourself. If not a LBS can help for the usual fees.

I can understand if you want to stick with Schwinn, they had some nice bikes for the price point. I have several and enjoy working and modernizing them as I see fit.

Don't worry about the zombie thread trap, many of us have fallen victim!
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Old 07-16-17, 07:39 PM   #13
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Short Legs, Long Torso: Is a Mixte the Answer?

Jeff and 3SpeedSlow,

Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I need a new "thread" for this comment. If so, let me know.

My upright '82 World Tourist is wonderful for my Saturday morning bike rides with my wife. But I want a 2nd bike that's a bit faster, yet still safe.

Constraints:

1) I'm 6'1", have a 29" inseam, and a long torso. Heck, my son is "balanced" and is 6'6" tall.
2) I love older gear that works. That might explain the 125 usable cameras scattered around my house. I don't need cutting edge technology, just good used/older technology (kind of like a Nikon FE SLR) that works.
3) I'm not mechanical. I can build a great Excel spreadsheet for you but I've never changed a rear flat tire, yet. So re-building a bike is not viable (I do intend to learn some basic bike maintenance).
4) My budget is $250 or less.

I owned a Schwinn 3 speed in grade school and I'm pretty sure I owned a Varsity Schwinn in college (cycling in light snow over the Fox River in Wisconsin was always cold). So I've grown up with Schwinns but am open to other bikes.

My 21" '82 Super Le Tour seems just fine in terms of my legs to the pedals. And, I can easily stand over the cross bar. But I'm very "bunched up" with my long torso and long arms length wise. If I buy a larger frame my torso will be happy but my legs are too short to pedal (yikes).

I'm thinking a mixte Schwinn or any good non-Schwinn mixte would be better. Perhaps a 22" or 23" frame.

Any suggestions are welcomed. Again, I apologize if I needed a new thread for my bike comment.

Thanks everyone.

Richard
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Old 07-16-17, 10:19 PM   #14
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Yikes. I'm 6-foot-4 with a 36 inch inseam and I thought I had short legs.

The bikes of that era were built with shorter top tubes due to restrictions in frame geometry. (I can discuss this, but it involves some esoteric details of bicycle frame construction.) Bikes built from about 1990 onward will probably fit you better. Mixte frames may be shorter still since they were intended to be "women's" bikes and women usually have shorter torsos than men.

Your price target is very aggressive. I think you should find a mid-'90's to '00's "hybrid" bike and then save your pennies for a conversion to drop handlebars. A hybrid will come with flat, mountain-bike type handlebars but the frame will have a longer top tube. Converting it to drop handlebars will increase the reach and allow room for your torso. I can't tell you how much this will cost- I'm an ex-mechanic and I have a supply of parts sitting in my garage waiting for a project.

If you want to pursue this, you can start a thread on the Bicycle Mechanics or Fitting Your Bike forums. I think you'll have to get your post count above a threshold (10?) to start new threads.
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Old 07-24-17, 08:57 AM   #15
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Thanks Jeff

Jeff,

Thanks for your helpful reply. I've got time now, I'll be patient and research 90's bikes for my longer torso.

In the meantime I picked up a Ladies Schwinn World 1985 models for my Chicago "beater bike". It only cost $25, I put new tires on it, and it rides a whole lot better than being scrunched up with my 84 Super Le Tour.

Now I just need to find a person under 6 feet tall who wants a beautiful green Super Le Tour from 1984.

Richard
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