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1988 Schwinn Voyageur--butted rear triangles? worth a King or similar headset?

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1988 Schwinn Voyageur--butted rear triangles? worth a King or similar headset?

Old 06-09-11, 09:39 PM
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1988 Schwinn Voyageur--butted rear triangles? worth a King or similar headset?

Last year, I rebuilt a 1988 Schwinn Voyageur. Unfortunately, I put in a cheap Tange Passage headset because that's all I could find locally and I wanted to get it up and rolling to see if I liked it. Turns out, I love the bike. This season, I noticed the headset is indexed. Ug. I am considering replacing it with something much nicer. I first considered an Ultegra sealed version, then kicked around a Campy or a King. I think a sealed design is probably the best, and really like the King 10 year warranty. Is the frame worth such a nice headset?

On the subject of the frame, does anyone know whether the seatstays and chainstays are butted or straight gauge?

Anyone here ride both an 80's Voyageur and a high end (Rivendell, etc.) frame who can give me any input on whether the differences in fell are significant at all?

Since I have no frame of reference for steel bikes, I don't know if I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, or whether it's truly a worthy frame for some $$$ upgrades. Looking for opinions of those with actual hands on knowledge, thanks!
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Old 06-09-11, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kpp80202 View Post
Last year, I rebuilt a 1988 Schwinn Voyageur. Unfortunately, I put in a cheap Tange Passage headset because that's all I could find locally and I wanted to get it up and rolling to see if I liked it. Turns out, I love the bike. This season, I noticed the headset is indexed. Ug. I am considering replacing it with something much nicer. I first considered an Ultegra sealed version, then kicked around a Campy or a King. I think a sealed design is probably the best, and really like the King 10 year warranty. Is the frame worth such a nice headset?

On the subject of the frame, does anyone know whether the seatstays and chainstays are butted or straight gauge?

Anyone here ride both an 80's Voyageur and a high end (Rivendell, etc.) frame who can give me any input on whether the differences in fell are significant at all?

Since I have no frame of reference for steel bikes, I don't know if I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, or whether it's truly a worthy frame for some $$$ upgrades. Looking for opinions of those with actual hands on knowledge, thanks!
Since the catalog says double-butted main tubes, it's a safe bet the stays are straight gauge. IMHO, the '88 Voyageur is definitely a worthy frame.

1988 Voyageur catalog page

1988 Schwinn specifications
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Old 06-09-11, 11:48 PM
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I am also an owner of an 88 Voyageur and can agree that the ride is great on this bike. Unfortunately I've never ridden a Rivendell and cannot comment on how they ride, though I have lusted after them for a while now.
Even though I only spent $140 on the bike, it still is much more valuable to me due to the quality of the ride. I think you have to determine for yourself how valuable the bike is to you (and it sounds like you really like it) and determine from that how much you are willing to pay for components. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, in favor of something more concrete, but unfortunately I don't have enough knowledge on the production of these frames. But from what I hear they were not poorly-made frames.
Either way getting nice components is still probably cheaper than buying an expensive frame.
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Old 06-10-11, 06:50 AM
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Thanks guys. I paid $140 for my bike, too. I had to do a bunch of work to it--stripped it down to a bare frame and built it back up replacing what was needed--but I think it looks great and rides great. My only direct comparison is a carbon Bianchi. They definitely feel different, but I can't say the Bianchi rides "better." The Bianchi is significantly lighter and quicker handling, and I like the ergos of the Campy brifters better than down tube shifters, though, but I also like the stability and ride quality of the Schwinn. The other thing is that the old six speed doesn't seem to ever need any tweaking or adjustment like the Campy 10. Back to my initial post, my gut feeling is that a higher end sport-touring frame may not feel significantly better, and putting the best parts on this one makes some sense.

Any other replies are definitely appreciated.
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Old 06-10-11, 07:09 AM
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I have a 1987 Voyageur and although I have no comparisons to anything as high end as a Rivendell I can compare it to some other high end production touring bikes of it's era. I have a Specialized Expedition, and have spent some time on a Trek 620 and Cannondale T400. The Voyageur has become my go to bike for most rides. It has an exceptionally smooth ride with 1 1/4 Continental Gator Skins and still has enough pep. I always come back feeling good after riding it - just a great bike.

The Expedition is also very nice and I would probably ride it more on a non-touring daily basis but it is loaded with a heavy duty front rack and fenders. It tends to be more twitchy fully loaded than the Voyageur.
The Trek with a 531 frame is lighter and more responsive but I haven't ridden it with a load so I can't compare that. The Cannondale seemed kind of dead to me but it was having some shifting issues at the time and I haven't experienced it loaded.
The Voyageur is a fantastic bike and underated in my opinion. It is worthy of upgrades. BTW I put a Stronglight A9 Headset on my Expedition when the Deore headset started to index.
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Old 06-10-11, 07:14 AM
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I ride an 86 Voyageur, and would agree that it is a great riding bike... Worth whatever headset you care to put on it. Although I am shocked that even the lowest of headsets would be indexed within a year. Most bikes I have from the 70's and 80's seem to have their original headsets...

Are you sure you didn't put in one bearing too many? Of course that would have probably been noticed right away.
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Old 06-10-11, 07:19 AM
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Why would you need a better headset than the Ultegra ? King is bling but Ultegra would do the job perfectly as well.
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Old 06-10-11, 07:28 AM
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I have an '88 Voyageur. I don't own a Rivendell. I have ridden two Rivendells and a Heron. The Voyageur is not as nicely built as a Rivendell or Heron. It is, however, a nicely built, worthy and capable bicycle. I love mine.

Your Voyageur requires a JIS headset and selection is limited. I originally purchased a Velo Orange Grand Cru sealed bearing headset for my rebuild, but when I went to install it I learned that the headset was JIS. I went with a Velo Orange unit. I'm perfectly happy with it. I've also used and been very satisfied with the Tange Levin JIS headsets on other bikes.

Note that you can't just put any headset you want on any bike. In addition to the race seats, stack height is a limiting factor. That said, it's possible to use an ISO unit if your LBS can cut the race seat to 26.4mm.

Here's mine in its latest configuration (well, the last time I took a photo).

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Old 06-10-11, 08:15 AM
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My guess is my headset indexed from improper adjustment. On my first few rides it kept getting loose. I wonder if it got hammered then. Or maybe the Park grease was wrong for it. Not sure.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by kpp80202 View Post
My guess is my headset indexed from improper adjustment. On my first few rides it kept getting loose. I wonder if it got hammered then. Or maybe the Park grease was wrong for it. Not sure.
It was incorrectly installed or adjusted. Absolutely not the fault of the grease.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:35 AM
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I knew it was my fault, just not sure how!

Justin--my plan is to get it milled locally to accept ISO headsets for greater selection.

Last edited by kpp80202; 06-10-11 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kpp80202 View Post
I knew it was my fault, just not sure how!
You're not the only one. Headsets can be tricky. It turned out that the VO JIS headset had top and bottom specific caged bearings. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get it adjusted properly. It took a lot of reinstalling that headset to figure it out.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:58 AM
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I think you should try, unless you have an unquenchable desire to buy the King, overhaul the current HS and see what is going one. new bearings, or turning either the crown race or lower cup 90' may fix the issue. just make sure it is correctly adjusted.
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Old 06-11-11, 08:24 AM
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No overwhelming desire to spend money, but turning the races/cups ended up fine for an extremely short time; the index then moved to one side of center.

I forgot about the Stronglight A9. That's another classic, great set. Normally, I want to do everything myself, but I'm thinking I will get a high end set professionally mounted, where the headtube and fork crown race can be milled square. Also, I noticed that the headtube inside is actually slightly oval and not round (by less than 1 mm). I guess with steel, the pressed in parts round it out. I'll definitely discuss this with the shop.
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Old 09-25-11, 03:22 PM
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>>I think a sealed design is probably the best, and really like the King 10 year warranty. Is the frame worth such a nice headset?

I have been riding my 1988 Schwinn Voyageur since 1988 and definitely am enthusiastic about the frame and almost everything else about that bike. Just this year the original headset indexed on me and I needed to replace it.

My new headset will be a Cane Creek 100 Classic --- in silver finish to mimic the original headset design. 100 year warranty. One hundred...not a typo.

https://www.canecreek.com/component-h...plete&name=100

The part currently is backordered, but should be back in production shortly, they tell me.

Great bike. Worth whatever investment you put into it.



On the subject of the frame, does anyone know whether the seatstays and chainstays are butted or straight gauge?

Anyone here ride both an 80's Voyageur and a high end (Rivendell, etc.) frame who can give me any input on whether the differences in fell are significant at all?

Since I have no frame of reference for steel bikes, I don't know if I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, or whether it's truly a worthy frame for some $$$ upgrades. Looking for opinions of those with actual hands on knowledge, thanks![/QUOTE]
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Old 09-25-11, 07:01 PM
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The Voyageur is certainly a nice bike, and worthy of nice parts, but...

Originally Posted by kpp80202 View Post
I put in a cheap Tange Passage headset because that's all I could find locally and I wanted to get it up and rolling to see if I liked it. Turns out, I love the bike. This season, I noticed the headset is indexed. Ug. I am considering replacing it with something much nicer. I first considered an Ultegra sealed version, then kicked around a Campy or a King.
Did you leave the bike outside all winter, or not grease the headset, or preload it way too much? I've never heard of a headset going bad so quickly. Usually with a rebuild even a junky old headset can be made to work again.

Just wanted to add that so you don't end up ruining an expensive headset next year.

*Edit: Dang, accidentally replied to an old thread...
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Old 09-25-11, 07:45 PM
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I don't think chainstays or seatstays are ever butted, on any bike.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:42 AM
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The bike was always stored indoors. I assume the headset was defective, or I didn't install it right. I ended up with an ultegra because I got a great deal on it.
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Old 09-27-11, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't think chainstays or seatstays are ever butted, on any bike.
Didn't Reynolds make butted stays, and fork blades for that matter? But to answer the OP's question, no, the rear triangles on the Voyageur are not butted. They're straight-gauge Tange chromoly.
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Old 09-27-11, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kpp80202 View Post
The bike was always stored indoors. I assume the headset was defective, or I didn't install it right. I ended up with an ultegra because I got a great deal on it.
I think a headset can become indexed very quickly if not adjusted properly-- particularly if adjusted too loose and then ridden that way for even a few hundred miles.
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Old 09-27-11, 09:41 AM
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I have an '84 Voyageur, and had a similar problem with the headset. Apparently educating myself in the JIS vs ISO specs as well in the process. I had an older Shimano 600 (Ultegra) sealed bearing hs that I had been saving for years to put on the appropriate bike. Turned out to be ISO standard. I had my LBS turn down the bearing seat on the fork - $20.
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Old 09-27-11, 10:35 AM
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Butted stays generally were not used on touring bikes of any sort. It is for loaded touring. The 50-100g of weight saved is more than eclipsed by the 50-pounds of crap it was designed to lug about, not to mention the stiffness required for the load and the cantilever brakes.
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