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Old 07-14-11, 11:41 AM   #1
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Evaluating/Ranking 80's Schwinn lightweight frames

Hi all,

I've come across three or four Schwinn lightweight projects in my size. I shall only keep one, maybe two if I sell my Cannondale. Currently awaiting attention are:

'82 Voyageur 11.8 (Japanese DB 4130, silver-blue like the Colonel's)
'84 Le Tour Luxe (Mississippi DB 4130)
'84 Traveler (Giant-made 4130)

I'm trying to get an idea of how these frames compare to each other. I think I have them ranked in top-down order of quality, but how much better or worse is one than another? And how do these frames compare with other popular steel frames, vintage or newer? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being excellent, where would you rank the above?
Yes, pics to come as soon as I pick up the bottom two from dad's garage.
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Old 07-14-11, 05:48 PM   #2
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If you're only keeping one, you want to keep the Voyageur 11.8. The ten-year earlier version has gained the reputation as a 'baby Paramount' for good reason, and while I've never ridden one of the later models I've been led to understand that they were very much in keeping with their predecessors. I lived with an 'World' versions for quite a number of years back in the day, and still miss it.

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Old 07-14-11, 06:24 PM   #3
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Fwiw, I love my 87 Traveler......very smooth ride. I believe it's a Mississippi made 4130.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:51 PM   #4
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I love love love my V 11.8 but I suspect that its "4130 double butted maintubes" sticker indicates that either just the maintubes are double butted, or that the other tubes are hi-ten. I've never really been able to pin that down. I'm also curious about the origin of the tubes since the bike was probably built at the Panasonic plant, I want to think its Tange but again have never really been able to narrow it down.

I suspect the geometries are not that different. Perhaps the Luxe is more of a dedicated-tourer, but the Traveller and V 11.8 are much more sport-touring. Again, I love mine, and I can make it hustle even though its not exactly the best bike for that application.

For what its worth, I had never seen the silver blue V 11.8 until someone posted one here. The red and black are pretty common in my experience. Chromes are cool but that silver blue moves me.

If they're the same size, you should weigh them, assuming they're frame only.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:41 PM   #5
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OS, I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't think to weigh them until I read your post. Great idea! It's also good to hear more praise for the Voyageur. I bought it and the Traveler based on an ad that said something like "Two early 80's vintage Schwinn bikes for sale, excellent condition, the red one cost $300 new and the silver one cost $1000." Here's the only picture posted:

The ad was posted from a retirement/recreational area where my parents now live, and I happened to see it within a few minutes of the posting. Dad brought them home the next day, and I had an empty feeling when he said "Did you talk to the seller about the condition of these bikes?" But apparently "excellent" was an understatement.

One thing about the sale still bugs me. Dad said that the seller came across as friendly and trustworthy, and he definitely wasn't asking top-dollar for these bikes. But he insisted in the ad and in person that the Voyageur's original selling price was $1000. This is over twice the recommended retail price in the '82 catalog. Is the seller's memory failing, or could there be a special reason this bike actually sold for $1k in 1982?
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Old 07-15-11, 06:17 AM   #6
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I would agree with your ranking. I'm not a big fan of the Taiwan frames. The quality is good, but especially early 80s, they are noticeably heavier than the same model built by panasonic later in the decade.

The Voyageur currently enjoys a certain panache, so while it may not have all the features of the 83+ years, the name alone will draw attention. And it still is a nice ride. If a nice 82 in the blue/silver came along in the right price, I admit, I'd probably get it. No way it originally went for $1K though, unless someone really marked up the fenders and bottle cage. Also, might be just the picture, but those handlebars do not look original?

Last edited by Beach Comber; 07-15-11 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:23 AM   #7
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It looks like it came with some add-ons, which most bike shops charge a lot for, so it may have approached $1000 when all was said and done.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:42 AM   #8
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$1,000.00 in 1982 had the same buying power as $2,331.69 in 2011.
- Auchen
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