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Le Tour II Restoration Help

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Le Tour II Restoration Help

Old 02-14-15, 05:08 PM
  #1  
tronnyjenkins 
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Le Tour II Restoration Help

Hey all, I've been getting more and more into biking the past couple of years, and enjoying the crap out of my Allez Sport. On a whim, I've been hit with the urge to fix up an older bike, and found my candidate. While I likely overpaid (still well under a Benjamin) I feel OK about the deal, because the guy I bought it from seemed like he could use the money.

Now, I know there are lots of things about the bike that aren't ideal, and upgrading it would be a waste of money. I just want to keep it original, give it some TLC, and make it safe to ride. I might even take it on a weekend ride (30 miles) if I don't feel like I'll die on the thing.

I need to:
-deep clean it
-replace the bearings
-true the wheels
-replace the tires and tubes (I think the tires are original! Very dry-rotted.)
-replace the cables I would guess
-track down some of those super cool wheel reflectors and replace the missing back red one if I can find all those!
-likely replace the saddle, as it is way plush, and not factory anyway

While on a short test ride, I discovered that it shifts very unpredictably. I could coax it into the gears I was aiming for, but it was a bit of a chore. Also, the front derailleur kept wanting to shift back without me wanting it to... Any pointers?

Again, I don't expect this old lady to be worthy of super long rides, nor do I expect it to be super valuable. I just want something that will get a few laughs, and have some fun learning the ins and outs of bike repair along the way.

Here it is. I'm thinking it's a '77? Will see if I find any labeling along the way.
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Old 02-14-15, 05:12 PM
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Velocivixen
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Yes it's a '77. Official color name is "Violet". I have a mixte same color. As a matter of fact, I just put it for sale today. It has friction shifting, so if you're not used to it, it might seem challenging to get it in the right gear. There's no reason you can't ride this bike for miles and miles. I had a Schwinn Le Tour and rode it from 7th grade to early college. You're on the right track regarding things to spruce up on it.
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Old 02-14-15, 05:19 PM
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On the front derailleur, you just need to tighten the little screw that holds the left shift lever on the band. But like everything else on the bike, it'll function better after you've cleaned & lubed it, then adjusting it to where it works best. As VV says above, the friction shifting is different from modern and requires a little more skill to do properly. But that is easily learnd over time.

Your local bike shop (LBS) can sell you cables and cable housings cut to the exact length you need, and is a good source for tubes, tires, a new chain (if you need it) and other things. You'll find the wheel bearings easier to service and/or replace if you have "cone wrenches" and the bottom bracket can usually only be opened up for servicing with the proper wrench for that. You'll likely find it hard enough to do even with the proper tool. All of the above can be found online as well, if no bike shop locally can get you the stuff at a decent price.

Have fun!
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Old 02-14-15, 06:36 PM
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I have a Le Tour II, nicknamed Cherry Bomb after the Runaways song from the same time area. Same color; same size. There are a couple of unique things to that particle bike, which can be interesting talking points, given the right crowd. First, the Le Tour II is specific to the 77 lineup; Schwinn kept up the addition of the roman numerals after the "Le Tour" for awhile, but then later dropped them and went with just "Le Tour". The stem is about as cool as any vintage stem out there, with the "S" script and ball form at the end where the bars attach. The bars themselves are randoneur style, pretty funky, and probably some of my favorites for comfort. The gold anodized features on the brake handles was a color unique to Schwinns of that era. But the derailleurs and crank are probably the most interesting story of the bike... they are all scripted "Le Tour", even though they were made by other companies. In the late seventies, when Japan everything in the USA still carried the stigma of "cheap" with some consumers, along with Schwinn brass convinced that the Schwinn brands carried some weight with the consumer. This Le Tour branding represents that last attempt by company to have a product that had the appearance of being "all Schwinn", even though the frame (Panasonic) and all the components where made by other companies. Essentially a early example of what we call "badge engineered", since the name on the badge is the only thing that the company designed. None of this helps with fixing up your bike, but it may help you talk it up on the next ride. Enjoy.
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Old 02-14-15, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
...Essentially a early example of what we call "badge engineered", since the name on the badge is the only thing that the company designed.
On the contrary, in many cases Schwinn either designed or contributed to the design of "Schwinn Approved" parts. This included many collaborations with Shimano, the mfr. of many of the components on the Le Tour. Back in the day "Schwinn Approved" really meant something and was more than just a badge change: Does anyone know who manufactured the Schwinn Approve tubular rims in the 70's - Page 2
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Old 02-14-15, 07:15 PM
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Thanks all for the golden info!

I was rather ambitious today and went ahead and trued the wheels. It was much easier than I expected, and fun to do! I did have a couple of pesky brass nipples that were either stripped or broken that I'll have to pony up and replace (big spender...).

I did find that I'll have to chase the threads in one of the cranks where the pedal screws in. Someone got rough with it.
Also, my pedals randomly don't match. They're very close, probably both Schwinn.

I'll definitely take the advice regarding adjusting the friction shifters. I'm sure with new cable and adjustment it'll be fine on this bike.
Maybe I can find some shade of fingernail polish to touch up the few scratches, haha.

Lastly, I'm very glad that I bought the Spin Doctor essentials tool kit. Best investment thus far.
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Old 02-14-15, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
On the contrary, in many cases Schwinn either designed or contributed to the design of "Schwinn Approved" parts. This included many collaborations with Shimano, the mfr. of many of the components on the Le Tour. Back in the day "Schwinn Approved" really meant something and was more than just a badge change: Does anyone know who manufactured the Schwinn Approve tubular rims in the 70's - Page 2
I stand corrected, from the expert. Metacortex, were there any Schwinn improvements or modifications on the groupo on the 77 Schwinn Le Tour II?
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Old 02-14-15, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Yes it's a '77. Official color name is "Violet". I have a mixte same color. As a matter of fact, I just put it for sale today.

I just read this post where you mentioned you were selling your violet Le Tour mixte. I have been looking for one of those for a friend for a while. I would love the details, if possible. Thanks so much.
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Old 02-14-15, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
...were there any Schwinn improvements or modifications on the groupo on the 77 Schwinn Le Tour II?
In this case I believe the GT-450 front and GT-420 rear derailleurs were unique to Schwinn, meaning identical versions were not offered under the Shimano name. The handlebars and "S" stem were clones of the GB alloy randonneur bars and Schwinn designed rounded "S" stem offered on Chicago made bikes. The hubs were Shimano made clones of the Schwinn designed Normandy hubs with triangular cutouts used on the Chicago bikes. I'm not sure this was in place by '77 but for '78 and up the "Schwinn Approved" Japan (Dia-Compe) calipers included the delrin-sheathed stud and corresponding groove used on the Weinmann versions since the '60s: Weinmann Vainqueur 999 brakeset advertisement (03-1976)

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Old 02-14-15, 08:10 PM
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I had one of these in orange for all of a two weeks before it was crashed. It was a lovely ride and I would say that upgraded to aluminum rims, they feel quite nice on long rides (I commuted to and from work on mine- roughly 12 or 13 miles each way.) I'm hoping to come across another of these in orange eventually.
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Old 02-14-15, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by YouthxCrew View Post
I had one of these in orange for all of a two weeks before it was crashed. It was a lovely ride and I would say that upgraded to aluminum rims, they feel quite nice on long rides (I commuted to and from work on mine- roughly 12 or 13 miles each way.) I'm hoping to come across another of these in orange eventually.
I came across that thread! Sorry it got crashed!

Anyone know some affordable tires that still have the gum wall?
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Old 02-14-15, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by punkinevil View Post
I just read this post where you mentioned you were selling your violet Le Tour mixte. I have been looking for one of those for a friend for a while. I would love the details, if possible. Thanks so much.
There is a link for it. I have original saddle, but not on the bike. All original, new tires. Wasn't sure you could receive private messages. Here's link:

VIOLET Mixte - Valentine's Week Special

Don't want to hijack someone else's thread.
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Old 02-14-15, 10:12 PM
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That Le Tour is in sweet shape! Nice job.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:47 AM
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I found some Kenda tires that match the originals pretty well.

Anyone know what paint might get close to matching the original violet?
Also, what is my best bet for the cables? I 'm mostly concerned with the shifter cables since they were acting up. They just have that bare space in the middle with no housing, so it could be tricky.
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Old 02-16-15, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tronnyjenkins View Post
I found some Kenda tires that match the originals pretty well.

Anyone know what paint might get close to matching the original violet?
Also, what is my best bet for the cables? I 'm mostly concerned with the shifter cables since they were acting up. They just have that bare space in the middle with no housing, so it could be tricky.
Walmart sells cable sets for $7.96. You just cut the cable sheaths to match the old ones. Niagara Cycle sells the Kenda 27 x 1-1/8 gumwalls for $7.70 each. I've used numerous sets of both.
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Old 02-20-15, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
Walmart sells cable sets for $7.96. You just cut the cable sheaths to match the old ones. Niagara Cycle sells the Kenda 27 x 1-1/8 gumwalls for $7.70 each. I've used numerous sets of both.
Thank you for the tip. Ended up going that route for the cables!

Ta da!
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Old 02-20-15, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tronnyjenkins View Post
Thank you for the tip. Ended up going that route for the cables!

Ta da!
Looks great! Not to nitpick but I would go with silver metal "rat trap" style pedals, but that's just me. If you want to every change the bar tape but keep it original, I bought some Schwinn approved Violet bar tape from Hunt-Wilde on eBay. Not expensive and really set off the bike. How does it ride?
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Old 02-21-15, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Looks great! Not to nitpick but I would go with silver metal "rat trap" style pedals, but that's just me. If you want to every change the bar tape but keep it original, I bought some Schwinn approved Violet bar tape from Hunt-Wilde on eBay. Not expensive and really set off the bike. How does it ride?
Thank you! These are just so I can test ride it
Someone in the previous owner lineage used two right pedals (had to chase the threads). I've gotta find some original pedals and a rear reflector. eBay treats them like gold! Haha

Good call on the tape! Thanks!
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Old 02-21-15, 07:06 AM
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Oh- the ride is like a completely different bike than when I bought it. It feels like it could go 5000 miles instead of the crumble underneath me feeling it had when I bought it!

I was going to shock my riding buddies today and show up on this instead of my 2013 Allez, but it's going to be windy and we are riding 45 miles...
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