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1987 Schwinn Voyageur: rear frame spacing, where is it made?

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1987 Schwinn Voyageur: rear frame spacing, where is it made?

Old 12-08-06, 08:45 PM
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1987 Schwinn Voyageur: rear frame spacing, where is it made?

I recently got a 1987-1989 Schwinn Voyageur. Date of manufacture looks like '87 according to headbadge but it was listed and probably sold as an '89 model, either way very little difference between the years I'd imagine. I have two questions:

1. Where was this bike made? It has a lugged Columbus Tenax frame.

2. What is the rear frame spacing? 126mm? 130mm? 132.5mm? 135mm? Something else?

The original 6-speed 27" wheels are pretty burly and probably overkill for city riding, so just to see if it would fit I placed a 130mm 700C Ultegra hub/Mavic Open Pro rim/Hyperglide 9-speed wheel on it. To my surprise it just plopped right in and seems to drive just fine. I even had it shift in friction mode! The chain clearance on the highest (11T I think) gear is very very tight but it works.

I thought the old 6 and 7 speed frames were supposed to have 126mm rear spacing; why did a 130mm 9-speed wheel fit so easily? Is the Voyageur just different, being a touring model with Deore derailleurs and triple chainrings?
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Old 12-08-06, 09:19 PM
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1987 with 6 speed will be 126 mm spacing. Most of my old steel bikes will allow a 9 speed 130mm hub drop right in with a little flexing of the stays.

alanbikehouston might know where it was made. A lot of the Tenax frames of that era were from National (Panasonic) in Japan.
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Old 12-08-06, 09:19 PM
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You can go to the Waterford website and post your question there. If you give them the serial number Richard Schwinn will probably reply with the information you want. I have an 1989 Schwinn Paramount with 7-speed and it is 128mm spacing. A 6-speed is probably 126mm.

I have been doing research on this as well. A lot of people say it is okay to put the wheel in if you can get it to fit. Others recommend a mechanical spread. Either of these is probably will not comporomise the integrity of a steel frame bike. It is common to be able to do what you did.

The absolute correct way is to remove the chainstay and seatstay bridges, spread the frame, and then weld in new ones.

I may send my paramount back to Waterford to have them do it the correct way and have the frame repainted to original or a new custom paint job. Or I may just sell it since I have a new Serotta. The new Serotta has a more relaxed riding position and gives a great ride. But it sure would be nice to have a 10-speed groupo and new wheels on the Paramount racing frame for those days when I want to ride harder and climb faster.

Hope this helps or gave you some new ideas!
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Old 12-08-06, 09:29 PM
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My '84 Voyageur SP had 120mm spacing; I got it respaced to 180 and it's now an 8-speed with bar-ends. Still, part of me regrets not keeping it a 5-speed half-step plus granny because that gearing is really the only way to live.
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Old 12-08-06, 09:31 PM
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I have a Schwinn Voyageur, I just measured it. The rear dropout is 126 mm. It has a 6 speed freewheel. It's the same frame, Columbus Tenax, but I think mine is a little older. I found a number 84 on the inside of a crankarm, so I think 84 or 85. I'm almost certain it was built in Japan.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:51 PM
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Likely spaced 126mm, but going up to 130mm shouldn't be much trouble at all.

I have a close cousin of your Voyageur, the Passage. The Passage was made in the Mississippi plant, and used the same steel as yours. Post your question in the C&V forum, one of the schwinn experts over there will be able to nail it down most likely.
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Old 12-09-06, 10:10 AM
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what color is it?
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Old 12-09-06, 05:09 PM
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Over in "Vintage" there have been a number of threads about the 1985 to 1988 Schwinns with Columbus Tenax frames. Most years, Schwinn was selling three or four models with those frames. The bikes made in Japan (probably by National/Panasonic) typically combine the Columbus main triangle with Tange tubes for the fork and rear triangle. Those made in Mississippi generally used True Temper tubes for the fork and rear triangle.

The problem is, it is difficult to tell which bikes where made in which place. None of the Schwinns with Columbus Tenax frames that I have seen have "Made in Japan" or "Made in USA" badges, even though required by law. The Schwinn catalogs from that era often "blurred" which bikes were made in USA versus which were made in Japan.

But, if I were betting, I'd guess that a Voyageur with Columbus tubes was made in Japan, by National/Panasonic. The Voyageur's of that period were superb touring bikes that compare well with some 2006 touring bikes that sell for $1,500, $2,500 and up. There is nothing like the ride quality that comes from a premium quality steel frame and steel fork.

Although the rear triangle may be about 4mm narrower than 2006 touring bikes, most current wheels should drop into the stays with very little effort. Steel stays can flex 2mm without any problems. And, friction shifters don't know or care whether your wheel has five cogs or ten.

Another cool thing about these bikes is that you can use a range of rims and tires. If you want to ride on 21mm racing tires, you can. But, if you want to use 32mm tires for touring or commuting, they fit fine. You can even combine 32mm tires with full fenders for riding through the winter.

Any of the Schwinn road bikes with Columbus frames from that era are "best buys" if you find one in "ready to ride" condition for the $200 or $250 that some "mint" models have sold for on E-Bay.

Although a wide range of component and wheel packages resulted in the Columbus Schwinns being sold as "low", "medium" and "upper" price level bikes, ALL of them had the superior ride quality that results from combining a high quality steel frame and fork with first rate frame geometry.
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