Thursday, April 4, 2013

Schwinn Le Tour III Mixte Rescue update

When last I left you, my erstwhile readers, I had obtained a Schwinn Le Tour III mixte to build up so my brother could give it to his wife on her birthday at the end of April.  While I'm not as far along as I would like to be I have made progress and should be able to get it completed on time.  First the little minx made it into the rack for inspection and deconstruction
And I ended up with this
And this
And then the packages started to arrive, first came the nice new 27 inch allow wheels, to go with some fat 27 x 1 3/8" Kenda K40s I already had in stock.
And lots of cool bits for the cockpit, new pedals, basket etc.
I have also made use of a handy little item that my buddy Hugh, at Hugh's bicycle blog, turned me on to.  The ultrasonic -cleaner.  This little helper (below)

Turns dirty, grimy, nasty  stuff like this..

Into nice clean shiny stuff like this - I didn't even notice the first time I saw the derailleur that it had a Le Tour badge, now that its clean it really stands out.
So now its time to finish the cleaning and lubing parts.  Checking the new hoops for spin and true,and adding grease to the hubs as the wheels from the factory are usually miserly with the lube.  Then on to building this baby back up and ready for the road.

Normally I am pretty conservative with my rebuilds, I make sure that I have at least a little profit after donor bike and parts costs,  but I am going off course with the LeTour III.  I am going to blow way past the $250 my brother had slated for this project, but that's ok as I went overboard in large part for myself to build a really sharp mixte.  Big bro will get a deal, my Sister-in-law will get a bike she will hopefully have fun riding and I get to create a cool ride.  Until next time.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.


  1. Ryan, I wish you were my next door neighbor so I could bring my parts over to you with that little sonic cleaner! Plus I could bring the beer to watch you work your magic, I would learn some stuff!
    I would like to find a mixte like this to work on, it could be a bike that would maybe get my wife interested in riding.

    1. I would welcome you and your beer Jim! I could sit down with a tooth brush and some simple green and get the same results as the Sonic cleaner BUT it would take me two or three passes to get all the creases and crevasses and the Sonic cleaner does all of those for me. Love that thing. One recommendation I have for mixtes other than making sure its set up comfy is A) get a color she likes and B) get a basket. Not sure why but the ladies love the wicker basket up front. When I built an old Schwinn hybrid up for my ex-wife the very first thing she said was "Love the basket" not the new mechanical, or shiny bit... it was the basket.

  2. That is AWESOME! Try to go buy a bike like that one somewhere for less than a thousand bucks. A really good deal for all involved. I see that you got yerself a PCS-9. This is the big time, baby!

    yer loyal pal typing and transmitting on a donated by you Dell 6000 freedom machine,

    tim joe comstock, or at least what's left of him

    pcs: I wish you and J Bangs lived next door to each other too, it would make visiting a lot easier. but I don't know if I would rather visit Seattle or Estes Park. Both, probably.

    pcss: but we have our friend Dan who lives in Las Vegas and I am determined to make it to innerbike this year: how cool would it be to have a Trailer Park Summit out there? I could cook and drink and disillusion all my friends and don't worry, there will be an ambulance crew on standbye.

    Pcsss: I am out of shape but I still think I could take Snob in a leg wrestling contest.

    Moar beer.

    love, tj

    1. Hmmm Vegas huh? that could work. Yes I finally had to mechanic up and get a proper workstand - thanks Hughs blog store!

      I am so out of shape that I am splitting a bike to work commute of about 14 miles into two days bike to work Thursday biking home Friday. Gotta start somewheres.

  3. What type of ultrasonic cleaner is that? Thinking about all the bike bits I have that still have crusty dirt/greasiness in impossible-to-reach places...

    1. Hey Matt,

      Thanks for stopping by the cleaner is on Amazon I ordered it via Hughs blog. the Kendal Industrial Grade 160 Watts 2.5 Liters Digital Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner.

      I gotta say what I love most about it is how well it gets those impossible to reach places. They get as clean as I could get the easy to reach places with a tooth-brush and simple green. Very happy with the little unit.

  4. Hey Ryan,
    Wow you are really going all out for this build! Your sister-in-law is going to love it. Hopefully after she receives this wonderful gift she can log on and see how much work went into it. Good to hear you are making good use of the Ultrasonic Cleaner. I laughed when I read the part about the basket. I have been there my brother.
    I am really looking forward to seeing the end result, which I know is going to be fantastic. I am always looking for another "Featured Bike of the Week". So please send me a few pics when it's finished.
    Cheers, Hugh

  5. Thanks Hugh,

    I will happily post lots of "after" pios when I get this Mixte done and would be honored to be on your "featured bike of the week slot".

    Yep, chicks dig the basket. ;-)

  6. Hey, I just found your blog and I love your niche. A labor of love. My question is: how on earth do you break even? How do you price these things? Or is the reuse and tinkering enough of a payback?

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    2. Hey crmodgeon thanks for stopping by glad you have enjoyed the blog. To your question, for this Mixte build-no my costs aren't totally covered but its family so its a bit different.

      In most cases I end up covering my costs and having a percentage left over as "profit". If I was adding up hours I am probably paying myself minimum wage to do this but A) its a hobby, B) its alot of fun and gratification to get a dusty old heap to be sparkling and useful and C) I am doing my part to recycle and reuse. I have realized lately though, that I may be under charging for my time, I was pricing the bikes for a quick sale on CL but I am going to up my prices a bit on the next build - the Raleigh Record- and see what happens. Considering that folks on Seattle CL are asking up to $200 for old ten-speeds that have not had a thing done to them I think I can get more for the work I am doing and I also feel like my skills are much greater than they were a year or two ago. I certainly have more tools than I did then LTMS.



  7. Hey, I stumbled across your blog while I was looking at LETOUR images. I recently purchased an identical bike as the one you worked on for your sister-in-law (awesome btw). I was wondering what type of handlebar you purchased. The bike is for my wife and she would much rather have a "cruiser" type of feel, rather than slouching over all the time with the bars the bike presently has. Hope you can help me out. Thanks!

    1. Hey thanks for the kind words regarding the Le Tour build. I used a Velo Orange Milan handle bar on that build. They have a number of "upright" bars available on their site.

      Go luck with your build

      Also you can look for Wald bars on Amazon

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