Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Schwinn Le Tour III putting it all together (out of order)

I already posted shots of the finished Le Tour II mxte project so here I am back tracking a bit to talk about how it all went together starting from the stripped down frame and (mostly) cleaned up components.

First I needed to get the fork taken care of.  I had used one of my spiffy new tools (Nashbar crown race puller) to get the crown race off so I could clean it.

Then I needed to clean up some rust on the chromed fork blades so they would be nice and shiny again.  Some Turtle was chrome cleaner/rust remover and brass brush wheel on the Dremel tool did the job.

Then it was on to using more cool tools (Nashbar crown race setter and headset press) to remount the crown race on the fork and get the cleaned up cups back on the head tube.

With the frame-set taken care of it was on to the wheels.  The wheel-set that came on this bike was just fine and I will certainly reuse it but since this project was financed by my brother for his wife I went with some brand new 27 inch wheels from Amazon.  They are relatively inexpensive (under $70 for the set) and; they are lighter, have a better braking surface and nicer spokes and hubs than the originals.  The drawback to the factory wheels is that both front and rear came too tight and needed to be adjusted and IMHO they don't use enough grease in the bearings so I took care of that too.  Not a huge deal if you are willing do to a bit of extra work and have the proper cone wrenches handy.
factory amount

Ryan amount
In getting the bike back together I encountered three issues.  I had purchased "thumbies" from Velo-Orange so I could mount the shifter's on the handlebar to make them easier to reach.
I got them all set up only to find that due to an issue with how the shifter hardware interfaced with the thumbies I couldn't get the front derailleur shifter to work properly -it basically loosened itself every time I shifted.

In the diagram below, part 3533 has a "shaft" that all the shifter parts fit around, Velo-Orange very kindly provides an extra long shaft to use with the thumbies, except that the shifter "guts" would not fit around the VO part as it was just slightly too big and using the stock part, meant for a stem shifter mount, the shaft was too short to fit all of the washers that go at the end (3526, 3527, 3528).  Where is Goldie Locks when you need her? I speculate the lack of a key washer is what allowed the front derailleur shifter to keep loosening.

So I had to scrap that and go with the original stem mount system (below).  Thank goodness for keeping and cleaning all the original parts!

I also mounted the basket (a key piece of the build) only to find it hung down low enough to interfere with the front tire.  Luckily I happened to have a Dia Compe mini rack I had intended for a later build that mounts to center pull brakes and that solved the basket issue.  I did have to add an extra washer to keep the rack "tang" from getting hung up on the headset and interfering with steerage.
Finally I was ready for the last piece of the build adding on the cork grips.  I was lucky I had two pairs of grips because I destroyed one set in getting the #$%^* things mounted!  I read somewhere you are supposed to glue them on but I had no luck getting them mounted until I greased them up and I still ended up with a small crack near the front of the left grip because they were so tough to rotate onto the bar.  I do like the look, especially shellacked but boy they were a pain in the rear.  (Note its possible that the cork grips are meant for a 22.2 diameter bars rather than the 23.8mm bars I used but I checked the packaging and it did not specify.)

One thing I really liked about this build is how much detail they put into this bike, almost all of the components had either a Le Tour marking or said "Schwinn Approved".  Even the seat post has a Le Tour marking that you would never see!
It really made me appreciate the level of detail they put into these Japanese Schwinn's.
As always -ride.smile.repeat.


  1. Just think of the smiles and good times you have provided for your sis-in-law! A lot of satisfaction for you to think of the fun that will be had!
    Rewarding work.
    I had the same problem with cork grips. A few years back I changed out the bars on my LHT to Albatross bars and installed cork grips. I cracked one getting it on but was able to back it off a bit and then used 3M spray adhesive and pushed it back on while wet. It all dried solid and with the coats of shellac you can see the crack but it has not moved in two years of touring and commuting! I'll probably have to face the adhesive problem years hence when it becomes time to replace those! Oh well, worth it for the classy look that is cork.
    Anyway, what a great bike! I love the look of the gum walls, basket, grips, and seat with the brown color match, front to back of bike.
    I think you should have some of those Ryan stickers like Hugh has for the bikes you rebuild. You should be able to brag with the work you put out there.

  2. Thanks for the nice words Jim. It was a lot of fun to build and it was especially rewarding to see my Sister-in-Laws face when A) she realized the bike was for her and B) she rode it around the cul-de-sac with a big goofy grin on her face. I did actually order some of those cool stickers but totally spaced putting one on the bike. Oh Well I have a few projects in the queue I can try them out on.

    How goes your bike project for your Daughter?

  3. It is going a bit slow, I have a whole basket of excuses why! No, it is about ready for a solid saturday to wrap everything up and have her take it for the initial ride. She has a week of class left, then finals week and then home and that is my goal to have it finished. She is home on the 17th which coincidentally I'll be heading down to Santa Fe for the Santa Fe 100 ride.

  4. LOL preaching to the Choir Jim. I would love to tell you I had this bike done way ahead of time, and I had plenty of time to do just that, but of course I spent 4 solid hours on it the night before it was to be delivered getting it all back together and another 30 minutes fine tuning the morning of. I am sure you'll get it done, she will love it and you can head off to ride in beautiful Santa Fe. I have been through that part of the SW and loved it but never ridden there, it would be what the pros refer to as altitude camp, ride in the thin air then go down to sea level with your superior oxygenated blood and ride everyone off your wheel ;-0. Have fun.

  5. Having been rained in and suffering from mechanical problems the library and the free wi-fi was like getting to the dark side of the moon so I just now saw your post.

    I have been having that same problem of slipping shifters that you described, except the problem is with my original DT shifters. Combined with old cable housing, a questionable rear D and tired cassette, I swithched over to single speed for the time being.

    I have been looking at a front rack by Sunlite but it looks like the model you used on this bike would be a better choice for me.

    I am impressed with your rapidly growing tool inventory. You may be on the verge of transitioning from hobbyist to pro. Good!


  6. Hey Velo Brother, good to hear from you. Hope you are able to get your drive train issues sorted and come back to the land of multiple speeds but one speed is better than zero for sure.

    I really like the mini rack but I will note that it works specifically with center pull brakes which your Schwinn very likely has, I don't think they switched to single pivot side pulls until the mid 80s.

    Thanks for the compliments on the expanded tool chest- I blame Hugh ;-).

    Hope the Sunshine finds you soon.


  7. Yes, center pulls. That is what caught my eye. The Sunlite was designed for cantilevers and I planned on using P clamps or some wild trailer park rigging. Not now, though. By the way, is that rack alloy or steel?


  8. Hey Ryan,
    You did a really masterful job on the Le Tour III. Do you have something in the works? I look forward to seeing your future projects.
    I feel like I had some small part in your development and it makes me feel proud when I see your restored or refurbished bikes finished. I have been distracted lately myself with all the work going on around the house. I am going to make a real effort to get some of my lingering projects finished before the snow flies. I hope all is well with you and yours. Cheers, Hugh

  9. Hi I found this blog and this good staff for me making my Fixed Gear Bike

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