Sunday, May 9, 2010

Schwinn LeTour Restoration

Hello and Welcome, I have finished the Raleigh "Sprite" and the Pacer "Special Edition" And will be posting them latter on this week. But right now I am in the process of restoring this very dingy LeTour.
Left click on pic to enlarge, Left click Back button(<)to return

Above: The LeTour right off the truck. It doesn`t look so Looks can be deceiving.This thing (judging by the fur) has been in someones barn for a long time.

Above: The Brakes, Kick-Stand and Derailleurs. I had planed on installing Airy Levers
But I would not be able to use the Center-Pull Brakes(front one anyway) The cable routing for the front center-pull brake would be a problem. So if I`m gonna go with the center-pull brakes I will need to use the original levers or go with something similar. I will probably just clean-up the originals and use them.

Above:The Shimano Altus shifters cleaned-up nicely. As did the Stem. I have found it better to leave the handlebars attached to the stem during restoration. Unless of course they have to be removed do to damage, cleaning or polishing issues. The fancy
engraving can be easily scratched on the Road-Champion or Olympiade Handlebars. So if you can get away without removing them from the stem, I suggest you do so.But as always it is only a suggestion.

Above: The Bracket and Bearings were removed,cleaned and re-greased. All went smoothly thanks to my new bracket wrench and spanner.I took the chain-rings apart for a good cleaning and polishing.(24 parts counting bushings)There is just no-way
your gonna get this sucker cleaned up properly with out taking it apart.And I refurbished the pedals off the Pacer and added toe clips. Straps are on order along with a micro-adjust post and a few other goodies.

Above: The free-wheel was really a mess. I used lots of "Clean-Streak" and my Park scraper and brush. And I had to service the axle with the free-wheel in place. The Free-Wheel is an "Atom Compact 77" And of course I don`t have that particular removal tool. But I did order one tonight. Cleaning the back-side of the pie-plate was a bugger too.I used Q-Tips and Mothers (very fitting this being Mothers Day)

Above: The Rims,Spokes and Hubs were awful. First I wiped them down with some green bio-degradable de-greaser. The "green stuff" in the pump-spray bottle. Then did the rims and hubs with "Mothers" (mag and aluminum cleaner/polish)I went around the rims three times before they looked good.The spokes only needed the de-greaser.This is why the L.B.S. tells you you need new stuff. Because it would cost you more in labor
than it would to purchase a new "entry-level" Wheel-Set. So if you can`t do this yourself, you might just want to replace wheels this bad. Remembering they need to be greased (axle & bearings) and trued as well.But if you have the time and patience "Go For It" Worst case, you end up replacing them anyway.

Above: This is what it looks like so far.I think some "natural cork" handlebar tape will look good with the Classic Kenda Gum-Walls. Tomorrow I will clean-up the derailleurs and install a new chain. And also run the shifter cables. If all goes well maybe get at least one brake hooked-up, and take it for a short test ride. Also I will try to take some photographs of the finished Pacer and the Sprite. Till next time Ride-Safe and remember to always RESCUE-RESTORE&RECYCLE

P.S. The "Ride of Silence" is coming up on May 19th. It will be held at several locations around the world. See the P.S.A. (above right) on the "Video of the Week" Also thee is a link on the "bicycle related links" list.


  1. It seems odd that Schwinn would source a French freewheel by this time...

  2. Hey Steve,
    The Le-Tour was always a little better equipped than the typical Varsity or Continental. Not to mention a bit lighter as well. But it did surprise me too. Not what I expect to see on what I assume is a 1980`S Schwinn. But it is not unusual to see "Schwinn Approved-Made in France" engraved on many older Schwinn components. This is from the description of the Park Tool "Park Tool FR-4 Freewheel Remover: Fits Atom, Regina, splined Zeus, and some Schwinn Approved freewheels" I wonder how many of those French "Schwinn Approved" components were built by Atom?

  3. you are the coolest big brother in the whole world!

  4. Katie,
    I have no idea how to respond to that. lol Thanks I guess? :) I think your pretty cool too!
    Tell everyone hey for me. I love you kid

  5. I just got a le tour at the thrift shop. I need to adjust the brake levers (side-to-side positioning), but can't manage to access the clamp screw. Any advice? Thanks...
    Your bike looks great!

  6. Hey Jim,
    First Thanks, As for adjusting lever position.
    Loosen the brake cable (at the brake caliper) then squeeze the lever and look in the gap created between the lever and the hood when you squeeze. You might need to use a small flash- light to see.
    There should be a (Slotted or Allen-head)screw for you to loosen. After you loosened it one or two turns, you should then be able to adjust the levers position.
    Note: Your lever may have a tension-release on the lever, where the lever meets the lever frame or body. If you have one like this you should be able to open it by squeezing the lever just a little. And it just flips open by pushing it towards the center of the bike. Sometimes this part is gold-tone. It might be engraved with the word release.Opening this will give you more room
    to work with. I hope this is helpful.

  7. Hugh,

    I have enjoyed your blog. I recently purchased a Black Schwinn Le Tour, the same model that you restored. The bike is in poor shape & the decals are almost entirely gone. As a result I will have to have new decals made locally. As a favor to me could you send me close up photos of the decals on your restored bike? The pictures that are on your blog pix-elate badly, I cannot make out any details. Would you please send them to me via email at Thank you very much.



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