Thursday, March 17, 2011

Schwinn LeTour Mixte Restoration Part 2

Hello and Welcome, Yesterday was our first really nice day in quite a while. I made a mistake and had a very low speed crash in my driveway. I had been test riding 3 different bikes, none of which have straps and traps on the pedals (clips). Then I got on my Quantum Road Warrior Hy-brid (see below) and went for a short ride. I just wanted to see how the brakes and shifters were working.(they were fine) When I pulled up to the garage/shop door I was rolling real slow. As I hit the brake I tried to slide my left foot off the pedal sideways. As you know that does not work with straps and traps. I was on the ground before I knew it. I quickly looked around, I was glad to see there was nobody around to witness my stupidity.The only damage was to my pride.
Now back to the Schwinn LeTour mixte restoration.
Below: The fenders are SKS Commuter 45mm. They are very reasonably priced at about 25.00 and easy to install. I thought they would go nicely with the black saddle. And they would have gone nicely with the black cork handlebar tape I was going to use.

Below: The Cinelli light natural cork handlebar tape. The reason I went with the light cork instead of the black is this. Light cork looks fantastic with the Kenda Gum-walls, really a nice vintage look. Originally I finished with the Cinelli logo tape. But after one totally came unglued and unraveled and ended up on the floor. Well it was time to go with the black electrical tape.
Below: Here is a look at the front Kenda Gum-Wall tire. Also a nice view of the Super-Maxy crank re-assembled and back on the bike.
Below: The wheels required lots of cosmetic work but very little truing. The bearings needed to be cleaned and re-greased and the free-wheel needed a good cleaning. I used the brass wheel-brush on the rims then Turtle Wax Chrome-Polish/Rust-Remover. For the hubs I used the brass detail brush and Mother`s Mag and Aluminum Polish. And the spokes were cleaned with a rag and some bio-degradable de-greaser.
Below: To clean-up the Free-Wheel I used White-Lightning Clean Streak. (out-doors) To speed up the process I used my Park scraper and Brush Set. If you scrape between the gears prior to spraying it will clean-up quicker. I wear vinyl gloves so I can handle the Free-Wheel while cleaning. After I spray the Free-Wheel I brush it with the Park Brush then re-spray and brush again. This is much more effective and quicker than just using the spray. You will also want to wear safety glasses or goggles. Note: Brush away from yourself, that way you wont be splattered with cleaner/de greaser.
Below: A nice view of the Shimano Free-Wheel and the Shimano Altus Rear derailleur. Which was also cleaned (White-Lightning) and brushed. The Pie-Plate was brass-brushed and polished with Turtle Wax Chrome Polish. The chain is a new Schwinn and the cable and housing are both Jag-Wire. Note: I did check with my LBS and the bulk cables I purchase there from time to time are also Jag-Wire as I suspected.
Below: A nice shot of the front hub, spokes, rim and flange all cleaned up.
Below: My favorite part of the restoration, some shots of the finished project(:

Lots of cool projects coming up. Including the Raleigh Technium road bike. Until next time RIDE SAFE and please remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE


  1. Great Cinelli light natural cork handlebar tape - I have it on the Cinelli bars on my Tifosi. Everyone said that it would get really dirty and be difficult to keep clean but that has not been my experience.


  2. Hey Trevor,
    Thanks for the feedback. I have not found the tape getting dirty to be a problem myself. However, I did also find a "dark cork" colored tape. I don`t remember the brand at the moment. But the dark cork looks a little too red-ish for my taste. Last summer I ran across a new fixed gear "Raleigh USA." It had the coolest handlebar tape I have ever seen. It was a dark brown leather color. But it appeared to be a normal cork infused tape. I have not yet been able to find it. Hopefully I will eventually. I think it would look fantsatic on a vintage "Nottingham Raleigh" with a dark brown Brooks Saddle. I`ll find the right bike one day. And I will build this bike I have envisioned in my head. (:

  3. You do a very nice job at the ends of the cork wrap. I always wind up with a big bulge, no matter how much or how little I cut the taper. Then I end up with a two-inch wide wrap of electrical tape to keep it all in place.

  4. Thanks Bill,
    I have my own way of doing the ends. I tape a little past where I want the tape to end.
    If it is not an adhesive backed tape I secure the end with a small piece of electrical tape. I measure over from the stem collar and make a small mark where I want the tape to terminate. Then I take a single edge razor blade and cut around the bar. I do the cutting with the middle of the blade. That just seems to work best for me. It takes a little practice to get it straight. It seems to help if you keep the bike as upright as possible(no lean)
    I try to make the entire cut around the bar using the middle part of the blade. It is less likely to snag the tape this way. When finished, if it is not cut all the way through I then remove the small piece of tape. Then unwind and finish the cut with scissors, which is now clearly marked by the razor cut. I have tried just making a mark then cutting the angle with scissors. But I never seem to get the angle just right doing it that way. Be mindful, If you do cut all the way through, it will slightly scratch the bars. So make sure your mark is not "too close" to the stem. Because shortening the cut will expose the scratch. I hope I explained this clearly. Maybe I should start making videos of the tricky (or hard to explain) stuff. Cheers!

  5. Thanks for the explanation, Hugh. That is brilliant!

  6. Hey Bill, I don`t know about the brilliant part. But thanks (:

  7. An occasional video series sounds like an excellent idea!

  8. Thanks S-R
    Again no links posted with comments.

  9. Hugh,
    I have a Schwinn Le Tour,that looks to be the same model as yours and I just put in new rear brake pads. That went well, but I can not seem to get the rear wheel back to its true center. If I do, then when I change to higher gears, it pulls my real wheel out of wack.

    I'm new to fixing bikes and this might be a simple fix, but any help would be greatly appreciated.


  10. Hey Md,
    First let`s deal with the shifting / wheel moving thing. No shift change(or braking or any other normal function) should cause the wheel to move. That sounds Like the wheel is not mounted tight enough.
    But first lets start from the beginning. Is it possible that one of the "axle nut washers" that is supposed to be on the outside of the drop-out is on the inside? This could cause the wheel to be shifted off center. (it is a fairly common beginner mistake) Or if you had the nuts and washers and spacers off the axle, Could you have placed an extra spacer on the wrong side of the axle causing the shift?
    When you removed the rear wheel did you shift to the smallest gear on the back sprocket group or cassette? You always want to do that before you mess with the rear wheel. It makes it easier to get the wheel back into the proper position. So check the rear derailleur and make sure it is all the way out directly over the smallest gear.(before you start)
    The only other thing that comes to mind is, Are you sure the wheel was dead center before you started this project?
    First try shifting to the smallest gear, check the washers and spacers. Each large axle nut should have a large washer behind it on the same side of the drop-out. The drop outs are the part of the frame with the slots in them where the axles go. I like to stand behind the wheel and keep it centered as I tighten the axle nuts. They tend to want to move around when tightening. Also just snug (not tighten) both sides before you start to really tighten the axle nuts. Then tighten one side a little then the other. Keep doing this till they are good and tight. And as I said keeping a sharp on the wheel position the whole time. This is why it is best to position your self behind the wheel when you are first snugging it up.
    If none of this works take some close-up pics and post them on the face book page. Include both sides of the axle. A good shot of the rear derailleur connection. And a nice shot of the rear wheel from behind dead center.
    And any other pics you think might be helpful.
    This way some of my readers and I can get a look at what is going on. And maybe spot the problem. Or you can just send the pics to (don`t ask) I hope this info was helpful. Either way let me know how it goes. Cheers, Hugh

    P.S. The new brake pads are most likely thicker. You will need to loosen the rear brake cable at the anchor point. This will allow the caliper to open up and give you room to position the wheel. If the brake caliper or lever has a tension release, you can use that instead of loosening the cable.

  11. Hugh,
    Thank you for getting back to me, everything helps. I ended up taking the rear brakes and realligning them first, because they were squeking aswell. Once I took care of those, I adjusted the position of the wheel and tightened that bad bad boy up like you said. I suppose it was just too loose.

    Thanks Hugh!

    1. Hey MD,
      Your very welcome. Good to hear that you were able to fix the problem.
      Cheers, Hugh


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