Friday, August 31, 2012

Schwinn World Voyageur Restoration Cancelled !! Parliament and Raleigh Sports Updates

Hello and Welcome, I was recently contacted by one of my best customers and face book friends Laura about restoring her dads old Schwinn road bike. I was told they thought the fork might have been bent and she wanted to know if I could repair and possibly restore it. Of course I said sure no problem. I was expecting a Continental or Varsity or possibly a La Tour.
Above: The Schwinn World Voyageur. At this point I had already cleaned the crank, chain, front and rear derailleurs and the freewheel. I had also removed the handlebar tape and padding. Having never seen or heard of the World Voyageur I assumed that Laura's dad had done a bunch of really cool upgrades. I was surprised to see a few other World Voyageurs on the Old Ten speed Gallery that also had all the same cool stuff. I had no idea that Schwinn had ever built a bike this beautiful. The frame alone is amazing by itself. Especially when you are talking about an early to mid 1970's Schwinn. And the light weight three piece crankset and bar cons! This is unbelievable.
Above: I was sure that this La Tour rear derailleur (possibly a Huret) was an upgrade, it was not. I did not realize it yet but the wheels are not correct. After a good "on the bike cleaning" of the derailleur and installing fresh Jag Wire derailleur cables it was time to see if she will go through the gears. At first it only had a three gear range on the rear derailleur. But after re setting the high and low gear limit screws it was shifting fine. The idea in doing this work first was to see if the bike could be made to function properly with the existing components. The front derailleur was the same story after it was cleaned, lubed and adjusted it worked perfectly. So far So good.
The brakes looked rough and the period correct brake shoes looked like they had been on there for decades. And oddly enough it appeared to have newer brake cables. I could not help but wonder, why did they not replace the shoes as well? Maybe they saw the thickness and thought they must be ok. But we know better, do we not? Brake shoes harden over time and they loose their grip. Not to mention they get really screechy. (noisey) At this point I decided to remove the brake caliper to see how it would clean up. and replace the worn brake shoes with new Jag Wire X-Caliper Brake Shoes.
Above: The center pull caliper brake taken apart. Everything looks about average except the "caliper arm mounting bolt heads" look like they have some deep rust. And the return springs look pretty bad as well. I cleaned this one up to see if they were worth saving.
Above: Here I have re-mounted the Center Pull Caliper Brake and have the cable hanger in place and I am pulling the slack out of the main cable. I use the quick clamp to hold the caliper shut while I pull out the slack and tighten the cable anchor with the 3 way. I am holding the cable taut by clamping on with needle nose pliers. Just before tightening down the anchor I will turn the pliers to make sure the cable remains taut during tightening. Afterwards I tightened the anchor using two open-end box wrenches. Also if you look in the top right corner of the pic, you see the barrel adjuster for this caliper. Notice that the barrel adjuster is screwed all the way down. This way I have room for adjustment down the road when the cable stretches or the brake shoe wears down a bit. Imagine if you will that my right hand is holding the pliers and my left is ready to turn the three way. But as usual I am actually holding the camera in my right hand. lol
Above: On a scale of 1 to 10 this caliper restoration is about a 5 or 6 tops. At this point I am looking at this as more of a mechanical restoration than a cosmetic one. To properly restore this caliper to about a 9 I would first replace the caliper arm bolts. (due to rust-through and pitting) And the same for the return springs. Also all the alloy parts would be wheel brushed to a sheen with a fine brass wheel brush then polished. And the straddle cable would be replaced with a new one.
Above: Here I have done some (fine brass) wheel brushing on the lugs to see if the rust is all the way through. It is too deep to be saved. I found the same problem with the fork tips and the bracket /cable guide on the front. The same holds true for many other parts of the bike. Maybe in another 60 years this bike would be worth this much restoration but right now it would be pointless. This is the point where I decided this would be a "mechanical restoration" only. Not to say I will not clean it up a bit, of course I will try to make it presentable. Maybe "Ridden Hard but Well Cared For" would be a better description of the look I am going for here. Unfortunately, that will soon change as well.
Above: This Shimano Dura Ace crank is fantastic! At this point I had only cleaned it up on the bike. I was just trying to get the drive train functional, which I did. But I was not quite ready to get into the bottom bracket or threaded headset just yet. As it turned out I was right to be cautious.
Above: Here I have removed the caliper front caliper brake and front wheel. At this point I decided to clean up the frame some more. Notice this side of the headset does not look to awful.
Above: As I am wiping down the frame around the down tube on the left side the paint is literally falling off in a semi circle (C) around the down tube just south of the lug tip (A) connection. This is a real bad indicator that the frame is stressed at this point. Feeling around underneath the down tube I can feel where it buckled or caved in forming a dent (B&D) I can also feel a slight ridge where the tube swelled from being stressed. This is a real deal breaker especially for a bike in this condition. I will try to explain what I think happened.
Above: When the bike was struck, the force destroyed the original front wheel. The force of the impact put enough force on the fork that it acted upon the head-tube like a lever. The head tube exerted enough force on the down tube that it buckled under the pressure. This is what caused the dent (Stress Point 1) on the underside of the down tube just south of the head-tube. This same force (like a lever) put enough pressure upwards pushing the upper part of the head tube in the opposite direction or forward. This pulled upward on the front of the top tube just behind the head tube. This caused stress point two right at the point behind where the lug is brazed to the top tube. The force literally pulled the on the upper front of the to tube so hard it stressed. That big red arrow at the top shows exactly where the force would have been applied. And the missing paint shows that is exactly where the frame stressed or bulged. A simpler way of saying it would be, The same force that pushed the lower end of head tube inwards, levered the upper end of the head tube outwards. So the down tube was stressed on the underside and the top tube stressed on the top side.
Above: This is where this project came to an end with the front brake caliper rebuilt sitting on the table. I`m out a couple of derailleur cables a full can of White Lightning Clean Streak about a 1/2 roll of paper towels. And also a few hours labor. Well now that it does shift and the rear brake is hooked up I just had to ride this mess and see how it felt. It was the oddest feeling bike I have ever ridden. It felt like it was dog tracking (the front and rear wheels are not in line) And you could tell the geometry of the front end had been disturbed it just felt out of the norm. And I also noticed the left pedal felt bent, so I swapped pedals and tried it again. The left pedal still was not right. Now I am sure the left crank arm is bent as well. And that is (was) a damn fine crank-set. Maybe I`ll find a left side arm for it someday.
I informed the customer "Laura" of the frame damage and told her it would be better if I cut my losses now and just stopped the restoration. She agreed and offered me the bike for parts. It still has some really cool stuff like the bar cons and the front and rear derailleurs and 1/2 of a really good crank-set. And the handlebars are cool but might be slightly bent, really not sure yet. So I am giving her 50.00 for the bike. Which is probably stupid for reasons I won't get into here. Oh well another lesson learned. Go over every square inch of the bike twice "before" you do anything.
Above: The upside to this disaster is I can finally get back to the Raleigh Sports. And even better I am finally putting the finishing touches on the Parliament. Above: I decided to go ahead and paint the fork legs or blades white on the Parliament leaving the fork crown the original green. I am very pleased with the results, but I do have to give the paint 48 hours to cure before reassembling the front end of the Parliament. It is sold and hopefully we be going to it`s new home Monday.
Above: Today I was able to spray the Flat Black Rust-Oleum Enamel Primer on the Raleigh Sports frame. I am using black primer because I will be painting it the same black enamel that I painted Brian's Raleigh Sprite. I will also be doing the same gold detail around the lugs. Just for the sake of doing something different, I probably will do the rear fender tip white. (as stock) After I get the frame and fork painted I will start working on the bicycle fenders (mud guards) and chain guard. I want to get the fork back on the frame a.s.a.p. so I can see if my possible replacement front fender will work.
Above: There was so much painting and priming going on today, that I was running out of places to put the freshly primed and painted pieces. So I had to get creative. This looked like a good place to park the freshly primed fork for the evening. It is out of my way and somewhere where it will not get knocked over or disturbed.
Above: To keep the primer and paint out of the chrome "thimble like" detail on the upper fork blades I just used a piece of Scotch Blue painters tape and trimmed off the excess with a X Acto Knife.
Above: The fork wet sanded and cleaned with mineral spirits. Then all the chrome taped off and it is ready to spray. That is all I have for now. Until Next Time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always...... RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE! Cheers, Hugh
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  1. I only recently learned what great bikes the Voyageurs were. I was browsing the Findley catalogs. Then I stumbled across a bicycle I somehow never heard of: the Schwinn King-Sting.

    Now I want one for my beer-store bike! So I priced them and was stunned to see what they are selling for on Craigs and E-boy. Keep your eyes peeled!

    Today I do the final wet-sanding on my '81 LeTour. She got four coats of black primer (1.5 cans) and two (one can) of Flat Black enamel, all Rustoleum. If I am happy with the look after sanding I will be joyfully re-assembling and hopefully going for a nice long ride tomorrow. It rained almost every day in August and now the skies are clear and the road beckons. Thanks for all the inspiration, Hugh!


    1. hey TJ
      Yeah, I don`t how I went this long without seeing a World Voyageur. Lately I have been checking my local CL daily hoping to find one cheap. (or at least reasonable) It is one #@!! of a nice bike.
      I checked out that Sting king and I agree that is one sweet ride.
      I have the Raleigh all primed and ready for paint. Only problem is, the humidity has been too high to spray enamel. And it looks like it is going to stay high for a while. I did sell the Parliament and the Trek yesterday. So I am ready to start ordering things for the Raleigh Sports. Hopefully the humidity will drop soon and I can get the frame and fork painted.
      Hey speaking of Le Tours, They have one at the local pawn shop (in need of a full restoration) and they have it priced at 298.00 . Talk about delusional! They gotta be smoking something! And Thank You It is good to see you back. Cheers

    2. I have been seeing minor references to people realizing the virtue of Old Steel. That's before they find out the expense and energy (and learning curve) involved in bringing one back to life. At Cameron's we read about magical finds in dumpsters needing only new cables, tires, a re-lube of everything, derailleur cleaning and adjusting etc. Tubes and rim strips and brake pads and specialty tools add up fast and none of us are born knowing how to do the work.

      At least I wasn't. That is why I was stunned to see King-Stings in good used condition selling for $850 and so on...but pawn shops are, in fact, delusional. There is a thrift store across the road from me and he gets angry every time he asks me what a bike is worth. They don't get the big picture of a bike restoration or even what it takes to make one truly road worthy.

      Here is a guy who I plan to pay a visit to if I ever find myself in his neighborhood. He is about 50 miles away and these days that is a journey.
      I would cycle there but they are rough roads fraught with danger. But I would love to browse his shop:

    3. Hey TJ
      Amen. That's quite an operation he has going there. I would like to drop in my self. I went out bike hunting the other day and found nothing worth restoring. But that's ok, I need to get some of the "on hold" and "never got to" projects going. Besides it is nice having a little walking around room in the shop/garage for a change. Thanks for the URL. Cheers

  2. Oh, also, if I am not mistaken that shot of the Other King was taken during filming of "Follow That Dream" here in Florida.

    By the way, while the Voyageur effort didn't work out, those period-correct barcons may be worth the trouble. I plan to switch over from downtubes sometime in the future and might be in the market.

    1. Hey TJ
      That's Cool, Although it is very short, "Follow that Dream" has always been one of my favorite Elvis songs.
      About the bar-cons to miss quote Charlton Heston "You can take my bar cons When you pry them from my cold dead hands"!
      Sorry pal, I have future plans for those babies. Cheers

    2. Oh well...I guess I was following a dream.

    3. Sorry Pal,
      But like the clip-less pedals that came in recently, theses bar-cons are a first for me. I have a vision of building my own version of a La Tour. And these bar cons will be a part of that project for sure. Cheers

      P.S. I wonder if that song is on my Elvis hits CD? I haven`t heard it in quite a while.

  3. Hugh at least you got some nice parts out of the deal but I've been there with putting work into a project you come to realize is A) hopeless and B) you would have know was hopeless if you had just done "X" first. I just paid $20 for a Italian (Fiorelli) road bike that may also end up under the "at least I got some parts out of it" heading

    1. Hey Ryan,
      It could have been much worse. But you are right on the money, I did get some really cool parts out of the deal. I have a road bike coming together in my head right now. I just need to find the proper size lugged frame to get started on it. About the Fiorelli, for twenty bucks you can`t loose :) There almost has to be more value than that in parts for sure. Good Luck, I hope you are able to go ahead with the build.

  4. I love old 10 12 speeds. They remind me of old race cars. I cant wait to see the the Raleight sport finished.

    1. Hey Dan,
      I agree 100%. I enjoy looking at a vintage Raleigh Racer just as much as I enjoy looking at a classic Jaguar XKE.
      Cheers, Hugh

  5. Hello, I know this is an old post but I'm wondering about restoring my father's old orange World Voyager.

    I am missing the wheels, the seat and the peddles. I don't know anything about this stuff but it sounds like you do.

    Where can I find these parts?

    How much did you charge to fix Laura's bike?




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