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Schwinn LeTour Frame Changes?

Old 07-04-20, 02:17 AM
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coolguymihai
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Schwinn LeTour Frame Changes?

Hi! To make a long story short, I had an '81 LeTour with a 25" frame for a very long time. I unfortunately don't have it anymore, and I haven't been able to find any bike that fits me as well as that one did. I want to either find another one like it, or build one up from just a frame. My question is: did the LeTour's geometry change at all over the years? Also, I think the Traveler shares the same frame geometry as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure if that applies to every single year. I saw an '86 Traveler on Ebay that even has the same lugs as my old LeTour, that I haven't really seen on any other Schwinn model. The only differences on the Traveler that I could spot were the beefier rear dropouts and slightly fancier cable guides, but I have no way of measuring specific angles and tube lengths to be completely positive.
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Old 07-04-20, 07:35 AM
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Letours and travelers changed a lot over the years. Mid 80s the letour became an actual touring bike. By 88 it was a 700c sport bike.
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Old 07-04-20, 08:17 AM
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I see, so I guess I'm better off trying to hunt down another '81? I noticed that mid-80s LeTours already had downtube shifters, while the '86 Traveler still had stem-mounted shifters. That, and the fact that it has identical lugs to my bike, kinda got my hopes up.
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Old 07-04-20, 08:24 PM
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The Le Tour name in 1981 had other names with it--there was no standalone "Le Tour" model--only Super Le Tour or Le Tour Tourist etc. Was it any of those? Below the Le Tour Tourist was the Sports Tour and then Traveler. 1982 saw the Le Tour name as a standalone model.

Throughout the '80s, the Traveler was tucked in right below the Le Tour in the model hierarchy, and they often shared similar geometry specs. Also as the '80s went on, all bikes gained nicer frame specs and features. Better tubing, nicer lugs, lighter components, etc. The stamped dropouts (with claw-mounted rear derailleurs) gave way to much nicer (and stronger) forged dropouts in 1984 (no more claw either). The later mid-'80s had most models tightening up their geometries, and the Le Tour and Traveler followed suit, albeit minorly.

1989 was the year the Le Tour adopted the road/race geometry specs of Schwinn's fast bikes, and went to 700C as well. Traveler was similar (though not identical), but gained 700C wheels. Only the World Sport could be, IMO, labeled as a bike most similar to the '81 Le Tour-y bikes based on rough geometry. It even retained 27" wheels and tires.

Schwinn did not publish geometry specs of any kind for their normal range of bikes until 1984, so we have no idea, outside of a smartphone app, how to ascertain angles etc. I will say, a number of benefits the late '80s bikes (Le Tour, Traveler, World Sport) present, is 1) a standard quill stem diameter instead of the 21.1mm used on much of the 1981 range (in case you wanted to equip it with different stems and bars for fit, style, or comfort) 2) water bottle cage mounts 3) forged rear dropouts that make replacing and mounting rear derailleurs easier 4) a 126mm rear axle spacing standard instead of the very-likely 120mm a number of models had in 1981 (more wheel choices with 126mm axles, or the ability to squeeze a modern 130mm axle in without much trouble).
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Old 07-04-20, 09:09 PM
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The Traveler was not that great of bike, I would look for either a Super Le tour, Le Tour Luxe, Voyageur or Voyageur SP. The Voyageur SP was the top of the line in the touring series, in fact I have them listed in order of low to high; the Le Tour you had was below the Super Le Tour, and that frame was on the flexy side, not to mention moderately heavy. The weight as I listed in order starts at 25 pounds and each model after the Super Le Tour loses a pound. And the geometry for all those bikes are very close to the same as the Le Tour you had.

The other weird thing about Schwinns, 1985 was the best year for those models I listed, they tried to impress the world with their high quality bikes and components in hopes of not going bankrupt, so they took out all the stops for the 85 models, it didn't work obviously. In 1985 they were still using 27" wheels on those touring bikes, which isn't a bad thing because there are a few really nice tires in that size; they also used schrader valves, but you can easily convert that to using presta valves by using a special grommet.
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Old 07-04-20, 10:25 PM
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The Traveler finally got the exact same (73HTx74ST) frame angles and 700c wheel size as the Paramounts, Tempo, Circuit, etc. in 1989.
It came with a 6s SIS Exage gruppo having very nice levers/hoods.

I also had an '86 model Traveler with ~72x72-degree geometry, and kind of like greatscott said, the earlier ones were dog-slow feeling.

Here's my '89 model, gad even has short-reach calipers:

Last edited by dddd; 07-04-20 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-05-20, 03:59 AM
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Thanks for all the help! I might have been wrong, and could have possibly had a 1982 model, because I know for a fact that it was just a LeTour. The only thing that's throwing me off is that it had Shimano Altus LT derailleurs and shifters, which I've only seen in catalogs on the 12 speeds. Mine was a metallic blue 10 speed. I really wish I had a good high quality picture on-hand, but I'll have to do a lot more digging around and see if I have one taken from the side. I did look up the actual dimensions of the later years (thanks RiddleOfSteel!), and it looks like the '85-6 Traveler and LeTour did, in fact, share the same frames other than having the shifters mounted on the stem and downtube, respectively. This unfortunately doesn't mean anything anymore now that you guys told me mine had a less aggressive geometry than the later models. As for it feeling heavy or sluggish, I didn't really mind. In a way, I liked it. I'm currently riding a 1989 Peugeot Saint Bernard that I've had for two years, and I just can't bring myself to ride any terrain I want, like I could with the Schwinn. It just feels too delicate and precise to do anything more than flat road, which I would assume is largely due to the tight and aggressive geometry, and it isn't really as fun for me. Thanks again for all the info on the LeTour, and for helping me out!
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Old 07-05-20, 04:32 AM
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77 Super LeTour 12.2

Originally Posted by coolguymihai View Post
I see, so I guess I'm better off trying to hunt down another '81? I noticed that mid-80s LeTours already had downtube shifters, while the '86 Traveler still had stem-mounted shifters. That, and the fact that it has identical lugs to my bike, kinda got my hopes up.
How about a 1977 Super LeTour 12.2. It is my Avitar.

I'm going to strip that mint 44 year old frame and sell it. I found a better fitting, mint 23 inch 12.2.
sadly it is silver instead of red.
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Old 07-05-20, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jjames1452 View Post
How about a 1977 Super LeTour 12.2. It is my Avitar.

I'm going to strip that mint 44 year old frame and sell it. I found a better fitting, mint 23 inch 12.2.
sadly it is silver instead of red.
I would, but I'm looking to just find or rebuild a bike exactly like mine for nostalgic/sentimental reasons. The Super doesn't have the stem-mounted shifters that I grew to love so much on my bike, and I wouldn't want to remove the braze-on downtube mounts and ruin a perfectly good frame that someone else might need. I appreciate the offer, though!
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Old 07-05-20, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by coolguymihai View Post
I would, but I'm looking to just find or rebuild a bike exactly like mine for nostalgic/sentimental reasons. The Super doesn't have the stem-mounted shifters that I grew to love so much on my bike, and I wouldn't want to remove the braze-on downtube mounts and ruin a perfectly good frame that someone else might need. I appreciate the offer, though!
You can get the stem mounted shifters easily and cheaply enough; they'l go on any bike with a convention quill stem. But you'd need to find a frame without downtube shifter mounts, or use the more modern cable stops that amount to those, as used on bikes with drifters or barcons.

If I was recreating a bike for sentimental reasons, I would want the right color, though.
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Old 07-05-20, 12:17 PM
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@coolguymihai where (city or area) do you live? You may have a local bike shop or CL market that sells used parts near or near-enough by. Stem-mounted shifters are super cheap--like $5 please-take-them cheap as many want STI/Ergo brifters or (to a lesser extent) downtube shifters. You should have a bevy of choices, and Ebay has a bunch as well.

Mid-post edit: Looks like this guy has a blue 1981 Le Tour. The catalogs mislead! He even confirmed it with the build/serial date stamped in the head badge, indicating it as an early-year 1981 example. I'd say that's sufficient evidence to corroborate your recollection of your old Le Tour being a 1981. Handsome bikes.

This seller has a 25" but the price is too much, even if it was mint, and didn't have ape hanger bars (ugh). He does--and hopefully it's accurate enough--state frame angles (likely self-measured). 72.5 for both head tube and seat tube.
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Old 07-05-20, 03:30 PM
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I would like to correct the record, or rather, my earliest statement of Schwinn publishing frame angles. I was incorrect: per the catalogs, they reported angles on their main models as early as 1981. Both the catalog Super Le Tour and Le Tour Tourist possessed 72.5 HT and ST angles, angles that Schwinn kept on either their Le Tour, Traveler, and/or World Sport models throughout the '80s. I just plumbed the depths of these catalog scans for information on 25.5" and 27" frames, as those models generally come in the super tall sizes.
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Old 07-06-20, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
I would like to correct the record, or rather, my earliest statement of Schwinn publishing frame angles. I was incorrect: per the catalogs, they reported angles on their main models as early as 1981. Both the catalog Super Le Tour and Le Tour Tourist possessed 72.5 HT and ST angles, angles that Schwinn kept on either their Le Tour, Traveler, and/or World Sport models throughout the '80s. I just plumbed the depths of these catalog scans for information on 25.5" and 27" frames, as those models generally come in the super tall sizes.
I've been looking everywhere for weeks now trying to find all of this info, and within a couple of days you've pretty much solved everything for me! I guess this means I can get that '86 Traveler frame without any worries. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
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Old 07-06-20, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by coolguymihai View Post
I've been looking everywhere for weeks now trying to find all of this info, and within a couple of days you've pretty much solved everything for me! I guess this means I can get that '86 Traveler frame without any worries. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
You're welcome! I should have just posted this link: (Schwinn Catalog Scans) a lot earlier as it has been invaluable (and enjoyable) to go through. An '86 Traveler should do you well (same year Le Tour, too, though just with down tube shifters).
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