Tuesday, May 6, 2014

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle After

Today I started work on a 1979 Schwinn Voyageur.  I really like this bike and i will give you a little background on why I like it.

I owned this bike at one point (Yes, I have owned many bikes at one time or another!), not this exact bike but a 1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 this size, in black with the red cables and the chrome stays.  I really loved this bicycle, I completely restored it and upgraded it.  I only owned it for a little less then a year, I road it everywhere, I commuted on it when I worked at Menards on the 5:00 A.M. shift.

Not only did I love this bike and ride it everywhere I sold my Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 to help me be able to do what I do now full time.  It holds a soft spot in my heart for many reasons, I love the look of the bike and the ride and it got me started in what i really love to do full time.

This Schwinn Voyageur is somewhat rough but mine started out way worse, at the time all I could afford was way worse.  I painted the frame and made decals, well I made them on the computer (I have some graphic Arts schooling so that helped) and had them printed up.  The Schwinn Voyageur was also the first bicycle I built really good wheels for, I had built many wheels before these but these where the first really nice wheels I built.  I actually saved for a couple of months to get the rims and hubs.  I am so grateful for my Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, when I sold the Voyageur it was so upgraded and such a high end restoration that it got me a really nice price to start me on my path and to this day I miss it dearly, I will once again build one for myself.

Here is the one thing about the Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, it weighs 28 lbs, not a horrible weight by any means, the Voyageur rides beautifully and is a fantastic bike it is just frustrating that Schwinn did not take that last step to make the Voyageur an all time great bike and it really is not far from being there.  Granted that was Schwinn's way, always worried about price points and cannibalizing Paramount sales but hey how did that work out for Schwinn?  It is frustrating that Schwinn always worried about costs and price points and not worry about the product, Steve Jobs proved its about the product, the design, the quality and not the price point along with a few other brave business people and designers.

My Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 I got down to a hair under 25 lbs which made it an all time great bike.  This Schwinn Voyageur will not go hat route, rather it will get a full restoration along with new cables and those beautiful red cable housings, new handlebar tape, new saddle and new tires and tubes.  It will be a fantastic bicycle once again! I can't wait to see the polished black paint, polished chrome and those red cable housings, that is my favorite all time look!

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Handlebars

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Front Brake

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Wheel

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Stem

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Fork Crown

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Voyageur 11.8 Decal

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Shift Levers

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Sadlle

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Crank

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Derailleur

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Rear Brake

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Chrome Stays

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Before - Rear Derailleur

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Wheel
I apologize if the photos are not as well edited as normal and some of the photo sizes are off.  I have been working on doing batch edits on photos in an effort to save time.  Editing photos one by one is by far the most time consuming part of a restoration and I really need to get that time down.  Here is to my learning curve!

I started by tearing the Voyageur down to the frame.  The frame paint is in pretty good shape with a few chips and scratches.  Under some of the chips is chrome which is nice.  The good thing is the paint is black, a very easy color to match.

I cleaned and polished the frame, the dull black is now a deep wet look which is fantastic, I am hoping the touch up paint will cover some of the white primer under the scratches.  I am very happy with the black and the polished chrome!

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Frame Before - Head Tube

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame Before
Voyageur 11.8 Decal

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame Before
Down Tube

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Frame Before - Seat Lug

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Frame Before - Brake Bridge

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame Before
Chrome Stays

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Frame Before - Drop Outs

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame - After

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame After
Bottom Bracket

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame After
Seat Lug

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame After
Down Tube

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame After
Head Tube

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Frame After
Chrome Stays

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Fork After

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Fork After
Crown Lug
While I was working on the frame I put the headset and bottom bracket into the crock pot.  The headset and bottom bracket has loose bearings, I do not think this is original, I think on my voyageur the bearings had cages.  Loose bearings are fine, they work better because you can fit more bearings in, it is just a pain to install the bearings.  I replaced all the bearings and both the bottom bracket and headset turned out fantastic.

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Before - Old Bearings

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Polished -New Bearings

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Headset Cups - Pressed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Aligning Loose Bearings

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bearings Packed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Headset Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bottom Bracket
Bearings Packed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bottom Bracket
Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Headset - Complete
The stem was dull with some light scratching, I polished the stem and it looks great.  I recently had a chance to talk to someone who works for a manufacturing company polishing alloy and he was kind enough to give me a few tips.  I think those few tips are really going to show in the polishing of the Voyageur!!

The handlebars where in fine shape, after a little polishing the handlebars look good.  Overall I am very happy with the stem and handlebars.

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Handlebar Unit
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Stem & Handlebars
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Stem - Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Stem - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration -Handlebars - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Stem & Handlebars
Installed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Stem & Handlebars - Installed
At this time I installed the seat post and binder bolt.  This is not my favorite seat post at all.  It was kind of the start of micro adjust seat post.  This seat post works better then the old Schwinn style seat clamps but it is not refined yet and is still to complicated and heavy.  It did polish nice and looks good installed.


1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Seat Post
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Seat Post - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Seat Post - Installed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Seat Post - Installed
I think you can really see the what the few polishing tips did for me in the results of the crank!! The crank is a very nice crank to start but it was looking tired.  I polished all of the components and you can see the results, beautiful!!

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Crank - Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Crank - Exploded

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Crank Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Crank - Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Crank - Installed
The brakes are fairly nice brakes for the time, they are Die-Comp G's.  I disassembled and cleaned and polished the brake calipers.  The calipers polished very nice, not a mirror finish because the caliper arms have a texture to them but they do look great.  I can't wait to see the new red cable housings next to the calipers.

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brakes - Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brakes - Exploded

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brakes - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brakes - Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Front Brake - Installed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Rear Brake - Installed
The derailleurs are not original to the Voyageur, the are nice derailleurs though.  I have been trying to remember the group on my Voyageur but am drawing a blank as I write this.  One give away is the frame has a derailleur hanger but the rear derailleur has a drop out hanger on it.  The derailleurs started rough and a lot of moving parts where not moving.  After cleaning and polishing the derailleurs turned out great and best of all function perfect.

The shift levers are definitely not original, they are newer, from around 1984 or so.  I do like the group set someone put on at one time, it works very well.  the shift levers look fantastic installed and have the cool cam action of the front derailleur micro adjusting as you shift.


1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Derailleurs
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Derailleurs - Exploded

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Derailleurs - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Derailleurs - Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Shift Levers - Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Shift Levers - Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Shift Levers - Installed

The last of the main body components to restore is the brake levers.  I like these brake levers a lot, I love the drilled levers look.  I am pretty sure the brake lever hoods are replacements and not very old, they cleaned up nice.


1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brake Levers
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brake Levers
After

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Brake Levers
Installed
1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Main Body Components
Complete
The wheels are next, the rear wheel is not original but it is a descent alloy replacement, it is also a early cassette hub where the small cog is removed with two chain whips.  The front wheel is original and has a few gouges in the rim.  Overall both wheels started in rough shape.  I broke both wheels down and polished everything, the wheels polished fantastic!!  I replaced the wheel bearings and assembled the wheels.  I installed the new tubes and Kenda tires.  The tubes are the old super thick super heavy anti puncture type.  They are super stiff and weigh an incredible amount, you lift them and you actually have to check if they are filled with oil or something!!  Just changing the tubes might save 2.5 pounds on the bike!!

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Rear Wheel - Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Rim
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Early Cassette Hub
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Early Cassette

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Polished

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Rim
Polsihed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Bearings
Packed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
New Kenda Tires

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Front Wheel Hub
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Front Wheel Rim
Before

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Front Wheel
Old Grease

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Front Wheel Bearings
Packed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Rear Wheel Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Front Wheel
Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Wheels Complete
At this point I start the new bits and pieces, such as the saddle, cables, cable housings and handlebar tape.  I started with the saddle.  It looks good on the Schwinn Voyageur 11.8.  The red details will look great witht he red cable housings.


1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - New Bits & Pieces

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - New Saddle - Installed

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Saddle - Installed

Today I finished of the Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, I ran the cables, cable housings and installed the chain and handlebar tape.  And of course I was so excited to test ride it i forgot to take photos of the wiring and handlebar tape process.

I took the Voyageur for a test ride, it took 3 or 4 miles before I got all the bugs out and it was tuned good, it was a really nice ride home!  I so miss my Voyageur 11.8!

The Voyageur really turned out fantastic, its hard not to love the black, chrome and red.  After touching up the chips you can hardly tel the frame is not freshly painted, the ride is fantastic and I am curious to weigh the Voyageur again with out the cement tubes in it.

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Front

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Handlebars

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Stem

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Brake

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Wheel

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Front Half

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Drive Train

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Chrome Stays

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Rear Brake

1979 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear

Thanks for the interest,
John Z.














1 comment:

  1. Wow! That's a great restoration. What did you do to get such a great polish on those alloy parts? Thanks for sharing your project.

    ReplyDelete