Wednesday, August 27, 2014

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration


John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle After
This is John's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour.  Readers know how much I like Le Tours, they are under rated and very versatile bicycles.  John's Le Tour is the beautiful opaque red with the white decals.  John has had the Le Tour for a long time and it is time to get it back to as close as original as possible.

The Le Tours paint is rough but I think we can get it back to a deep red shine.  The white decals are also a little rough but I think they will clean up nice as well.  The chrome is in good shape with a few areas of rust that should remove and come out nice.  The alloy will also polish out very nice and when the chrome and alloy are polished they will look beautiful against the polished red.

The Le Tour will receive a complete restoration along with new tires, tire tubes, new cables and cable housings and new handlebar tape.  I think the chrome wheel rims and alloy hubs will be stunning when complete with the new tires.  The bright work is going to really make the red Le Tour.  The early red Le Tours are my favorite, the red is hard to beat.  I am very excited to see the results of the Le Tour and excited to get to work on it.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Handlebars

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Brake Levers

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Before - Head tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Brake

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration\
Bicycle Before - Front Wheel Hub

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Wheel Hub

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Le Tour Logo

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Wheel Rim

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Before - Stem

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Shift Levers

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Fork Crown

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Seat Lug

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Before - Crank

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Front Derailleur

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Pedals

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Brake

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Before - Rear Derailleur

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Before
Rear Wheel
With the frame stripped of the components it can be seen that there is some chipping and the paint is dull and worn in some places which just means the Le Tour is well loved, the way I like to see them!!  I gave the frame a good deep cleaning and got to work on polishing.  This may be the last time the frame can be completely polished out before a new paint would be needed.

I worked through the polishing grits, the red came back very nice, a very deep shine in most places.  Even with that deep shine I think I am going to work through the grits one more time to make it as nice as possible before applying the touch up paint and the sealer wax.

The polished photos below are through the first round of polishing, I will added the second round photos later,

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Before - Head Tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Before - Head Tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Before
Down Tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Before - Seat lug

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Before - Seat Lug

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Before
Seat Tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Before - Drop Outs

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Fork Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Fork Before
Fork Crown

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Fork Before - Fork Blades

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Before
Fork Chrome

Below is the photos of the frame after the first round of polishing.  The Frame really looks good but I think it can look even better.  After the second round of polishing I will apply the touch up paint and then the sealer wax.  The deep red and white decals are really looking good.


John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
First Round

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Polished - First Round of Polishing

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
First Round of Polishing
I work through the polishing grits again and the frame looks even better.  I am holding off on the touch up paint and wax sealer till alter just in case I want to work through the grit one more time.  The frame looks a lot better after the second round of polishing and the fork looks great polished.  The fork crown cleaned and polished very nice, the chrome on the fork will really make the Le Tour pop.


John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
Second Round

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Polished - Head Tube - Second Round of Polishing

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Polished - Head Tube

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
Le Tour Decal

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
Seat Lug

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Frame Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Fork Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Fork Crown
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Fork Polished
The headset and the bottom bracket went into the crock pot for cleaning.  The components of the headset and bottom bracket cleaned beautifully and polished even better.

The Shift Levers are interesting, one lever is the original Le Tour lever and the other is a Sun Tour lever installed on the Schwinn plate.  I wish I had some Le Tour levers to take the original lever from but I do not have any in my collection right now.

I installed new bearings and the new clear grease I have been trying out, The clear grease really seems to be nice grease.  The headset and levers look good installed and I like the black bottom bracket cups and the chrome lock ring, its a great look.  Best of all the headset and bottom bracket spin like butter.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Shift Levers
Cable Stops - Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Headset Cups Press

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Headset Cups - Pressed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - New Headset Bearings
Packed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Headset Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Headset Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Headset - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - New Bottom Bracket
Bearings Packed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bottom Bracket - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Complete
It has been a rough week around the shop between computer problems and crazy strong respiratory virus that has taken about a week to shake.  Today is the first day I have felt okay and not going extremely slow!

The stem polished beautifully!!  The stem looks incredible in the photos below, I could not be happier with the stem.  The handlebars where in pretty good shape to start, with some cleaning and polishing they turned out very nice.

Both the stem and handlebars look great installed next to the red paint.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Stem - Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Handlebars & Stem
Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Stem - Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Stem & Handlebars
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Handlebars & Sem
Compelte

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Handlebars & Stem
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Handlebars & Stem
Complete

Even with the heavy duty mask I wear while polishing I could only do a little polishing today so with that I started work on the wheels.  The wheels are in descent starting shape and will be great when completed.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Rear Wheel - Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel Rim
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel
Old Grease
The axle hardware cleaned and polished very nice and the axle cones showed no wear at all.  The bearings where replaced.  The wheel hubs had some very stubborn staining around the spoke holes.  I cleaned the hubs the best I could and got to polishing, I even used a Dremil tool to help with the staining.  The hubs polished pretty good, I wish a little better but there is a night and day difference from the start.  I packed the new bearings in new grease and installed the new Schwalbe Marathon tires.  John wanted a bullet proof tire and Gatorskins where just to expensive in this size but the Marathon's will be extremely durable.

The wheel rims where in pretty good starting shape, just very little rust, I cleaned and removed the rust and polished the chrome, the rims turned out fantastic, could not be happier with the rims.  The wheels look really nice installed on the frame and I really like the shape of the tires, they are going to be very comfortable.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Wheels Axles - After

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel
New Bearings & Grease

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
New Shwalbe Marathon Tires

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel
Compelte

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Wheel - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Front Wheel - Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel Hub
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel Rim
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel
Old Grease
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel Hub
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel
New Grease & Bearings

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Wheel
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Wheels
Complete
at this point I polished and installed the seat post and the rear cable hanger.  All turned out nice and installed easy.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Post
Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Post & Cable Hanger
Polished
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Post & Cable Hanger
Complete

The Brakes are the classic center pull brakes, they work so much better then side pull brakes.  The calipers are a little rough and gritty but should come back perfect.  I disassembled the calipers and cleaned the pieces before polishing.  The rear brake caliper's decal washed right off as it was a little rough. All the pieces polished very nice and assembled easy.  A Pair of center pull calipers have 48 pieces to polish but its all worth it with results like this.  I love it when center pull brakes look like this!!

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Calipers
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Calipers
Exploded

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Calipers
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Calipers
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Caliper
Installed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Rear Caliper
Installed

The crank is a little rough, a good deal of rust and most of the washer and lock washers are not savable.  i disassembled the crank and got to cleaning and polishing.  The drive side of the crank did not polish as well as I like, the Le Tour cranks have the large chain ring attached to the crank arm which makes it very difficult to polish on the power polisher and also a little dangerous and I learned the hard way a long time ago when a large chain ring and crank arm caught in the wheel and flung around and stuck in my shoulder.

The small chain ring polished beautifully and the rest polished okay with a lot of hand work.  I am however fairly happy with the results considering the start.  I replaced all the washers and lock washers with new stainless steal, the new hardware makes a huge difference and the crank looks great installed.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Crank - Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Crank - Exploded

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Crank Polished
Some of the old washers in front.
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Crank - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Crank - Installed
 The brake levers are nice brake levers after polishing they look fantastic!!  The brake elver adjustment barrels look fantastic polished and so much better then the plastic ones that where on some of the levers.

The levers look great installed!

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Levers
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Levers
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Levers
Installed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Brake Levers
Installed
 The front derailleurs is in pretty good starting condition.  I cleaned and polished the derailleur and then lubricated it.  It looks beautiful, it truly is a beautiful design and functions great after lubricating.
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Caliper
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Caliper
Exploded

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Derailleur
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Derailleur
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Front Derailleur
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle
So Far
The rear derailleur is a replacement derailleur on the Le Tour.  I thought I had an original Le Tour rear derailleur, however I could not find it anywhere.  I found a Schwinn Super Sport rear derailleur that i was going to put on the Le Tour but then while looking for something else I found the Le Tour derailleur in a place it should not have been, I am not as organized as I thought.

The Le Tour rear derailleur is going to be very nice to have on he Le Tour, the derailleurs where nice on the Le Tour, they have worked well and shift well.

I disassembled the Le Tour derailleur and cleaned and polished it.  The derailleur turned out very nice so much better then the replacement derailleur.  I am very happy with it.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Derailleurs
Before
John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour Derailleur
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour Derailleur
Exploded

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour Derailleur
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour Derailleur
Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Le Tour Derailleur - Installed

I installed the seat collar and seat.  The seat collar was rough but after polishing it turned out great, which is usually not the case with seat collars, they tend to not polish well.  The seat collar is an important thing to be polished out, you don't see it when its polished but if it was not it would stand out like a soar thumb.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Collar
Before

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Collar
Polished

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Seat Installed
The freewheel and chain where in good shape, I cleaned them and lubricated the chain and they came out nice.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Freewheel
After

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Freewheel
Installed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Chain - Installed

With everything installed it is time to wire the Le Tour.  The Le Tour is going to get white cable housings and black handlebar tape.  The white cable housings will accent the white decals and red paint very well and will contrast the black handlebar tape.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - New Cables
New Cable Housings

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour - Wired

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Le Tour - Wired

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour - Wired

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Le Tour - Wired

The Le Tour will get very nice Bontrager black cork handlebar tape.  The black will very nice to contrast the red and white.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
New Black Bontrager Cork Tape

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Handlebar Tape
Complete
 Last thing was the pedals.  I could not find a photo of the pedals before but the pedals turned out very nice.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Pedals
After

I tuned the Le Tour and went for a test ride.  The Le Tour rode fantastic and shift super smooth, this is why the Le Tour is such an under rated bicycle.  The Schwalbe Marathon tires are fantastic and I like that they are wider tired.

Over all the Le Tour turned out very nice, it is one good looking bicycle.  The bright work shines, the paint looks good and the black and white is perfect.  The touch up paint turned out fairly good, there is a lot of it but really makes the frame look better.

I am very happy with the results of the Le Tour, it does not get better then the Schwinn red.  I took the final photos and realized I did not install the rear rack.  I replaced all of the rear rack hardware and the rack looks great installed, the black of the rack completes the theme through.  Photos o the rear rack below.

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle - Complete

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle - Complete - Front

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Handlebars

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Front Brake

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Stem

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Front Half

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Wheel

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Front Wheel Rim

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Drive Train

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Brake

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Wheel

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Touch Up Paint

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Rack Installed

John S's 1973 Schwinn Le Tour Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Rear Rack Installed

Thank you for the interest,
John Z.






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