Friday, January 9, 2015

Orange Schwinn Le Tour II Step Through Mixte Restoration and Conversion to City Bicycle

Update January 23, 2015

Fenders from the fender box where modified and install, looks fantastic!!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle After Restoration - Plus Fenders

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle After
Today I started work on an orange Le Tour II step through.  Most people know I think the Le Tour is a very underrated bicycle along with the Raleigh Sprite all though the Sprite is underrated in a different way.  I think step through bicycles with drop handlebars are pretty much useless so I will convert it to an upright city bike.  A simple handlebar change makes these bicycles one of the most useful bicycles.

The Le Tour II is in pretty good starting shape and the orange may be one of the best colors ever put on a bike.  The Le Tour II will receive a total restoration along with new cables, cable housings, tires, tire tubes, a new saddle, new grease and bearings, new handlebars, new brake levers, new brake pads and new handlebar grips.  The Le Tour should really turn out to be a very nice City bike when its finished and I can't wait to see the paint color polished.

The Schwinn Le Tour will be up for sale when it is complete, I think it will make a fantastic commuting bike, neighborhood cruiser, coffee getter or just a great all around riding bicycle.

I believe the Schwinn Le Tour II is a 1977 model year.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Handlebars

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Handlebars & Stem

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Shift Levers

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Headset

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Head Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Fork Crown

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Front Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Front Wheel

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Front Wheel Hub

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Front Wheel Rim

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Le Tour II Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Cable Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Down Tube Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Saddle

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Crank

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Front Derailleur

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Bottom Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Pedal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Reflector

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Derailleur

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Wheel Hub

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Before - Rear Wheel Rim

The frame only has a few very small chips and one bigger chip right in one of the Le Tour II decals.  The paint is dull and dirty but cleaned very well.  With the paint cleaned I worked through 3 polishing grits and it turned out awesome.  The orange just sparkles with such a deep finish, I am a sucker for any orange bike but this orange really turned out nice.  I am super happy with the results.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Head Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Le Tour II Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Down Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Schwinn Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Seat Lug

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Middle Seat Lug

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Bottom Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Brake Bridge

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Before
Drop Outs

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Head Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Head Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Le Tour II Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Schwinn Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Polished Paint on Down Tube

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Seat Lug

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Middle Seat Lug

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Bottom Bracket

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Brake Bridge

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Frame Polished
Drop Outs

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Before
Fork Crown

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Polished
Fork Crown

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Polished
Fork Blades

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Fork Polished
Fork Chrome

I put the headset and bottom bracket components into the crock pot and then easily wiped the grease and dirt off.  With the components cleaned I polished the pieces that could be polished and installed new bearings an grease.

The headset and bottom bracket really polished nice and with new grease and bearings they both spin silky smooth!  I love the polished pieces against the orange paint, what a look!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Headset
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Headset
Polished - New Bearings

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Headset Cups - Pressed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Headset Cups - Pressed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Bottom Bracket
New Bearings Packed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bottom Bracket - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Bottom Bracket
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Headset - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Headset
Bottom Bracket - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Headset
Complete
The stem is a very nice, it is an alloy Schwinn stem with the Schwinn "S" stamped into the side.  The stem was in good starting shape and has a textured finish.  I tried my new polishing technique for polishing the textured finish and it turned out fantastic, I love it installed!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Stem
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Stem
Exploded

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Stem
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Stem
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Stem - Installed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Stem - Installed
The calipers are center pull calipers, I like center pull calipers compared to the side pull calipers of the era, the center pull caliper work so much better and have much more stopping power.

I disassembled the calipers and got on with the cleaning and polishing.  I love polishing center pull brake calipers, there is something about the alloy used that polishes so nice and when center pull calipers are polished they look so good!  There are 52 pieces to a set of center pull brake calipers so it does take a good deal of time but I sure is worth it, just look at those calipers installed against the polished orange paint!!
Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Brake Calipers
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Brake Calipers
Exploded

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Brake Calipers
Polished
Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Brake Calipers
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Front Brake Caliper - Installed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Brake
Caliper - Installed
I like the cranks they put on the Le Tours,  the cranks evolved through the years on the Le Tours and all the years the cranks looked very good.  I disassembled the crank and cleaned all of the pieces, this crank is one with a lot of small pieces.  I hand polish this particular crank because the large chain ring is connected to the crank arm and makes it hard to polish to a uniform finish and is actually pretty dangerous to polish on the power polisher.  I learned that it is dangerous because a few years back I got the crank stuck in the polishing wheel and it spun around twice and the way I was sitting shot under the sheild I have and stuck in my shoulder, it is a cool looking wound though!!

I do polish all the small hardware pieces on the power polisher and after hand polishing the crank turned out fantastic, I love it installed and with new crank bolt dust covers look absolutely beautiful!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Crank
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Crank
Exploded

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Crank
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Crank
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - New Crank
Dust Caps

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Crank - Complete
I like these shift levers very much, they have a nice shape and for all of the ones I have restored work fantastic, smooth and easy.  I cleaned the shift levers, polished the levers and then lubricated all the pivot surfaces and they work great and look great installed.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Shift Levers
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Shift Levers
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Shift Levers
Installed
I say this all the time but what really makes a restoration nice is good looking cable brackets.  I cleaned the cable bracket and polished the pieces.  Installed the cables really shine and pop against the orange paint and make all of the difference!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Cable Brackets
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Cable Brackets
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Cable Bracket
Installed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Cable Bracket
Installed
The Le Tour derailleurs work really well and there textured finished really look nice, I like these derailleurs very much and road them myself some years back for a season.  I cleaned the derailleurs and soaked them in cleaner to really get a good cleaning,  I then polished the derailleurs and lubricated all of the pivot points.  Assembled the derailleurs look very nice and installed look even better.  I like these derailleurs a lot and am very happy with the results.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Derailleur
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Derailleur
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Derailleur
Exploded

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Derailleur
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Derailleur
Installed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Derailleur
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Derailleur
Exploded

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Derailleur
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Derailleur
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Rear Derailleur - Installed
The rear deflector was next, some polishing on the polishing wheel for the hardware and a little hand plastic polishing for the reflector.  The reflector looks great installed and I really like the way they install with the mixte rear brake mounted lower.
Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Reflector
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Reflector
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Rear Reflector - Installed
Below is the Schwinn Le Tour II so far, it is really coming along nice!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Bicycle
So Far
The wheels are next.  The freewheel requires a rare sized freewheel tool to remove, I am lucky I have one.  I found it years ago in a bottom of a box at a swap meet.  Schwinn only used this freewheel for a short time and even with the small rare freewheel tool is still a paint to remove.

With the freewheel removed I disassembled the wheels and started the cleaning.  I polished the hubs and the rims, the hubs look fantastic and I have always liked the high flange wheel hubs.  The rims also polished beautifully!!  I know the draw backs of chrome rims but its hard to beat the looks of a polished chrome rim!

With the new bearings and grease installed the wheels spin for a very long time, very smooth!  I am so happy with the results of the wheels and I chose a 1 1/8" gum wall tire that should be here and day, if I do not like the 1 1/8' tire I will install a 1 3/8' gum wall tire.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel Hub
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel Rim
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Freewheel
Removed

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel Hub
Old Grease

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel Hub
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel Rim
Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel
New Grease & Bearings

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Axle Hardware
Cleaned & Polished

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel
Compelte

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Rear Wheel
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Front Wheel - Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel Hub
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel Rim
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel Hub
Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel
Old Grease

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel
New Bearings & Grease

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel
Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Front Wheel
Compelte

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - Wheels Complete

This afternoon the new handlebars showed up.  I have a ton of chrome sway back or city handlebars that I could polish but I am never happy with the polishing results of a chrome handlebar even with a little rust on it, there is always pitting and it shows up to me anyways.  New handlebars are the way to go.  The handlebars look fantastic with the stem and look fantastic with the bike overall.  I will take one more photo of the handlebars to have a better view of them installed.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - New Handlebars

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion - New Handlebars
Installed

The brake levers came late last week so I installed the brake levers and cork handlebar grips.  I like the Velo Orange brake levers very much, they are modeled after the classic levers from a few decades ago with a slight shape change for ergonomics. 

I like cork handlebar grips for city style bicycles, they have a nice feel and when shellacked they have a great look to them.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
New Handlebar Grips & Brake Levers

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Handlebar Grips & Brake Levers - Installed

With the brake levers installed it was time to install the tires and tubes.  The tires look good installed, I am excited to see how they ride.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
New Tires & Tubes

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Front Wheel - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Rear Wheel - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Wheels - Complete

Now its time to wire the Le Tour II.  I chose the Ice Gray colored cable housings, I just think it goes best with everything, it looks great with the orange paint.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
New Cables & Cable Housings

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Wired

Just a few things left to do.  The last thing I was waiting to show up was the saddle.  I chose a Aviner wider women saddle.  I like Aviner saddles, they seem to be comfortable for most people and are a good value.  I chose a wider saddle because the Le Tour II is now an upright bicycle, the more you are bent over for more of a race position the more narrow the saddle needs to be, as you start to move to an upright position the wider the saddle needs to be for comfort.  

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
New Saddle

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Saddle - Installed

Next is installing the pie plate, freewheel and chain.  The pie plate really shined nice and looks great, the freewheel is in very good shape.  Installed I was able to stand tune the Le Tour II and it tuned great on the stand.
Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Freewheel & Pie Plate - Ready

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Drive Train - Complete

Lat is the pedals, the original are in okay starting shape I was not sure of using them though until after cleaning and restoring.  After cleaning, polishing and lubricating the pedals are actually in very good shape and I am happy to keep the original look,

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Pedals - Before

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Pedals - Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Pedals - Installed

I thought pedals where the last thing but I needed to shellac the handlebar grips.  I taped off the areas and applied four 6 coats of shellac.  Shellac dries in about 8 minutes so it doesn't take long to apply 6 coats.  I love the results of Shellacked cork handlebar grips.

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Handlebar Grips - Shellacked

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Handlebar Grips - Shellacked

That completes the Schwinn Le Tour II, a beautiful bike!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle - Complete

I actually got to test ride the Le tour II yesterday, the road was actually clean and dry although still to much snow and wet to take the outdoor photos.

The Le Tour II rode so nice, I was very impressed with the slightly narrower tires and the riding position.  The Le Tour was very easy to pedal and very smooth, the drive train shifts easy and the handlebar grips and position is very comfortable.  I like the Le Tour II a lot and the orange is just amazing, but then I am a sucker for a an orange bike!

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion
Bicycle Complete - 

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Handlebars

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Stem

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Head Badge

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Front Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Front Wheel Hub

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Front Rim

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Shellacked Handlebar Grip

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Stem

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Chrome Fork Crown

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Front Half

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Schwinn Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Saddle

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Schwinn Decal

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Rear Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Drive Train

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Crank

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Front Derailleur

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Rear Brake

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Rear Reflector

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Rear Derailleur

Schwinn Le Tour II Restoration & Conversion 
Bicycle Complete - Rear Wheel
Thank You for all the interest!

John Z.

6 comments:

  1. John what a gorgeous rebuild! You know orange is the fastest color ;-) I agree that the Le Tour is under-rated, built in Japan, monogramed parts etc. just a great bike. I built one up for my sister-in-law a few year ago http://ryansrebuilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/schwinn-le-tour-iii-putting-it-all.html and was really impressed with the workmanship and details on this bike

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is beautiful! I'm guessing it's long gone... but wanted to praise you on restoring such a lovely bike! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. How much would a bike like that cost me?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tell me more about the fenders you added - you don't discuss them in the post. I'm looking at rebuilding a LeTour III but wonder about clearance to add fenders. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Ryan,
    I am doing the same bike. Do you have a paint that you used to touch up that is close to that color? And what part did u use to remove the cassette!? I am struggling to find that part!

    ReplyDelete