Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Mom's Schwinn Super LeTour Overhaul/Restoration Updated

     When I work on a bike, especially when I restore a bike, I think of the history of the bike.  I think who has owned it, how many miles it has ridden, what it has seen, did it bring joy to the owner or owners.  I know this bike's complete history.  This is my Mom's bike and before her my Grandmother's bike.  It is a 1987 Schwinn Super LeTour.  In 1987 my grandparents traveled from our home town of Escanaba in Upper Michigan to Chicago to specifically get these bikes.  My dad currently has my Grandfather's 1987 Schwinn Super LeTour III.  For there first half of the bikes life my Grandparents rode these bikes around Escanaba and also took them on trips with them.  About 10 years ago my parents got the bikes and have been riding them since.  One of my most vivid memories of my Grandfather is of him riding the Green colored Super LeTour around town, and also when I was quite young getting rides home riding on the crossbar, not very comfortable.  My Grandfather's bike is next on the list for a restoration, I will post photos when I pick it up.
     My Mom's bike is in soar need of a restoration.  The bearing grease is very dry and the bearing cones have been over tightened.  The derailleurs are caked with grime and the bike is not shifting well at all.  All cables are rusted and need to be replaced.  The bottom bracket and headset are in rough shape.  Everything else is covered with grime and rust.

Schwinn Mixtie Super LeTour before Restoration

Front Derailleur & Crank Before Restoration

Rear Derailleur Before Restoration

Headset Before Restoration

Front Wheel & Fork Before Restoration
Updated August 1, 2012.

     Sorry for the delay in finishing this post.  My computer died and for some reason Google won't allow me to upload photos from my Ipad.  I left off at the before photos of the bike.  I stripped all the parts off the bike and polished the frame.  I then started on the Bottom Bracket.  The bottom bracket was dry and had a little wear to the cups.  It took a good cleaning and polishing of the cups, it now turns smoothly and looks great polished.
     With the Bottom Bracket complete I moved on to the Headset.  The headset was in rough shape.  There was a lot of grind when turning and the grease was dry.  I was worried it was not going to be usable.  But other then being set to tight and dry grease it shows no wear at all.  I polished all the Headset components, greased and installed it.  It looks great polished and turn very smoothly.

Frame Stripped & Polished

Bottom Bracket Dry & Rusty

BB Components Before

BB Complete

Headset Complete

     With the Headset & Bottom Bracket complete I moved my attention to the Crankset.  The crankset is a Suguno Super Mighty Allow crank, a very nice crank that is light and will polish up nicely.  I completely disassembled the crank and polished the arms, bushings, bolts, spacers and chain rings.  I am very pleased with the results and I think the photo shows why. 

Crankset before

Crankset Polished & Installed

     With the Crankset installed i started work on the Stem and Handlebars.  The stem and bars where dull and dirty but otherwise in good shape.  I cleaned both with soapy water and a scrub brush then moved on to the buffer.  Aluminum stems and bars usually polish up easy and nicely.
    I then moved on to the front wheel.  The Bearing Cones where tightened way to tightly and the grease was almost nonexistent, even with that there was very little wear.  I cleaned all the components by soaking them in a crock pot with soap water for a couple of hours.  This always does good work on dried grease.  I then greased and packed the bearings.  I polished the hub and rims and they shine nicely.  The wheels are pretty lite for the time period and the alloy rims polished nicely.  The wheel spins extremely smooth.  It spins for many minutes on the stand before it stops.    I am now at what I like to think of as the half way point.

Stem Before Cleaning & Polishing

Stem Polished & Installed

Handlebars Polished & Installed

Front Wheel Before

Rim Polished

Bike Half Way Point

     I always feel like I am making good progress when i get to this point and the rest of the bike goes quicker then I expect.  It was time to start on the rear wheel.  I removed the cassette and wheel components.  The drive side grease was dry and the non drive side grease was fresh and dirty.  I cleaned all the components in the crock pot and brushed the cassette clean.  I then repacked the bearing, installed the cassette and polished & installed the axle and skewer.
     Now its time to get the drive train up and running.  I started with the derailleurs.  The derailleurs where covered in grime and grease.  It took a lot of scrubbing with soapy water to get them clean.  They where in such good shape after cleaning they did not require any polishing.  I am always amazed at the preserving power of thick grime and grease.   I then installed the derailleurs on the bike.  I love the shine of the derailleurs and crankset.

Rear Wheel Hub & Cassette Before

Rear Wheel Hub Grease

Front Derailleur Before

Rear Derailleur Before

Front Derailleur Installed - Nice Shine

Rear Derailleur Installed

     With the derailleurs installed it was time to clean and polish the gear levers.  They where almost frozen in place.  I completely disassembled the levers, cleaned and polished the components and greased the moving parts.  They now work very smoothly.  I installed the shift levers and ran the cable housing and cables.  I do not have new red cable housing on hand so I cleaned and oiled the old housing.  It was in good shape and with new cables should work very well.  The gears now shift wonderfully.
     Next I worked on the brake calipers.  I disassembled the calipers and polished all the components on the buffer.  When I assembled the calipers I greased the pivot points.  The calipers look great polished.  I also installed new Jagwire brake pads.  With the calipers finished I cleaned and polished the city brake levers and installed them onto the bars.  Next I ran new brake cables and oiled and cleaned the red cable housing.  I am very pleased with the brakes, they stop very quick for the time period they come from and look great polished with the red cable housings.
    Next i finished up small parts here and there.  I cleaned and polished the seat components and saddle.  Polished and cleaned the kickstand, bar grips, rear rack, peddles, dust caps and reflectors.  I had such a good work rhythm going that I forgot to take a lot of photos.  What I remembered is below.

Peddles Cleaned & Installed

Front Brake Polished & Installed

Rear Derailleur Cable in Place - Like the Red &  Black

Front Wheel Polished & Installed

     I am super happy with the results of this restoration.  I love that it is my Mom's bike and that I know the entire history of the bike.  I also like the Mixtie City style bikes, there is a nice shape to them, so much better then a Mixtie with drop bars.
     The bike rides so smooth,  one of the better Schwinns I have ever ridden.  I remember from in the past when my Grandfathers bike, now my fathers bike was in good condition how nice it rode, and this one is right up there.   I will think of more to write shortly.  i will be updating the Specialized build soon.

Schwinn Super LeTour Mixtie

Schwinn Super LeTour Mixtie - Crank

Schwinn Super LeTour Mixtie - Front View

Schwinn Super LeTour Mixtie - Love the Red

Schwinn Super LeTour Mixtie - Rear View

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Great job. Wish you could work on my old bikes.