my latest project bike - a 1985 Schwinn Voyageur that I purchased
from a local high-school student. He had gotten the bike from his
uncle, who bought it new back in 85', rode it one summer and then
apparently never used it much afterwards. It was in great shape
overall, apart from the paint and decals being a little beat up
and a pitted headset bearing race.
looked to be a mid-level touring bike in Schwinn's '85 line-up.
It was made in Japan (either by Panasonic or possibly Bridgestone
from what I have read) with Columbus Tenax main tubes, Tange front
fork, a mix of decent Shimano / Dia Compe components and Wolber
Super Champion 27" wheels. I think it definitely qualifies as a
goal was to turn it into a 'budget randonneur', something a bit
leaner and meaner than my Surly LHT but still a comfy all day ride.
The first step was to have the frame cold set from 120 to 130mm.
This was not something I wanted to tackle myself, so a friend recommended
I take it to a local frame-builder he knew, who turned out to be
Mark Nobilette (currently the custom builder for Rivendell and Renee
Herse in Boulder).
to meet Mark and hang out at his shop was definitely the highlight
of this project. Besides being a talented frame builder with impeccable
taste in bikes he's also a super nice guy. An unfortunate side-effect
of my time with him is that now I really, really want one of his
bikes. After cold setting my frame he also dropped the rear canti
bosses down a bit (as they were just a skosh too high for 700c wheels).
then got the bike stripped, powder coated and clear coated at a
local shop. I really liked the original color ('British Green')
and was able to get something very close to it. I also found the
original decals on EBay, but I've yet to try and put them on.
that I tried to re-use whatever components I could - derailleurs,
shifters, brakes, stem and seat post are original. I picked up some
of the Velo Orange adjustable brake shoes (very nice). The headset
was shot so I replaced it with a cheap cartridge bearing style unit.
I pulled the Sugino triple cranks, BB, handlebars (Nitto 115's)
and brake levers off my Surly LHT. A comfy WTB Pure V saddle and
Crank Bro's pedals also came out of the parts bin. Wheels were nicked
off of my wife's road bike (which is currently hibernating for the
was the maiden voyage and it performed exactly as I'd expected -
very comfy, very stable (an easy no hands bike). It fits like a
glove - I might get a taller stem at some point, but otherwise it
feels right on. The old Shimano bits work great - I was pleasantly
surprised at how smooth the down tube friction shifters felt and
how good the shifting was overall. After a summer of riding mainly
fixed gear and single speed bikes it all feels rather decadent.
bike currently weighs in at about 25.5lbs (sans accoutrements),
not bad for a burly XL touring frame. Anyway, this was another fun
project and a good learning experience.
always I had a lot of help and use of tools from my local bike shop
(thanks Dan!). Thanks once again for a great site; I never get tired
of checking out all the cool bikes on display here.