New bike day!

1987 Schwinn Le Tour


Pictured above as purchased. $100 on a drizzly new year’s eve eve from a short guy in a grey audi SUV.
I’ve been hesitant to devote to much time or energy to this bike since it’s a larger frame than I’d prefer so I figured a maiden ride to test fit was in order. I was actually all ready to ride Tuesday night for the next day when I noticed some binding in the cranks as I was oiling the chain. Decided to take that day off and fix the bottom bracket. So on Wednesday I spent a few hours running down the prep list to get it ready to ride the next day. Pretty usual stuff:

  • Fix bar tape – the finishing tape was the weirdest vinyl tape. Gooey and gross.
  • Install my saddle
  • Install my pedals
  • Remove spoke protector
  • Remove old bottom bracket and install new. I had to go to Lowe’s to get the parts for a Sheldon Brown fixed cup remover but it worked like a champ. I also just happened to have a wrong-sized-for-the-original-use cartridge bottom bracket that worked perfectly as a replacement
  • Adjust brake centering; this took a bit as I’m not 100% sure the process for single pivots. Generally I fuss until they work and that seems ok?
  • Install mini-pump under bottle cage
  • Check stem/bars for tightness
  • I also dribbled some oil into the hubs since they’ll need to be rebuilt but I didn’t feel like it at the time


My ride went pretty well. The headset was stiff and binding which I didn’t find out until I stopped an hour in to feed a stray cat. This made the bike handle weird but it was ok. Bike actually fit pretty well. The hubs appear about an inch or so in front of the handle bars/stem point so I could probably either get a longer stem with less reach bar or keep it stock and just add the aero levers I have in my parts box.

I’d really like to kit this out as a racer with threadless adapter, -17 stem, modern bars and so forth but then I remember this is a 27″, 4130 bike so I think I’ll just ride it as is. I’ve already purchased a 46t chainring and new diacompe grey matter brake blocks so that’s ok. The original gearing in 52/40 & 14-15-17-20-24-28 is actually pretty ok for the terrain around here. I’d prefer something with exclusively two steps through 24 but I’m not sure if I want to invest in a 7 speed freewheel and either go to friction shifting or get a 7 speed index downtube shifter. Right now I’m $148.20 into the bike so I’ll need to sell the extra parts that came with and maybe make a choice after that.

I’m also think about new tires. Maybe the 1 3/8 Swiftire Sand Canyon?

Le Tour Specs


Here’s a link to the specs from the excellent TR Findley’s Schwinn Catalog Page: