I've mentioned it in passing, but I felt the Schwinn Le Tour III I've had laying around for the last while deserved it's own post, as I'm honestly not sure what to do with it. For one thing....it's gigantic. The roadbike of a Viking. No getting around that. It's from the 1970s, and weighs a ton. But on the other hand, it's a steel, Japanese frame roadbike that hasn't seen a lot of obvious wear and tear, and has been stored inside for it's entire existence. It also has all-original parts. So, without further ado, here it is, The Schwinn:
The first thing you're saying, I'm sure is "GODDAMN that's a bigass bike!" At least, that's the first thing I said. The second thing is "But...it seems to be in pieces." I admit it. I've never put this bike together and ridden it, not only because I'm not sure if I know anyone tall enough to ride it. So I have no idea if the bottom bracket squeaks, if it shifts or stops...also it doesn't have a back tire.
The crankset (another Schwinn/Le Tour branded component) has a double chainring, in the classic "ten speed" way. It also has a dented pedal.
The frame is fully lugged (a bit point in this bike's favor), and the fork crown is blingin' shiny chrome.
More Schwinn-branded components in the cockpit. Of particular interest to me are the handlebars on this bike - the slight rise in the flats, leading to a long ramp and a nice curved drop all strike me as very reminiscient of the Nitto Noodles.
For the uninitiated, these are "centerpull" brakes. They're an older brake style to the modern, more popular sidepull brakes, but some would argue are equally as effective, if not superior to the sidepull. An interesting feature to this type of brake is that it apparently widens above the pivots as it compresses, avoiding pinching fenders (which, admittedly, this bike does not have).
The bike still has the sticker from the original bike shop it was purchased at, West End Cycle Co, of Galveston, TX. I've tried giving them a call, but no one has answered - I have no idea if this shop still exists. The bike is proudly labeled as "Made in Japan" which does make me wonder what company was contracted for the manufacture of this bike - maybe Panasonic?
While I have no idea as to it's trueness, even the wheels seem to be free of rust, though the cassette could certainly use a trip through some degreaser to see what lies beneath.
So there you have it. The (free, gigantic, late-1970s) Schwinn I've been trying to decide the fate of. I'm having trouble figuring out what I have on my hands here. Is this a beautiful, lugged Japanese frame worthy of restoration, or an old crappy ten speed I pulled out of a pile of bikes destined to be scrapped out for parts. Does ANYONE have more information on these particular bikes, and would they be willing to share?