Friday, August 5, 2011

Vintage Find- My old Schwinn

My Old Schwinn Vintage Restoration Project 

About two years ago, I responded to an ad for a Raleigh Sport road bike from 2004. When I got to the seller's house, he brought out an old 3 speed English Raleigh sport from the 70's. I was expecting a road bike, so I excused myself from the scene and kindly bid the guy farewell. He was a foreign guy, and his english wasn't very good. We communicated through hand gestures when I was explaining to him what I was looking for when I refering to "road bike". Then he got a twinkle in his eye and I knew he had understood me. He went back to his shed and pulled out this 1979 Schwinn Le Tour featured here today.

Of course it was nowhere near the condition it is right now. Surface rust had taken over alot of the components. Almost the entire bike had been spray painted silver to mask some of the surface rusting on the frame. Nothing moved on the bike, it was just one solid mass of metal and rotted rubber. Looking at it's vintage potential, I offered him 80 bucks. Maybe it was too much, but I can't argue with what I ended up with today.

I painstakingly took paint thinner, WD40, a metal scrub brush, sandpaper, and went to work on it. After a week of removing paint and rust, I dismantled the components from the frame. Afterwards the frame sat on the balcony of my apartment, probably for most of that winter. I am surprised I was still able to salvage it. In the spring I went to work on it again. I sent the frame to get sandblasted and powder-coated. That is how it is the lovely yellow color it is today. Having the accessibility to get parts for it (I worked for a bike shop at that time) I took the old parts and put them in a chemical bath, making them shine like new and put them back on the bike. Then I threaded new cable and housing for the entire bike, as well as added that georgeous looking bar tape. I couldn't salvage the original wheels, since rust had got the better of them. I replaced the old wheels with new 27" alloys and tires. The same went for the center pull brakes. I put on two brand new Tektro brakes. I had to drill a larger hole in the frame and fork to fit the new threading on the new brakes.

 Alas, is it an old Pinarello? Colnago perhaps? Nope, just a plain old schwinn from the 70's, with about $200 put into it.


  1. Hello Johnny Guzman I like the Schwinn Ten Speed 1979 Blue Le Tour Bike:problem is--I can't seem to get your email,to make a long story short I can't get the email cause of my work I do so
    I don't know---if you want you can call my one three six zero three seven three zero two zero seven I'm trying to get a Schwinn especially this one I saw so I would like to purchase it if I can.

    1. Hi there,

      That bicycle has since been sold since I wrote the article about it. I currently have no Schwinns for sale. Thank you for your interest.-Johnny.