I think—after seeing these two beauties sent in by James B—I can officially go on record and say the 1974ish Le Tour is my favorite Schwinn. I’m not sure what it is about them—the randonneur bars, magnificent pie plates, the best Schwinn decal design ever, or maybe it’s just those cool little chrome fork crown covers. Or maybe it’s the fact that all these things come to together in this symphony of cool, this ensemble of awesome, this a cappella of…well, you get what I’m saying.
My third and fourth submissions and the finest so far.
Twin 1974 Schwinn Le Tour LT-3’s. 1974 was the first year for the Le Tour model. Produced in Japan with very high standards, these bikes have literally withstood the test of time. In my book, that makes them classics.
Each one of these bikes was in sad shape when I purchased them. They both needed full restorations. Fortunately, apart from a few scratches, the frames were in good shape with good paint. Each bike was disassembled to it’s basic components. The wheels were completely torn down and each spoke was acid dipped and polished by hand. All bearings were replaced and relubed. The cables, housings, brake pads, tires, tubes, rim strips, handlebar tape, etc were replaced. No labor or expense was spared in making each part like new again. The chains were replaced as well.
These particular frames are not Chro-moly however, I have weighed the 1974 Le Tour frames and compared them to some frames I have like Raleigh Competition GS’s and Super Courses and find very little difference. The bike with the fenders weighs in at a little less than 30 lbs. Not bad considering the original Araya wheels are chromed steel with alloy hubs, steel seat posts and a massive freewheel. I suppose you could cut that down a bit but, why bother. I’m not racing a bike like this. They are fast enough though, capable of leaving most hybrids and mountain bikes in the dust.
There is a certain satisfaction when I ride a bike like this. I know that no one else has one like it, not in my town anyway.
Oh yes, lest we forget the reason why we love these bikes, the fully lugged steel frames and forks ride like a dream! Another bonus, these frames are well suited to touring and they have plenty of mounting points and clearance for fenders and other good stuff. Equally imnpressive is the fact that these bikes came with randonneur style drop bars from the factory.
See yah on the street.