Welcome, jerks.


Yeah, I got the fever. Three or four years ago, a rabid, red-eyed zombie sank its rotten teeth into my arm and thus I was infected with a peculiar strain of irrational obsession. Since then I have breathed, eaten, and slept bikes and almost nothing else. Maybe a vaccine will be invented, or maybe it'll simply pass, but until then I'm a slave to my compulsion to buy, transport, take apart, degrease, scour, lube, polish, assemble, tune, tighten, align, wax, buff, and yes, ride, ride, ride these magical two-wheeled machines.

So, the idea is, on this page I'm going to post pictures and perhaps stories of bikes that I've refurbished and ridden or ones that are in the process or recently completed. Maybe it'll expand from there. We'll see, I guess.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Schwinn Voyageur SP

During the mid '80s, Schwinn made two full-on touring bicycles: the Voyageur and the Voyageur SP. As its name suggests, the SP model was constructed of high-end Columbus SP (and SL) tubing. It also generally featured a few more braze-ons and better componentry than the regular Voyageur model.

This '85 Voyageur SP frameset I received through a trade. It came to me in rough aesthetic condition: the paint had succumbed to some mysterious ailment whereby it had chipped off in dozens and dozens of tiny spots to reveal the white primer beneath. In effect, it looked like someone had ridden the bike through a puddle of white paint. In addition, the paint on the chromed fork had contracted a similar strain of leprosy and it was rapidly chipping away in larger chunks. Since the worst of it was on the fork crown, I initially tried just stripping the paint there by masking the rest and spraying on a light coat of aircraft stripper. Unfortunately, the stripper penetrated the masking tape and I ended up having to take all the paint off the fork. Fortunately, the chrome was in good shape and it came out nicely anyway. For the rest of the frame, I went with touch-up paint. This was a tedious process with mixed results. In certain lighting, the end product looked fine, but in bright light the color difference became more pronounced. Were I to do it over, I'd probably opt for a fresh powdercoat. That is, I've decided that touch-up paint on an old bike is the precise equivalent of a facelift for an aging spinster: not quite convincing and vaguely pathetic. On the other hand, a powder coat is more like a visit to a day spa and a new outfit off the clearance rack at Macy's: rejuvenating and tasteful if not quite lavish.









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6 comments:

  1. great ideas. Mines starting to how the wear of the last few years. I like the all chrome fork adn the new cables. Not a huge fan of the new derailer, but it looks decent. I'm guessing the performance make it worth it?

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    1. When it comes to part selection, I'm a pragmatist. You'll never find me combing eBay for just the right part to complete my period-correct gruppo. Generally, I use what I have on hand and this derailleur fit the bill; that is, it provided reliable shifting and sufficient chain wrap at a reasonable cost (essentially, free to me). (One thing to remember is that when you build a bike from the frame up, paying for parts individually, costs can very easily spiral out of control. In fact, it's damn near impossible to do so without spending significantly more than you would on a fully built bike of comparable quality.)

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  2. Are you running 700c or 27in? I tuned up an '88 Voyageur about 6 years ago. After I blew up the original wheels I built up new 27s for it. Couldn't figure out how to get the 700c to hit the brakes on the stock fork. Which way did you go?

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    1. I had the same issue with 700c wheels on this fork. The posts were just too high and too close together to allow for anything but 27" rims. I believe the problem is a bit less acute on the later models such as yours, though. I've seen quite a few late 80s voyageurs converted to 700c. Most folks accomplish this by using brakes with some up-down adjustment and pushing the brake shoe posts all the way into the holders.

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  3. Hi, are those the original brakes or did you upgrade? I have the same bike, but would like to upgrade. THanks.

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