General Info on Schwinn Voyageur Touring Bikes

1985 Schwinn Voyageur SP
When I started looking for a Schwinn Voyageur I couldn’t find much information on the web about this touring bicycle. This page attempts to collect useful information of the vintage touring version of the Schwinn Voyageur. Schwinn still makes a bicycle called “Voyageur”, but it’s a comfort oriented hybrid bicycle.

Schwinn started selling bicycles simply labelled Voyageur after the success of the World Voyageur, Voyageur II, and Voyageur 11.8. The original “World” label denoted imported frames used on all these lightweight bicycles. As far as I know all vintage Voyageur & Voyageur SP frames were sourced from Panasonic in Japan, but the later years (1986-1991) might have been sourced elsewhere.

Starting in 1982 Schwinn sold the first Voyageur that came with triple chainrings–the Voyageur SP (as opposed to 11.8 which retained the previous years’ double gearing). Triple chainrings allow gearing over a larger range that becomes useful when engaged in long-range touring — hauling camping gear up long mountain passes makes for tough going. Starting in 1983 all Voyageurs would sport triple chainrings, and starting with that year’s SP they would also feature cantilever brakes allowing additional fender space.

1982 Schwinn Voyageur S/P
While all of the touring Voyageurs are wonderful bicycles; the most desirable versions are probably the 1983-1985 Voyageur SP’s. These bikes feature the most sought after touring features (except 24-speed gearing which can be retrofitted), as well as the best craftsmanship and quality of the series. The 1982 SP lacks certain amenities, and the 1986+ Voyageurs seemed to have suffered from cost-cutting measures (possibly due to the decline in popularity of bicycle touring). Even among the 1983-1985 SP’s, the 1983 is a decidedly odd duck. It uses the somewhat less prestigious Tange Champion #2 tubeset (versus the Columbus SL/SP tubing used on the ’84 & ’85), and has a non-standard rear derailleur cable arrangement (courtesy of the Suntour Superbe Tech II). Additionally, the 1983 comes with braze-ons for high-mount front panniers (standard at the time, but supplanted by low-mount “blackburn” braze-ons. To it’s credit the ’83 is the only Schwinn Voyageur to have a braze-on to support the rear brake cable stop.

1993 Schwinn Voyageur SP
1983 Schwinn Voyageur SP


75 thoughts on “General Info on Schwinn Voyageur Touring Bikes

  1. Information at your site is much appreciated. It is great that someone does these good deeds.
    Based on the chart for the 1985 series, I’ve verified to my satisfaction that I the bike I purchased at a garage sale last year is the vanilla Voyager (not an SP) in British Green, apparently the only color for that line that year. It is only lightly used and has the original PASSAGE tires on WOBLER 58 wheels. Given the still excellent rideable condition of both those tires suggests to me that it was stored someplace air conditioned for a very very long time.
    SEKINE (World Finest) bikes built in Japan and later in Canada in the 1970’s have a very similar history to the Schwinn Voyager. They were very high quality and few in number. Now rode bike buffs seek them out. Google them and see what you can learn about them.
    Thanks again and here’s hoping that your health is back and your voyaging again.
    Best 2U

  2. I have a Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 . trying to find info on it. its in good condition.
    on the name plate on front of bike it has a # 1080, below the seat on a plate it say 4130 chrome moly lugged tubing. on bottom below the pedals has a number stamped in D023117

    What do I have when was it made etc..?

    any help please




    • Rick, I don’t really know that much about the 11.8, but here’s what I can tell you. The date code on the name plate puts that bicycle as made on March 21, 1981 (19*1 – 080th day, since the 11.8 was only made in the late 70s-early 80s, that is easy). Beyond that I don’t have any information, but a quick Google search returns this page:

  3. I have an 85 SP frame without the fork. I managed to order a substitute, but it is a generic one (Dimension 700c w/round crown area). Can you recommend a proper replacement fork with, canti posts,. braze-ons and eyelets? Any substitutes out there from other bikes which will come close to the original geometry? How about a Surly?

    • Don – I just bought a ’85 VSP and noticed the fork is almost exactly the same as a spare Fuji fork I have. Only the Fuji is branded Fuji on crown, but it is beautiful and looks like never used. Let me know if you want to see a pic or are interested.

  4. Hopefully someone is still reading this site. I was wondering which is the better bike in stock factory condition, a 1983 Schwinn Voyageur (not the SP), a 1985 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, or a 1981 Schwinn Super Sport?

    I can’t find anything really glaring difference between the three. In 85 Schwinn vastly improved the Le Tour Luxe, but there is no catalog or specs on the 81 Super Sport.

    Any insight between the 3 models would be appreciated. The bike will be used for some touring if that matters. I guy a know has all 3 of these bikes, the Le Tour Luxe and the Super Sport seem to look like their in showroom condition, the Voyageur appears to be in excellent condition but not showroom condition. He only wants $250 for either, my pick. All come completely factory original including the racks.

  5. I have the one year only (86) little brother of the Voyageur – the Schwinn Passage which I just finished building up, a very nicely crafted bike I am betting was built by Panasonic in Japan, the original hubs sport the “Schwinn approved” label.

  6. I have a 1983 Schwinn Voyageur (not SP). I found this bike in a dumpster covered with some sort of unknown blackish grey sticky goo that covered the paint, so at the time of the find I had no idea what condition the paint was in, I had to wash it about 3 times to get the crud off, and lo and behold it’s not in bad condition at all, the paint is pretty darn good, about a 8 out of 10. All factory original components were (and still are) in place and also in very good condition. I still have to do more cleaning in crevices of the frame and components, but haven’t had the time to attack it real well but I like what I found. It is rideable, tires held air so I took it out for a ride after the 3 cleanings and seem to ride great. I am surprise that someone would dump a bike like that in the trash, just weird to me.

    The other odd thing to me is why these Voyageurs, even the SP model, go for so little? They were very confident touring bikes, maybe among the top 3 or 4 of touring bikes that were made back then, and they were very popular in the day to tour on.

  7. I have a 1985 Schwinn Voyageur Sp, blue frame, 24 inch frame, columbus steel frame made in Japan. I absolutely love the bike and have upgraded it. I had a front wheel built, using a new Sun rim with the Son 28 Dynamo hub, rear wheel built by LeRoy from Phil Wood & Co. with the 11sp Phil Wood touring cassette hub 130mm, laced to a Velocity Dyad rim in 27″. I also have the bar end shifters added instead of the down tube shifter (lots better for touring). A touring bike would not be complete without a good saddle (Brooks B-17 Imperial). Now with the dynamo, I can charge my cell phone, while I cycle. I could not be happier with this bike, beauty and function at its best. Just a note, I have kept all of its original parts for one day I want to return it to its glory.

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