General Info on Schwinn Voyageur Touring Bikes

85voyageur
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 tripe chainrings, and starting with that year’s SP they would also feature cantilever brakes allowing additional fender space.

82voyageur
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

46 thoughts on “General Info on Schwinn Voyageur Touring Bikes

  1. I own a mint 85 sp. I did some mods to it. Custom gearset, seat, tires & deore xt short throw rear. I bought it new in 85. Out of all my bikes it was truly a favorite. My other bikes include my street racer an 88 Pinnarello frame with c record group. My road racer an Eddy Mercx orange fade with campy group. (Sold it) My 85 stumpjumper completely customized. My trek aluminum with campy group. (Sold it) My 84 high sierra customized (traded it) So i have 3 of the bikes. Voyageur, Pinnarello & Specialized.

  2. I have been reading the posts on Schwinn Voyageur SP and was wondering how much a 1982 Sp in very good condition all original would sell for. Any help would be appreciated.

  3. The ’83 has horizontal (or at least semi-horizontal) dropouts. The ’85 is vertical. I’ll have to double check the 1984, but I’d guess it matches the ’85. I can post pictures of them if you’d like.

  4. I have an ’89 voyageur. I commute on it and do loaded tours every year. Love these bikes, see them around occasionally. Thanks for the site and info.

  5. I have a mid 80′s Voyageur that I ignored for many years while my kids were growing up. I only recently started riding it again. After riding a hybrid bike for the past 5 years I have really enjoyed getting reaquainted with this great bike. I may swap out the saddle for something a little more accommodating for my aging backend, other than that I’ll leave it as it is. This bike is however, only original in the frame itself. It was resurrected from a car accident which entailed new crankset, bottom bracket, wheels, and brake levers. It has survived two long tours without a problem.

    • There shouldn’t be any such thing as a 1985 Voyageur Sport. The Voyageur Sport was a hybrid bike released much later by Schwinn. It doesn’t share anything in common with the touring bikes except the first part of the name.

  6. Do you have any info on the 1988 Voyaguer, besides the catalog info. Looking for
    Top Tube Length
    Rear Dropout spacing
    Catalog shows a 6 speed shimano freewheel.

    Looking at a 1988. I am original owner of a 1975 Voyaguer II. Nice bike once I got the bars up above seat with a Nitto Technomic. Wish it had rack mounts.

    John Hawrylak
    Woodstown NJ

    • I can’t say about the top tube length; I would assume that it varied with the frame size.
      You are correct about the freewheel size. When I made the comparison sheet I must have missed the change. 1987-1989 are listed as: Shimano Z-series 6 (14-16-19-22-26-30). I’ll update the sheet as soon as I track down the source file.

      As far as rear drop-out spacing. It should be 126mm, which would have been the old 6-speed spacing. I don’t recall Schwinn using the ultra-6 stuff at that time.

  7. Sorry about not specifying the frame size when asking for top tube length.

    21″ Frame, 1988 Voyaguer, top tube length

    TIA and fro quick response

    John Hawrylak
    Woodstown NJ

  8. I just bought what i believe is a 83 Voyaguer but the derailleurs are Shimano Deore SP and
    I don’t see that model anywhere on the chart on this site . Anyone have any idea why ?

    • There are several reasons that there might be a discrepancy between the chart and your bike. The ’82 and ’83 voyageurs would have come with Shimano Deore groupo, but the specific variety might have varied depending on the the exact build date or the shop that assembled the bike. Or it might have been that the catalog entries were inaccurate or just written before the specs were finalized. Finally, a previous owner might have changed them out by preference or due to damage. In any case, I’d distinguish your new bike based on the frame color and other part specifications.

  9. Aloha Sandro,

    Thanks for sharing your detective work. I have a 1991 bike and a 1985/6 frameset and have enjoyed your discussion of the touring Voyageurs. Yes the Voyaguers are a unique timeline of product availability, currency devaluation (Dollar to Yen 200%), technology changes, and the last gasps of several family bike dynasties (Suntour and Schwinn, etc.). It is too bad the new ‘Schwinn’ has cheapened the model name by making it a badge engineered comfort bike now. Perhaps this has made this model less cult like (Trek etc.).

    It is surprising how the later models put on so much weight (2+ pounds or 10%) in a single model year. It would be interesting if folks could sent in their frame set weights for different years and we could see if was the tubing or the specing of accessories that caused the product obesity. (Cost savings and a lower desire for quality drove this.) The early weight savings would be a split of both issues.

    I have my 1985/6 frame stripped for repainting and was surprised at the mix of quality of the chrome work under the paint. On the fork (and frame dropouts) it is almost nice enough to leave the fork all chrome…except it gets a bit foggy halfway up. So I only left the ends unpainted for a bit more vintage look/ durability. I have not stripped the 1991 frame yet…probably not since it is a complete bike, frame work may not be as nice, and I am not putting S&S couplings on it.

  10. Took the 1991 Voyageur out today for a cleaning and inspection – as the last owner took it mountain biking. Cleaned it up. Except for the new stem and aero bars it looks in original spec – even the dry grease looks original. Tires look new for a pair of 20 year old model. Everything rode neutral and solid after cleaning and lube. Took off a set of hammered Honjo mudguards and blue Blackburn lowriders and a Brooks off other bikes and set it up for a tour. Rear rack might go on tomorrow if the Carradice transverse bag comes off. May be set up a dynamo lamp. Threw on a pair of 700 wheels. They fit better than on my 86 voyageur. Perhaps Schwinn adjusted the brake location to fit either wheel diameter. The drop bars may go since Schwinn cut a corner there – their chrome section ends where the tape ends. The chromed frame and fork of earlier models does not seem to be done in 1991. The frame has a sticker stating made in Japan – no Tenax left. The Barcon shifters are Suntour and not Shimano as the spec sheet says. No Shimano parts at all on my 1991 Voyageur.

  11. An update on the 1991 Voyaguer above:

    The 700c rim with a 622mm x 32mm Schwalbe Marathon fit well with the medium Honjos and the canti brakes took only a little adjustment before they braked well. (They were much easier to readjust to a 700c rim than my 86 Voyageur.) The bike now has a LED lamp and dynamo hub working. The rear is still a 27 inch for now.

  12. What is the widest tire you could fit on one of the Le Tours? I need more than 32mm or my huevos will be scrambled

    38? 43?

    • On a Le Tour? Probably 32-36, but I’m the wrong person to ask since the Voyageurs have more clearance in general than the Le Tours.

  13. I love these early 80s bikes (and 80′s heavy metal). I have a 83 stumpjumper that has head and seat tube angles in the 60s. Seems excessively laid back. I see that the Le Tour is around 72 head and seat tube but the voyageur has a 74 head tube and a 72 seat tube.

    I don’t really understand what the angles do to the ride. Can someone describe the ride characteristics between the bikes? Advantages disadvantages? I’m an urban trail, path rider…. Don’t ring your bell when you pass me, I won’t hear it.

    • All other things being equal a steeper head tube shortens the wheelbase and makes the bike less stable but improves handling. In the case of comparing a Le Tour with a 72° head tube to a Voyageur with a 74° head tube, one needs to account for other overall changes in the frame geometry. Notably, the Voyageurs had longer top tubes and chainstays. The overall effects was a longer wheelbase (and more stable bike), with a riding position that improved comfort over aerodynamics.

  14. Thanks for this site. I own a 1988 Voyageur that used for heavy duty touring for years, and recently have pulled out again for daily 20-30 mile runs.

    I love that bike. Love love love it. Bought it new off the dealer floor when it was new, and only this year overhauled bearings, etc., replaced the original chain & cables (!!), and rewrapped the handlebars with leather. It rides as smoothly and powerfully as it did on day 1. Can’t wait to take it out for a long tour in the next year or so.

    My only concern at this point is that eventually I probably will need to convert to 700 wheels and when the cassette/gears start to go, I’m going to have trouble retrofitting something for that frame.

    If I can get around that, though, I have bought my last bike. I’ll stay with this one forever.

    Cheers.

    James
    Asheville, NC

  15. James…not sure about the 1988 year, but my 1991 Voyageur converted to 700 rims without much effort vs. my 1986 voyageur – that took a mechanic some effort to adjust it. The brake arms are not at their best angle. It can be done. Borrow a friend’s rim to see how close it is before you invest in 700.

  16. im wondering how much i could sell my schwinn voyageur sp for … it has been sitting for a while and tires+tubes are crap and maybe braces too, i dont want to fix it i just want to sell it, but i dont know what a good price is?

  17. The value of a Schwinn Voyageur SP is going to depend on which year it’s from, its condition, and what part of the country you’re in. Generally, later years are worth more. In the case of tubes/tires/grips/other wear and tear parts, those matter less since they all need to be replaced eventually. I don’t know what you mean by braces, if you mean spokes then that’s a bigger deal, as far as value.

    People will generally pay more for a bike that’s ready to ride. Based on eBay sales, I figure the value of a SP is between $150-$550 depending on the factors I’ve already pointed out.

  18. Hello, I was wondering if anyone knew what the serial numbers on the voyageur sp decoded to- i.e. manufacturing dates, places. I own the same exact blue model displayed up top. Thank you all!

    • Until 1982 Schwinn punched the serial numbers into the lower left of the head tube itself The first two letters indicated the month/year or production. The first letter (A-M, excluding I) correspond to January-December. The second letter indicates year — R,S,T corresponding to 1980, 1981, and 1982, respectively.

      As of 1983, Schwinn stamped a 4 digit code into the head badge. The first 3 digits represented the day of the year, and the fourth is used to specify the year of the decade (here mostly the 1980′s). So serial number 1005 would indicate April 10, 1985. You can decode the Panasonic serial numbers sometimes stamped into the lower head lug using the information at the Panasonic Bicycles Museum FAQ page: http://panasonicbikemuseum.info/faq.

      The blue bike you have is likely a 1984 or 1985 Voyageur SP. An easy check might be to examine the make of the handlebar and stems. In 1984 they would have been from SR, in 1985 from Cinelli.

      Since production year didn’t always line-up with the actual catalog year you might find that 1985 models were produced during the later months in 1984. It is probably more reliable to use evidence based on the table I have at: http://sandro.knot.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/voyageur-comparison.pdf

      All Schwinn Voyageur SPs should have come out of the Panasonic factory located in Kashihara City, Osaka, Japan.

  19. I have one of the british racing green Voyageur’s. Definitely my favorite bike, and my stable includes a custom track bike.

    Picked it up at a thrift store next to my work for ONLY $15 back in 2004. Looked to have a fairly new Brooks saddle on it and some vintage Campy derailleurs. It’s been through a lot of upgrades and took me across the United States in summer 2008. Still ride it to work almost every day. If it were ever destroyed I would hang it on my wall and commence looking for another one, or if I got a sweet settlement have a custom built with the same geometry haha

  20. New to me is a 25″ 1984 SP. It seems to be all original and in good condition.
    I will grease it up and true the rims in the next couple of days. A friend loaned me some bags. There should be some short tours on the horizon. Has anybody stretched their low gear to a 24/32?

  21. The picture on the top of the site looks very familiar to me. Where did you find/get it?

    Great info BTW! Thanks.

  22. I have a 1980 Voyager 11.8 in good condition that I just started riding again. My wife said it was a junky bike, but when I put new tires on it and my 16 year old took it for a ride he was surprised how smooth and fast it rode. I am looking to see what the availability of a hub type generator for the front wheel so I can start using the bike to commute to work…any information about this would be great. Also, just wondering what the bike is worth. It is all original except a new seat I put on last year, and it is scarlet red in color. Any info will help. Thanks!

  23. Just finished the Trace, from Nashville, to Natchez, on my ’83 Voyageur. The bike is completely as I purchased it new in ’83. The only exception being a Brooks B72 saddle.
    Trip took 8 days, averageing 55.5 mi. Bike performed flawlessly.

  24. I need to replace the fork on my 85 SP, and im not sure of what size i should get… i was thinking about an Origin8 carbon cross for with canti bosses… comments?

    • I’ve heard disturbing things about carbon forks, but I have never ridden one myself. Rivendell has an article on frame materials that sums it up nicely.

      If you do decide to switch to the Origin-8 fork here are a couple things to know. It’s designed to fit 1-1/8″ steering tubes. AFAIK, the Voyageurs all take 1″ steerers, so I don’t think it will fit. It’s designed for a threadless headset/stem, so you’d need to switch from the threaded headset and quill stem on the Schwinn. Finally, it doesn’t not have rack bosses, so if you use a front rack, you’d need to make some kind of accommodation for that.

      You might check out the Cross-check/Traveler’s Check fork from Surly, it’s probably a better fit for a Voyageur.

  25. Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of praise for these pages. I recently purchased a 1990 Voyageur in mostly-original condition as my first “road” bike. I ride it on my short commute 3 or 4 times per week, and long rides on the weekend. rode an MS150, and getting ready to attempt the HHH100 in Wichita Falls (though I’m probably going to stick to 100K this first year).

    Mine is the 19″ frame, which is probably a smidge on the small side for me, but the LBS sold me a long, positive-rise mountain bike stem and now the bike fits wonderfully. Mine came with front and rear racks which were purchased at the same time as the bike (original owner kept ALL the paperwork) from Nashbar.

    If anyone is reading these comments trying to decide whether to pull the trigger on a Voyageur, even the ones called less desirable, I say DO IT! I’m really enjoying mine.

  26. Just bought a 1984 Voyager for 140, mint, with all the original parts including bar tape. Shimano components. Shimano 600 freewheel. Champion tubing. Excited to see Grand Compe brake levers! Hoods with no cracks! I hope ya’ll know that Armor All or such products rejuvenates and protects those things , btw. Nice spacing around the wheels. :))

  27. I have a 1984 Voyager SP in excellent condition. This is a marvelous touring bike. I weigh 240# and tour with 4 Carradice Nelson bags, fully loaded. The bike has very little use in its history. It had less than 200 miles when I acquired it. I only had about 300 miles on it when I began touring with it. I have put on 2500 touring miles. Denver to KC, KC to St Louis twice, upstate NY circuit. Experience on the bike caused several upgrades. Handlebars were widened to 48′s. Cyclocross interupter brakes were added for slow speed control. Regular brakes were replaced with climbing pegs. Brake levers were placed at the bottom of the drops which gives excellent control loaded downhill. SIS bar end shifters were added. Chainwheels are 24-30-50 Biopace. (Rings from memory, may be different) Rims replaced with Sun CR-18′s. Tires Schwalbe 32′s with reflective sidewalls. Front Shimano hub generator and those good German lights that Peter White sells. Aero bars to drop down in strong headwinds and rest the arms on long straightaways.
    There is some frame flex fully load, but there is a lot of weight on the bike. Had an aft CG due to wet tent and gear which caused front wheel to shimmy. Balanced load and all was fine. Brooks B-17 seat. A wonderful touring machine.

  28. Hi, thanks for the site. I especially liked the photos and the chart. I ran a Schwinn shop in suburban Philadelphia from 1974-80. We had a Voyageur 11.8 come in with a warranty problem– the little brazed on spacer between the chainstays near the bottom bracket had a bad brazing. The Schwinn rep replaced the frame under the warranty and instead of destroying the frame (like I was supposed to), I held on to it and later had a friend that worked in a car recon shop did the brazing repair, sand blasted the frame and painted in a nice british racing green. I put on Universal side pulls, an Avocet triple chainset, an old Brooks saddle I had salvaged from an old Schwinn Superior, bar end shifters (remember them?) and a Huret Alvit rear deraileur and Schwinn (Huret) front derailleur. I planned on doing a bunch of touring with this bike but I never really ended up fulfilling my plans. Now, 33 years later, I still have the bike and just replaced the rims with some 27″ alloy rims I was able to find on the internet. I would really like to do some touring and like the front rack on one of the bikes in the picture. Hopefully I will get it together sometime soon! Thanks, again.

  29. I have an 83 Schwinn Voyager SP that the frame has cracked on and I am looking to either replace the frame or find someone in the Chicago area that can rebuild it. Does anyone have any ideas. Thanks!!

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