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


80 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:

      • That’s not exactly correct…the 4 digits stamped in the head badge reflects the Julian calendar…1080 would mean the 108th day of 1980. You almost had it! 🙂 April 17th, 1980 (Leap Year)

        Lincoln, NE

  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. My early chrome plated Voyager had 1150 stamped on the Schwinn aluminum head badge. On the bottom bracket it has OF01080 stamped. I figure it is a 1981. I don’t really understand your head tube explanation above. From catalog info seems the only difference between a 1980 and 81 is the pedals.

  8. Indeed, I just found a nice, original ’83 Voyageur at a consignment shop with an $89 price tag on it! My size, too.
    Schwinn published NO geometry or full spec’s for the ’83 model year unfortunately, so mine has yet to reveal whether it is of the ’82 or ’84 geometry schemes, which were very different.
    It’s not just the Voyageurs that are selling for cheap money, I’ve bought a couple each of the Tempo and Traveler models for well under $100, but each desperately needed a few hours of detailed tuning up, always including correcting low spoke tensions and over-tight hubs in addition to cables and a lot of cleaning.
    Prices depend a LOT on where you live, here in California it seems that supply exceeds demand.
    Schwinn was of course using foreign contractors to build their bikes by this time, so they have a somewhat “generic” reputation helping to keep prices down.

  9. 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.

  10. Thanks for supplying the tech specs for all 85 Schwinns. I have a 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe I bought used with just 250 miles on it about 6 years ago for just $40; as well as the previous post of mine concerning a 83 Schwinn Voyageur (not SP). The Le Tour Luxe is a very capable touring bike, that is my main touring bike, and the components that Schwinn spec’d on that bike are bulletproof.

    The only issue I had with the bike is the cantilever brakes were stiff and took a lot of hand pressure to get the brakes to grab hard, I lubed all the pivots, tried to adjust them but I don’t know enough about these type of brakes so I took it to the bike shop and they replaced the original cables with a set of Jagwire with Elite Ultra Slick Polished wires, replaced the pads with Kool Stop Salmons, and did something to the yoke wire which I can’t recall what, plus took it all apart and lubed everything; they now work really well, not as well as dual pivot brakes but a lot better then before.

    The brake cable and pad is the only two items that are not stock besides the handlebar tape, saddle and tires of course but typically that wouldn’t be unusual, I also added Planet Bike Casada fenders. I have the original Schwinn Passage tires that came with that bike but because they’re over 30 years old I changed them to Panaracer Pasela TG 27″ tire on the front and a Schwalbe Marathon tire on the rear, and converted the rim to use presta valve tubes. I’m even using the original rear bike rack for my panniers to attach to. I decided, for the time anyways, to stay with the 27″ rims because there are still some really nice tires available for that size.

    But all of that said the 85 model year was the best year for the Le Tour Luxe, if you find one buy it. That year used the same frame as the regular Voyageur which the Tenax tubing was really Columbus SL tubing but with some blemishes on it they didn’t want the SL label to be associated with and sold them only to Schwinn, and SL was used on the Voyageur SP, so essentially both Voyageurs and Le Tour Luxe in 85 used the same frame. Those double butted main tubes lugged steel frames were very good frames for touring due to their strength and ride comfort especially when loaded. Components the Le Tour Luxe used Suntour Mountech for front and rear derailleur but those dérailleurs were actually better than what the regular Voyageur used. The only major thing really on the Le Tour Luxe that is less expensive and of lower quality is the fork, but the Tange hi tensile fork was widely used by other touring bikes, and I bet if you rode the Tange cromoly fork and the Hi Tensile version you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but the cromoly will have thinner walls than the Hi tensile which means they would have equal strength but with about a 5 ounce weight penalty. The technical aspect of the two forks would read like this: per cubic inch both steels actually weigh the same, problem is that cromoly has a AISI of 97,000 tensile strength while hi tensile steel has 61,500, so now in order to increase the 61,500 up to 97,000 they have to use more material in the metal thus it will weigh more but have equal strength.

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