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  1. #1
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    Schwinn Varsity rear wheel question.

    Hello bike forum community! I waited way to long to turn to you guys for help. I'm currently fixing up my bike for the school year and noticed I need a new rear wheel (it's the screw that goes through the middle it gets kinda tough to turn at times and the rear cassette is stuck on and requires a 24 spline tool to remove it, which isn't that common I guess). My bike is an early 80's Schwinn Varsity so I'm assuming it will fit 26 by 1 3/8ths inch wheel but I'm not 100% sure. I was looking at this wheel I saw on amazon:

    Sta-Tru Silver Steel 6-7 Speed Freewheel Hub Rear Wheel (26X1 3/8-Inch)

    and was wondering if it would work for me. I'm trying to save money so the cheaper the better (I know that's very often wrong). I was also wondering if this wheel is compatible with a rear freewheel cog I bought "Diamondback BMX Freewheel 3/32" 16T". I'm sorry about sounding stupid but my knowledge seems much more limited than I expected.

    Thanks in advance for any responses (even if it is someone saying, "You're waisting you time on an old heavy varsity just buy a new bike")

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Aren't Schwinn varsity wheels 27 x 1 1/4? What does it say on the current tires?

    Also what is the rear spacing between the insides of the dropouts - 120mm or 126mm?

    How many cogs is the current freewheel - 5 or 6?

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
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    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  3. #3
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    been fixing up older schwinns for some time.you have to be careful with parts from these machines.found a lot of stuff is schwinn only and not compatible with newer parts.try if you can to pick up a older schwinn at a garage sale or swap meet.probably get a whole bike for 30 to 50 bucks

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Aren't Schwinn varsity wheels 27 x 1 1/4? What does it say on the current tires?

    Also what is the rear spacing between the insides of the dropouts - 120mm or 126mm?

    How many cogs is the current freewheel - 5 or 6?

    =8-)
    Thanks for the response and telling me where to look.

    The tire that's on the bike says 27in and 1 1/4 in, so you are correct. On the wheel there are 5 sprockets and the inside of the dropouts is 126mm.

    So I am looking at a wheel more like this:

    Alex AP18 Rear Road Wheel - 27" x 1-1/4, 36H, QR, Silver?


    Thanks again for the help.


    EDIT: Your right about getting old schwinns at garbage sales, that's where I got mine but it's been the best bike ever for the past 8 years so I'm willing to put a little money and time into it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Where on the West Coast are you?

    Cause you can get already finished 27 x 1 1/4 wheels for 5/6/7 speed freewheels at 3 location on the West Coast....two cities...San Jose and Santa Rosa.

    The wheel you linked to is likely and unfinished machine built.

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  6. #6
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    I'm down in L.A. now :-( What do you mean by unfinished machine built. I don't really need it to look good just work with my bike and that rear cog.

  7. #7
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    I once had a Schwinn Varsity 10-speed. I'd probably still have the thing if I hadn't grown an additional nine inches after buying it.

    I once also needed a new rear wheel. I took mine to a local bike shop that tended more toward every day bikes and not the ultralight racer crowd, and they fixed me up with a rear wheel they'd pulled off a parts bike. It may have been the times (about 1988 or so) or the fact that I was obviously a kid who made his money mowing lawns or whatever, but it seems to me I got the wheel for five bucks, and some advice and a loan of a tool for pulling the freewheel off my old one and putting it on the new one.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by West_Coast View Post
    I'm down in L.A. now :-( What do you mean by unfinished machine built. I don't really need it to look good just work with my bike and that rear cog.
    Most basic and replacement wheels sold by bike shops are machine built wheels OR hand semi-finished wheels. In other words, they are not finished wheels.

    The need an additional 20 minutes of work on average - tensioning, truing and dishing before they are really ready to go if the goal is to have a wheel that can go 3+ years AND/OR 40,000+ miles.

    If you do buy the linked wheel, you'll want to bring it by an LBS to do exactly that - finish the wheel including a slight hub adjustment.

    Otherwise, riding them AS-IS typically runs a 50/50 failure rate within a year.

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

    Disclaimer:

    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  9. #9
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    Man, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Maybe I'll just try to fix my wheel. I sucks because no one has this 24 spline freewheel remover and I'm stuck is rear wheel purgatory.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    I have a wheelset for a Varsity sitting in my garage. Bring a 6 pack of Heineken to Orange County & it's yours. Seem to be in decent shape.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    What hub is it?
    If a Maillard Helicomatic, there are tools available online.

    IIRC, FBinNY has a Schwinn specific tool available.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    I have a wheelset for a Varsity sitting in my garage. Bring a 6 pack of Heineken to Orange County & it's yours. Seem to be in decent shape.
    Thanks man, I like how you think (I'd bring a mini keg), but I can't, I'm in the process of moving for school (still need to borrow a car) :-/ I started fixing this thing up with the idea that it would only take a few days. For now I'll just have to use my other bike (newer and functions better but just doesn't have that classic look I like). I kinda see now why most people say, "Just get a new bike!" now

    Should have sacrificed a tire for the bike gods before I started this project.

  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Fer cryin' out loud, any older Schwinn shop should have the correct tool to remove the freewheel. A decent shop will remove the freewheel from the old wheel and put it on the new wheel if they're selling you the new one.

    I wouldn't worry a heck of a lot about a new, machine-built wheel being "unfinished". Rabbit's pretty correct in saying that they need touch-up before leaving the store, but 27" steel-rim wheels are pretty durable right out of the box.

    FWIW: I learned my trade in a Southern California Schwinn shop in the early '80's. I probably worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of Schwinn Varsities.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  14. #14
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    I called a few shops today and didn't really get anywhere with them because the tool is so rare. I've got one more to try tomorrow (closed on Mondays and I don't know why). I'll see if they can do it for me.

  15. #15
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Normandy tool, the large-diameter spline.

    Most established older shiops should have that tool, since these tools don't wear out like many others can.

    I'm up here in the foothills and have the Normandy/Atom tool here.

  16. #16
    Let your bike be the tool cranky old road's Avatar
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    Is it possible that rather than buying a new wheel you could clean and relube the bearings of your current wheel? You might be able to do so without removing the freewheel by removing the nut and bearing cone from the non-drive side.
    Never try to teach a pig to sing...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by West_Coast View Post
    Thanks man, I like how you think (I'd bring a mini keg), but I can't, I'm in the process of moving for school (still need to borrow a car) :-/ I started fixing this thing up with the idea that it would only take a few days. For now I'll just have to use my other bike (newer and functions better but just doesn't have that classic look I like). I kinda see now why most people say, "Just get a new bike!" now

    Should have sacrificed a tire for the bike gods before I started this project.
    The wheels aren't going anywhere. Buying used is a little trickier than buying new. That's why you save money. When the Varsity is together, you can ride it 'til you get your degree, then sell it for what you paid, maybe turn a profit.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  18. #18
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old road View Post
    Is it possible that rather than buying a new wheel you could clean and relube the bearings of your current wheel? You might be able to do so without removing the freewheel by removing the nut and bearing cone from the non-drive side.
    It is. As a poor kid, no fancy tools for me. It's a little fussy getting it back together, but eminently doable.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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