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  1. #1
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    Step-through Schwinn Varsity goes for $150 in my town

    I saw a beat-up step-through Varsity on CL the other day asking for $150. I emailed the author and mentioned gently that she might have better luck south of $100 (I was thinking $50). The author emailed me back to say that not only did it sell for $150, but that price was suggested by the local Schwinn retailer and there were multiply people vying for the bike!

    Is this common? From BF I was under the impression that a Varsity was basically worthless, unless in pristine condition, and even then, nothing special.

    On the plus side, maybe I can way overprice my plumbing-pipe Peugeot touring bike and make a hefty profit!
    The measure of our intellectual capacity is the capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems. - C. W. Churchman

  2. #2
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Varsities are heavy, but take lots of abuse and have provided reliable transportation for millions of Americans over several generations. You live in a college town with relatively flat terrain where there is a huge market for used bikes, and Varsities are a good fit for basic transportation around campus.
    - Stan

  3. #3
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    I'm sure there's a substantial nostalgia market for old Varsitys too. I have fond memories of my first "10-speed", a green Varsity that got me around campus and also got me started on more significant length bike rides. Sure it was heavy, but in flat terrain that's not a big issue unless you need to carry it upstairs. It's main drawback was the chrome-plated steel rims - I remember a few exciting moments putting on the brakes in wet and/or snowy conditions and wondering when the bike would start to slow down.

  4. #4
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    Hmm interesting. I had only seen Varsitys mentioned with disdain or humor, and didn't expect to see a price similar to what I see for lightweight Japanese same-era bikes. I wouldn't pay $150 for one! But nostolgia is worth quite a bit I suppose.
    The measure of our intellectual capacity is the capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems. - C. W. Churchman

  5. #5
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by intx13 View Post
    Hmm interesting. I had only seen Varsitys mentioned with disdain or humor, and didn't expect to see a price similar to what I see for lightweight Japanese same-era bikes. I wouldn't pay $150 for one! But nostolgia is worth quite a bit I suppose.
    I don't get it either. I grew up with a Varsity (actually a Continental). I have no interest in going back to one.

    But I recently sold a Varsity in good ready to ride condition, but it was not pristine. I ended up with a bidding war on it, people were so anxious to get it. I was stunned. Buyer drove over 100 miles one way to get it!!! There seem to be two groups that have to have one. The nostalgia types, that want the bike of their youth, and the younger hipster crowd, that think they look cool.

    I no longer walk by Varsities when I see them in thrift stores or garage sales. The market will pay a price similar to what a nice Japanese road bike out of the 80s, with alloy bits and a cromoly frame will sell for, even though the Japanese bike is about 15 pounds lighter, has standardized parts, more speeds, better everything really.

    This experience motivated me to fix up the Suburban I had in boxes in the shop. It went to a hipster.

    As far as terrain, nothing is flat around here.

    So far from what I have seen, this market is unique to the older Schwinns.

  6. #6
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    wrk101,

    That's really interesting. I'll have to keep my eyes open, I see similar bikes around sometimes.

    Coincidentally, someone parked a Le Tour next to my Raleigh this afternoon on campus. The frame size was a near match and the color was the identical shade of copper; I did a double-take when I got to the pair.
    The measure of our intellectual capacity is the capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems. - C. W. Churchman

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