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Old 09-12-06, 12:09 PM   #1
JunkYardBike
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Of Schwinn Varsities and Yacht Anchors

So, I've posted a "For Trade" ad here offering a Schwinn Varsity (shameless promotion). No bites in two days. I'm thinking of moving it to the "Pay it Forward" thread elsewhere on the forums.

I thought I was doing a noble thing by saving it from a dumpster, but it seems this bike is an albatross in the cycling world. What happened to all the sentimental fools who had these as kids and want to rekindle lost innocence (or is that just it - it would take naivete to ride a Varsity again?)

What is it with this bike? I think what captivates people about it is the place it occupies in cycling history, but they would rather the bike itself be history.

One thing's for sure: I've been tinkering with it a bit, and the thing is rock solid. Also heavier than most rocks.
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Old 09-12-06, 12:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
What happened to all the sentimental fools who had these as kids and want to rekindle lost innocence
This sentimental fool already got his several years ago.
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Old 09-12-06, 12:45 PM   #3
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the cost of shiping is more than its worth
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Old 09-12-06, 01:06 PM   #4
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JYB,

I don't need it, I don't have room for it... but you are fairly close, and I it does draw my interest... I have spent a couple of days trying to tell myself I'm not interested, but alas, I find that I am. 22" is my size. I like Schwinns... It wouldn't be my heaviest bike, my Corvette has that role, but I have a problem with my own weight, so I can't discriminate against bikes because they are too heavy.

I got rid of a Suburban last year, and I have been regretting it. I even have a set of 27" alloy wheels that should bolt right on... and even a Campagnolo FD for it, after I add the cable guides under the BB, which I also have. Heck, I don't know, but I might actually still have the fenders off the suburban, in blue, that would probably fit... unless I got rid of them. I may even install a triple chain ring I have for an ashtabula crank.

What bikes do you have that I might be able to find a part for that you would be interested in? I guess I could offer you a dinged up non-indexed Shimano 600 RD (early, but not Arabesque). Or I have a NOS Positron II RD if you want indexed. I guess I could even be talked out of a Shimano 600 SIS 6 speed RD. Any interest in 1989 Shimano 600 pedals? I have a pair with clips and straps.

Maybe some old handlebars and/or brakes and/or derailleurs from late 1970's or early 1980's Varsinentals... but I suspect since you are trading away this bike, they may not be your cup of tea.

Any interest in an old Motobecane Mixte frame?

It's too small based on your sig, but I do have a 1989 Cannondale touring bike frame with a slightly tweaked rear triangle (56 CM) I wanted it to be my first road bike of this decade, but got discouraged when I discovered the alignment issue... it is ridable, but would be best with narrow tires... not the 27 X 1&1/4 I was going to run on it. My quess is even moving to 27 X 1&1/8 would be enough to give the clearance it needs...

I also have some other miscellaneous cheap parts I could look through.

Or, if you just want to find it a nice home and pay it forward, I can do that too... Let me know if you're interested in any of my stuff... because in spite of trying to resist, I am interested in yours.

... Darwin

PS - It is a noble act to rescue a bike... no matter what happens, you gave it a little time, a little reason to hope, and maybe a new home...
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Old 09-12-06, 03:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Darwin
I don't need it, I don't have room for it... but you are fairly close, and I it does draw my interest... I have spent a couple of days trying to tell myself I'm not interested, but alas, I find that I am.
You've restored my faith in these boards! I require no more than a good home for the bike, and you appear an excellently qualified candidate. It's not that I wouldn't try to get the bike operational myself, but even the minimal cost of tires, tubes, cables and housing would cut into the meager budget I am hoping to use on a slightly lighter vintage road/touring bike.

In fact, I've may have found the right bike for me in the Allentown, PA area. I was thinking I could drop the Varsity off to you on my circuitous route there.

If you still have any doubts, I'm willing to take more photos, perhaps in softer light, to lure you. I wiped her frame down a bit, and she's beginning to take on a shine!
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Old 09-12-06, 03:01 PM   #6
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You can surely drop it off... Or in exchange for the Varsity, I could pick up the bike in Allentown if you get it and drive it to NJ. Or maybe meet you in Allentown or elsewhere unless you will be coming right through the Scranton Wilkes-Barre area. Or I could drive to New Jersey just to pick it up...

Are you getting the sense that I am flexible on this?
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Old 09-12-06, 03:06 PM   #7
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Someone should preserve these bikes, others will be used as lobster trap moorings.
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Old 09-12-06, 03:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
What is it with this bike?
I would have given my left pinkie for this bike when I was in 7th grade. And my right one, also, if I could have had a Continental.

Of course, I would not be caught dead on one today...
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Old 09-12-06, 03:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by repechage
Someone should preserve these bikes, others will be used as lobster trap moorings.
I wonder, is there any validity to these aspersions cast on the poor Varsinentals? Does anyone have empirical evidence of these bikes being used as anchors for small watercraft or lobster traps? Or better yet, crime scene photos?
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Old 09-12-06, 05:05 PM   #10
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I murder people with the frame from a Varsity I found abandoned. I'm hoping to be called "the electroforged killer".
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Old 09-12-06, 05:20 PM   #11
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Many of you have heard my Varsity story. For a few months in 1995, I commuted on an early 1970s Varsity. The size, 22", was perfect, as was the price (free). I installed aluminum rims, a 6-speed freewheel, SunTour downtube levers, and toeclips, and rode it up a 12 percent grade every workday morning, where I happily passed another commuter. However, after he replaced his beater mountain bike with a Specialized Epic and continued to build strength, I found I could no longer quite keep up with him. A coworker had given me a circa-1974 Peugeot UO-8, on which I installed aluminum rims and cranks. Four years after taking over for the Varsity, the Peugeot's right chainstay cracked; I'll bet the Varsity's frame would have held up.
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Old 09-13-06, 11:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by John E
... I'll bet the Varsity's frame would have held up.
Not necessarily, I have cracked two both at the seat stay top junction, one a Sting Ray and the other a Racer.

Was chasing a guy on a Raleigh International on the way to middle school both times, he was so mad that a guy on a "pedestrian" bike could stay on his wheel, little did he know I knew how to ride in a pace line.

Sold both to pay for various bike parts (after the frames were warranty replaced), one bike became a set of Campagnolo race wheels, the other a Phil Wood Bottom Bracket.
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Old 09-13-06, 04:00 PM   #13
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I ride my 73 yellow Continental daily. It is stock except for the no-brand alum. rims. I have $100 into it inculding the price, new rims, new tires and tubes. Fun to ride, very solid on the road. A new Schwinn Continental in 1973 ran around $125. Today a good road bike is in the 700 to $1000 range and up.
I paid $20 for my Continental from a second hand shop and $8 for a blue 1980 Traveler still rides with it's steel rims.
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Old 09-13-06, 04:23 PM   #14
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It's odd what people will value/not value at any given time.
Hopefully, if we have a bike that we can't sell or barter, perhaps we should give it away to someone
who will use it and use it out of necessity. I was waiting to get off the Metra commuter train yesterday;
next to me was a guy with a beater Schwinn connie. Checking out his ride, I realized he had no brake pads on the front or rear arches-yet, he was still using it to get around. Wanted to say:"hey-wait here! I'll run home and get some brake pads and install them so you don't have to do the
Fred Flintsone thing!" And in the rain, no less.
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Old 09-13-06, 04:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
I wonder, is there any validity to these aspersions cast on the poor Varsinentals? Does anyone have empirical evidence of these bikes being used as anchors for small watercraft or lobster traps? Or better yet, crime scene photos?
While there is lots of talk about how heavy this family of Schwinns are, the weight factor is not all in the frame. When I restored my '66 Collegiate this summer and stripped everything apart, I was amazed at the weight in the one piece crankset. The crankset, chainring, and the steel wheels, combined, weigh more than the frame (minus the fork).

I can't wait to tear apart my '71 Varsity this winter. Rescued it from the dump. First year for a Varsity in Kool Lemon. I plan to have a little fun with it.
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Old 09-13-06, 06:39 PM   #16
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Bob,

I've always valued Varsities and Continentals for what they are: perfectly respectable and practically indestructable entry level "lightweight" bikes that introduced a couple of generations of young adults to the pleasures and health benefits of cycling. As a youngster, I watched them being built at the Chicago factory, sparks flying everywhere.

In the late seventies, some of my co-workers who commuted by bike to work started making disparaging cracks about "Schwinn tanks" and "boat anchors", but the lug framed imports they were riding were just as heavy and were ripe for the scrap heap after two or three years, while the electro-forged Schwinns just kept going.

They've gotten a bad rep that they don't deserve.
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Old 09-13-06, 08:11 PM   #17
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I saw your post and was sorely tempted.. but going back to school for a second degree has left me with little money and less time for the next few years
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Old 09-13-06, 09:02 PM   #18
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Here in the flatlands of northern Ohio, you only notice the Schwinn's weight when you are lifting it onto the bike carrier. On the road, the electorforged frame is like riding in Grandpa's old Buick.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:07 PM   #19
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I've read this entire thread and find it incredible that Schwinn Varsity bikes in working or semi-working condition are being thrown out. Last week I picked up a beater Columbia Calais 10 speed at a yard sale. These bikes were low lever with turned down bars and chromed steel 26" wheels. At about 35lbs, they are about as heavy as a Varsity or Continental. I had picked up a ladies version of the Calais earlier for parts. So I combined the two and came up with one men's version that I posted on Craigslist for $25. I could have sold a half dozen at that price based on the e-mail response I recieved. I would rate the Columbia way below a Schwinn Varsity. My guess is a Varsity in good working condition would bring about $40, maybe more. I'll gladly pick-up any used Varsity bikes in my neighborhood, but I doubt that anyone is giving one away.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
So, I've posted a "For Trade" ad here offering a Schwinn Varsity (shameless promotion). No bites in two days. I'm thinking of moving it to the "Pay it Forward" thread elsewhere on the forums.

I thought I was doing a noble thing by saving it from a dumpster, but it seems this bike is an albatross in the cycling world. What happened to all the sentimental fools who had these as kids and want to rekindle lost innocence (or is that just it - it would take naivete to ride a Varsity again?)

What is it with this bike? I think what captivates people about it is the place it occupies in cycling history, but they would rather the bike itself be history.

One thing's for sure: I've been tinkering with it a bit, and the thing is rock solid. Also heavier than most rocks.
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Old 09-13-06, 09:19 PM   #21
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For Trade


Last edited by JunkYardBike; 09-13-06 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 09-13-06, 10:50 PM   #22
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I always wanted a Varsity or a Continental but back in '73 all I could afford was a World Traveler. If I ever come across a Varsity or Connie with a big enough frame (I'm 6-3), I will gladly pick it up. I viewed the lugged frames as ugly in comparison the the electro-forged Schwinns. Of course, there was nothing beautiful or artistic in the lugs of the World Traveler. The Chicago Schwinns were beautiful, swoopy, orgranic. I'd love to have one. Burgundy, please.
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Old 09-14-06, 03:29 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeOkie
And my '71 Kool Lemon!
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File Type: jpg 71 Varsity Mar 2006.JPG (59.0 KB, 93 views)
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Old 09-14-06, 04:54 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by reverborama
I always wanted a Varsity or a Continental but back in '73 all I could afford was a World Traveler.
In 1973 I rode an old midle weight with no badge, put together with pieces I could scavenge. It lasted me until I graduated high school in 1975. I too would have loved a Varsity or Continental, or World Traveler.

My first 10 speed was in 1979 or so, it was a Schwinn LeTour IV purchased in Oceanside CA.
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Old 09-14-06, 05:19 AM   #25
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After looking several times to the details of the Varsity in each picture I cannot see any difference between the Varsity and the Continental. Please can the experts explain me the difference between the Varsity and the Continental?
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