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Old 01-29-07, 10:38 PM   #1
reverborama
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My finished Varsity project

Tonight I took my first ride on my completed Varsity. On the training stand. It's 6 degrees F. outside. As you may recall, the object was to build a light and nimble version of the most indestructable electro-forged steel to come out of Chicago.

Many of the parts are cast-offs from a coworker who races.
Crank: Shimano 600 (made possible with an American to Euro bottom bracket adaptor)
RD: Dura-Ace
Shifters:SIS bar-end
FD: Schwinn Approved (Have a 600 and I'm looking for a cable routing clamp)
Stem: Alloy from a World Traveller
Bars: Nitto B-105 45cm
Levers: Schwinn Approved Dia Compe w/ Suicide levers
Headset: Stock Varsity
Wheels: DA22 (700c)
Seatpost: Stock Steel (I'd LOVE to change this, but haven't found an alloy one yet)
Brakes: Dia Compe (Had some Dura-Ace but the reach was wrong!)
Hub: 8/9 Shimano freehub
Cassette: Shimano 7 speed
Pedals: Performance Bike Campus (SPD on one side, regular pedal on the other).
Seat: Specialized

I don't have a good scale to weigh this all on so I had to use a bathroom scale and take the difference between me and me holding the bike. That came out to 30.1 lbs. which I suspect is in the ballpark (I was hoping for 28, and wishing for 26). The weight represents no cheating whatsoever -- the largest Varsity frame, bar tape, pedals, etc. Ready to ride. I'll find a more accurate scale when I can and we'll see what it really weighs. I purposely left the frame scratched and some of the parts rusty. You don't want to attract too much attention to a bike like this !

I'll look for an alloy seatpost and I will probably replace the headset. The seat will probably go too.

Bob

http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity00.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity01.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity02.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity03.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity04.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity06.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity07.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity08.JPG
http://www.salt2salt.com/waitzpix/al.../Varsity09.JPG
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Old 01-29-07, 10:56 PM   #2
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That thing looks sweet! And that paint actually looks modern...

Anxious to hear how it performs when you get a chance to test it out. You could probably shave an ounce or two by removing the dork disk! Or is that part of the stealth effect?

Nice work!

Last edited by JunkYardBike; 01-29-07 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 01-29-07, 11:08 PM   #3
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I think it would have been easier to put a Varsity decal on a Paramount. Yer a sick man! (humor implied)
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Old 01-29-07, 11:20 PM   #4
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Wow! Nice job. I'm also curious to hear how it feels when the weather warms up for you. Lean it into some sharp corners and see what it'll do
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Old 01-29-07, 11:33 PM   #5
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Nice work. I love the color, is that original paint? I'm curious as to why you left the suicide levers on?
Best looking Varsity I've seen.

That baby will be one smooth riding bike. Wait until Pastor Bob sees it, he's gonna jump up and down with glee.
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Old 01-29-07, 11:37 PM   #6
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re: FD cable routing:

Here's what I did on my old Schwinn Traveler when installed a more modern Shimano 105 FD on it: The housing you now have running all the way up to the FD housing stop, route it instead under the BB and then let it end about 1/3 the way up to the FD's cable attachment. With your cable routing it may look a little odd, but it should work. I'll see if I can find a photo of my arrangement.
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Old 01-29-07, 11:49 PM   #7
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That bike is destined to be the fastest Varsity ever. Very nice job!
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Old 01-30-07, 06:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
Anxious to hear how it performs when you get a chance to test it out. You could probably shave an ounce or two by removing the dork disk! Or is that part of the stealth effect?
The dork disk was a problem. I really wanted a large, garish, metal one but couldn't figure out how to get one mounted on there with the modern freehub. You'd need to cut out the middle of it then somehow wire it to the spokes and I just decided that was too much trouble but it is one of the visual keys to a Varsity.

I can't wait to get it out on the street for a good ride but that might not be for a couple of months! This is a great time to work on a bike but a frustrating time to finish one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otis
I think it would have been easier to put a Varsity decal on a Paramount. Yer a sick man! (humor implied)
Oh, yeah. In 'The Complete Guide To Upgrading Your Bicycle,' Berto states, "Most bicycle writers have written that they would rather pedal a Varsity with Paramount wheels than a Paramount with Varsity wheels." I'll sure be testing THAT theory. If this rides like a pig I'll be the first to admit it and start looking for that Volare to transfer the parts to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
I love the color, is that original paint? I'm curious as to why you left the suicide levers on?
The paint is orginal. The decals are pretty beat and there are plenty of scratches in the paint that don't show up in the pictures, I'm afraid. It sort of goes with the stealth idea of the bike, which is why I stayed with the suicide levers. I don't want to draw too much attention to the bike until I'm on the ride and people are pissed because they can't drop the old guy on the Varsity.

Last edited by reverborama; 01-30-07 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 01-30-07, 07:33 AM   #9
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One thing you might do is dip that front derailler in some Oxalic Acid for a few hours - It should clean that rust acne right up!
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Old 01-30-07, 08:22 AM   #10
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Cool, man. Makes me want to do that to my Continental!
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Old 01-30-07, 09:13 AM   #11
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Man that thing looks sharp, and 30 pounds is pretty light! MY SS won't be that light when done, I bet. Nice job!,,,,BD

I'd love to do that to one of my Continentals, if I could afford the wheelset. I'd be sunk before I started.
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Old 01-30-07, 09:39 AM   #12
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Although I appreciate period-correct restorations and have one going right now, I would far rather ride your upgraded Varsity than a stock one. Your Varsity reminds me of my red Peugeot UO-8, which also has aluminum cranks and rims, Japanese derailleurs, and barcons. (I still have a 3-pound advantage on you, but 30 pounds with low rotating weight is a big improvement over 39.)

Nit-pick: I routed my shift cables under a few more turns of handlebar tape than you did, which keeps them from flopping around so much.
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Old 01-30-07, 10:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikedued
I'd love to do that to one of my Continentals, if I could afford the wheelset. I'd be sunk before I started.
At $110, the wheelset was the most expensive piece of the puzzle. I picked this one up from Bike Island:
http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ils&ProdID=480 and it does come with tubes and tires. Hmm... the total project wasn't too bad, cost-wise. I only paid $11 for the frame and $20 for a donor Varsity. I also had to buy bars, a 7-speed cassette, cables, a chain, pedals, and the BB adaptor. I was hoping to do it for under $200 but I think I spent about $280.
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Old 01-30-07, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Nit-pick: I routed my shift cables under a few more turns of handlebar tape than you did, which keeps them from flopping around so much.
You know, you always find out the best way to do stuff AFTER you do it the first time. I've never had bar-end shifters on anything before and after I get them on there with the tape on and everything some guy on the mechanic's forum posts about running them all up under the tape. It looked great and I've been kicking myself for not doing that! Luckily I am notoriously bad at taping bars so I should be ready to do that again by June!
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Old 01-30-07, 10:13 AM   #15
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Wow, one to be proud of, rev!
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Old 01-30-07, 10:13 AM   #16
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Bob, I am truly envious. What a fantastic job you've done. It clearly shows that a sub-thirty pound Varsity is not only possible, but practical and affordable.

Hats off to you!
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Old 01-30-07, 10:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Scooper
Bob, I am truly envious. What a fantastic job you've done. It clearly shows that a sub-thirty pound Varsity is not only possible, but practical and affordable.

Hats off to you!
First person to post a Carbon Record equpped varsity running tubulars and a Ti cassette with carbon bars, seatpost (if even possible), and carbon saddle wins... well something!
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Old 02-17-07, 12:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverborama
Tonight I took my first ride on my completed Varsity. On the training stand. It's 6 degrees F. outside. As you may recall, the object was to build a light and nimble version of the most indestructable electro-forged steel to come out of Chicago.
I'm glad you're in Minnesota, otherwise we'd have to have a face off. I did about the same thing last March to an electro-forged Suburban. I have since put about 2500 miles on it commuting to downtown Chicago. A few comments on your build, if I may.

If you want to replace the brakes, the Tektro R556's fit the bill for me. They are extra long reach dual-pivots. The front pads are about in the middle of the caliper slots, the rears are adjusted almost to the end of the reach. They have the recessed-nut mounting configuration, so a bit of drilling is necessary. On the other hand, I feel much better blasting through traffic with real stopping power when I need it.

My wheelset looks similar to yours. I bought it from Bikes Direct (must have been pre-Bike Island). I started popping drive side spokes at about 500 miles. After the fourth pop, I replaced all of the drive side spokes and retensioned and trued the wheel No problems since. Front wheel has been trouble-free.

I have the Nitto Randonneur handlebars and an e-bay find alloy stem. Very comfortable.

My Suburban ended up at about 31 lbs with rack, fenders, and pedals. Right now for the winter I have it rigged with cyclocross tires. I'm not loving them. With 28mm slicks, however, its a great ride.
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Old 02-17-07, 12:50 PM   #19
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What size seatpost do you need?
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Old 02-17-07, 03:18 PM   #20
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What size seatpost do you need?
EF Schwinns have a very small unique sized seatpost that very few other manufacturers used (I found a couple of low end Sears bikes at the dump this summer that used this size). It's something like 13/16", and the seat end tapers down to about 1/2" for the rail clamp. I've never seen a better alloy EF Schwinn seatpost although some are lighter guage than others.
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Wait until Pastor Bob sees it, he's gonna jump up and down with glee.
I don't know how I missed this. By all means, this is one sweet modern Varsity. It gives me som ideas for my '71 in Kool Lemon.
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Old 02-17-07, 03:47 PM   #21
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I'm still waiting for nicer weather for a real test ride. If the brakes don't work well even with KoolStop Continentals I may give the Tektros a go. You are the second person to comment on the possibility of popping spokes on the wheels so I'll be ready for that! I have to admit I picked the wheels based on price so perhaps I'll find that was poor economy.

Yes the seat tube is 13/16ths which then necks down to 1/2. Since nothing modern uses this at all, I've pretty much given up actively looking for a replacement. I had the idea of finding plain 13/16ths aluminum tubing and getting a friend who welds to graft on the end from a modern seatpost but 13/16ths isn't a stock aluminum tubing size as far as I can tell. Guess I will just have to lose a pound off my gut to make up the difference!
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Old 02-17-07, 04:13 PM   #22
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I made this seat post for my '66 Collegiate out of a length of galvanized gas pipe. Why? Well every double rail seat clamp I had for a Schwinn post wouldn't hold the Brooks B-72 tight enough. I took the saddle and the Brooks clamp to ACE and we found this slightly oversized pipe. A few hours later on the belt sander and I had the standard Brooks clamp fitting perfectly and a custom made Schwinn post. It's not bad looking, but it's not very light.

I'm working on a Schwinn-BMX hybrid post for my '62 Continental. It needs to go to the welder. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 02-17-07, 06:47 PM   #23
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Beautiful job, revorborama, building that bike. You realize, of course, yardsale and thriftshop varsities will be selling at all time high levels this spring because of this.
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Old 02-17-07, 06:56 PM   #24
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On a different, hijacking sort of note, this is my '76 Conti that started out as my wet weather 'rat' bike.

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Old 02-17-07, 07:13 PM   #25
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On a different, hijacking sort of note, this is my '76 Conti that started out as my wet weather 'rat' bike.
What's with the seattube band decal? Spare decal project? Looks very nice - gives it the extra touch that Schwinn unfortunately took off the Continentals after 1970 (although my Dec '70 Continental, technically a '71, has one, original to it).

P.S.: Nicest looking Conti tourist I've ever seen. Beeeautiful job.

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