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Old 05-08-07, 08:29 PM   #1
Kyle in Maine
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My New (to me) Schwinn Varsity

Hey guys, I'm new here. Hoping you all will be able to guide me a little...

This evening I became the proud owner of a 1978 Schwinn Varsity. I know a lot of folks dog on it (my roommate just rolled his eyes when I came home with it) and I can understand why; it weighs a ton! I knew that going into it though. But I wanted to own a piece of classic American steel (although I am beginning to question whether is was even built in the U.S. Any input?).

My plans are to upgrade gradually and where possible, starting with getting rid of the steel wheels. Can I go to 700c? I've also considered (briefly) 650 b. Should I stick with 27"? Does anyone know where to get a good set of wheels that are made for 5 spd clusters? I think the rear spacing is 120mm and it seems like the only wheels out there with that spacing are fixed gear wheels. I have a fixed gear already and with the weight of the Varsity I really think I want to stick with a geared set up.

After the wheels, I was looking to convert to a 3 piece crank and swap out the rear derailleur if not the front also. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it though.

Oh yeah, I will be replacing the brake pads first and foremost, Kool Stops? Which ones?

Any help is greatly appreciated and I will try and post pics of the bike as soon as I can get my hands on a digital cam.

Peace, Kyle
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Old 05-08-07, 08:33 PM   #2
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Kyle,

It was made in Chicago.

For wheels, I'd hit the goodwill or Salvation army untill someone turns in an old bike with alloy Araya's or something similar, cheapest way to a decent wheelset. 27's don't require any major changes, and there are still plenty of good tires around.

Have fun.
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Old 05-08-07, 08:55 PM   #3
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You might enjoy:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/varsity.html

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/varsity-shaddox.html

http://www.cyclofiend.com/cc/2007/cc...addox0107.html

TCS
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Old 05-08-07, 09:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by redneckwes
Kyle,

It was made in Chicago.

For wheels, I'd hit the goodwill or Salvation army untill someone turns in an old bike with alloy Araya's or something similar, cheapest way to a decent wheelset. 27's don't require any major changes, and there are still plenty of good tires around.

Have fun.
YES YES BUT NO NO NO DON'T try 700's it requires modification.I did that years ago,we didn't KNOW better and were scavenging off a bike that wasn't good anymore.I had to rig an adapter-plate,it worked but I feel that performance of the brake will be compromized.The difference in hole location for the caliper is about 1/8",doesn't seem like much,it is,it's enough to end-up with a useless-oval hole.Don't even bother getting used, wheels,I know of 2 places that have 27" wheels,Weinmans,NEW for less than $35 each,including freight.LBSs can order them as well.they may charge 35 or 40,it will be similar to buying them on-line,freight included.Those old varsity's can be brought to below 30lbs.from it being 36-37 now.
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Old 05-08-07, 09:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by old and new
YES YES BUT NO NO NO DON'T try 700's it requires modification.I did that years ago,we didn't KNOW better and were scavenging off a bike that wasn't good anymore.I had to rig an adapter-plate,it worked but I feel that performance of the brake will be compromized.The difference in hole location for the caliper is about 1/8",doesn't seem like much,it is,it's enough to end-up with a useless-oval hole.Don't even bother getting used, wheels,I know of 2 places that have 27" wheels,Weinmans,NEW for less than $35 each,including freight.LBSs can order them as well.they may charge 35 or 40,it will be similar to buying them on-line,freight included.Those old varsity's can be brought to below 30lbs.from it being 36-37 now.
I don't know, I've had pretty good luck with used wheels, and Allways 27X1-1/4 for me, My last set, Araya's w Sanshin hubs came from the S/A on a $14 world sport. the freewheel is even useable.
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Old 05-08-07, 11:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by redneckwes
I don't know, I've had pretty good luck with used wheels, and Allways 27X1-1/4 for me, My last set, Araya's w Sanshin hubs came from the S/A on a $14 world sport. the freewheel is even useable.
OK..if you can find good ones.I was emphisizing the NO-GO on the 700s,new $23-28 ones are better than the wrong wheels in the long-run.For the few bucks different,new seems sensible.
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Old 05-09-07, 06:59 AM   #7
Kyle in Maine
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TCS - Thanks for the links, I'd seen some of Sheldon Brown's stuff, but the pics of the Varsity are great, is it yours?

I think I am going to stick with 27", for now at least. After I posted I found some cheap Weinmann's on bikepartsusa.com (has anyone ordered from them? Website is pretty ghetto.) but has kind of put off by the Wheel Master hubs. Maybe that is just my inner bike snob coming out.

I think I will keep my eye on the thrift stores, and yard sales season is fast approaching. Plus, I may even have some at my folks house. They love it when ever I take some of my "old junk" (their words, not mine) from the garage; a few more years and they may be able to fit a car in there.

I'll keep you posted.

Peace, Kyle
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Old 05-09-07, 07:33 AM   #8
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>Araya's w Sanshin hubs came from the S/A on a $14 world sport. the freewheel is even useable.

I've been very pleased with the sets of Sansin hubs that I used.
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