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Old 06-30-07, 10:10 AM   #1
brew
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new toy to play with

ok, i dont know much about the bike yet, but i picked up an old schwinn varsity today for $5 at a garage sale. i know its pretty old and it needs a bit of an overhaul but the frame looks solid. ive done some searching trying to find info on these bikes so i can properly identify it but have found very little useful info.
could someone point im in the right direction, this is my first adventure into a vintage bike, but it looks like its going to be a blast.
thanks
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Old 06-30-07, 12:10 PM   #2
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Yes! Yes! Yes! Another convert !

Seriously, that's great. When can we expect to see photos? The first thing we need to know is what numbers the headbadge has on it.

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Old 06-30-07, 12:14 PM   #3
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Congrats on the tank purchase.
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Old 06-30-07, 12:15 PM   #4
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The Varsity is a great introduction to classic bicycles, because it is so incredibly easy to work on with ordinary hand tools. To determine your model year, either post your serial number or Google for a Schwinn serial number chart. Circa mid-1967 Schwinn changed from downtube-mounted to TwinStik shift levers.

The ultimate collectible Varsity is a 1960 8-speed with the Simplex direct lever suicide front shifter and the original bandspring Simplex rear derailleur with the upside-down cage. The components are total cr@p, but they are popular with collectors, because most owners went for the Huret Allvit upgrade at the frist sign of transmission troubles.
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Old 06-30-07, 12:35 PM   #5
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Huret Allvit upgrade
File that under oxymoron? Just kidding, of course.

Huret Allvit would have been an upgrade!
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Old 06-30-07, 03:28 PM   #6
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Find your serial number and then you can get details on the model once you know the year ...

http://www.geocities.com/sldatabook/serial.html
http://www.geocities.com/sldatabook/models.html
http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1980_1990/index.html

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Old 06-30-07, 07:30 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Varsity club. No matter what anyone says I think the Varsity was the coolest bike I ever saw back in the day. I always wanted one and now I'm like you I have one to bring back to its former glory. I'm cleaning mine up and going to ride it some this summer but this winter it gets torn down to the bare metal and will have a new paint job and update bottom bracket next spring.
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Old 07-01-07, 09:52 PM   #8
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First of all, i want to thank everyone for the helpful advise and kind welcome to the vintage forum.
Second of all, thanks Bob for those sites, i learned alot about the bike. It was manufactured in December of 1973 and is Sunset Orange, and according to what i have read, i believe this bike is all original.
East Hill, the wait is over, here are some pictures of her. And thank you very much for all of the positive comments you have left on this and other threads ive posted, you always have words of encouragement.
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Old 07-01-07, 09:55 PM   #9
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These are not the best pictures, but it was what i could do with the time i had. If there are any other things you want pictures of on this bike let me know, and i will be taking pictures when i start tearing it down, so look for a new post or an extension of this one with my progress.
P.S. excuse the mess in my "dining room", i am currently remodeling my house, along with my many other projects.

Last edited by brew; 07-01-07 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 07-01-07, 11:58 PM   #10
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that looks in real nice shape to start with. No special tools needed. 2 wrenches 2 screwdrivers. Oh 1 special tool a chain breaker if you want to take the chain off.
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Old 07-02-07, 10:15 AM   #11
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Brew! . . Buddy!

I hate to tell you this...


That is one WORTHLESS first vintage bike to restore!


Why do I say that?!?


BECAUSE!

It doesn't look like it needs more than a shot of Tri-Flow and it's GOOD TO GO!!
What are ya gonna "work" on???

Haha! Just ribbin' ya!

BEAUTIFUL FIND!! If a Varsity was going to follow me home, I'd hope it looks like THAT one!
Even the chainring guard is perfect!
A little Mother's on the paint (careful around decals) and that puppy'll be "showroom"!

Then there's nothing left to do except RIDE IT!
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Old 07-02-07, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
East Hill, the wait is over, here are some pictures of her. And thank you very much for all of the positive comments you have left on this and other threads ive posted, you always have words of encouragement.
I like people to come back! Thank you for the kind words, and for the photos.

Dr. D and tolfan are right, there doesn't look to be much wrong with that bike that a bit of rust removal won't fix. Are those steel rims? You might want to replace the wheels down the road, as steel rims are not very good for quick stops in rainy conditions . Right now, though, you should not have any problems, just get out and enjoy the bike .

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Old 07-02-07, 11:25 AM   #13
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The rims are steel, they have a fair amount of rust on them and atleast the front rim has some bad rust and burrs inside where the bead seats and just below that where it could contact the tube. So i was thinking of replacing them soon already, my question is though, would i be wasting my time using the existing hubs? They spin free and easy, and that is before i have even cleaned and relubed them. The cogs show little to no wear as well so i think those can be reused. I would like to keep the bike looking original (and keep the cost on this down). Any suggestions on what rims i should be using? The rims are 27" by the way, witch seems to be a bit more difficult finding parts for.
As for cleaning up the bike up, i was thinking of clay barring the bike. It is a technique used in cleaning paint jobs on cars, it pulls oxidation out of the paint and it works awesome. As for the chrome and steel parts, i have been using Wenol, it seems to be working but very slowly. Any suggestions on what i should be using to clean the chrome/steel up?
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Old 07-02-07, 11:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
Brew! . . Buddy!

I hate to tell you this...


That is one WORTHLESS first vintage bike to restore!


Why do I say that?!?


BECAUSE!

It doesn't look like it needs more than a shot of Tri-Flow and it's GOOD TO GO!!
What are ya gonna "work" on???

Haha! Just ribbin' ya!

BEAUTIFUL FIND!! If a Varsity was going to follow me home, I'd hope it looks like THAT one!
Even the chainring guard is perfect!
A little Mother's on the paint (careful around decals) and that puppy'll be "showroom"!

Then there's nothing left to do except RIDE IT!
HAHAHAHA, yeah i know. It does need all new cables although, so im about to get a crash course in setting up cables and tuning derailleurs. By the way, when repacking bearings, can i use the same grease i used when i did the wheel bearings in my truck? Or would that be to thick? If i can use it, do i pack it the same way, or do i not pack it as much. Can you tell im new at this.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:42 AM   #15
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ok, i started tear down of the schwinn today, and of course with a 34 year old bike everything is seized up. Im sure with some grunting and groaning i can get the nut for the cranks off, but the stem is what is giving me problems now. i cannot get the handlebars to separate from the fork to save my life. Any suggestions of what i can do w/o damaging anything? I know I know, im a total newbie to wrenching on this stuff. The last time i worked on a bike was about 10 years ago, and it was always fairly new stuff that never gave me much problems.
thanks
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Old 07-03-07, 09:52 AM   #16
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The large nut on the crank is reverse thread.

For the neck, loosen the bolt on top, then tap it down, then stand in front of the bike, clamp the wheel with your knees and twist the handle bars free.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:38 PM   #17
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bikepartsusa has a few 27", 36 hole rims. I bought one of the cheap steel ones for one of my old Schwinns, and you'd be hard pressed to tell it from original, except it holds the tire much better. They also have nice alloy ones.
The people who have trouble stopping with wet steel rims must ride a lot faster and/or wetter than I do, not that big of a difference in my experience. Using decent pads, of course.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:24 PM   #18
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Brew,
Sheldon Brown has 27" wheels for as low as$99.95/pair.

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/wheels/630.html

WE277 5-/6-speed 27 inch Road Wheelsets $99.95/pair!
Excellent for upgrading older 10-/12-speeds!
Sovos cup-and-cone quick release hub sets, laced into 630 mm (27 inch) Weinmann 215 rims, with 36 stainless steel spokes.
One of these wheelsets will breathe new life into a '70s or '80s sport-touring bike. The rear hub is threaded for a standard freewheel, spaced for 126 mm, compatible with 5-, 6-, or 7-speed freewheels. Older 10-speed frames with 120 mm spacing will need to be spread slightly, but this is not a problem with most frames. Shipping within the U.S. $18.00 east/$20.00 west.


As nice as everthing else looks, wheels would be a great upgrade if you do indeed plan to ride it.
From there, tires, cables, grease, brake pads, a good cleaning, ride and ride some more.
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Old 07-03-07, 10:27 PM   #19
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thanks, i think im going to be ordering some wheels here soon, that looks like a decent deal. then maybe i will set up my stock wheels as backups because i intend on riding this bike, alot. as of right now though, the bike is in pieces getting the bearings all repacked and new cables all the way around. other than that, ive already got new brake pads on it and i have a new chain for it, because the old one is all rusty, and i decided not to try to repair it. so, the last thing to figure out is how to get the pedals off, they seem to be very stuck and i would like to pull the bearings in the bottom bracket to see what kind of shape they are in and get some fresh grease in them. so any suggestions on how to free up these pedals would be appreciated.
P.S. when packing these bearings with grease, would i do it the same way as with a cars wheel bearings? I ask this because when i pulled the bearings out, they seemed to be very dry. the bearings dont however show any play.
Brew
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Old 07-04-07, 08:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
P.S. when packing these bearings with grease, would i do it the same way as with a cars wheel bearings? I ask this because when i pulled the bearings out, they seemed to be very dry. the bearings dont however show any play.
Brew
What kind of grease? I think the stuff I use is what came with the Park Tool kit. I don't think the car wheel bearing grease would be bad for it.

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Old 07-04-07, 08:35 AM   #21
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bikepartsusa has cheapers wheels than sheldon does, and they're fine from what I've heard around here.
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Old 07-04-07, 08:53 AM   #22
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Varsity is a nice frame to play with, you can personalize them in infinite ways from a run-forever well-loved beater bike thru finely-restored bike suitable for riding/showing at old car gatherings, to whatever your imagination can conjur.

I comfortized one with upright bars and stem from a Breeze, Schwinn matress saddle, chrome fenders from a different scrapped out Varsity, Truvative BB adapter with Ultegra double crankset and front and rear derails and aluminum wheels from a scrapped out Schwinn Giant-built Traveler. It still looks like a Schwinn and gets the nods of approval from my peers down on the bike paths (peers being b/boomers who grew up on oval-headbadge Schwinns) but rides much easier for my old bones.

Classy bikes old Schwinns, you'll enjoy.
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Old 07-04-07, 09:25 AM   #23
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Brew-

I've worked on many of these bikes, so my $.02:

Personally, I think that those Normandy high-flange hubs are among the most beautiful manufactured things that a normal person can get his hands on. If you must re-do the wheels, and you want to go full bore, reuse the hubs if they are not damaged. Aesthetically, I further recommend stainless steel spokes and the original rims if they're not too far gone. Salmon Kool Stop brake pads will help make up the difference for sticking with steel rims.

If you disassemble the wheels, the rims and hubs are very easy to clean up. I use Mother's billet polish for aluminum (the hubs, in this case, but also for the brake levers, etc.) -- amazing results.

Can anyone recommend a treatment (i.e., wax or clearcoat) to keep the shine on polished aluminum?

Surface rust will come off of the chrome with #0000 steel wool, or brass wool, if you can find it, without scratching the chrome. Inside the rims, I use sandpaper to clean up bad rust, burrs, etc. A treatment of 3-in-1 oil will convert red rust to black rust, and help prevent further rusting. This is fine for inside the rims and also for the "public" side, if there's not too much chrome gone. If you have a lot of rust inside the rims, you can use oxalic acid (search for one of many threads on the subject in this forum) or Naval Jelly.

I have found that any general-purpose grease works fine. I don't know the wisdom of this. Other people may have other ideas.

Be sure to check the front axle to make sure it's not bent. These were fairly small guage, and I've seen a lot of bent ones. (Though if the wheel spins well, it's probably fine.)

New bearings are usually good, but the old ones are fine if they're still shiny after you've cleaned them up. Make sure the races in the cone nuts aren't too pitted. If they are, you may need to replace them.

More opinions later.

Eric
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Old 07-04-07, 09:26 AM   #24
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Oh, yeah. I don't know about your clay treatment, but if you want to go another route, turtle wax polishing compound is good stuff.
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Old 07-04-07, 10:22 AM   #25
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$5?

Very nice! Yes, it it heavy, but it is also very solid and a piece of cycling history!

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

With just a few changes such as new cables and brake pads, you have something that introduced a lot of us to derailleur bikes. I had one in the early seventies, not my first derailleur lightweight, but my first ride on one was on a Varsity back in the late 60's.
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