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Old 05-29-08, 07:28 PM   #1
screaminDOHC
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Craigslist find. What do you think? Schwinn Varsity, Raleigh Grand Prix *LOTS OF PIC

Found these on CL, for about 30 each. Not sure if I got a good deal or not. I will keep one, which one should it be? The Schwinn seems very nice, and complete. Chicago Schwinn, SN MR879717. Couldn't find a SN on the Raleigh.

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Old 05-29-08, 07:29 PM   #2
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Old 05-29-08, 07:30 PM   #3
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I'd say keep the one that fits, but I'll say it with heavy emphasis towards the GP.

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Old 05-29-08, 07:37 PM   #4
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Old 05-29-08, 07:40 PM   #5
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I'd keep the raleigh, it should be lighter than the varsity if yours is anything like mine.
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Old 05-29-08, 08:42 PM   #6
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I'd say keep the one that fits, but I'll say it with heavy emphasis towards the GP.

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Old 05-29-08, 08:53 PM   #7
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keep the raleigh!
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Old 05-29-08, 09:03 PM   #8
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If I got two bikes like that, there would be no question that I'd be keeping ... BOTH!

What year is that Varsity ... I don't recognize the top tube decal.
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Old 05-29-08, 10:04 PM   #9
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If I got two bikes like that, there would be no question that I'd be keeping ... BOTH!

What year is that Varsity ... I don't recognize the top tube decal.
It's an early 80's DeluxeVarsity. Ithas the freewheel in the bottom bracket instead of the rear hub. Why, I don't know, but I hear they are problematic.

I'd keep the Raleigh just because of the lugs. Kinda pretty.
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Old 05-29-08, 10:35 PM   #10
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It's an early 80's DeluxeVarsity. It has the freewheel in the bottom bracket instead of the rear hub. Why, I don't know, but I hear they are problematic.
I've had a couple; they're different, but not problematic -- at least not due to the Forward Freewheel System. The early Shimano Positron rear derailleurs were quirky, and not as precise as later indexed shifters. I swapped the Positron out for Suntour RDs on the ones I had, and they worked just fine.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:01 PM   #11
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I find that interesting to have the freewheel in the bottom bracket, obviously it didn't take off, since this is the first I've heard about one. The Varstity is a 1980, but the "M" as a first letter in the serial number is throwing me a curve, since the highest it should be is "L" for a month code.
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Old 05-30-08, 12:14 AM   #12
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Schwinn skips 'I' in the month code; M = December.

Yeah, the FFS was an ill-fated attempt to make derailleur bikes more palatable to the mechanically-disinclined; you could shift them without pedaling - as long as you were still rolling. However, they still didn't address the common problem of getting caught at a stop in high gear. It was a flawed answer to a question nobody really asked in the first place.
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Old 05-30-08, 03:37 AM   #13
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To answer the OP's original question, YES, both bikes are definately worth $30.00. The Gran Prix is a better bike than the Varsity, as you surely must have noticed already. You probably noticed the difference in weight just by lifting them up. The Gran Prix is probably half the weight of the Varsity.

You can easily double or triple your money by selling them to collectors. The Varsity is a fairly rare example of the end of the Schwinn Chicago Varsity. The gig was just about up for the Varsity when this model came out - a time when many of us were seeing Back to the Future for the first time on the big screen. Many collectors want to have a complete set from beginning to end. This bike is near the end - and the low end of the product lifecycle Bell curve which contributes to it's rarity.

The Gran Prix is going to be a nice ride. I rebuilt one and gave it to a friend. We did many tours with it and the Gran Prix is still one of my friend's prized possessions. It is not necessarily a very high end bike, but it is a very good bike. If I remember correctly, this Raleigh had the plastic/steel Simplex derailures which were troublesome. For practical use, I changed them to more reliable hardware, but to keep the bike original, you might want to keep the Simplex (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). You will probably find the plastic shift levers to be particularly troublesome - causing the bike to ghost shift.

Anyway, you scored nicely with this purchase. Enjoy.

Last edited by mike; 05-30-08 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 05-30-08, 05:32 AM   #14
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Can anyone tell me where the SN on the Raleigh would be? What year it's from? Any suitable RD replacements? What would be some good, period correct upgrades? Must you stay with center-pulls if thats what came on the rig?
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Old 05-30-08, 07:55 AM   #15
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I'd definitely go with the Raleigh. It's not high end, but a classic in it's own right all the same. Just be aware that the bottom bracket and headset are most likely proprietary Raleigh threading of 26 tpi rather than 24 tpi which is standard. That means you won't be able to find replacement parts easily; possibly not at all other than off another bike. Those parts take a long time to wear out, but you should certainly service them and get some fresh grease and balls in there.
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Old 05-30-08, 08:16 AM   #16
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The Schwinn serial number M (december), R (1980), is the frame build date.

The decal branding is from 1982 model year. The 1980 and 81 models still sported the triangle Schwinn branding.

For look see, check this link.

I have read it was common for frames to be inventoried and then assembled later and suspect this what occurred.

Clean up both, the Raleigh appears better equipped and lighter. I like the crank design
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Old 05-30-08, 11:48 AM   #17
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spend a little time riding them both.
I'm a raleigh man myself but since you have them, do an in depth comparison. then let us know what you think.
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Old 05-30-08, 11:56 AM   #18
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What would be good period correct upgrades for this? The simplex is junk from what I've heard. What color bar tape should I get...hmmmmm
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/156...-Cork-Tape.htm

.....A set of inexpensive alloys would be nice too. Wonder what my chances are of finding an old 27" set of alloys, used of course...

From what I've read the Weinman center pulls are adequate, and just to get a set of Kool Stops on there. Which ones though? http://www.koolstop.com/brakes/index.php

I'm not really an expert bike mechanic, so this will be a learning process. The Raleigh could be fun!
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Old 05-30-08, 12:35 PM   #19
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What would be good period correct upgrades for this? The simplex is junk from what I've heard. What color bar tape should I get...hmmmmm
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/156...-Cork-Tape.htm

.....A set of inexpensive alloys would be nice too. Wonder what my chances are of finding an old 27" set of alloys, used of course...

From what I've read the Weinman center pulls are adequate, and just to get a set of Kool Stops on there. Which ones though? http://www.koolstop.com/brakes/index.php

I'm not really an expert bike mechanic, so this will be a learning process. The Raleigh could be fun!
I'd vote for the black tape. I bet that's what it had originally, although it was probably cloth.

If you're near a major metro area, try running a WTB ad on Craigslist for a set of wheels. Lots of people upgrade to 700c, and lots of others these days change wheelsets for conversion projects. It shouldn't be too hard to find some. Just make sure the hubs aren't shot.

Decent low-mid range derailleur sets go for cheap on Ebay. Or include these in the CL ad. All those fixie fiends have changers laying around.

It's been a while since I had any Weinman brakes, but someone else will be along with an answer. I agree they're serviceable brakes, though.
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