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Old 08-22-08, 01:29 AM   #1
OhNoItsCritical
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Yellow 1973 Schwinn Varsity worth $200?

Just curious, because I have one being delivered to me Sunday, and I'll be paying $200 for it. The seller claims it's in excellent condition and needs no maintenance and whatnot. I've done a little research so far, and read that it weighs something like 42 lbs?

Anywho, This will be my first ever road bike. It's a 51 cm frame, and I have an inseam of 31 inches (I'm about 5'7"). I don't have a lot of money to spend ($200 was actually my limit) and was thinking about buying that one brand from BikesDirect (D-something lightning? *Shrugs* I forget) but decided that this would probably be a better buy when I saw it. The seller also claims there has only been 50 miles on it, because when he bought it the mile thingy (Sorry for my lack of terminology, I'm a newbie!) said it only had 50. I've done my height research, and this is a rare occasion that I've found a bike under 56cm on Craigslist, so I decided to impulsively call and buy it.

So what do you guys think? Good buy? Good bike for a beginner? Fill me in with anything that I might need to know, please.

Thanks!
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Old 08-22-08, 01:48 AM   #2
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I love Varsities. Heavy bikes, which means they're hard to start, but once you're going its easy to keep going. Very comfortable. New riders find the learning curve for friction sifters and lack of upright position, difficult to get over.

most likely it will require maintenance regardless. Its probably $170 overpriced, but if it has been completely overhauled (new tires, chain, brake pads, cables, regreased, trued, re-adjusted and cleaned) The price is very good. I think you made a good choice regardless.

If it has only been riden 50 miles, and thats his sole reason for stating that it doesn't need maintenance, a bike that has been sitting for 35 years will need some maintenance. at the very least you might want to get new brake pads specially designed for steel rims.

Other than that. This bike will last you for ever. I still have mine, its used heavily and it doesn't show any signs of wearing out. I am begining to think that frame will outlast me.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:00 AM   #3
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If you wind up loving it, then you didn't overpay. Everyone around here with a Schwinn seems to really like them; I know I do.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:01 AM   #4
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I think that's way too much honestly. It's just SO incredibly heavy. It's comfortable and solid, and won't EVER brake though. If a yellow varsity in your size is what you want, pay $200. They usually cost $free-50 for most people. I paid $19.99 for my dad's bike.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:13 AM   #5
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@EatMyA** I think the person that he bought it from used it, not really sure. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about, then again it's not hard to sound experienced to a beginner.

@mazdaspeed It's not so much as to what I want, it's more so what I can get with minimal price. This just happens to be around.

How much does an average road bike weigh, just for comparison?

EDIT: Would this bike be upgradeable? For example, if I ever wanted to switch to a lighter frame, would that be possible? Or would I just be better off buying a new bike if I wanted something lighter?

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Old 08-22-08, 02:30 AM   #6
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Yikes! Unless it's in showroom condition, you're being taken big time. $50.00 would be generous for one in good working condition.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:23 AM   #7
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It needs to be perfect, nearly mint, looking as if it came from the LBS in the last week or so for that price. The cables and brake pads should be new. The wheels true. No rust. And all the bearings recently cleaned and regressed. The paint should have a beautiful polish. Kool Lemon can really shine, even when it is 35 years old.

I won't tell you how much I paid for this '73 Varsity at the stump dump.



But with a great deal of time, effort, and a few parts ($200 worth of labor, at least), it looked like this.



This Varsity still had a great deal of chips and dings in the paint. But as you can see, the old Schwinn paint really came back to life. Best of luck on your decision.
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Old 08-22-08, 06:49 AM   #8
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The average small framed road bike weighs between 18 and 23 lbs. It is difficult to find a heavier road bike than the Varsity. The charm of these bikes was their price and durability. It is not upgradeable, except maybe the wheels. The odometer on bikes is not a reliable indication of anything. They could be reset or replaced. Unless this bike is in showroom condition, you are getting ripped off. You can find a pretty decent bike that weighs a lot less for $200. Patience is the key. At this time of year, college students are going to be trying to buy every cheap bike out there, and there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of that.
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Old 08-22-08, 07:26 AM   #9
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edited: read what the others have said very carefully.

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Old 08-22-08, 08:22 AM   #10
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What the bike is worth depends a lot on where you are. In many parts of the country $200 might be 3 or 4 times too much, but here in the Portland area that's about the going rate for a nice clean Varsity.
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Old 08-22-08, 08:41 AM   #11
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Appeared today on Boston's Craig's List
Quote:
WANTED VINTAGE SCHWINN ROAD BIKES - $80140 (Boston North)
Reply to: sale-807616768@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-08-22, 8:21AM EDT


looking to buy Varsity, Continental, Sprint, LeTour, Collegiate, and Madison.

I pay cash for these bikes or frames these models only

$80.00 to $140.00

No need to be perfect, or complete - No bent cracked or welded frames!

E mail me with your name and phone #

Thanks, Brian M

Prices for Varsitys are all over the place here in Boston. It took me two weeks
to sell one for $45 (lesson, raise price people will respond faster). I have seen
them listed for $250 here. More usual to see them for $80-$150. I don't know
what the person quoted above is planning to do with all these Schwinns. Maybe
rent them to beach goers?

One thing not mentioned above is I don't see many yellow Varsitys. Pastor
Bob's is the only one I recall. I've seen lots of yellow LeTours.
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Old 08-22-08, 08:51 AM   #12
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It really does weigh 42 lbs. You should be able to get one for free if you look around enough.
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Old 08-22-08, 11:30 AM   #13
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Not that you need any more rain on your parade, but as an example I just picked up an extremely nice '71 Varsity yesterday from a local thrift store for $34.95 which may be a bit high price-wise, but it is in very good condition. Every part is original down to the tires and brake pads and has seen very limited miles, plus it has the Schwinn generator and head/tail lights. As a rule, I always price-check before making a purchase. In any case, enjoy the new ride and post some pics.
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Old 08-22-08, 12:31 PM   #14
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Hmm, Well technically I haven't bought it yet. I can always call it off, though I'm pretty excited to get it. Sadly, I'm not a very patient person. Here is the ad.

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/806596194.html

and a week or so before that was posted, I saw this:

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/794765740.html

I think I'm still going to buy it, depending on it's condition.. Though I know it'll end up being scratched and bruised a good bit due to the fact that I'm going to have to chain/u-lock it to random telephone poles in the city.
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Old 08-22-08, 01:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhNoItsCritical View Post
Just curious, because I have one being delivered to me Sunday, and I'll be paying $200 for it. The seller claims it's in excellent condition and needs no maintenance and whatnot. I've done a little research so far, and read that it weighs something like 42 lbs?
From your links this is not in excellent condition, it if was the handle bar tape would not be shewed on the right side.

I suspect the tires maybe original, and if so, they will be hard, prone to cracking and not safe to ride upon, even if the tubes will hold air.

I love the Cool Lemon, and my first bike was a '72 Varsity in 26" frame, then move onto a 26" Continental in '74, same color, loved it till it was stolen from my home one stormy night.

For $200 that Varsity must be perfect, not need to replace tires/tubes, the bar tape should be tight and pristine, and the bike should shine as the sun at high noon, able to comb your hair from the reflection on the steel rims.

Reviewing your Craigs List there are numerous bikes for much less than that, and adding new tires/tubes and some elbow grease you would not have that amount in those bikes as the Varsity.

I love my Schwinns, but to be truthful, the Varsity is not a road bike, it is a solid bike with road type drop bars and 10 speeds, it is heavy in comparison of other like models, yet it is indestructible (frame), it will ride straight and true if wheels are good.

I know the challenge to find the correct frame size, and from what you have shared, the future bike will be subject to some where and tear, I would start with one that is priced sub $80, and if some paint chips, you will be adding more, so no difference.

The ads this fella provided are miss leading. 35 year old grease in the bottom bracket and wheel hubs is likely solid, must be cleaned and replaced. Examine the rims, the tube stem must be sticking straight up and out, if at n angle the bike has been ridden with to little air pressure, telling your the tubes are expected to be changed.

Be very, very careful.

Here is one that is priced yet a little high, but closer to reality - http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/807993701.html

Last edited by bab2000; 08-22-08 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-22-08, 01:23 PM   #16
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I like your description and criteria, esp the part about being able to comb your hair from the reflection!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bab2000 View Post
From your links this is not in excellent condition, it if was the handle bar tape would not be shewed on the right side.

I suspect the tires maybe original, and if so, they will be hard, prone to cracking and not safe to ride upon, even if the tubes will hold air.

I love the Cool Lemon, and my first bike was a '72 Continental in 26" frame, then move onto a 26" Continental in '74, same color, loved it till it was stolen from my home one stormy night.

For $200 that Varsity must be perfect, not need to replace tires/tubes, the bar tape should be tight and pristine, and the bike should shine as the sun at high noon, able to comb your hair from the reflection on the steel rims.

Reviewing your Craigs List there are numerous bikes for much less than that, and adding new tires/tubes and some elbow grease you would not have that amount in those bikes as the Varsity.

I love my Schwinns, but to be truthful, the Varsity is not a road bike, it is a solid bike with road type drop bars and 10 speeds, it is heavy in comparison of other like models, yet it is indestructible (frame), it will ride straight and true if wheels are good.

I know the challenge to find the correct frame size, and from what you have shared, the future bike will be subject to some where and tear, I would start with one that is priced sub $80, and if some paint chips, you will be adding more, so no difference.

The ads this fella provided are miss leading. 35 year old grease in the bottom bracket and wheel hubs is likely solid, must be cleaned and replaced. Examine the rims, the tube stem must be sticking straight up and out, if at n angle the bike has been ridden with to little air pressure, telling your the tubes are expected to be changed.

Be very, very careful.

Here is one that is priced yet a little high, but closer to reality - http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/807993701.html
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Old 08-22-08, 01:24 PM   #17
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I'm moving in a few days, and boy I've got some deals for you!

13" Sansui Color TV - $1000

Playstation 2 - $500


PS2 Games - $100 each.


Huffy 3-Speed - $400 (Weighs just as much as your Varsity, so you won't be losing any pounds.)

If you act now I'll let them all go for $1500.

Just send me a PM and I'll drive them up to you for a nominal $10/mile.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:16 PM   #18
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I love all things Schwinn and I'm not a cheapskate, but honestly I can't imagine paying $200 for a Varsity. IMHO, you could do much better for that kind of money.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:48 PM   #19
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I'll concur with what everyone else said - it isn't worth $200, particularly as the seller's claim of it being in excellent condition is stretching a point.

You'll probably find the 19" frame (as Schwinn denoted it) quite cramming at 5' 7" too, though. Look for something in the 22"/54-56cm area instead.

-Kurt
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Old 08-22-08, 02:49 PM   #20
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OhNo- If you haven't sealed the deal yet you should absolutely, positively tell him no. You'd be paying wayyyy too much for the bike. Varsity's are the bottom line Schwinn and the most commonly advertised model for sale. You can easily find a comparable Varsity for under 50 bucks if you are patient. The guy is trying to take advantage of the vintage Schwinn craze, but he's insane if he actually thinks a girls Stingray and an average Varsity are worth anywhere near $500. I honestly wouldn't pay even 50 bucks for both of them. By the time you get that one road-ready, you'll be in it for close to 300 bucks! As I pointed out earlier, you can find a much better quality Schwinn or other brand bike for less than 200 dollars.
Go back and re-read this thread one last time. It seems everyone is in agreement you're getting taken!

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Old 08-22-08, 03:10 PM   #21
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Firstly, I want to thank you all for your advice. You saved me from a (possibly) big mistake. I appreciate it!

I've also just inquired about http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/807993701.html. I'm hoping 57cm isn't too big, if it is, $80 isn't as much of a blow as $200 (Especially when I'm already broke enough from College!).

Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-08, 03:24 PM   #22
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I concur the Varsity does not look "perfect." So for $200 it is way over priced. BTW, the one I pictured sold at a H.S. fund raiser for $50 and I was pleased even though I new I had too much time into it.

The Price is still too high for a World Sport Schwinn. This is about the lowest end mid to late '80s Schwinn. Offer $50 if it is the right size and the paint looks decent. You might have to put another $50 into it for tires, cables, etc.
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Old 08-22-08, 04:19 PM   #23
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They sell all day on C-List for about that much. (in Philly anyways) The used bike market has gotten "INSANE!" and you can thank whoevers responsible for the high gas prices
The up side is you paid $200.00 for a REAL Schwinn! If you take care of it itll last you a lifetime and then some!
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Old 08-22-08, 08:02 PM   #24
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Man, you can get that same bike for like 20 bucks. Don't let your impatience dictate your purchase. Best thing I've found is to tell everybody I know that I'm looking for a cheap bike. Likely somebody knows somebody who's giving one away that's like those Schwinns, or will sell it to you for a case of beer. Maybe try Goodwill.
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Old 08-22-08, 08:32 PM   #25
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They sell all day on C-List for about that much. (in Philly anyways) The used bike market has gotten "INSANE!" and you can thank whoevers responsible for the high gas prices
No actually you can thank the many folk who have rediscovered biking for health, fitness and family fun. Vintage bikes gained in popularity just because the quality is still present in these older rides and there are bargains to be found.

The Chicago market turns the older steel Schwinns for double what they are here in Indiana, and the the fixie crowd love to convert these steel multi-speeds to single gear for the solid ride performance.

Yet, $200 is a bit much. I acquired two Schwinn Suburbans, (almost the same frame and components), upright riders, in near perfect condition, one with racks and lights in the prettiest chestnut color, for $60, (1980) and a 1974 Sierra Brown in good + shape for $50. Both were gifts, one to SnL, the other a friend.

I did not have to touch them except wipe the dust off. And I search for almost 3 months for these deals to appear.

A 88 Schwinn Sprint, (the newer version of the Varsity) sold in a remote area a week ago for $35, turned up in South Bend (near Notre Dame) for $75 todays listing. $200 is just to much for a Varsity.
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