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Old 03-01-09, 02:35 PM   #1
jamesl
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Schwinn Varsity -- single speed or back to multi?

Would a '70s Schwinn Varsity have more value as a single speed or original 10 speed? I realize we're not talking a lot of money either way. I guess maybe the better question is, which would be more marketable these days?

I bought a pile of bikes parts and pieces recently that included a bare Schwinn Varsity frame. I paid $35 for the whole pile and sold two forks and a nice seat on E-bay for $75, so I'm ahead of the game. I dug through the pile of stuff and cobbled together a single speed using the Varsity frame and a variety of parts from various bikes. Now, granted, it looks pretty silly but it was a test to see if I liked the single speed concept and it is surprisingly comfortable to ride.

In further exploring the pile, I found most of the parts to restore the Varsity to original. Sadly the paint isn't that great so I'm leaning toward a rattle can resto just to make it look a little better. I've regreased all the bearings, new cables and brake pads and trued up the wheels, so it rides like new. Hard to believe it's a 35lb boat anchor until you try to pick it up.

Any thoughts?



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Old 03-01-09, 02:42 PM   #2
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Is THAT a high rise handlebar? Looks cool. If you're going 700C, I suggest you go single speed with alloy wheels. The EF frame is built like a tank. Nothing you can do to shave off weight there but you'll still get a nice riding beater bike. Enjoy your Varsity!
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Old 03-01-09, 02:56 PM   #3
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I suspect it would sell for more as a ss/fixie - Change the handlebars, loose the dork disk (spoke protector) off the back wheel and a bit snazzier seat.
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Old 03-01-09, 03:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. The bike's a bit short for me, which is why the seat's so high and I installed the tall handlebars. Oddly, the clunky seat is actually worth more than the bike -- it's a leather Schwinn spring seat in really nice condition. I have a couple useable seats but I was going for more comfort than style.

I've never heard the spoke protector called a dork disc...

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Old 03-01-09, 05:48 PM   #5
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You wouldn't happen to be in Wichita, would you?
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Old 03-01-09, 05:55 PM   #6
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Lighten it up and keep it single, the only future for that bike.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:18 PM   #7
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As forum regulars know, I like gears a lot, so you know how I would vote ...
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Old 03-02-09, 06:48 AM   #8
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I have fond memories of growing up riding single speed bikes. This Schwinn is fairly close to the bike I rode through college back in the day -- only the college bike was older and uglier. I took the "new" model for a ride last week and my 57-year-old knees reminded me why I ride 21 speed bikes these days. Which led to the question on should I or shouldn't I convert.

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You wouldn't happen to be in Wichita, would you?
Nope, a couple hours south in T-Town.

I'm not sure what I will do with this bike -- maybe just play with it a bit and use it as a test-bed for painting and decal ideas....
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Old 03-02-09, 06:18 PM   #9
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What's the terrain like in your neighborhood?
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Old 03-02-09, 06:45 PM   #10
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Right around my house it's nice and flat and I routinely go on 5-mile rides in this neighborhood without any hill climbs. However, any direction I go outside the neighborhood is hilly. We also have a river trail system that's flat and would be a good place for a single speed ride if I were to load up and drive over there. So, I do have a reason to keep it. I just have to relearn the power in place of cadence thing.
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Old 03-02-09, 11:36 PM   #11
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I am guessing that schwinn seat is not real leather, I had one like it on my suburban. That said, your right those are pretty decently valuable and extremely comfortable.

I vote single speed. Why not, it's a perfect beater bike. You could use it for winter commutes with less maintenance. That is a great bike to just have at it, so I vote have at it.
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