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  1. #1
    Tinkerer jamesl's Avatar
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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?


    Last edited by jamesl; 03-01-09 at 01:44 PM.

  2. #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!

  3. #3
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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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.

  4. #4
    Tinkerer jamesl's Avatar
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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...
    Last edited by jamesl; 03-01-09 at 02:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Uber Newbie squeaver's Avatar
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    You wouldn't happen to be in Wichita, would you?

  6. #6
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Lighten it up and keep it single, the only future for that bike.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

    Perhaps you didn't really hear what you thought I said...
    ...or maybe you did, and that's why you're so mad.


    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
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  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    As forum regulars know, I like gears a lot, so you know how I would vote ...
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  8. #8
    Tinkerer jamesl's Avatar
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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.

    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....

  9. #9
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    What's the terrain like in your neighborhood?
    I have spoken.

  10. #10
    Tinkerer jamesl's Avatar
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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.
    '98 Tour Easy recumbent
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  11. #11
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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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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