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Old 05-24-09, 03:37 AM   #1
Explodingboy
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Help a brother out!!!!!!!

Bonjour Mez Amis, this is my first post and it is kind of three questions, One: I am currently ridding a 77' (I think) Schwinn Varsity and I love the bike to death but every bicycle shop i've been to generally tells me not to invest any more money in the bike and it's pretty much a piece of s**t but I'm super stuborn and wont give up, Is there a light at the end of the Tunnel? Two: I currently have been doing all the maintainance on the bicycle myself and I converted it into a makeshift Single speed A. Is It too heavy? B. can you get some of the screws, nuts, and bolts used on the bicycle at a home depot or something? and Lastly 3: What other 70's era bicycles should I be looking for If I want a good quality road bicycle, possibly a single speed or fixed gear? . . . . Thank you for reading and I can't wait for your advice. =)
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Old 05-24-09, 06:46 AM   #2
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There is light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure of the Varsity, if over 30lbs, then yea, its heavy. If you need bolts and stuff for bikes, then getting more old road bikes is an excellent source for those needed parts... this can also help you to discover that dream bike everyone wants.
Look for downtube shifters, bolt-on rear derailleur, forged rear drop-outs when shopping for another stead. When you see brake safety levers, stem shifters, and clamp-on rear derailleur, this is an indication of the dreaded Entry Level Bike. What you want is a more up-scale bike that will be lighter for your pusuit in bicycle glory!
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Old 05-24-09, 09:05 AM   #3
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The Varsity frame is made from 18 gauge (straight gauge; not butted) 1010 carbon steel, and it is very heavy by today's standard (the 1977 catalog puts the weight of the Varsity complete bike at "approximately 38 pounds"). The upside is that it's virtually indestructable. The construction of the frame is unique, and is described in THIS ARTICLE by Marc Muller, chief designer and plant manager for the Schwinn Paramount in the eighties and early nineties, and now partner of Richard Schwinn in Waterford Precision Cycles.

A while back, there was a thread here on BF about lightening up a Varsity by replacing the steel rims with alloy rims, converting the single piece Ashtabula crank to a three pece alloy crank, and replacing heavy components with later, lighter weight components. It can be an expensive undertaking, and critics would say investing money in lightening up a Varsity is, as one poster put it, like putting lipstick on a pig.

The stripped Varsity frameset will weigh about 10 pounds, while modern steel framesets weigh about half that. Only you can decide if your Varsity is really worth making a significant investment in upgrading.

qurry gives good advice on what to look for if you want a better frame for your build. Another indicator of a decent quality frame is the diameter of the seatpost. If it's 27.2mm or bigger, the odds are pretty good that the frame is made of at least butted chromoly.
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Old 05-24-09, 10:45 AM   #4
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Old 05-24-09, 10:54 AM   #5
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It's OK to love your Varsity...
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Old 05-24-09, 01:20 PM   #6
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You can do a fairly complete bearing & true service yourself with some ordinary mechanic tools & a few specialized tools. Ordinary tools: Combination wrench sets, metric & English; a few screwdrivers; a few adjustable wrenches including one large enough for the bottom bracket. Wire cutters if you need to replace the cables. Specialized tools: Cone wrenches for the hubs; a spoke wrench; a chuck to remove the freewheel so you can get to the bearings. If you take the rear wheel to the bike shop to remove the freewheel, then you don't need the chuck. Should take them a minute and cost $5 or so; they may do it for free if you buy the cables &c there at the same time. A chain tool to replace the chain if a 12" length of it measures more than 12-1/16". This puts 99% of the labor in your hands & ongoing costs of ownership go way down. These are as relatively easy to service as they are rugged.

Last edited by duffer1960; 05-24-09 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 05-24-09, 01:28 PM   #7
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I found that old Varsity thread. It's hard to believe it's nearly three years old.

Of Schwinn Varsities and Yacht Anchors
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Old 05-24-09, 01:51 PM   #8
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whats the problem with having a bike thats a bit on the heavy side? wont it just make you stronger? i have the same bike and i love it, yeah carrying it up stairs sucks, but nothing worth doing is easy.
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Old 05-24-09, 02:25 PM   #9
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Yes, it is too heavy, but if you like it, who cares? There are many nice vintage bikes out there, a lot of them made in the 1980s. Search this forum, you will find out all kinds of info on your Varsity and nicer bikes.
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Old 05-24-09, 02:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
It's OK to love your Varsity...
the heart wants what the heart wants.
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Old 05-24-09, 06:02 PM   #11
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EG--- Good to see you back! Any new Rails to Trails to report?

Exploding Boy, Schwinn EF frames are perfect for MUPS, paved or dirt. Now all we need are pictures of your Varsity. Welcome to C&V.
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