I got a Varsity at the dump a few weeks ago. I put it in the garage until today. I finally put it on the repair stand and started working on it.
I'm so impressed. I have a vague memory of how they ride, and I didn't like it. But the quality is like something we will never see again in the history of the human race. Nearly everything is built like a tank. Just as an example, the spoke protector fits extremely well, is very heavy and has a rich chrome coating on it. I am not taking this off the bike.
The rims are somewhat beaten up. This bike was, of course, designed for the abuse a 13 year old boy would dish out. The front is worse than the rear. The front rim has a low spot which I won't bother trying to fix. It would take Herculean force to bring it back into shape, I think.
The spokes on both wheels had pretty much no tension. The rims are so heavy that the wheels still work anyway. So funny. Some nipples didn't want to turn. I used copious amounts of WD-40 and ATF to free them. I managed to free them all but one. I broke the spoke while turning the nipple several turns. I don't stock spokes in my shop, but I was able to scrounge a good spoke from a trashed wheel I have lying around. Score! And now guess what. I noticed that the spokes are high quality and double butted. See, double butted spokes really are good. I'm so amazed that Schwinn went through that expense, but the Varsity is all about durability.
The derailleurs are all steel and are still in working order.
The brakes are fine. They're the only aluminum part on the bike!
The bike came with a Blackburn rack, which I'll be taking off. I plan to call this bike my own for a while. Then I think I'll sell it, because I don't expect to have much fun riding it. Sorry, Varsity lovers. But hey, I may change my mind. One problem, though, is that I already have five bikes I call my own, and I have about 15 other bikes I'm restoring and repairing for other people. I lost my job a couple of weeks ago and have fallen into the bike repair business in my basement. This is almost like a fantasy. I have a waiting list of bikes for repair, and I'm having fun.
I'll post pictures soon. I hope you folks can help me identify the year. I'm not a Schwinn expert.