Certainly do not want to steal this thread from the OP, but what is the address of Randy's site? I'd like to check it out.
OK, I'll bite. In keeping with the Schwinn theme, I'd recommend a '70s Super Sport or Sports Tourer. They are several steps up from a Varsity (the Sports Tourer was 2nd only to the Paramount in '71-'72) and are excellent bikes overall, with really neat fillet-brazed frames. That type of hand-built construction costs a fortune today, and yet these can be had for reasonable prices if you look on Craigslist and are willing to drive a bit.So what I'd like to know from anyone here who cares to share, are some lists of bike makes and models which were considered to be excellent build quality for their time.
You can't beat them for strength and durability, and both of those models have aluminum alloy rims.I do care about durability and strength. I wanted to go to an aluminum wheel because I was told I'd get better stopping power in wet conditions.
That said, I do understand that sometimes you need to get an answer to how to accomplish something quickly (e.g., for work), and you don't have time to become an expera large and not particularly user-friendly manual. Of course, that's what stackexchange is for...
Honestly, for the $500 price range, you could probably find a nice 531 bike with mostly Campy components. But any non-steel Suntour stuff from these years would probably be just as reliable and far less costly.
I'm an angry angst ridden anarcho-punk socialist you should just generally disregard my posts--Germany_chris
I guess we're a CVUG.
It's astounding how much people read into these things and how they'll waste time on these forums saying a lot of nothing.
Not angry at all.
Merely disappointed at dismissal of questions on a forum which is supposed to help answer them.
But it is what I've seen all over this forum, so I was not surprised.
Not that this comment deserved a response.
When I ask someone for specific type of help, I don't need anything but what I asked for. I'll research the answers myself.
If that makes you uptight, I'd say the therapy is far more valuable to you.
I don't get why everyone is up in arms about this post. The guy was just asking for specific advice.
For your varsity:
Just change out everything but the frame and fork. Suntour VGT Luxe derailleurs and some bar end shifters, Weinmann 999 brakes or their dia compe equivalents with some nice levers with new hoods, kool stop salmon coloured pads. new cables all around. SR or nitto bars and an alloy stem, tange headset. Can't remember the weird Schwinn sizing, but if I recall it is the same sized stuff bmx bikes use, so try that to find a nice seatpost and clamp. Maybe get an adapter to convert the cranks to 3 piece type so you have basically endless options for cranks. These upgrades should sort of keep the look of the varsity, with some more style and performance.
Look at 70's Motobecanes if you're up for dealing with the French sized parts. Also look at the Schwinn Super Sports, and "World" bikes(which seemed to vary in quality depending on the year).
Hope that helps.
Last edited by rotharpunc; 12-19-13 at 10:12 PM.
I don't think we are specifically here to "help people". We are a bunch of like minded people into older bikes. How exactly that obligates us to provide opinionless answers for you, is beyond me.,,,,BD
Thank you very much for the nice advice. *I do appreciate your taking the time.*
To expound on reasons for updating the drive train on the Varsity:
Firstly, I'm hauling quite a bit. Front and rear Surly racks carrying nearly 100lbs total and very often 40-60lbs. On my back. *I weigh 160 now and usually less than 150lbs. by spring.*
I don't need to hear how this is unsafe, unless someone believes the bike frame will truly fail. *I've not found this to be the case and figured if my pals can do it with their Surly LHT's, this super heavy steel bike should do just as well, if not better. *
And just so we're clear, it is not my intention to be truculent, or to come off as a bratty newbie when I say things that begin with: I don't want to hear. *
I value any information you guys will share. I'm just tired of hearing what I can't or shouldn't do, and not what can be done. *
Seems many bike shop mechanics think the same way; what they would want. *
Ive recently found a couple of really cool shops, where they tell me the limitations of a given approach, and then tell me how to accomplish what I want. *Given the myriad options that can be added by any one decision in a given direction, this has taken me some time to research.*
But much more time has been wasted in conversations with people telling me that I want a lighter, "better" bike. *(not about your comment- really). I appreciate your views. This is just what I've been hearing. *
I've never understood the phrasing: "what you want is..."
I don't need to be told what I want. *Only directions to where I seek to go. *
Not looking for anyone's blessing or approval and I'm not asking anyone for one "right" answer. *
I wouldn'd base my decision on anyone's opinion but mine. *If someone said that they had the exact model to fit all of my needs, I'd still want to ride it for a while before I did anything to it. *
I've even been to shops where they've said "sure your bike can handle the weight, but you don't want to ride with that much weight, you"ll get tired."
Perhaps many people look to have their hands held often, so others get used to that. *
That's not what I'm looking for. *
Ok, so that said, here's what I like and don't like. *
I like heavy bikes. *I've come to that conclusion. *I enjoy riding them more as they have proven more stable and solid when under load, and when I hit a pothole here in NYC, I don't feel the shook shooting through my body as I do with other lighter bikes. *
I do understand that it also has to do with the more relaxed geometry of the bike. That's what I've read, at least. *
Whenever I've gotten on the more premium rides of their respective era, I find immediately that the ride is more aggressive in terms of body position. *This is not something I desire. *
I do not care about speed. *
Oh, and I should state the 22" Varsity fits me wonderfully. *This has also heavily influenced my desire to keep with this frame. *I must be on the cusp in terms of sizing or something, but for whatever anatomical reasons, I have difficulty finding anything that isn't too small or too large for me.*
I am 5'9 3/4 and my inseam is 30 1/2.*
I can't tell you how many times I was "fitted" at a shop only to return from a half-hour test ride to pain in and around the back of my knee areas. *Or strained from having to reach so far for the handle bars. *
I no longer ask for fitting advice. I know by body well. *I know when something fits. *I trusted the experts, and as with most things of this nature, a person who is body aware will always be a better judge than someone making these decisions on accepted standards. *
But needless to say, this and the nice frame(I love the look of these vintage bikes) has played a part.*
The safer part is something I wish to explore. *I shun no information in this area. This was my first concern and months back I checked out everything I could and only found that these bikes were rock solid 30-40 years later, tolerating unreasonable abuse by today's standards. *
But if going wider with the hub to allow for the additional gears in the rear presents a safety issue, please let me know. *
To anyone else looking to write things that aren't constructive and pertinent,**spare me the sarcasm. *
Theres no need for it. *
If this helps at all, great. *
Either way, I'm pretty sure I'll do these upgrades next week. *
Im told if I find another frame that I like better, all parts can be changed to the next one. *
So to recap, I am looking for the hands-down strongest and toughest built bicycle of this style geometry, which can later have 700c wheels put on to expand my tire options. *
The shop I found offered to build 36 spoke double walled aluminum wheels in the current size or to change out the hub or to use the current spokes making the 700c wheels and keep the old hub. *
Again thank you, and anyone who offered sincere advice without the trumpery, I thank you. *
I was speaking only about people who say nothing while managing to be quite verbose. *
I should have been more careful not to generalize and make that point clear, because I do not generalize and the last thing I wanted to do on here was offend a community of people who offer help to so many. *
Would pics of what seems to be considered my low-grade heap, help?
A list of the parts I'd like to put on it?
Last edited by Brandosees; 12-19-13 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Typos due to iPhone auto-correct
When I'm not working, I am at school or volunteering or hiking wit my dogs.
This is not what I consider discourse.
I have no problem saying what I see. What is see here is another child speculating with no basis in reality.
I find presumptions inchworms like you, truly pitiful.
Officially done with this site. Enjoy commenting on nonsense.
I do know the name of my condition.
It's called being too busy to become a bike mechanic right at this time and only having a few spare minutes a day due to running a business.
Havent tried the World bikes yet. I have seen some Super Sports and actually have a mechanic who insisted I ride one this weekend, should the weather permit.
Can't thank you enough for the recommendations. Swapping out everything besides frame and fork is exactly what I intended.
I'll research these parts. Very cool. Thank you.
You may have to change your brake calipers if you go to 700c, not insurmountable, but you do want to be able to stop, especially if you are carrying weight. If you can find some inexpensive 40 spoke wheels, all the better. There is no real advantage going to 700c, apart from tire choice and rim/wheel choices. That being said, as crappy as a steel wheel stops in the wet, it can be straightened easier that an alloy wheel if you bend it.
More gears will not give you a greater range, only more steps between, In NYC they are probably not needed.
Nothing wrong with Varsity's/Continentals. They are easy to fix and last forever, as you are witness to. They can be bent back straight fairly easily, too. Much more than a lighter tubed bike.
The only thing I would suggest, is to not throw too much money into it. A good Varsity can be had for a sawbuck if you look around.
A thimble of grease in the crank and headset bearings would probably be in order on your bike, or any you end up with. It's not hard to do. Treat it nice and it will return the favor. Varsity's are the cockroaches of the bike world, and I mean that in a positive way. They are tough to kill, and just keep on rolling.
Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of asterisks?
"What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."
was so damn excited to see 3-page-full pics of "Highest quality build of 70's 80's road/touring bikes"...