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Old 12-19-13, 04:06 PM   #51
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Good one! Jumping from the frying pan into the fire (the 41).

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*snicker*

Shhh.
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Old 12-19-13, 04:08 PM   #52
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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.
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Old 12-19-13, 04:27 PM   #53
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Click the words "MY TEN SPEEDS" in his signature in post #2 .
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Old 12-19-13, 04:42 PM   #54
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Click the words "MY TEN SPEEDS" in his signature in post #2 .
Thank you
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Old 12-19-13, 05:02 PM   #55
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I've been having a lot of fun on my late 70's Schwinn Varsity and I ride it at least 100 miles per week.
That's cool, most of my favorite bikes are '60s and '70s Schwinns.

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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.
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.

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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.
You can't beat them for strength and durability, and both of those models have aluminum alloy rims.
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Old 12-19-13, 06:08 PM   #56
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Yeah, to make this relevant, look for cantis and long chainstays (like you can fit 2 or 3 fingers between the tire and the seattube). once you've checked those two boxes, you're on the right track.
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Old 12-19-13, 06:09 PM   #57
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Running out on a limb here, but I think there is a move against needing to understand what's in technology.
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I agree in principle disagree with your example...
I think there's probably always been a distinction between people who want to understand how their things work and want to be able to fix them, modify them, etc., and those who just don't feel it's that important to have that knowledge. But I do think that modern convenience society encourages people to move into the latter group.

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...

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I'm still interested in hearing from everyone on their recommendations?
And also to the OP, if you're interested primarily in durability and strength in a high quality build, you might want to consider frames made of 531ST tubing - my understanding is since this was the touring tube set, it was slightly thicker than the standard 531. Alternatively, anything made with Tange 2 tubes would probably be a good choice. If you find a bike from a custom builder made with these tubes, that should be a good indication of a quality build. And most major manufacturers' build quality on frames of this level was good, too (although there are examples of 531 Raleighs, for instance, with crappy brazing and such). 531 straight tubes, like the Raleigh Super Course, might be a good choice, too, since the slightly thicker tubes should be pretty durable if it gets knocked around.

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.
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Old 12-19-13, 06:29 PM   #58
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I think there's probably always been a distinction between people who want to understand how their things work and want to be able to fix them, modify them, etc., and those who just don't feel it's that important to have that knowledge. But I do think that modern convenience society encourages people to move into the latter group.

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...



And also to the OP, if you're interested primarily in durability and strength in a high quality build, you might want to consider frames made of 531ST tubing - my understanding is since this was the touring tube set, it was slightly thicker than the standard 531. Alternatively, anything made with Tange 2 tubes would probably be a good choice. If you find a bike from a custom builder made with these tubes, that should be a good indication of a quality build. And most major manufacturers' build quality on frames of this level was good, too (although there are examples of 531 Raleighs, for instance, with crappy brazing and such). 531 straight tubes, like the Raleigh Super Course, might be a good choice, too, since the slightly thicker tubes should be pretty durable if it gets knocked around.

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.
Randy's site is like the arch wiki read it first and then come back with specific questions. What he got was a self-entitled snide answer. It just annoy's me I'm still young enough to want to throttle people like that.
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Old 12-19-13, 08:26 PM   #59
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Is it just me or are the newbies getting pushier?
...it's just you. You old guys are soooooo crabby.
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Old 12-19-13, 08:41 PM   #60
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Predictably so!
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Old 12-19-13, 09:21 PM   #61
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I agree in principle disagree with your example..most OS are point and click anymore few regedit in Windows, or edit kexts and plist's on OSX, or install packages via the terminal. [rant] When I was young we had MUG's and LUG's and people would bring there issues but you better be able to state whats wrong and what you had done to correct it. When the MUG's and LUG's went online it changed to the community became your research. It's the same with cars, bikes, your house, have a basic working knowledge and at least some curiosity you don't know how a bottom bracket works take it apart don't know what xorg does uninstall it. do you got to your boss and say here's my problem what do I do, or do you go to your boss and say here's my problem and what I think should be done about it and here's why?[/rant]
Ok, it sounds like you disagree with my second sentence, but not the first and third. I see the OP's impatience with detail and the learning of others, reflecting an attitude I see more and more in modern workplaces and attempts at discourse. Maybe it is something like Turrette's - I don't know.

I guess we're a CVUG.
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Old 12-19-13, 10:06 PM   #62
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I see the OP's impatience with detail and the learning of others, reflecting an attitude I see more
and more in modern workplaces and attempts at discourse. Maybe it is something like Turrette's - I don't know.
...I attribute the rise in such behaviors to the elimination of corporal punishment in schools.
Knowing that the person teaching could (and often did) haul off and whack me made me eager to learn.
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Old 12-19-13, 10:50 PM   #63
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OP said that he was familiar with Raleighs and Fujis. There are plenty of bikes between those brands to meet whatever real or imagined requirements he might have.

My immediate recommendation would be for counseling in the areas of anger and contentment.

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.
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Old 12-19-13, 10:55 PM   #64
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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 have to say, I agree with you, completely. Not that it matters one whit.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:09 PM   #65
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Hello.
I am new to this forum and new to cycling.
I've been having a lot of fun on my late 70's Schwinn Varsity and I ride it at least 100 miles per week.
It rides fine, but I want to get some modern or vintage parts on there to handle hills better and also to improve braking.
Went to some bike shops and have been getting quotes on some of the work I want done.
Seeing that I'm in the $500 + range for parts and labor, I thought I might consider riding some other decent condition, used bikes of those periods, to see if I can find a bike I like even more.

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.

I don't care about weight.
I don't need to be told that the bike I have is not worth putting the work into.
I have no interest in a newer bicycle.
I don't care much about speed.
I test rode dozens of new bikes for two months.
Liked none as much as an old 70's steel frame bicycle.
I like the weight. I like everything about the frame. I'm unattached to the rest of it, despite liking the looks.

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.
This led me down a path where changing nearly everything, was what I was told was necessary to get what I wanted while still retaining several choices for parts.


Any advice on accomplishing the work to this bike, and/or opinions on other quality steel frame bicycles of yore, would be greatly appreciated.


Thank 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.

Other bikes:
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 11:12 PM.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:15 PM   #66
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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
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Old 12-19-13, 11:30 PM   #67
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Thank you, kindly

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yeah, don't be at all closed off to information from expert c&v'ers on what they would do in your shoes. the people of c&v love steel road bikes, and if 95% of them were in your shoes, they would take that $500 and buy one or two steel roadies from maybe the '70s or '80s that were lighter, more reliable, more lively, safer, and a trillion times more fun to ride when doing 100 miles a week.

i'd look for a better bike with a nice groupset and buy the tools needed to overhaul it yourself. this is what i did, spent around $100 initially on tools and have used them repeatedly. this site and sheldon brown can teach you anything quickly.

as far as steel bikes, look for one in your size that has an on-frame derailleur hanger, aluminum rims, and a cotterless crank. these items will normally steer you towards good butted or double butted frames. with your budget, you can buy something with suntour cyclone, shimano 600 or similar. after tuning it yourself and adding new consumables (pasela tires, salmon pads, etc), you'll wonder why you rode that varsity so long...

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 11:40 PM. Reason: Typos due to iPhone auto-correct
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Old 12-19-13, 11:49 PM   #68
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Ok, it sounds like you disagree with my second sentence, but not the first and third. I see the OP's impatience with detail and the learning of others, reflecting an attitude I see more and more in modern workplaces and attempts at discourse. Maybe it is something like Turrette's - I don't know.

I guess we're a CVUG.
Quite the contrary. I simply don't have time to waste. I also abhor staring at screens.
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.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:53 PM   #69
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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

I never said anyone was obligated.
To deny that many come to these forums for "help" or information is being obtuse.
No one is obligated to do anything but die.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:57 PM   #70
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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.

Other bikes:
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.

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.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:59 PM   #71
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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.
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Old 12-20-13, 12:09 AM   #72
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Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of asterisks?
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Old 12-20-13, 12:12 AM   #73
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was so damn excited to see 3-page-full pics of "Highest quality build of 70's 80's road/touring bikes"...
oh, well.
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Old 12-20-13, 12:15 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Sizzle-Chest View Post
Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of asterisks?
*
thought those * meant flurries cuz we are in the middle of winter... * *
*
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Old 12-20-13, 12:32 AM   #75
Brandosees
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Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
Yeah, to make this relevant, look for cantis and long chainstays (like you can fit 2 or 3 fingers between the tire and the seattube). once you've checked those two boxes, you're on the right track.

I realized about the brakes, not the chain stays. Thank you so much.
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