Originally Posted by berbes
i've been ebaying some 1970's schwinns like collegiates SUPER SPORT's, SUBURBAN's and the like. i'm going to commute 5-10 miles a day on roads. will these bikes crumble before i can lose a few lbs?
The Varsity, Continental, and Suburban share the same frame design. Are good solid frames and if not rusty, and cables in good shape, the basics are good.
Tires will likely require replacement, and this is the tricky part. The newer tires rely on hook/bead rims to allow the tire to seat properly. The Schwinn stock rims on these models do not, relying on the tire/tube pressure to hold tire against the inside surface of the Schwinn style rims. Certain tires willl hold in this arrangement, others will not. Kenda still makes a gumwall style tire for this purpose, and IIRC will handle about 75 to 80 PSI.
As already mentioned, the steel rims are heavy and smooth, stopping requires good brakes and more distance when wet.
Many adopt ALLOY Rims (27 x 1 1/4) as replacements to improve the negatives mention previously.
For reference, I have a Continental, presently at 277#, am 6'4" and ride a 26" frame. A 24" frame is good for stand over, but short from seat to handle bars.
Good fit is also worth consideration when searching out a older bike.
There are good units out there at bargain prices, also inspect brake cables, pads, and shift cables.
PS: I would also suggest visit to LBS and review models available, features and prices, your top end range ($300) may put you on a nice hybrid with the newer features. Mountain bike design is another option for us XXL types to get started.