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  1. #26
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    That's it. I can't believe someone has a picture of one of those.
    I picked it up at the estate sale of the owner of the old Berkeley Cyclery. Belongs to a fellow BF member now.
    “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
    ― George Orwell

  2. #27
    tcs
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    I wrote this about the Varsity years ago. Sheldon liked it and asked me if he could put it on his web site.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  3. #28
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    I loved my Kool Lemon Varsity. Saw this pair on Craigslist, wish I was in the position to pick them up. Note the downtube shifters which makes them '64 or earlier.

    a pair of old school schwinn,varsitys,all org, - $100 (irvine)




    found in gramas garage been sitting for years Chicago bikes, one woman's one men both un touched thought i would runs theses like this before i get out the sos and clean them up myself but think they are worth more all org. 949 689 0180 ill let this run awhile really busy to get to them 100 for both


    http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/bik/4217394426.html
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  4. #29
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I wrote this about the Varsity years ago. Sheldon liked it and asked me if he could put it on his web site.
    Good article. Read it years ago, gave me respect for the old nail. In junior high, the bike racks were 3/4 Varsity.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  5. #30
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I wrote this about the Varsity years ago. Sheldon liked it and asked me if he could put it on his web site.
    I read that as well. But I thought it was more romantic than factual. (I also believe there is a place for romantic notions of the past even for the Edsel) I even once owned a black powder 50 cal ***** but I ended up giving it away. The Penny Farthing was successful in its day but that doesn't remove it from the realm of poor design and cumbersome ride. Yes the Varsity was a bike many of us had but just as many wouldn't think twice about getting one again. If it were as nostalgic as you suggest the GMC Denali would be flying out of the stores leaving very little room for the multitude of better bikes the rest of us ride, even used vintage. The most that can be said about it was it was a bike, it had a functional derailleur and brakes that sort of worked. Well we could add the frame could be cut up to replace the gas pipe under your house. My LBS restores old Schwinns and they just got in a Super Continental, has a Alpine three ring up front. They had it sitting next to the work stand the other day and I walked over to pick it up. Thank God I bent my legs or I might have hurt my back. No I don't miss mine nor do I have fond memories of either it or my Continental. But I do miss my Viscount.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  6. #31
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    I got my 1963 Varsity 2nd hand in 1964 from a friend who decided his nearly new bicycle was too large (and I think too American made). Mine had down tube shifters, the "Schwinn approved" leather saddle, and was Coppertone... which everyone called gold. There was only a couple other 10 speeds in the small Midwestern town where I lived back then. I was barely a teenager and it was the ultimate bicycle.... if only in my own mind.

    My Varsity wasn't my first bicycle... but it was the bicycle that made me a cyclist.

    I had an opportunity last summer to buy a Varsity nearly like it... but in the green color. I lifted it... and was shocked at how heavy it was. I threw a leg over it and considered taking it for a test spin. But I decided then.... that the memories of my old Schwinn could never be recreated with the reality ownership. I can't say I'll make that same decision next time I have a Varsity buying opportunity.
    Last edited by Dave Cutter; 01-11-14 at 01:52 AM.

  7. #32
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    My late '60s old neighbor has a Varsity. When I started back riding last spring he had me true one of his wheels up so he could ride it. Doesn't ride it often though. There are STILL a lot of these things around.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  8. #33
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
    I got my 1963 Varsity 2nd hand in 1964 from a friend who decided his nearly new bicycle was too large (and I think too American made)...I was barely a teenager and it was the ultimate bicycle.... if only in my own mind.

    My Varsity wasn't my first bicycle... but it was the bicycle that made me a cyclist...
    +1. I posted earlier on this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I can precisely identify the day my adult cycling lifestyle was sparked back in May of 1970 when I rode my roomate’s Chestnut Brown Varsity, the first derailleured bike I ever rode...
    though after that experience I bought a Schwinn Suburban, and used that for the next couple years, including 2-3 day tours.

  9. #34
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I wrote this about the Varsity years ago. Sheldon liked it and asked me if he could put it on his web site.
    Nicely written article. I wrote in reply to a couple of earlier posts on this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    The above quotes really capture the bicycle marketplace of the 1970’s, well before the introduction of mountain bikes—when Bicycling Magazine was a good read.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    My first tandem was a crummy old coaster brake Schwinn Twinn. It was given to me in an un-rideable state. Over the course of about 6 or 7 years I converted it to a 15-speed derailleur bike and Mrs. Grouch and I rode it thousands of miles. It was the best we could afford at the time. Owning that bike was a life changing experience for us. I eventually sold it to a family that had a totally blind daughter who, before they acquired the tandem, used to ride a single bike in circles around their cul-de-sac.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  11. #36
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    I wrote this about the Varsity years ago. Sheldon liked it and asked me if he could put it on his web site.
    I certainly had no idea you had written the excellent article for Sheldon. I read it shortly after joining here and learning about Sheldon's site (what an eye opener for me.) Your piece along with this one http://sheldonbrown.com/varsity.html, that is linked at the bottom of yours, tell us a lot about how the "Varsinentals" were made and became a part of American cycling life. The quality of all the Schwinns in the 60's and early 70's attracted many of us to them. The dealer here, run by the Weyland family, Howard and Barbra, was so clean and well organized compared to our other bicycle shop in town. Schwinn's set up with every imaginable product and component/part with their red and white packaging and the Schwinn and Schwinn Approved products made me feel like I was getting the best I could buy with my hard earned paper route money. I loved my Bottecchia and International, but they weren't the everyday, ride it until you dropped, bike that Americans liked back then. It seems we got too sophisticated to appreciate what we had. They were heavier than most, not always though, but my Schwinn was always running top notch and looked great in my young, inexperienced eyes.

    I'd gladly buy and restore another in the future (an opaque blue, as Schwinn called them, Continental, as it was my choice in 1973, after my first 2 "10-speeds" that began my life as a cyclist.) Thanks for your article, this shows me how much knowledge and experience is available to us here at the 50+ Forum. Well done, sir, well done.

    Bill
    Last edited by qcpmsame; 01-11-14 at 07:32 PM. Reason: correct my post
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  12. #37
    dck
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    My first real bike was a brand new 1961 Varsity 10-speed. I love the checkerboard seat tube decals on the early Varsity. The bike was kinda heavy, but at the time I didn't know any better.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    1970 for mine.

  14. #39
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    Rochester New York was always a place for marketing studies. I'm still trying to dig through this story, since it is a few decades old. But this is what I remember.

    I had a Yellow Varsity 10 speed - not Sport. As far as I remember, it was identical to a Varsity Sport but without the drop handlebars. (My father thought the drops dangerous.) We had matching bikes, 20" frame, except I took the fenders off mine. After the growth spurt through high school I ended up probably with the original compact hybrid comfort bike. Because of the high seat and slammed handlebar, it probably had a fit close to today's flat bars. I actually bent the seat post rearward after I ran out of saddle rail to get the seat fit right, I remember bending the seatpost then annealing it in hot oil with my friend - that could have ended badly in so many ways.

    A thief tried to steal my bike, but broke the front derailleur cage spot weld while cutting the cable, so he stole my father's bike instead. I took the cage off and downgraded to a five speed.

    Lots of solo and duo hours with my annealing friend far far from home back then. I didn't have the racer bug, but other than that, "Breaking Away" caught the spirit of the era. (Including a particularly stupid draft a truck downhill moment. It ended well, but....)

    Went off to college and was I ever pissed that my brother and sister used my bike as a parts bike.

    My wife bought me a replacement for the bike I always really wanted (a Varsity Sport) when she was in grad school - a Univega Custom Maxima. Right down to the stem shifters it was a great replacement for the memory lane bike, the frame probably weighed about the same but beautifully lugged, but the components (Suntour) were way way better.

    Still ride the Univega (pretty much original except for the tires and rims, they wouldn't seat modern tire beads, and handlebar tape, and chain, and cables) including a ride across Massachusetts two years ago. Last year I finally bought my midlife crisis carbon fiber frame bike. (Scott, which going back to memory lane, introduced the first aluminum ski polls I used back in the day.)

    Actually, what somewhat amazes me most - I thought I'd have to relearn derailleur tuning, but the Shimano Ultegra components, although much lighter and more expensive, are pretty much the same as the old Suntours. (Which weren't that much different than the "Schwinn Approved" components on the Varsity.)

    -mr. bill
    Last edited by mr_bill; 01-11-14 at 02:27 PM.

  15. #40
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Picked up a '72 Continental last year. It's everything I remember. Heavy, crap brakes, slow handling and shifting that's best described as deliberate. Took it for a 5 mile ride down to the beach and it was in it's sweet spot. Stable & comfortable. The ride on the 27 1 1/4 is plush. Snaking down a crowded boardwalk is easy with the turkey wings.

    If it was my only bike I'd be OK. Love them for what they are, don't hate them for what they're not.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  16. #41
    Senior Member ZmanKC's Avatar
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    Bought mine in the summer of 1971 before I left for college. Canary yellow. Got a lot of use out of it but gave it away before we moved in 1979.

    Occasionally I wish I still had it, but that's probably because I don't remember how heavy it was.
    1999 Giant TCR 2T
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  17. #42
    Senior Member
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    My first new bike, and my first multi-speed bike, was a 72 Schwinn Collegiate 3 speed. In 74 I bought a Schwinn World Traveler. Put a lot of miles on both of them. I don't know what happened to the Collegiate frame, but the hub has been laced into a 27" rim and I've converted the Traveler to a three speed which is great for shorter rides around town.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

    Pogo

  18. #43
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    I read that as well.
    Really? Because from your summary, it doesn't sound like it.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  19. #44
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    A 1964 blue Varsity was the first bike I bought my self, with my paper-route money. I bought it used for $35 from another kid who out grew the 19 inch frame after a year. I was twelve but had outgrown it too by the time I was fifteen. On light-newspaper-days I carried a bag and used it for delivery.

  20. #45
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    I bought a 5 speed Collegiate around 1970 to get me to work. I'm still kicking myself for putting it out on the curb 10 years ago when we were making a move and I was cleaning out the garage. It needed cables, pedals, tires, etc. but it was still in good condition. That was my first real bike and it served me well for a long time.
    Maybe it is the Collegiate 5 that I bought at a garage sale for $5 My wife really likes it, and has been using it for riding around town for years. Needless to say it has never need any maintenance or adjustments.

    I also picked up a Varsity for $5 at the same garage sale. I replaced the drop bars with upright bars and use it for hauling a trailer around town for shopping and recycled can runs.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #46
    Senior Member
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    I graduated from a Schwinn 3-speed to a Super Sport in about 69. That bike lived in my room and was the cleanest bike in the world. It would get completely wiped down and lubed after about every ride. It was my pride and joy. I rode that thing everywhere. I've thought about searching Craigslist for another as a restore project. It was a big part of my life at that time.

  22. #47
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Maybe it is the Collegiate 5 that I bought at a garage sale for $5 My wife really likes it, and has been using it for riding around town for years. Needless to say it has never need any maintenance or adjustments.

    I also picked up a Varsity for $5 at the same garage sale. I replaced the drop bars with upright bars and use it for hauling a trailer around town for shopping and recycled can runs.
    Nope. My Collegiate was brown/copper colored and it had a Jaques Cousteau decal on it. And it had drop bars.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  23. #48
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    Nope. My Collegiate was brown/copper colored and it had a Jaques Cousteau decal on it. And it had drop bars.
    Cousteau would be appropriate for an electro-forged bike-shaped boat anchor.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  24. #49
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post

    I never liked Schwinns lower than the Paramount. All the Schwinns had either Schwinn or "Schwinn-approved" components. The derailleurs on the cheap Varsity's were "Schwinn approved" Huret steel units. Everything weighed a ton - a friend of mine had a Varsity, and it was painful to lift! But I don't think the components broke!

    Luis
    The mid '80s Super Sports were much better than before with Columbus Tenax and Shimano 600 EX. And the LeTours too for that matter. I'm thinking Tange (2?) about '86 or so for the LeTour and some Suntour by then. Either was as good as their motor.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  25. #50
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Cousteau would be appropriate for an electro-forged bike-shaped boat anchor.
    The thing was a tank. But I wish now that I had kept it for the sentimental value.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

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