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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 06-02-08, 01:32 PM   #1
achaps
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Building a cyclocross bike?

Hey i am new to all this cycling stuff but its a blast so far. I was given an older schwinn varsity frame and the first thing that popped into my head was if i could build a cyclocross out of her. What do you think? is it possible? If so what do i need to get rolling?
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Old 06-02-08, 01:52 PM   #2
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what do you mean by a cyclocross bike? a bike intended for cyclocross racing, or a bike with knobbie tires intended for varied use?

if want to race it, i'd say no way, but if you want to put knobbies on it... and, say.... ride it, then go for it. every varsity i've come across seems most suited for a bar bike or a boat anchor. those electro-forged beasts weigh a ton! i had one in college that i used for around town and to-class riding. also, doesn't the varsity have an american bb?
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Old 06-02-08, 02:22 PM   #3
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I have a Schwinn Traveler with knobbies that works for this:

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...or a bike with knobbie tires intended for varied use?
And these:

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.....a bar bike or a boat anchor.
But it's a beast and will never get raced. No canti bosses anyway.

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also, doesn't the varsity have an american bb?
An english SS bottom bracket fit right on the shell of the Traveler. By "american" did you mean "english?"
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Old 06-02-08, 02:31 PM   #4
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no, i mean american in the sense of a big arse shell with press-in cups for the bearings for one piece cranks.


i guess another name for it is ashtabula.

you can get these conversion kits that have a big sleeve that presses in from either side and bolts together, then allows a standard english bb to thread in. the bmx world refers to this as a "euro" bb conversion.
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Old 06-03-08, 11:25 PM   #5
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no i by NO means mean to race it lol. Just going for the look. I am building the bike basically because i am new to cycling and want to learn how to build my own bike. So yes i basically wanna put some knobby tires on it. How do you suggest i go about this? I would like to get into cyclocross at some point....but this is just a project for fun.
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Old 06-04-08, 04:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by achaps View Post
no i by NO means mean to race it lol. Just going for the look. I am building the bike basically because i am new to cycling and want to learn how to build my own bike. So yes i basically wanna put some knobby tires on it. How do you suggest i go about this? I would like to get into cyclocross at some point....but this is just a project for fun.
I'm not sure there's any 27" knobbies still available. You could go to 700C rims but then you'd need new brakes with a long reach. That's going to cost more than the bikes worth. Still, the project does sound fun. Try searching ebay for the tires. Try this
http://cgi.ebay.com/27-KNOBBY-TREAD-...2em118Q2el1247

Good luck

Tim
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Old 06-04-08, 07:58 AM   #7
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there are a few 27" knobbies out there. club roost, kenda, tioga, all still make a cross tire. you can also get some aggressive treaded touring tires as well.

i'm all about revamping old bikes, but combing thrift shops and garage sales to find a better inexpensive frameset would be well worth the effort. the varsity is such a tank and the american bb will make it difficult to install better cranks... and by better i mean ANYTHING but the one piece crank it probably has. of course, you could throw on some profile bmx cranks and set it up as a single speed... or get that bb conversion kit, but i'm just not sure the varsity is worth the effort.

also, i think the varsity probaby takes a 21.1mm/.833" stem, rather than a standard 22.2 quill.

Last edited by isotopesope; 06-04-08 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 06-04-08, 06:45 PM   #8
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The best thing to do with that Varsity is sell it to a hipster so he can make a hipster bike out of it and use the proceeds to get something even the least bit more promising to build up. There's about nothing that fits and if you're going to build and hack bikes you really want to stick with components that can go on your next bike and that you can find in blowout sales. Besides, that thing weighs about 40 pounds.
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Old 06-08-08, 08:01 AM   #9
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The best thing to do with that Varsity is sell it to a hipster so he can make a hipster bike out of it and use the proceeds to get something even the least bit more promising to build up. There's about nothing that fits and if you're going to build and hack bikes you really want to stick with components that can go on your next bike and that you can find in blowout sales. Besides, that thing weighs about 40 pounds.

Assuming you can fit the extra-wide tires, Go For It!

If you want a retro-looking bike that's in the spirit of a cyclocross bike, then you are not from your goal. Just go to AEbike.com (great prices on this stuff) and pickup:

27" Club Roost Cross Terra Tires
Tektro Aero Brake Levers
Tektro Cross Levers (probably in the 24mm size)
Universal brake housing and cable (two of these)

For about $80, you will have a heavy, albeit passable, cross bike. I did the same with my early 1980's Shogun sport-tourer. Here are the results:

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Old 06-08-08, 08:05 AM   #10
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Oh yeah, you'll also need some new bar tape to rewrap the handlebars. And you're going to need some quality wire-cutters to cut all of the brake-housings and cables to the right size.

For instructions on installing the cross levers, go to Park Tools website:

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=146


And trust me on getting some quality cable cutters! Otherwise you will have mashed brake housing that no brake cable will be able to move through.
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Old 06-08-08, 08:12 AM   #11
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And by the way, I would LOVE to see a 50 pound Schwinn Varsity doing single-track or cyclocross! Ha ha. It would be worth the money for the laughs alone.
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