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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-15-10, 07:14 PM   #1
mr.patio
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Need help with schwinn varsity conversion

hey there,

I recently bought an old schwinn varsity. I want to turn it into a fixed gear/single speed.
All the parts are original except for the handlebars. The frame seems to be in good condition. It has a single piece crank.

It looks like I need to buy new wheels, but is there a way I can keep these wheels and just change the gears. I also think that the chain and gears I have now are not the same size as what i would need if i bought new wheels. What is my best course of action? I don't want to spend too much.

Last edited by mr.patio; 07-15-10 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:15 PM   #2
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hey there,
I recently bought an old schwinn varsity.
Only God can help you now.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:49 PM   #3
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only god can help you now.
hahahahahahaha
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Old 07-15-10, 08:17 PM   #4
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well, the schwinn varsity isn't the best in the world, but it can still be done.

If you want to keep these wheels, you'll need to re-dish the rear one, and if you want it fixed, you'll have to get a new hub too.
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Old 07-15-10, 08:23 PM   #5
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The money you will spend on a new wheel set and any other part is more worth saving, and keep saving to buy a new bike.
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Old 07-15-10, 08:29 PM   #6
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http://sheldonbrown.com/deakins/how-...onversion.html

You can use the old wheelset, yes. However, if you're new at this, I'll say that after doing an original 27" wheel conversion, I've discovered it's a hella lot more convenient to look for a used ss/fixed rear, paired with a cheaper 700c front since respacing can be a bear. Then it's a cog (one that is 3/32 or both 3/32 and 1/8 chain compatible) and lockring (if the used rear doesn't have both already) and some single chainring bolts if you want to remove the outer chainring. If your rear hub is a 120 and the rear dropouts have 126 spacing, a couple of 3mm spacers from the hardware store.

Oh, and be prepared to do some research, since Varsitys (Varsities?) seem to have non-standard parts, like a one-piece BB. You'd need a specific BMX type chainring that fits if you buy a new one. Old Ashtabula cranks also seem to not like fixed pedal braking, from what I've heard. You'll be overhauling old, old parts and likely soon replacing them anyway.

These bikes are *generally* pretty cheap, but a whole one all-stock in good shape would be $100-200 depending on condition and buyer. What I'm saying is that people have converted them (mmmm Lemon Yellow), but you might weigh the cost of a conversion on a very old, complete (and speaking of weight--a very, very heavy) bike vs. a cheaper, lighter frame with a standard BB and headset already on the bike and a wide availability of parts. Believe it or not, it'll actually be more cost effective to buy a used fixed/ss bike.

That being said, congrats on your find. Google a bit, and you'll find forums where people have a strange affection for Schwinns, even the low-end bikes.

Last edited by KDNYC; 07-15-10 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 07-15-10, 08:38 PM   #7
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To be honest, schwinns are more work than they are worth converting. Especially if you want to replace the crank. Not too hard to do, but you will end up buying all new parts. I've built a schwinn world sport conversion.

Save your money and get a BD bike.
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Old 07-15-10, 08:55 PM   #8
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Along these lines has anyone put a front brake on a schwinn super sport or any schwinn from the 70s with 700c wheels, if so what brakes did you use. I went into my LBS and the guy was an a$s in telling me it couldnt be done however, I have seen it done but not sure what components were being used
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Old 07-15-10, 09:04 PM   #9
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Along these lines has anyone put a front brake on a schwinn super sport or any schwinn from the 70s with 700c wheels, if so what brakes did you use. I went into my LBS and the guy was an a$s in telling me it couldnt be done however, I have seen it done but not sure what components were being used

I have an early 70's Sekai that I converted with 700c wheels, and the Tektro R556's worked great for me. Velo Orange has them in a nutted version if you don't want to drill the fork and/or frame out. Otherwise you could use a drop bolt- http://sheldonbrown.com/dpdropbolt.html
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Old 07-15-10, 09:07 PM   #10
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To be honest, schwinns are more work than they are worth converting. Especially if you want to replace the crank. Not too hard to do, but you will end up buying all new parts. I've built a schwinn world sport conversion.

Save your money and get a BD bike.
Don't group all Schwinns together like that.

Varsity's and World Sports may suck ass, but my Sports Tourer is an amazing frame, and I don't know anyone who would kick a Waterford Paramount out of bed.
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Old 07-15-10, 09:23 PM   #11
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http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...oducts_id=9985

So this is the same off bens cycle for just one? What would I have to drill out on the fork and why?
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Old 07-15-10, 09:45 PM   #12
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http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...oducts_id=9985

So this is the same off bens cycle for just one? What would I have to drill out on the fork and why?
Yes.

The hole on the backside of the fork will most likely need to be enlarged for the recessed mounting nut. Old school brakes didn't use a recessed nut, so the holes on the front and back sides of the fork were the same size. Easy fix, just need the correct size drill bit (8mm??).
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Old 07-15-10, 11:03 PM   #13
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Old 07-16-10, 07:57 AM   #14
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Just thought of this but and i going to need this

http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...teel-brake-nut

Im not sure when you use those, but i dont want to order brakes, wait a week for shipping then realize i need a longer bolt and have to wait another week
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Old 07-16-10, 12:33 PM   #15
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I have an early 70's Sekai that I converted with 700c wheels, and the Tektro R556's worked great for me. Velo Orange has them in a nutted version if you don't want to drill the fork and/or frame out. Otherwise you could use a drop bolt- http://sheldonbrown.com/dpdropbolt.html
Yes, those will work. There are two versions with nutted mounts: really long reach and regular long reach. I ordered these for my '80s Panasonic. I tried to use the long bolt from the original Shimano Z on a old Dia-Compe, but it didn't work. I'm gonna rebuild the Shimanos with new pads in case I sell the bike, since these Tektros are limited in production and will be the most expensive thing on it!
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Old 07-16-10, 12:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by klf110589 View Post
Just thought of this but and i going to need this

http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...teel-brake-nut

Im not sure when you use those, but i dont want to order brakes, wait a week for shipping then realize i need a longer bolt and have to wait another week
Those are nice and I might have considered them if I'd known about 'em before ordering the Tektros. I still like the dual-pivot brakes as an upgrade, but if you already have a good set of brakes these are a better deal.
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