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  1. #1
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    Newb needing help fixing a '72 Schwinn Varsity

    Hi friends! My name is Haley, and I wanna turn this old schwinn into a fixie. I bought the thing over a year ago as a restoration project for $35. It's really clean now, but I still have to replaced all the cables, which I don't actually want to do. That's where the fixed gear option started to appeal to me, and after doing some research and watching videos, I wanna dive into this project. I know the varsity is a heavy frame, and not exactly ideal. But it's what I have and will just be a beginner. If I take onto it like I think, I'll build another in a couple years.

    It's got the 27" wheels. Would you recommend new wheel sets or replacing the hubs on the current wheels? If replaced, what size wheel do I go with?

    It does have horizontal dropouts which I suppose is the best part about the frame. Can I utilize the crank minus a sprocket or should I look at just getting a new crankset?

  2. #2
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    The easiest and safest way to do this is to replace the wheels you have with a set of track wheels with 27" rims, which you can buy from Velomine

    Sun CR18 27 Inch Wheelset FIXED GEAR High Flange Hubs 36 Hole Sun CR18 27 Silver rims FIXED GEAR wheelset [71189] - $119.00 Velomine.com : Worldwide Bicycle Shop, fixed gear track bike wheelsets campagnolo super record vintage bike

    They are currently sold out, but will get back in stock. You would then have to buy a fixed track cog and lockring.

    As to the cranks, you can probably use the inner chainring to get a decent chainline. Otherwise you will need to buy an adapter to replace the one piece "Ashtabula" cranks with a new 3-piece crankset and bottom bracket. It all depends on how much money you are willing to spend.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  3. #3
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    Ok I will keep those in mind. I know it's kind of a vague question but will 700c wheels work? I found these and looks like a good deal.

    Bike Wheelset $100 | Colorful Bicycle Wheelsets for Fixed-Gear, Single-Speed, and City Commuter Bikes |Retrospec Bicycles Parts & Accessories

  4. #4
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Well, first off those wheels are heavy junk and only slightly less expensive than the Velomine wheels that are much much better quality. As far as using 700c wheels, they will work provided your brake pads can be adjusted for at least another 4mm of reach.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  5. #5
    Veteran Bastard Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    But dude, the colors.

  6. #6
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    Ah ok. I mean, I like deals and all, but I don't like junk. I'd prefer a white or black wheel, but the Velomine's would give an original look which it fine. Those came with tires, cog and lock ring but if they are junk then forget about it haha. There's some Weinmanns I'm looking at too, but I'll have to see about the brake setup. I'd definitely prefer to keep the front brake there.

  7. #7
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    When I asked this question, about a different type of old Schwinn, I was told that there is an all included kit from EightInch. It has a BB, wheels and all the other parts.
    Singlespeed and Fixed Gear Conversion Kits


    Cheaper on ebay.
    Eighthinch Deluxe Fixed Gear Single Speed Conversion Kit White | eBay

    It comes in a few colors and set ups. I have no idea if this is the right size for your bike or not.
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  8. #8
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    None of those kits include the bottom bracket converter needed to adapt a 3-piece crankset to a Ashtabula type frame BB.

    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  9. #9
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    Well I took some measurements and found out the frame and crank is the perfect fit for my body. Dumb luck there considering I purchased it last year on a whim for a cheap price to fix up. It looks like I will have just enough adjustment available with the front caliper that I can consider 700c wheels. Honestly I'd like to upgrade to the modern size for ease of tubes and tires. I've got it almost all the way disassembled. I'm just having problems with breaking the chain. Would the Eighthinch conversion kit need those adapters for the BB? Gotta make sure I get everything I need, at once hopefully.

  10. #10
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Worry about the cranks later. You don't even have to take a chainring off, just get her working with what you've got. New wheels. If you need a longer reach front brake, get one. Just one step at a time ... unless you have the time and energy to do it all in one hit. It is, however, a bit silly to skimp on the wheelset and brakes, just to save money to buy a crankset you don't need just yet. It's different if the current crankset needs replacing 'now' but if it's working or only needs regreasing, it's not on the 'change it now' list.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  11. #11
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haleyrz View Post
    Would the Eighthinch conversion kit need those adapters for the BB?
    Yes.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  12. #12
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    Alright, thanks for the advice! I'm onto getting this current crank off. Does anyone know if the threads are left hand on the crank nut? I was under the impression that they are, though perhaps I need to go get a big crescent. I've stopped for the night since my biggest wrench is just barely too small . But you're right, I'm not in a hurry to finish it, but maybe too excited. I'd like to start the prep work on the frame tomorrow with stripping, but as far as purchasing the new components I'll take some time to research. The bearings in the crank are pretty noisy and you can feel the grind when turning the crank, so I'll at least have to get new bearings.

    As for wheelsets, I've got the Velomine on my list, but what other brands do you guys suggest. I can't afford carbon fiber, but I don't want to buy hunks of junk either.

  13. #13
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haleyrz View Post
    I'm onto getting this current crank off. Does anyone know if the threads are left hand on the crank nut?
    The locknut on the left side of the crank is a left handed thread and you turn it clockwise to loosen. The bearing cone also loosens by turning clockwise. After removing the locknut, lockwasher, cone and bearings, the entire crank assembly can be removed from the right side. The bearing cups are press-fit into the frame's bottom bracket shell, and can be removed with a drift pin and a hammer.

    Ref. Schwinn Bicycle Service Manual, Volume 2, page 886
    Last edited by TejanoTrackie; 04-24-14 at 09:37 PM.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  14. #14
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haleyrz View Post
    The bearings in the crank are pretty noisy and you can feel the grind when turning the crank, so I'll at least have to get new bearings.
    You're more likely to find you just need to clean them and regrease them.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by europa View Post
    You're more likely to find you just need to clean them and regrease them.
    That would be pretty ideal. Thanks again for all the help.

  16. #16
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    Got the crank off. No joke about that Europa! The balls are perfect with no pitting on those bearings, they were just completely dried up.

  17. #17
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    I think a stock cruiser crank will fit the frame and it will give the correct 42mm chainline. Then you wouldn't have cranks with an extra chainring or half empty spider but at less cost than going to a three piece crank and adapter.

    The wheels may not be what you want but they are not junk. They are extremely strong.

    You should get 700c if you prefer the looks of the wheelset. However, Walmart still carries 27" tires and so does practically every online retailer that isn't extremely specialized. 27" wheels can use 700c tubes if they have the same kind of valve.

  18. #18
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    I think some BMX cranks would fit. They would have a more modern look but I am not sure about the chainline. You would not be stuck with a 165mm crank arm length.

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