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Worth it? $175 XS Schwinn Varsity(?)

Old 01-18-10, 02:05 AM
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vaguelyweird
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Worth it? $175 XS Schwinn Varsity(?)

I'm a first time buyer, looking to commute. My local shop has a fully tuned Schwinn Varsity with 24" wheels plus a future tune up for $175. It seems very solid, with a few tiny chips in the paint.

What would be a reasonable price for it? Is it worth the purchase?
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Old 01-18-10, 02:42 AM
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hell no. 50 bucks.
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Old 01-18-10, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by vaguelyweird View Post
Is it worth the purchase?
That's one of those questions like "How long is a piece of string?"

How did you like riding it?

What's your budget?

Many of us wouldn't pay that much for that bike, because it's a heavy bike with very little that's special about it in terms of construction / componentry, so while we might grab one at a garage sale as a spare runabout / cheap project, it's not worth the full LBS price to us. (But that's because a lot of us like working on bikes and many of us have multiple bikes already.)

For a non-bike-repair-enthusiast, $175 will get you a potentially better used bike on craigslist, which may / may not need additional work, maintenance, etc., etc., or a Wally World department store bike (not generally recommended), or a beach cruiser at the LBS, or a used bike at an LBS like the Varsity, which makes the Varsity a more tempting deal.

Did you love it? If so, I'd see if they'd take $120-150 and enjoy it. $120-$175 for a well-tuned and well-maintained bicycle, that you like the looks of and that you'll enjoy riding, with future maintenance included, could be a pretty good deal.
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Old 01-18-10, 03:43 AM
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Well it is a 24" wheel bike, so it's not your garden variety Varsity. Although it is still not worth $175 IMHO.

There are far, far, better 24" roadbikes out there if you look for them.
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Old 01-18-10, 05:17 AM
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I will also chime in and say -- too much.
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Old 01-18-10, 05:38 AM
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Brand spanking new tires, tubes, handlebar tape, and brake pads? All bearings have been regreased? Decals and paint are original, unretouched, and in top condition..less a few minor scratches as noted? Any accessories (Pleitscher rear rack, generator light set, etc.) included? Do they have the original owner's manual? Wheels "super" true? No signs of rust and/or pitting? Seat unscuffed on the side corners? Is it in your size? The 24" (typically...not always, though... a youth bike meant for 1 or 2 years of service before being outgrown) wheels make your day? A nice, sturdy, lightweight hybrid with plenty of braze-ons for water bottles, fenders and racks wouldn't better serve your commuting purposes? Are you adept at/interested in handling basic maintenance and repairs? Unless you live in a "hot" market for used bikes, and it is still "riding" season, the bike would really have to offer alot to get that type of cash from savvy shoppers. For that type of money they could pick up a pretty decent lightweight road bike, or an exceptionally nice hybrid, or a premium mountain bike. It's sounds like a $50 Craig's List bike (probably +/- about what you could resell it for), so it has to come with alot of new stuff (tires, tubes, pads, etc.). As far as coming from an LBS, those bikes are basically indestructable and the easiest-of-easy to work on. They are also made to last an eternity + a few years. If you really like it, it fits, and you plan on keeping it for awhile, go in nicely with $125 in one hand (if it has new tires and pads at least) in hand, and make them literally tear the extra $15 out of your other hand if necessary. If if's something special, what the heck?
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Old 01-18-10, 07:54 AM
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Apart from being far, far, far too much money, are you sure it will even fit you? If the bike is too small, you will quickly tire of trying to ride it, and be advised that a bike that fits is usually a bit larger than the average indoctrinated buyer might think.

The chart below may help in your search for a road bike: The frame size is measured from the center of the crank to the top of the tube into which the seat post inserts.

Determining Your Road Bike Frame Size
Height Inseam Length Bike Frame Size
4'10" - 5'1" 25.5” - 27” 46 - 48 cm
5'0" - 5'3" 26.5" - 28" 48 - 50 cm
5'2" - 5'5" 27.5" - 29" 50 - 52 cm
5'4" - 5'7" 28.5" - 30" 52 - 54 cm
5'6" - 5'9" 29.5" - 31" 54 - 56 cm
5'8" - 5'11" 30.5" - 32" 56 - 58 cm
5'10" - 6'1" 31.5" - 33" 58 - 60 cm
6'0" - 6'3" 32.5" - 34" 60 - 62 cm
6'2" - 6'5" 34.5" - 36" 62 - 64 cm
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Old 01-18-10, 08:23 AM
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I would avoid 24 inch wheel road bikes in general, they are considered juvenile models, and have much lower values than "adult" models. If you are looking for a good, solid, recreational bike, you can do a lot better.

IMHO, people buying vintage Varsities are looking for a style, a look. They tend to ignore the fact that it is grossly overweight (40 pounds), has bottom end components. The bike is bullet proof, but at too high of a cost.

You can buy a very nice, recreational level hybrid or rigid frame mountain bike, with mid level good branded components, around here for $100 to $150. Such a bike will weigh in at 25 to 28 pounds, have alloy rims, etc.

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Old 01-18-10, 09:26 AM
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this thread has been incredibly informative. cycleheimer and wrk101 make this site better for being here. also have to mention: love the above chart notation - snugly nested in crotch.

Last edited by i-timy; 01-18-10 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 01-18-10, 11:22 AM
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Wow, thanks for the responses.

In response to cycleheimer, the bike (considering i know nothing of bikes) looked to be in very good condition, minus the paint which although original was slightly chipped and fairly worn. It rode very nicely, although I struggled a little with the old fashioned shifters.

I am not attached to a road bike. Do not want a mountain bike, though. Perhaps a lighter hybrid with road wheels (they do that?) would be the most cost effective? I am planning to use it mainly for commuting, and occasionally for longer distances (cross state, and then some -- I live in Providence RI). Also, I intend on becoming well-versed in the mechanics of the bike.

I am 5'0", 26" inseam. I'd been looking for 43-45cm frame sizes, but they seem very rare at my price range, compared to kids' road bikes. Usually when I carry a bike, my biggest issue is the size, not the weight. However, lighter would definitely be a plus. Have suggestions for the 'exceptionally nice hybrid'? It sounds exceptionally tempting. (:

And once again, thanks!

Last edited by vaguelyweird; 01-18-10 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-18-10, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by vaguelyweird View Post

I am 5'0", 26" inseam. I'd been looking for 43-45cm frame sizes, but they seem very rare at my price range, compared to kids' road bikes. Usually when I carry a bike, my biggest issue is the size, not the weight. However, lighter would definitely be a plus. Have suggestions for the 'exceptionally nice hybrid'? It sounds exceptionally tempting. (:

And once again, thanks!
Check your bicycling inseam, I know in my case it is about 1 1/2 inches MORE than my regular inseam.

I have had a couple of road bike that size in the last year, but they are very rare, and sell at a healthy premium.

As far as dismissing mountain bikes, I would not be that hasty. Here's one I set up for my wife. Ignore the really high seat height. I had the seat up high when I test rode it. My wife rides it at a much lower setting. Rigid frame MTBs have room for fenders, racks, wider tires, etc. Do a search of the touring forum, you will find a lot of people modify MTBs for touring.

Hybrids are an alternative. I am not a big fan of hybrids in general. But small ones are out there.

Regardless, I would not buy a bike with 24 inch wheels.

As far as exceptionally nice, I would let the deal dictate. When buying used, you need to cast a wide net, and not lock into any single model/brand.


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Old 01-18-10, 12:16 PM
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That's 26" real inseam, not clothing inseam.

My mountain bike (gift) was recently stolen. It was extremely inefficient, a definite deal breaker. The thickness of the frame also made locking it a huge hassle.

On review, the photo does look fairly reasonable.

Last edited by vaguelyweird; 01-18-10 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 01-18-10, 01:56 PM
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My wife is around 5 feet and rides a 42cm with 27" wheels (panasonic sport). The standard chart above starts at 46 cm, but there are smaller frames.
I've also had difficulty finding a replacement bike (panasonic sport is about the same as a varsity in terms of weight/value). +1 on bikes this size are difficult to find and do sell at a premium. The varsity is kind of a waste because it's kids size and has small wheels.

If you have the funds and the size works, break the bank with the below 3Rensho - folks love these and it would be suitable for longer rides (I am not the seller).
If you like it - it's probably a $600+ bike, depends on bid demand but is 100 times better than the varsity.
-good luck...

https://cgi.ebay.com/XS-3Rensho-45cmS...item3efc0685a3

Last edited by phillyrider; 01-18-10 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 01-18-10, 04:53 PM
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At least 100 times better!

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Old 01-18-10, 05:16 PM
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I have to second WRK101's recommendation of an older Trek. I commuted on a Fuji Odessa for about two years and then picked up a Trek 830. I love that bike! It feels light, and has just the "right" gearing. I've done up to 28 mile rides on it and felt great. I was impressed enough that when my wife kept complaining that her Ross felt too tall, I tracked down a 16.5" frame Trek 830 for her. Add a set of fenders and a rack and it is a perfect commuter.

Walt
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