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Schwinn Bike

Old 11-20-17, 12:36 PM
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Schwinn Bike

Hello my husband bought me a bike and I'd like to know how special it is.
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Old 11-20-17, 12:39 PM
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Old Chicago Schwinn, can't tell which one, no label or drive side pic, but others will know. If your into vintage bikes, I'd say heavy but nice. Assuming he is going to put some work into it, like tires, tubes, cables etc. Tim

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Old 11-20-17, 12:54 PM
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Your bike appears to be a Varsity. Not really special as in rare or valuable. Schwinn made millions of them.
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Old 11-20-17, 01:01 PM
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If your husband bought it for you, then it's priceless!
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Old 11-20-17, 01:13 PM
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It's... "special."
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Old 11-20-17, 01:32 PM
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I bet your husband is special.
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Old 11-20-17, 02:57 PM
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Based on details such as the shift levers, your Varsity harkens back roughly to 1970 or as late as 1973 perhaps.


May your marriage last as long as one of these bikes. They are not known for ever wearing out!


A pair of aluminum rims in the 700c size is a popular upgrade to improve braking and reduce the weight, though the fork slots will need widening in order to fit most newer/lighter wheels. I found my own Varsity worthy of such an investment!


These bikes may not be suitable for those who find the need to lift their bikes onto the roof of a car or into and out of the trunk. Most bikes weigh a lot less.


But those other bikes don't have such a functional and sturdy kickstand.
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Old 11-20-17, 05:21 PM
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You obviously know your husband better than we do, but if you catch him looking at other bicycles it could be the start of a long and terrible sickness. Our wives can tell you all about it.
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Old 11-20-17, 05:43 PM
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Seven years ago I got a free Schwinn, girl's bike from a co-worker. I offered it to my wife, but she likes more to use her joging.
So I tried fixing the bike and then I sold it. From that date every year at least one hundred bikes are coming and going to our house.
Half of the garage is mine... The basement is mine...
But she doesn't care at all. This "addiction" is a good support for the house budget.
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Old 11-20-17, 08:24 PM
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Yes, it is probably a Varsity. As another poster mentioned, they can be nice bikes if the wheels are replaced with aluminum ones.

I have a Schwinn Speedster, which used the same frame and parts but had an upright handlebar. Mine has aluminum wheels, and it is really quite nice to ride. I hope you give your new bike a chance!
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Old 11-21-17, 05:40 AM
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The technical specs are unimportant. Ask a foodie about Swansons Hungry Man TV dinner...Im sure your hubby will tweak it so its a pleasureable ride. I like these bikes because of what they represent in American cyclery. Give me a nice Ford Pinto or Chevy Vega to drive and ill be picking the flies btwn my teeth.
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Old 11-21-17, 07:10 AM
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@Scooper can probably tell you more about this one than most of us here. Post a picture of the serial number please, for dating purposes.

Its a Kool Lemon Varsity, looks like its almost all original too, save those tires, Varsity came with black walled tires, IIRC. As said, some aluminum rims laced up to the hubs will give you much better braking, for safety, and use the 700C size standard for ease of finding tires. Those bikes were gateway drugs for a whole bunch of the C&V cycling world, along with its big brother, the Continental (opaque blue here, thank you very much, 1973.)

I am with those that said as its a gift from your husband, it is special. Great evening and weekend project to polish out the aluminum parts with that slight pitting, and clean up everything. Replace the cables and housings, brake pads, tires and tubes, fresh chain, inspect the freewheel for problems, grease the bearings up in the hubs, headset and bottom bracket, then have a ball with this one. But, as mentioned, these bikes are heavy, and durable too.

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Last edited by qcpmsame; 11-21-17 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 11-21-17, 05:48 PM
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Based on the color and components I believe that is either a 1973 or 1975 Varsity Sport, a picture of the serial number on the base of the headtube should confirm. Here are the catalog pages for those years:




Schwinn made millions of Varsities over the years, but that one looks to be mostly original and best of all it is yours.

@qcpmsame note that for '73 and up the Varsity came with gumwall tires.

Last edited by Metacortex; 11-21-17 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 11-21-17, 07:55 PM
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@Metacortex, I knew it changed over to the high pressure gum walls at some point, just never knew the exact year. Appreciate the heads up and the gouge.

I fondly remember those earlier Schwinn Puff gum wall tires ( IIRC they toped out at 85PSI, and that was pushing it), that were on the Continental, Super Sport and Sport Tourer, in the early 70s. I thought they were so cool, until I got to see Gitanes and Bottecchias in 72, my Botty had some really different appearing gum walled tires on it. But back in the beginning those Puffs always intrigued me, so much that I purchased a set for the Sears-Roebuck, Puch built "10-speed", that I began with in 1971. The Bottecchia was my first real "Yurpeen 10-speed bicycle" and it was of to the races, but I just had to buy a Continental in that Opaque Blue as a ride-arounder.

I always found it unusual that Schwinn named their rims for the "Lightweights" tubular steel rims. It just does not seem right.....

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Old 11-21-17, 10:40 PM
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I had a brown Junior Varsity - which was the 24" wheel version of the Varsity - and that was my into to the world of Multi-speed bikes. Alloy rims would be a nice upgrade, but I rode many miles on my bike with steel wheels and I always managed to get it stopped in time. If you do changed rims I would stick with 27" rims because there are still some good quality tires available in the 27" size (such as Panaracer Paselas). Changing to 700C rims would necessitate changing to shorter spokes and hoping the brake pads have enough adjustment left in them to reach the smaller radius 700C rims.

I think people make too big a deal of needing to change their 27" rims to 700C ones. They make it sound like there is something wrong with a bike if it has 27" rims on it. I can't see the sense in changing to 700C rims on a bike like this. Have someone give it a good tune up (or if you know how do it yourself), change the tires, and enjoy the bike!
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Old 11-22-17, 10:44 AM
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I commuted on a similar-era Varsity for a couple of years, including a 12 percent daily climb (Lusk Bl., for those who know the Sorrento Valley - Sorrento Mesa area of San Diego). What made it tolerable for me was a new set of wheels (6-speed freewheel, aluminum rims), KoolStop brake pads, and toeclips and straps. These are good, solid, just about indestructible bikes. The only downsides are the weight and the harsh-riding bladed fork. If you ever come across a similar Continental that is being scrapped, steal its fork for a quickie upgrade.
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Old 11-22-17, 11:31 AM
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Interesting that the OP hasn't responded since we blasted her with all the esoteric details...
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Old 11-22-17, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by taguy4
I had a brown Junior Varsity - which was the 24" wheel version of the Varsity - and that was my into to the world of Multi-speed bikes. Alloy rims would be a nice upgrade, but I rode many miles on my bike with steel wheels and I always managed to get it stopped in time. If you do changed rims I would stick with 27" rims because there are still some good quality tires available in the 27" size (such as Panaracer Paselas). Changing to 700C rims would necessitate changing to shorter spokes and hoping the brake pads have enough adjustment left in them to reach the smaller radius 700C rims.

I think people make too big a deal of needing to change their 27" rims to 700C ones. They make it sound like there is something wrong with a bike if it has 27" rims on it. I can't see the sense in changing to 700C rims on a bike like this. Have someone give it a good tune up (or if you know how do it yourself), change the tires, and enjoy the bike!


On these particular bikes however, the bottom bracket is about the highest that you will ever find. The drop in height is a very good thing on ANY Varsity or Continental, and doesn't even cause a problem with the kickstand's height. No problem with brake pad reach either.
And, since Varsities have such short-reaching frames for their considerable height, any drop in height only opens the possibility of a shorter-legged rider ever finding a good fit on one.
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Old 11-22-17, 07:43 PM
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Oh, the memories! My first 10 speed was a Continental. A bit heavier than the fancy bikes, but rode well and was virtually indestructible. This led to a hobby of collecting broken Varsities and repairing them to provide family and friends with bikes. I even flipped a few. This was also my introduction to bike repair and service plus wheel truing. Many of these bikes got alloy wheels and cockpit components. I remember converting a continental to a three piece crankset. Replacement parts were readily available. I don't think I ever encountered a bent Varsity fork or cracked frame.

Enjoy your bike!

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Old 11-23-17, 10:32 AM
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I loved the old Varsities, got me to and fro in my pre-college days, great, reliable and very heavy bicycles. A product of their time. A 700c conversion would not be remiss.
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