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Dumpster-find Varsity back on road....

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Dumpster-find Varsity back on road....

Old 07-13-22, 03:58 PM
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beng1
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Dumpster-find Varsity back on road....

This is the Varsity I found behind a local restaurant a few weeks ago along with a MTB and a Bianch road-bike. Over the last 24 hours I swapped another set of wheels onto it, but kept the axles because the spare set had quick-release axles and I had no skewers for them, which just gave me a chance to CLA the wheel bearings. I put on a set of worn but not-cracked tires I had in the garage, did some work on the brakes and lubed a few things and have been riding it around the hood this afternoon. Now I will find it a new home where it's future will be assured. It is an inch or two too small for me. I really like this Emerald Green paint on this thing.


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Old 07-13-22, 04:27 PM
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P.S.; Wheel swap was in order because the front had broken spokes and the rear rim was badly dented. The wheels I put on it may have been off another Schwinn as they were the same "Normandy" brand alloy hubs as the originals. As a bonus the replacement wheels have almost no rust on them.
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Old 07-13-22, 06:26 PM
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The rusted stem looks scary but I bet that paint would look fine after a wax!

Love to see a rescue
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Old 07-13-22, 07:32 PM
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Nice find on that Varsity @beng1. Thanks for the pictures. Schwinn candy apple paints were both flashy and subdued. There is not much or no pinstriping, just the decal on the fork (you have a later version w/o the fork dart). But the paint really shines when it is clean. This should be a great riding bike. The geometry is more "laid back" than modern bikes. The stem looks good, I had a bunch of rust on my Continental and it came off with Turtle Wax Chrome Cleaner. I know most people go for the aluminum foil and I will say that I have also, but on delicate parts the aluminum foil can leave scratches. But scratches are better than rust. The crankset should clean up real nice. You might want to try the Turtle Wax Chrome Cleaner there.

I used Jagwire cable and housings in ice gray for both the shifters and the brakes to keep the original look.

How is the Huret rear derailleur working? When they are clean and lubed they are supposed to shift pretty good. I have one for my Continental, but couldn't avoid the temptation to put a SunTour on it. I kept the front Huret and that shifts great.

Getting shifter cables can be a problem. Most bike shops don't carry that size or even know that it exists. If you cannot find it, you could take a mountain bike shift cable and file it to fit in the Schwinn/Huret Twin Stik shifter.

Since you started a new thread, please use it for updates and ride reports. We love to see how a project moves along and/or how you like an old bike.

If you have more questions on Varsinentals, please ask. If you just want to ride it and are happy with it now, enjoy your new ride.
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Old 07-13-22, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Nice find on that Varsity [
Velo, Thank-you for all of your input. If you read my initial posts, you would know the bike is too small for me and so I am sending it down the road asap. My only mission was to get the bike in good enough shape so that someone could use it, or have enough interest in it to preserve it. I had fun getting it rideable and riding it, it shifts fine and everything works. It will be up to the next owner to take it to a higher level. The bike had a lot of markings from the factory on it's top and bottom frame tubes, but they were badly deteriorated and I took most of what was left of them off with Scotchbrite to make the bike look better. I ran the serial number on the bike and it is from 1979.
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Old 07-13-22, 08:41 PM
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Wow, lime-green, my favorite Schwinn color!

After building and riding many miles on my own green Varsity resto-mod bike, I long searched for a 24" frame in the same color.
I did recently find and buy one (complete bike in VG condition) from it's original owner's brother, ...even got the original paperwork on it from the guy a couple of months later since he works in my town, well up the highway quite a ways from his residence.

Post-1964 or so, Schwinn touted these bike's "more upright" geometry, to the tune of 1/2- or 1-degree steeper frame angles iir.

Your bike having it's shift cables routed atop the down tube means it's 1974 or later as I remember, and I've got a nearly-stock grey/silver 1975 model in 24" frame size of my own. Mine came from Salvation Army thrift store for $20, about 12 years back, and has since been ridden quite a bit (2-3k miles is a lot for bikes in my collection).
My modifications include longer stem, leather saddle, 6s freewheel (derailer modified for longer travel), 9s chain, clipless pedals, lever hoods, bottle cage, Garmin and 1" cut from each end of the handlebars.
Decals for Varsities were available on Ebay the last time that I looked (I only needed part of the ensemble to make my 1975 model perfect).

These Varsities bring a lot of fun to my club's spirited rides in the foothills. I get a kick out of riders doing the "lift test" on it, only to have the wheels perhaps not even clear the ground(!).

Last edited by dddd; 07-13-22 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by beng1 View Post
Velo, Thank-you for all of your input. If you read my initial posts, you would know the bike is too small for me and so I am sending it down the road asap. My only mission was to get the bike in good enough shape so that someone could use it, or have enough interest in it to preserve it. I had fun getting it rideable and riding it, it shifts fine and everything works.
Yea, I missed that. Although, I am still not seeing that now. But good luck with it.

One of the things that I find rewarding about flipping bikes is that I get to recalibrate how I think about certain bikes. I always thought that the Varsity's and Continental were not worthy.

Now, given the perspective of 40 or so years, Now, I am liking the Varsity's, Continentals and Suburbans.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Yea, I missed that. Although, I am still not seeing that now. But good luck with it.

One of the things that I find rewarding about flipping bikes is that I get to recalibrate how I think about certain bikes. I always thought that the Varsity's and Continental were not worthy.

Now, given the perspective of 40 or so years, Now, I am liking the Varsity's, Continentals and Suburbans.
yep, me too. and i wish Schwinn were still around; i grew up with Varsity/Continentals. never bought one but went with a Nishiki International instead.

the stem shifters were a plus IMHO, and my Nishiki had them too. the shifters on the Varsity look rather beefy as if they were serious for the job, metal derailleurs too on an entry level bike.

if Schwinn had not gone with electro forged bikes i think they still might be around today. currently i ride a Fuji Touring 9 speed, quite heavy because 'steel is real', but i like the ride with bigger touring tires, especially the 36mm bontragers on the front.

if i happen to see an old schwinn cheap, i just may pick it up; great nostalgia of a better day in the 70's.
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Old 07-14-22, 02:30 PM
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Moving up in the world.

My first year racing there was a guy with a Continental and Phil Wood hubs with tubulars.
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Old 07-14-22, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Wow, lime-green, my favorite Schwinn color!Your bike having it's shift cables routed atop the down tube means it's 1974 or later as I remember,These Varsities bring a lot of fun to my club's spirited rides in the foothills. I get a kick out of riders doing the "lift test" on it, only to have the wheels perhaps not even clear the ground(!).
The green varsity at the thread start is a 1979 model, it may be one of the last years the varsity was sold? I just looked at it's original hubs and they were date-stamped, the front from 79' and the rear from 78', the front hub was made in Japan and the rear in France, so they had a lot of different parts sources it looks like. Since I am probably considered a "clydesdale" rider at 200+ pounds and over 6'2", a heavier bike does not bother me that much, I just got a 19.5mph average in a time-trial on my 1973 24" Huffy Scout, which weighs about the same as a Varsity. If there is a smaller person living in hilly country, a varsity may be too heavy for them to enjoy as much as a lighter bike like a World Sport etc..
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Old 07-15-22, 03:21 PM
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Win-win. I gave the bike to a guy who rides a route I frequently ride, a 12.x mile-loop. He was working on riding the loop faster and faster over time. When i first met him he was trying to ride it in under 50 minutes. Today I saw him and he said he was riding it at about 47 minutes, which would be about 16mph, this was sitting bolt-upright on a mountain-bike, so he was a pretty strong rider as he would often ride around the loop at that speed twice, or go for even longer rides of over 30 miles on other local routes. I told him if he could learn to ride a road-bike and stay down on the dropped bars he could get another couple mph, but he said he could not afford another bike right now, so now he does not have to, he has an emerald-green Schwinn Varsity. He is in his early 60s, and said when he was younger he had a Schwinn road bike, so it seemed a good fit. He is gong to ride the bike and try getting used to riding that style again. It will be interesting seeing how he does with it.
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