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Looking to Retro-fit my Schwinn Varsity and need advice.

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Looking to Retro-fit my Schwinn Varsity and need advice.

Old 08-06-22, 10:16 AM
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Rasznu
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Looking to Retro-fit my Schwinn Varsity and need advice.

To be honest I dont know much about bikes. I have a "newer" Schwinn Varsity i'm not sure about the year. I want to retro-fit the bike with a new groupset, brakes, seat, etc. I know i'll probably have to bring it into a local bike shop which i'm sure they'll be able to help me out. I'm not sure the exact parts I need to buy, a friend recommended the Shimano 105? Anything reliable is fine as I don't ride for speed but just as exercise and at a somewhat slow pace usually (14-16mph) and usually and in somewhat flat terrain. Not sure if this is even the right place to post, but thank you in advance. I'm also willing to send pictures if needed?
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Old 08-06-22, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Rasznu View Post
To be honest I dont know much about bikes. I have a "newer" Schwinn Varsity i'm not sure about the year. I want to retro-fit the bike with a new groupset, brakes, seat, etc. I know i'll probably have to bring it into a local bike shop which i'm sure they'll be able to help me out. I'm not sure the exact parts I need to buy, a friend recommended the Shimano 105? Anything reliable is fine as I don't ride for speed but just as exercise and at a somewhat slow pace usually (14-16mph) and usually and in somewhat flat terrain. Not sure if this is even the right place to post, but thank you in advance. I'm also willing to send pictures if needed?
Based on what you need, keep the Varsity stock. It's a durable, well made bike that will survive, along with the cockroaches, a nuclear blast.
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Old 08-06-22, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Based on what you need, keep the Varsity stock. It's a durable, well made bike that will survive, along with the cockroaches, a nuclear blast.
The issue is I found the bike in a relative's old garage and the current groupset and stuff is a bit rusty :/
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Old 08-06-22, 10:27 AM
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If it's a "newer" Varsity, it could be a Pacific-era bike. That would greatly simplify the upgrade path. Easiest way to tell would probably be if it has a 1pc crankset or not.
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Old 08-06-22, 10:37 AM
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How would I tell the difference?
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Old 08-06-22, 10:57 AM
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Rasznu , attempt to post some pictures, especially from the right (drive) side of the bike, and showing some detail of the components, esp. the rust damage. The forum will tell you that you can't post, but the pics will end up in your gallery/album here, and one of us can then post them to this thread.

But if you're interested, you should explore the forums more as well, post a few replies on threads of interest to you. After 5 replies each day for two days, you're over the 10 posts, and can post your own pics.
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Old 08-06-22, 11:00 AM
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ok thanks!
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Old 08-06-22, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Rasznu View Post
The issue is I found the bike in a relative's old garage and the current groupset and stuff is a bit rusty :/
I understand, but, like I suggested earlier, the Schwinn Varsity, if you have one of the Made in Chicago models, can withstand any type of abuse. Clean it up and it will ride and shift properly for years to come.

Posting photos of it will make this thread more meaningful
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Old 08-06-22, 11:49 AM
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Ok I think they went through?
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Old 08-06-22, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Rasznu View Post
Ok I think they went through?
I did not see any pictures in your album yet.
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Old 08-06-22, 12:09 PM
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It is highly unlikely that upgrading a Varsity, regardless of era, will be cost effective. Especially if you have a shop do the work, you could buy a much nicer bike with a lighter, better frame and with much nicer parts for a lot less than the cost of your "upgrade." do some reading on the forums and online, start looking at FB and CL -- for example you can find good condition steel Treks in the 400 series for less than $250 with a bit of looking -- focus on that sort of path. If the Varsity is an old one clean it up and useit as an errand bike -- as others have said, they're pretty tough, but will never be fast or light.
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Old 08-06-22, 12:23 PM
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...I couldn't maintain 14-16 mph on an older Varsity, if I were being chased by wolves.
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Old 08-06-22, 12:49 PM
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Just google some Varsity pictures to help you evaluate "newer or Vintage". While a newer , made in Taiwan/China, model might be easier up upgrade, it is only feasible if you can do it yourself. Handing it over to a bicycle shop will cost you. As others said, if you looking to upgrade, you are probably better off searching for another ride option. If maintenance parts need to be replaced, here you can boost up a little with better brake pads, sportier tires, replacing worn out chain and change cables can spruce some life back in it. You mentioned it is more just exercise for you, than just refresh/maintain your bike, maybe give it some new handlebar wrap and fall back in love again
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Old 08-06-22, 01:20 PM
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Photo assist:








We would call that modern. It's... what.... roughly turn-of-the-century? I'm not seeing a lot of rust, and nothing looks really shot. Might need a new chain; only way to know for sure is by measurement.

NB: The "Varsity" most familiar to us in the C&V section is the '70s - early '80s variety, made of "gas pipe" steel and as tough as an Abrams M-1 tank, and weighing approximately the same.
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Old 08-06-22, 01:25 PM
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A bike shop could get that cleaned, lubed, and adjusted for you for not much money. The light rust on there should clean off. Then you can see if you like it and decide if it needs to have more money spent on it.
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Old 08-06-22, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Rasznu View Post
a friend recommended the Shimano 105.

Anything reliable is fine as I don't ride for speed but just as exercise and at a somewhat slow pace.
Ask a more informed friend. Buying a $500 groupset for a $10-$20 frameset isn't sound advice.
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Old 08-06-22, 03:33 PM
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Unless the OP finds a "donor" bike from which a complete groupset can be harvested, the better approach will be for the OP to decide which aspects of the bike's current componentry are sufficiently "sub-standard" so as to warrant replacement.

The wheels, seatpost, derailers and shifters look like somewhat junky parts to me, and those brake levers need hoods or outright replacement!
The handlebar may even be steel.
The wheels are serviceable parts though, if un-damaged (and with the axle nut threads kept lubricated).
There is considerable labor involved with every parts change, and with changing cables and bar-tape.

I will say that the Pacific/Schwinn brand seems to have the very highest standards among box-store bikes in terms of bottom bracket quality, crankset quality, assembly quality and warranty responsiveness. Schwinn usually uses genuine Shimano derailers. And that frame looks ok if the OP fits a 55-56cm frame size.

Wire brushes of the "toothbrush" style (from Harbor Freight) dipped in white vinegar, will clean up the rusted parts pronto (the brass-bristle version is less likely to scratch the surrounding parts finishes).
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Old 08-06-22, 05:19 PM
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The Schwinn Varsity pictured in the previous post is not what I was thinking of. Your bike is a much more modern version and is in great shape. No need for "upgrades". Just clean it up then bring it to a bike shop for a tune up and ride
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