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19__ Chicago Built Schwinn Varsity Restoration

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19__ Chicago Built Schwinn Varsity Restoration

Old 03-11-09, 11:48 AM
  #26  
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Also it seems like Ron, "Zagar Axe" on the Schwinn Forums, had a big pile of Varsity decals at our last swap meet:

https://www3.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/...er.php?u=15939

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Old 03-11-09, 09:52 PM
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Ahh, sorry for the lack of replys, I vastly appreciate all these posts.

I some how misunderstood where the serial number was until I saw the picture, I'll still have to look at it tommorow.

I do however have pictures, although not the best quality, here on my flickr account.

Photo Set
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Old 03-11-09, 10:11 PM
  #28  
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I think you will be surprised at how well the chrome on your schwinn will clean up. I can't tell what is covering the freewheel and rear derailer though.

I'm sorry if this has been mentioned already but if it is in your budget, I think powdercoating would be a great option since you want to change the color. Powdercoating is durable and looks great on the Schwinns since they don't have any lugs. Powdercoating a frame and fork cost around $90.00 in Ohio.

My Collegiate was almost as rusty as your varsity:
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Old 03-11-09, 10:40 PM
  #29  
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Unfortunately, powder coating would be a nice option but I cannot due to my budget. It seems that we have the same head lamp, was that standard on most Schwinns?

I'll post some more picks later of the ram horn handle bars and head lamp as well as the serial number.

if anyone wishes to know what the white crust on some of the components is, that would be dried naval jelly that wants to be stubborn and won't come off.

This weekend should be a major milestone in the project and I should have significant progress (with pictures) possibly with the bike fully assembled. I shall purchase more naval jelly which works quite well, and if you can't tell by the name, was developed by the Navy to remove only rust from ships. They sell a rust preventer which I will no doubt be purchasing, along with new brake pads and cables.

This is really a fault on my part, but is/are there any resources/members that know a Varsity inside and out by heart? The reason I'm asking is about half way through the disassembly I forgot to reattach screws and bolts after I removed the parts, so I really have no idea (besides the handle bar stem) where any of the screws go or in what order to assemble the smaller components such as washers and gaskets.


It seems that one of the nastier things about living in my area is every time I disassemble a piece of the bike, I find a new bug species either living or dead, which really shows that a neglected bike almost becomes part of nature again. Almost makes me wish I had done this about five years ago while the work would probably be about 20% easier then it is now, but I'm still up for the challenge.

Now for a few questions,

Does anyone know where I can get the handle bar tape?

How do I go about removing the end caps on the handle bars?

What paint do you recommend?

Can I find the rubber tubing that covers the break cable running to the rear wheel?

What replacement wheels and tires do you recommend?

how do I go about cleaning out rust that may have gotten down inside the frame?

Where should I store the bike so this does not happen again?

What are the two types of "anchored" strings used for the break and shifter cables?

Does anyone know of a hard body trunk I can attach to the back and lock or add a lock such as a
padlock? (my alturnative is an ammo crate, the area I live in isn't the best so any cargo I may want to park needs to have some sort of theft resistance)

Is there already a commercial/kit turning signal/break signal/headlamp system avaliable for commuter
bikes?

How would I go about restoring the shifter levers?; they show signs of corrosion and severe pitting.

-Thank you in advance for any questions that may be answered
OrenG

(I also appologize for not being up to date on bike tech jargon)

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Old 03-11-09, 10:46 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by OrenG View Post
There is no reason to repaint that, especially if you don't have to cash to powder-coat.

Get some of the same Meguiars Scratch X that Pastor Bob demonstrated earlier, or alternately, purchase some KIT Scratch Out. Either should be available for under $10 from Advance Auto Parts, and other then the additional cost of having numb fingers after polishing, you should find yourself with a frame that will most certainly not need a repaint (and an unnecessary one at that).

EDIT: If you dislike the yellow color that you Varsity has now, use this example to teach yourself basic bike maintenance, then sell it when you've completed it and buy another Varsity in the color that you want - alternately, offer your yellow Varsity in trade for a Varsity in your color.

There is no sense in forcing a bike that isn't what you want into something that is what you want, especially if it takes more effort and time to try to repaint this thing (only to end up with substandard results) when you can seek out another in the color that you do want. Varsities are a dime a dozen - don't make it more difficult then necessary.

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Old 03-11-09, 11:35 PM
  #31  
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Well, I suppose a touch up would be alot less hassle and money.

And besides, what street thug wants to steal a yellow bike in LA?
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Old 03-11-09, 11:42 PM
  #32  
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I would also add, you may be surprised at the amount of money it takes to rehab a bike. After buying tires, cables, grease, bar tape, tubes ect ect. you can expect to be around 50-80 dollars.

I agree not to paint the bike in the first place. A nice paint job will probably cost more than powdercoat and I think it would be a mistake to spray paint it. It takes a whole lot of work and prep to do a nice spray job plus you will have the cost of materials.

Most of the parts you need can be found at any local bike shop. There are good online sources for parts also, here links to some:
Harris Cyclery
Niagara Cycle/
Loose screws

One last thought, I would suggest that you disassemble more of the bike before cleaning the rust. It is easier to focus on one part at a time and to have it off of the bike. Here is an amazing source of DIY bicycle information:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/
Just keep asking questions and we will do our best to help.

-Matt
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Old 03-12-09, 03:59 AM
  #33  
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I have an extra set of shifters I'll send you. PM me your address.

Your most affordable option on wheels is to find a CL or Yard Sale bike for $25-50 or less that has a decent set of aluminum rimmed wheels on it to then move to your Varsity. New wheels have wider spaced hubs and will cost you about $100.

DON'T THROW AWAY the original cables!!!! There are special fittings which hold the cable casings for the rear brake caliper into the frame, specifically the bottom of the toptube. Sometimes it can be hard to find replacements.



You need all new cables. Your most affordable option can be found at WalMart. They usually carry a complete set of cables from Bell. They probably have black casings instead of your original gray ones.

The end caps in the handlebars should pry out with a screw driver. If they are rusted, hit them with some WD-40 and let it soak over night. Tape for the handlebars can be found at your local bike shop (LBS). The original Hunt-Wilde plastic tape can be found on ebay, but IMO, not all that comfortable. I have some rolls of blue I can send you.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:18 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I have an extra set of shifters I'll send you. PM me your address.

Your most affordable option on wheels is to find a CL or Yard Sale bike for $25-50 or less that has a decent set of aluminum rimmed wheels on it to then move to your Varsity. New wheels have wider spaced hubs and will cost you about $100.

DON'T THROW AWAY the original cables!!!! There are special fittings which hold the cable casings for the rear brake caliper into the frame, specifically the bottom of the toptube. Sometimes it can be hard to find replacements.



You need all new cables. Your most affordable option can be found at WalMart. They usually carry a complete set of cables from Bell. They probably have black casings instead of your original gray ones.

The end caps in the handlebars should pry out with a screw driver. If they are rusted, hit them with some WD-40 and let it soak over night. Tape for the handlebars can be found at your local bike shop (LBS). The original Hunt-Wilde plastic tape can be found on ebay, but IMO, not all that comfortable. I have some rolls of blue I can send you.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for the advice, I luckily saved the metal fittings that connect hold the cables in place, although one went down the garbage disposal and got a bit chewed up, it is still intact.
About the wheels,

My father told me before I decided to start this project, that when he was about my age he raced one of his friends with it in a forest hitting all kinds of roots and rocks, severely bending and denting the wheels. I'll have to check and see how bad it actually is but a wheel change may be inevitable.

So indeed, a trip to Wal-Mart this weekend is absolutely necessary.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:20 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
I would also add, you may be surprised at the amount of money it takes to rehab a bike. After buying tires, cables, grease, bar tape, tubes ect ect. you can expect to be around 50-80 dollars.

I agree not to paint the bike in the first place. A nice paint job will probably cost more than powdercoat and I think it would be a mistake to spray paint it. It takes a whole lot of work and prep to do a nice spray job plus you will have the cost of materials.

Most of the parts you need can be found at any local bike shop. There are good online sources for parts also, here links to some:
Harris Cyclery
Niagara Cycle/
Loose screws

One last thought, I would suggest that you disassemble more of the bike before cleaning the rust. It is easier to focus on one part at a time and to have it off of the bike. Here is an amazing source of DIY bicycle information:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/
Just keep asking questions and we will do our best to help.

-Matt
That's actually surprising in that I had expected to play over 150 as I budgeted over 200+ for the project.

More pictures coming on another photo set later tonight, any requests?

I almost forgot, I plan on doing something similar to This for the turn signals and a modified headlamp.

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Old 03-12-09, 10:41 PM
  #36  
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Well,

I have some more progress to report.

I'm happy to say that I finally found out the bike was manufactured on March 9th 1972, almost 37 years old to the day.

I have some more photos on my Flickr account, this time I removed the cargo rack.

Photo Set
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Old 03-12-09, 11:14 PM
  #37  
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There's not a lot of parts on that bike that are salvageable. I would check craigslist for a donor bike or start off with another bike altogether.

The paint on the frame though oxidized could be bought back to life with a good bath, rubbing compound and wax. Check out the bike I cleaned up last week. It wasn't as far gone as yours, but it was looking pretty shabby.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:33 PM
  #38  
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I bet there is still hope for some of those parts, the crank and chain rings should clean up well. I would remove chain and buy a new one, they sell a chain breaker tool at wal-mart....or some bolt cutters would do the trick.

The OP said that some of the goop on the freewheel and derailleur is naval jelly, so it may not be as bad as it looks.
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Old 03-13-09, 07:56 AM
  #39  
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The old Huret rear derailler may need new pulley wheels at the least, and a bath in oxalic acid could not hurt. These deraillers, tho not the best, seem to last a long time and are fairly cheap and common on ebay. Actually, any of the chrome parts could benefit from an oxalic acid bath for a couple days. Dipping the entire bike in oxalic acid will also treat rust inside the tubes. I have a NOS Huret front derailler that would fit the narrow (1") seat tube that is on that bike. Most other deraillers will have too large of a clamp (1 1/8" diameter).
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Old 03-13-09, 10:26 AM
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I'll have to take yet more pictures after I get the entire bike cleaned. It's hard to believe after all the washing and scrubbing I've done, the caked on dirt still hasn't come off, but until I get it down to just the frame I won't be able to tell.

As you can see the seat isn't in the best of conditions, I'm thinking about replacing it with one of those Welcome cargo seats by Selle Assano, seems to be a bit more comfortable. I'm also thinking about adding a Delta Airzound Bike Horn, and getting two water tight ammo cans and mounting them like saddle bags to each side of the cargo rack, using this mod to add locks https://www.klr650.net/forums/showthread.php?p=601694

However all these will come basically last as getting the bike to work as is, is already a tough job.

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Old 03-13-09, 10:29 AM
  #41  
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The layer of oxide on the paint won't come off without the polish mentioned earlier.

-Kurt
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Old 03-13-09, 10:40 AM
  #42  
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So, what size tires and inter tubes will I be needing?
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Old 03-13-09, 10:43 AM
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27" tires, but before you go buying tires & tubes, sometimes when you score a good donor bike off of craigslist they have decent rubber on them.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:49 AM
  #44  
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Well, craigslist doesn't really sound that good at the moment since everyone in my area thinks vintage Schwinns that are all rusty and beat up are worth 400+

I would prefer new tires and intertubes anyway since I know they have not been used and there isn't anything wrong with them, plus I don't really want another bike in my backyard.
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Old 03-13-09, 11:23 AM
  #45  
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The tires are 27" x 1-1/4".

Harris Cyclery has a good selection of 27" x 1-1/4" tires from $20 up, and they also carry inner tubes.

Since the steel rims on your Varsity are straight-sided (e.g. they don't have "hook edges"), you're going to be limited to tire pressures of about 70 - 75 psi or less. You should make sure you buy tires with wire beads instead of Kevlar beads, since Kevlar is more flexible and Kevlar bead tires will pop off the straight-sided rims at lower pressures than steel bead tires.

Later, if you decide to keep the bike, you might consider rebuilding your wheels with 27" alloy hook-edge rims like the Sun CR-18. These rims are much lighter than your steel rims, brake better in wet weather, and have hook-edges so you can inflate the tires to 120 psi. Putting alloy rims on your bike is probably the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade you can make.
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Old 03-13-09, 11:50 AM
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Niagra bike web page also has some 27 X 1 1/4 (and 1 3/8) tires that will work good, for less than $20.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:44 PM
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I think everybody has been tip-toeing around the issue. Frankly you are polishing a turd. Sorry to be so blunt, but you are putting good money after bad with this project.
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Old 03-13-09, 04:09 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by yepyep View Post
I think everybody has been tip-toeing around the issue. Frankly you are polishing a turd. Sorry to be so blunt, but you are putting good money after bad with this project.
I have not tip-toed around anything!

If Oren wants to restore his Dad's Varsity, especially as his first restoration, I say the more I and others can assist him on this project, the better. Personally, I'm sending my spare Varsity bits his way to help him out with his, and I'm covering the postage.

yepyep, you owe Oren, a budding teenage C&Ver, a big apology. Come on, man-up!
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Old 03-13-09, 04:27 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by yepyep View Post
I think everybody has been tip-toeing around the issue. Frankly you are polishing a turd. Sorry to be so blunt, but you are putting good money after bad with this project.
No way, I seriously like the old Schwinns, my Collegiate qualifies as one of the biggest turds in the Schwinn line up and I have chosen to keep it over better bikes. I would be doing the same as the OP if I were in his shoes, just with a eye on my budget is all.

Don't worry Oren, it is a quality made bicycle, it may not win you races but it is solid.

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Old 03-13-09, 11:19 PM
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This weekend I plan on heading to Wal-Mart and a few more stores for parts, tools and chemicals.

So far I have an extensive list, but I can't be sure that I have everything I need or specifics, so if you'll bear with me, I'd like anyone to point out anything that might help me in the long run or short term wise.

The items in red are for sure to buys, blues are in need of specifics if any, and greens are accessories.

Naval Jelly
Rust Preventer
Foam Chrome Rust Remover
Polishing Cloths
Brush
Ammo containers
Blub/LEDS
Switch for headlamp



paint for touching up? (brand/type/color)
Brake Pads (brand/type)
Inter Tubes (size)
Tires (possibly already known)
New Seat (need seat post size)
Shifter Cables (length/anchor type)
Brake Cables (length/anchor type)
Chain (possible gauge or size/length/number of links?)


Schwinn or X Company speedometer/computer
Wal-Mart LED lamps
Turn Signals
Horn/Bell/Buzzer (Delta AirZound)


https://www.flickr.com/photos/31596229@N05/3353244030/

So far I've removed the back wheel and I'm working on removing the chain, cleaning out the gear changer and gear assembly, this is the major bulk of getting the bike to be even half usable.

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