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My 43 pound Schwinn Varsity

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My 43 pound Schwinn Varsity

Old 08-12-05, 01:01 PM
  #26  
Totoro
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Originally Posted by imabeliever1
This was one of my lighter Schwins of the gaspipe variety.
32# as it sits here. Pretty nice ride really.

That's a fine looking bike you have there.
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Old 08-12-05, 03:22 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by gregtheripper
IFor those who own one, did the drop bar version come with fenders also? Because mine doesn't have them but it looks like there is a tab for mounting a rear fender by the kickstand.
Fenders were an option.
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Old 08-12-05, 06:25 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Greybeard
Fenders were an option.
Varsities could be ordered with fenders, although I don't think fenders were very popular from the mid 1970's on.

Yes, the tab you mention is for mounting a fender.
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Old 08-13-05, 12:48 PM
  #29  
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A Varsity can be quite valuable when mixing the proper amounts of desperation and delusion. I submit the following for one last yuk…. https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...romZR40QQfviZ1

Once more, I apologize for dredging this one up!
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Old 10-02-15, 07:12 AM
  #30  
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What really killed Schwinn not cheaper imports!

Originally Posted by Walter View Post
"Hot-rodding" a Varsity the way John E. describes was a pretty common thing back in the late 70s and early 80s. As John said you'll have the best Varsity around but it's still pretty darn heavy. The crank conversion will probably knock another 2# off but you're still on the wrong side of 30.

What killed them was lower priced imports. I bought a Motobecane Nomade that even with steel rims came in at 28#. . Switching to alum alloy wheels got me probably a bit under 27# and with the the new wheels I was under 250$ out the door. Not light at all except when compared to a Varsity that was similarly priced and then it seemed as if I were riding on a cloud.

Things like a SunTour Superbe RD and Barcons came later and made the bike better but not much lighter. Friends on Varsitys would start saving up for a Euro or maybe Japanese import and the writing was on the wall.


I lived in Chicago most of my life were Schwinn made it's home and manufactured. Let me first say I am pro-union solely because I believe in a living wage for people. That said as the story goes the AFL-CIO happened to unionize the workers in the factory. They did. The first demands were to get the wages as autoworkers at the time in Michigan. This was cause to close and sell the business. Bicycle prices didn't demand the same profit margins as automobiles. A sad situation. Schwinn was evolving and had some pretty nice high end bikes such as the Paramount. Varsity's and I had one as a child were meant to be entry level bikes whom since there existence quality wise has never been achieved by these garbage imports at that price point. Aside from getting all hung up over weight were indestructible and looked pretty nice as well.
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Old 10-02-15, 08:04 AM
  #31  
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Ten years!
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Old 10-02-15, 12:24 PM
  #32  
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Schwinn Varsity ten-speeds were built to survive a potential nuclear holocaust. That, and the prolific production rate in their heyday accounts for so many of them still being around, particularly in urban and suburban areas in the USA.

Taking mass away from them means removing steel and replacing with aluminum, wherever and whenever possible, preferably at lowest possible cost. It's very hard to do with that bike without taking away functionality at the same time. Wheel replacement is the best option.
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Old 10-02-15, 03:01 PM
  #33  
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wheel replacement is a good choice.

frameset replacement is an even better one.
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Old 10-02-15, 03:42 PM
  #34  
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Clicked on this post blind and saw a post from Sidney. Made me realize how long it's been since he left us.

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Old 10-03-15, 01:06 AM
  #35  
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It may take some work to make a Varsity into a pleasant bike to ride, but forget about trying to lighten it up! They can be great bikes, they are great heavy bikes that's all.

I would focus on getting the shifting and brakes operating well, and having comfortable saddle, bars, stem and bar tape, so it adds up to a cohesive and comfortable vehicle. I did mine one part at a time.

My 1976 is still wearing ALL the heavy parts, but has completed 50-mile rides in very hilly terrain.

My 1964 got the hot-rod treatment, weights just under 32lbs with kickstand, but it is too small of a frame for me, mostly since the frame angles are so laid-back.
I wouldn't bother with a Varsity that didn't seem to be on the quite-large side of a rideable frame size. The forward reach and position over the pedals tends to too rearward on any but the largest-fitting frames!



Last edited by dddd; 10-03-15 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 10-03-15, 07:09 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by sydney View Post
Now you have spent more than a much better semi vintage oriental bike would go for at a garage sale,and you still have a 34 pound piece of junk.
My brother did quite well riding a Varsity on TOSRV. 210 miles over two days. The motor was in pretty good shape.
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Old 10-03-15, 07:40 AM
  #37  
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I had a 10 speed Schwinn Suburban in the early 70's. It was basically a varsity with flat bars, wider seat and fenders. It was a tank but I couldn't kill it. Imagine my surprise 43 years later when I buy my next Schwinn and realize the quality has gone down .... a lot.. I bought my current Schwinn before I found this site or did much research. I had no idea it was made in China until it was delivered and I saw the sticker. My current Schwinn (network 3.0) is still a tank though as far as all up weight.. Some things never change.
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Old 10-03-15, 09:23 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
Schwinn Varsity ten-speeds were built to survive a potential nuclear holocaust.
All that would be left is cockroaches and Keith Richards riding a Varsity...
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Old 10-04-15, 09:26 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
Clicked on this post blind and saw a post from Sidney. Made me realize how long it's been since he left us.

Top
When old threads get resurrected that happens. Bittersweet.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:18 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Walter View Post
When old threads get resurrected that happens. Bittersweet.
this is great, so glad I came across this thread. I have been riding so many bikes, bought and sold. There is one bike though in my collection that will never be sold off. Something about a classic Chicago steel bike that is just awesome.
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Old 12-27-18, 01:25 AM
  #41  
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Wow this is a old thread but interesting to me. I bought my wife a new Suburban in about 1980. We still have the bike and even the receipt somewhere. I think it was about $300. It was only a 5 speed and had the Shimano FFS. I thought it was pretty cool to be able to shift coasting. I bought a department store Huffy 10 speed road bike. It was not near as nice and smooth as her bike. We put kid carriers on them and hauled our little ones around a lot. The Schwinn is in our shed sort of rusty but still operational. She has a fairly new hybrid that she rides a little. I have thought about restoring her Schwinn but I doubt she would ride it much and its probably not worth much more than scrap value. Makes me sort of sad.
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Old 12-27-18, 05:29 AM
  #42  
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Heck I'm tempted to buy one after reading this thread . . .
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Old 12-27-18, 10:57 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Heck I'm tempted to buy one after reading this thread . . .
Carbon wheels, fork, bars, stem, seatpost, brakes, cranks... I wanna see a Varsity below 23lbs. I may have to be the one who does it though. How much does the frame by itself weigh? I shall research and come up with the theoretical minimum.
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Old 12-27-18, 11:03 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
Carbon wheels, fork, bars, stem, seatpost, brakes, cranks... I wanna see a Varsity below 23lbs. I may have to be the one who does it though. How much does the frame by itself weigh? I shall research and come up with the theoretical minimum.
You may have to change your screen name if you put your Varsity on a carbon diet . . . .

Just sayin.
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Old 12-27-18, 11:03 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by jhota View Post
after reading this and the "improved varsity" thread, i want to get a varsity and rebuild it with all DA 10. just 'cause it would prove i was nuts.
Don't stop there; Go all the way: Varsity with Di2!
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Old 12-27-18, 11:25 AM
  #46  
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There have been some interesting "lightweight" Varsity builds done in the past, but has anyone taken a slack-angled fillet brazed custom frame and decaled it as a Varsity for giggles?

-Kurt
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Old 12-27-18, 12:37 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
Carbon wheels, fork, bars, stem, seatpost, brakes, cranks... I wanna see a Varsity below 23lbs. I may have to be the one who does it though. How much does the frame by itself weigh? I shall research and come up with the theoretical minimum.
A full weight-weenie build on a Varsity frame could be pretty darn light, but would depend (to the tune of 3#) on whether or not you used the forged fork.
Any replacement fork will need a lot of rake to keep the steering sharp, maybe 55mm or so(?).

I've always kept the original fork, crankset and kickstand but found 32lbs easy to achieve at low cost if the right donor bike (or parts) is at hand.

700c wheels are a practical change, especially since the bottom bracket height of these bikes is extremely high.

Go as big on frame size (standover) as you are comfortable with, since the reach dimension on these bikes is quite short, and further because handling really suffers with a stem longer than 9cm or so (due to the geometry).

Frame decals are available, and these frames are quite simple to repaint/powdercoat with their smooth joints.
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Old 12-27-18, 01:21 PM
  #48  
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Did some research, here's what I found:
Frame-8lbs (ish)
Everything else to make it monstrously light:
Lew wheels-680g
thm scapula fork-260g
Tune Speedneedle Skyracer saddle-69g
NoRa stem (90mm)-107g
thm fibula brakes-120g
thm clavicula cranks-298g
Fibre-Lyte carbon chainrings (53/39)-40g
AeroLite ti TT pedals-61g
Campy Record FD-75g
SRAM Red RD-145g stock
YBN titanium chain-210g
Modolo Kronos carbon DT shifters-35g
CLB brake levers-156g

I omitted the seatpost, BB, and cassette because the seatpost would need to be custom carbon. The cassette will vary based on where you live and what you want. The BB I was too lazy to find. Everything else is the lightest I could find (aside from the FD, RD, and brake levers).

The number you have been waiting for...
13.3 pounds!
adding in the omitted stuff brings it to probably 14 pounds.
Let's get to it!
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Old 12-27-18, 01:37 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
There have been some interesting "lightweight" Varsity builds done in the past, but has anyone taken a slack-angled fillet brazed custom frame and decaled it as a Varsity for giggles?

-Kurt
Best disguise trick as the seatpost clamp, kickstand and rear dropouts would look the part would be a Super Sport frame of the same era and paint identify it as a Varsity.
Even will have the oversized bottom bracket.
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Old 12-27-18, 03:11 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Don't stop there; Go all the way: Varsity with Di2!
And do a lot of drillium on one!!! And a Campy gruppo!!!!
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