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Old Schwinn

Old 07-27-11, 09:33 PM
  #1  
tuxfan212
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Old Schwinn

Hey everyone,

Today I picked up an old schwinn bicycle. I probably got a better deal on it than almost anyone has ever gotten on any bike. I was PAID to remove it. There was an older gentlemen and is wife that both use walkers, I was helping them move a few boxes (and this bike) from one house to another. So after all was said and done he paid me 45$ and filled the tank in my Jeep, and gave me this bicycle.

Well, I was toying around with the idea of purchasing a bike on Craigslist to replace my Walmart Schwinn that I bought when I was 12. I wanted a fast commuter bike to get me back and forth to work, because it was only about 4 miles and gas as you all know is very expensive. Now my old walmart schwinn served me well for what it was, and it is still in decent shape with more than 5000 miles on it. However, this old schwinn seems to be a much better fit for me and I will be giving the old walmart schwinn to my father to replace his really crappy walmart bike.

So, this old schwinn varsity doesnt seem to be worth much but people seem to like them alright. Plus this one is in very good condition and 100% completely original. It even has the orignal tires, that suprisingly still hold air and are only somewhat dry rotted (have to love older people and garages). According to one website it was built in June, 1970 which makes it quite a bit older than I am.

I plan on keeping many of the original parts and restoring it a little bit. Although I want to turn it into more of a commuter so I will probably get fenders, a chain gaurd, and a rack for it. I may keep the drop bars though. Should I keep the original derailurs? Also do you guys restore the chrome and paint on these? I don't really want to repaint it because the paint really is not in that bad of condition. What other upgrades/changes do you guys think I should make that won't cost me an arm and a leg on my measly college budget?

Also, I do not want to get banned from this forum so without further ado here are some pics. Sorry for them being attachments. I will upload them to picasa later and move them out here.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:43 PM
  #2  
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Not much to be gained changing derailleurs, the originals might be a bit heavy but they're usually quite functional.

Clean it, grease it, recable it and give it fresh rubber and then ride the wheels off it, they're heavy bikes but indestructible and fairly comfortable.

Alloy wheels will make a big difference if you want a good place to start upgrading and Schwinn chrome and paint clean up beautifully in most cases.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:44 PM
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very nice score.. heh nice to see some aren't getting turned into fixies.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:49 PM
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Congratulations on acquiring your Schwinn, and welcome to C&V, tuxfan212.

The first thing you need to do is replace the tires - it is very unpleasant to lose a front tire and have the inner tube wrap itself around your front caliper 16x before catapulting you over the bars while careening down hill.

The second thing is NOT to repaint it. You will negate the vintage appeal/value of the bike if you do.

Next, service the crank, wheel and headset bearings. Grease does not last 40 years and if you run them dry you will damage things.

You can remove rust from chrome with Oxalic Acid (or even vinegar). Aluminum foil is purported to do alright also.

I would not consider spending money "upgrading" the parts on your Varsity if I were you. The parts you have on it may not be so sophisticated, but they are very solid and bulletproof (like the rest of the bike) - That is in large measure the appeal of a Varsity to begin with. The only possible exception would be the wheels - Alloy wheels provide a better ride and much better braking in wet conditions.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:13 PM
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dont repaint it, manufacturers use a higher grade paint than you can reasonably get your hands on, also if you dont completely strip, primer, paint , and top coat it'll look awful, and even then the paint will scratch off easily. keep the deraillers, just get some tri-flow from your LBS and lube the pivots. new tires definitely, old tires will blow out. also, skip the fenders and chainguard, they're just gonna rattle and bend and get in the way, especially on a commuter.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:18 PM
  #6  
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I have this same bike in the back of my truck; I'm going to deliver it to a buddy tomorrow. It is orange and not in a good of shape as yours. My buddys plan is to make a single speeder out of his by removing the inner chainring from the from the crank and installing a set of alloy wheels with a coaster brake set up (alloy to improve the braking power of the hand brakes). He wants to create an anti-hipster townie grocery getter. Plus something he can jump curbs with if he wants to. He is NOT going to repaint it; the patina is a gift from father time, and in his opinion add character to the bike. Repainting it does not.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:19 PM
  #7  
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Welcome to the C&V forum of BF, tuxfan. You got a great deal.

Auchen and FORDSVTPARTS speak the truth. That bike will last you a long, long time if you put just a little effort into it. There are various threads in the C&V forum regarding the use of oxalic acid for rust removal, and of the type of waxes preferred by some members for the best results. Schwinn's paint and chrome plating were of the highest quality for mass-produced bikes. Myself, I like Barkeeper's Friend for cleaning off rust by hand - the active ingredient is oxalic acid, and the cleanser is available in any supermarket for $2 a can.

You will find that the Schwinn Varsity is one of the most polarizing bicycles on this forum; some swear by them, and some swear at them. Some won't touch 'em. Nearly everyone agrees that their heavy durability is simultaneously their advantage and their disadvantage.

One member put it this way to another newbie who had acquired his first Varsity:

"Congratulations!
The good news is that your Schwinn is built like a tank.
The bad news is that your Schwinn is built like a tank."
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Old 07-27-11, 10:21 PM
  #8  
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Ok, I plan to tear it down a bit, Clean it, and regrease everything. I will keep all of the original parts but for the sake of keepng this bike classic, would you guys say that it is ok to rewrap the handlebars. The old wraps aren't falling apart but are a little worn... I am going to see how I like the saddle before deciding to replace it or not. Also, waiting to see how I adjust to drop bars before messing around with new handlebars. My question about the derailurs was really just to see what you guys thought about their durability. Mainly because my wally world bike's derailurs really do truly suck and have grenaded on me more than once.

I was not planning on repainting it... there are a few nicks in the paint job that have cause small rust divets. Although it might as well be in mint shape for 41 years old. What do you guys do to clean up the paint. Also the original decals are there but when I was wiping some of the garage crap of the bike with a soft cloth I noticed that the cloth smeared the decals a bit. Also it has the original bike shop sticker thing below the seat on the tube. I will get a picture when I get back from a short vacation across the state.

What do you guys recomend for new treads anyway? If I upgrade to alloy rims can I/Should I go with 700cm rims or just try to find 27" rims? Also, I have done a lot of stuff to bicycles in the repair department but not much in the restoration department. So my question is where do I find new cables fairly cheap that match the bike?

Just so y'all know where I am riding, I live in Florida near the coast so its flat as a pancake. However, after I finish hear at the community college I will be transfering to FSU up in Tallahasee, FL where I will probably take this bike. It has more hills up there but nothing I can't handle.

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Old 07-27-11, 10:22 PM
  #9  
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That bike appears to be in very good condition.

Varsities draw a lot of emotional responses. Some people hate them. Some love them. I don't hate or love them, but I respect them. They were very, very well built, but they're built to last rather than built to be fast. I suspect they were designed for 13 year old bikes who were sure to abuse their bikes.

Don't change much at first. In time, you'll know what you need to change. Tires are the first thing. Then maybe get some toe clips.

Money is better spent on a new bike. So keep this as your beater. If you want a fast bike, wait until you can afford it. This one will serve you for a lifetime if you just care for it.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:38 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
That bike appears to be in very good condition.

Varsities draw a lot of emotional responses. Some people hate them. Some love them. I don't hate or love them, but I respect them. They were very, very well built, but they're built to last rather than built to be fast. I suspect they were designed for 13 year old bikes who were sure to abuse their bikes.

Don't change much at first. In time, you'll know what you need to change. Tires are the first thing. Then maybe get some toe clips.

Money is better spent on a new bike. So keep this as your beater. If you want a fast bike, wait until you can afford it. This one will serve you for a lifetime if you just care for it.
Anything is faster than a super high geared mountain bike. When I had a cycle computer on my old walmart bike, pedleing as fast as I could I was hitting about 22 MPH.
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Old 07-28-11, 06:35 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by tuxfan212 View Post
Also, I do not want to get banned from this forum so without further ado here are some pics. Sorry for them being attachments. I will upload them to picasa later and move them out here.
No reason to. Just post your new ones from Picasa. You can find OEM Schwinn green bar tape. Just search for Hunt Wilde Campus Green Bar Tape.



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Fenders protect you from tire splatter. Mudguards protect you from tyre splatter.







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Old 07-28-11, 06:51 AM
  #12  
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I don't see a lot of rust on this bike. It should clean up nicely with some cheap paste wax and metal polish. Be careful around the decals. They look like they might rub off easily if you apply too much pressure. Schwinn chrome and paint is incredibly durable. The bar tape is still easy to find.

I put upright bars, alloy 700C wheels, and a springy B-73 saddle on my 65 Varsity and it's now an enjoyable bike to cruise the neighborhood on.
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Old 07-28-11, 06:58 AM
  #13  
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Congrats. I agree with the others about replacing the tires.
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Old 07-28-11, 07:20 AM
  #14  
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A comfy saddle and some new padded bar tape (just put it right over top of the green wrap and you can keep the originality)
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Old 07-28-11, 08:02 AM
  #15  
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Ok here are very specific pictures.


Original sticker

This is the most rust I could find on the bike. There are 2 more knicks farther up on the top rail also.
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Old 07-28-11, 08:06 AM
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Thats what I was referring to when I said it smeared a little bit.



I think I am going to get a brown saddle and grip tape. I just have to decide what saddle...

So what saddles do you guys like for under 50$ preferably in brown.
How is this one?
https://www.amazon.com/Selle-Royal-Cl...862623&sr=1-42
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Old 07-28-11, 08:21 AM
  #17  
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Go here for repair and maintenance tips: https://sheldonbrown.com/ and especially here: https://sheldonbrown.com/repair/index.html

Here is info on your one piece crank, aka Ashtabula. https://sheldonbrown.com/opc.html If you are going to go to the trouble of regreasing the bottom bracket, I'd replace the ball bearings, too.

I'd go with 27" wheels so you don't have to replace the brakes. Alloy wheels will be lighter and braking will be much improved.

I would replace the brake pads, the old ones are most likely hard as bricks.

Hopefully someone here can give you some tips on making those turkey levers work better. I don't recommend them but others say they are okay.

Good luck!
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Old 07-28-11, 10:25 AM
  #18  
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I have the same bike. You can get tires for it, and everything else, dirt cheap from Niagara Cycle Works... https://www.niagaracycle.com/ order everything you need at one time to save on shipping and handling charges. Tires are about $7 each, tubes about $2.50 each, brake pads start at about $2/pair, cables about $1 each, and a "Pleitscher" style rack (the type this bike would have had back in 1970) are about $12. These bikes aren't the greatest on hills, but fine on level terrain. Can't ask for a better commuter bike for a short 4 mile ride. They are one of the easiest bikes in the world to work on, indestructable, and are fairly easy to get parts for. Plus, yours is a "classic" bike from the 1970s. When cleaning it, try not to use anything too abrasive on the paint and chrome. If worse comes to worse, though, a wet and soapy Brillo pad will work on the chrome surfaces. A coat of car wax on everything can't hurt.

From the 1970 catalog ... https://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1...0/index12.html ...

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Old 07-28-11, 04:29 PM
  #19  
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I like Kit Scratch Out for the paint and Bronze wool with a little WD 40 or PB blaster on the chrome. The difference between 27s and 700s is just 4mm (or is it 8?) at the brakes. There might be enough room to slide your pads down to reach the 700s.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:09 PM
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It's a 4mm difference in radius therefore an 8mm difference in diameter. The brake shoes care about radius.
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Old 07-31-11, 08:32 PM
  #21  
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My first bike was a no name coaster bike, perhaps from someplace like Montgomery Wards. However, my second bike, that I got when I was about 11 or 12, was a Schwinn Varsity. I must have been the ideal demographic for it because I rode and abused the heck outta it, but that thing never quit on me. Kept it until I was 19, and by then it was way too small for me. Traded it in when I bought a new 1986 Giant-made Schwinn World Sport that I still have.

I must say, that green Varsity is one beautiful bike. You definitely scored.
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Old 07-31-11, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Tux, I'll echo what the others said. Your Varsity is in great shape. Replace the rubber, cables, and brake shoes; grease the bearings; and ride the snot out of it. It won't let you down.

Back when I was a working Schwinn mechanic, we used Quick-Glo to clean the chrome. It worked great, and it's still available: https://www.quick-glo.com/
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Old 08-01-11, 01:44 PM
  #23  
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Ok, well unfortunately I am still away from the bike for about 3-4 more days. Although I ordered some cheaper Sunlite white wall tires and tubes so those should come shortly after I come home. I am going to ride it a bit with just new tires and tubes and see what else I want to replace. I know all of you ave said the brake cables need to be replaced but I have used bikes with stiff cables before and these actually have very little friction in them... The brake pads are really quite bad but I have held off on ordering them because I think I have a set in the garage that can go on. The saddle did not seem that uncomfortable for a 1-2 mile ride but I have to actually ride it before I do anything else.
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Old 08-05-11, 09:01 PM
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Tore the bike down to the frame and used some kit polish on it. Looks very nice with just a few small scratches left.

I replaced the tires with white walls, changed the brake pads, changed the brake cables, and put on a cycle computer. Most of the chrome cleaned up nicely. Also, I cleaned and regreased all the bearings and such. The chain was kind of messed up when I got it and it broke so I have to pick up a new one tomorrow. I am still going to rewrap the handle bars in a white gel tape, Maybe change the brake cable housings to white (the black ones came with the kit I bought but I prefer white), pack the hubs with grease (should have done it when the rims were off the bike but I got excited and through it all back together), refinish the kick stand, get a rear rack, and get a water bottle holder. The saddle seems alright so I will ride around on it abit before replacing it (if I do replace it). Here is a pic.
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Old 08-06-11, 12:43 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
I have this same bike in the back of my truck; I'm going to deliver it to a buddy tomorrow. It is orange and not in a good of shape as yours. My buddys plan is to make a single speeder out of his by removing the inner chainring from the from the crank and installing a set of alloy wheels with a coaster brake set up (alloy to improve the braking power of the hand brakes). He wants to create an anti-hipster townie grocery getter. Plus something he can jump curbs with if he wants to. He is NOT going to repaint it; the patina is a gift from father time, and in his opinion add character to the bike. Repainting it does not.
You can't remove the inner chainring unless you replace the crank.

And real anti-hipsters use derailleurs. Huret derailleurs.
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