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1973 Schwinn Varsity

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1973 Schwinn Varsity

Old 10-26-12, 09:08 PM
  #1  
cradom
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1973 Schwinn Varsity

My latest acquisition and first restoration project.
https://s228.beta.photobucket.com/use...winn%20Varsity
It's not in too bad a shape, don't know about the paint though.
I was told the lights work, we'll see. The only things new will be tires, chain, cables and bar tape...I hope.
Will post after pics when finished.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:17 PM
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I had a Lemon Yellow Varsity of about the same vintage. Mine was a small frame that I out grew. Varsitys are low-end, obsolete, heavy and full of flaws. I want another one. Good score.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:35 PM
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That bike should clean up very well. One bonus feature of the '73 and up 26" frame Varsity models like yours is that they got the 7" tall long reach (3.5") alloy "girder design" lightweight (10.2oz) stem that was normally reserved for the 24-26" Continental, Super Sport and Sports Tourer models. The 24" and smaller framed Varsity got the shorter (6" tall) forged steel short-reach (2.5") heavy weight (20.8oz) stem.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:39 PM
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Nice bike, I always liked the bright yellow they offered.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:45 PM
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That's not just yellow, that's Kool Lemon. <g>

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Old 10-26-12, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
I had a Lemon Yellow Varsity of about the same vintage. Mine was a small frame that I out grew. Varsitys are low-end, obsolete, heavy and full of flaws. I want another one. Good score.
Finally, someone who understands the social disease known as Chronic Varsititus. There are support groups for us, if you're interested. To deny you have the problem is further proof that you actually do.
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Old 10-27-12, 05:31 AM
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I can't quite tell the condition of your chrome from your photos, but the chrome on those old Schwinn's is top quality -- you may be able to bring it back. Removing the chrome bits and giving them a good polish can be a great winter project... and In which case, you will be amazed how astonishing the chrome can be!

My 71 Continental (it's a bit small for me, hence the towering seat post!):


Last edited by akcapbikeforums; 10-27-12 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 10-27-12, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Sprayman View Post
Finally, someone who understands the social disease known as Chronic Varsititus. There are support groups for us, if you're interested. To deny you have the problem is further proof that you actually do.
Problem? What problem?



I think your paint will be fine. Kool Lemon always looks like crap when it gets dirty. Polish it up a bit and it will look great!
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Old 10-27-12, 07:19 AM
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According to the serial number this bike was built in June, which oddly enough so was I, although several years earlier.
Also slightly larger than my Sports Tourer but still ride-able. Just haven't decided whether to keep it stock or make it into a townie.
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Old 10-27-12, 09:24 AM
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I still see a lot of Varsitys in daily use. Not because the owner loves vintage 10 speeds, but because they need a bike for transport or recreation. They're a lot like VW Bugs in that the number of survivors being used is amazing.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:52 PM
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Well the chrome cleaned up nicely although the paint and decals didn't. Pretty much finished with it except the original wheels. Turned it into a townie sort of, with VeloOrange postino bars and thumb shifters.
The front hub polished up very well (pics to come) and now trying to disassemble the rear.
Hence the problem...
Anyone know what tool for this?



I've been to Nashbar, Performance, and Park. No joy. The diameter is 31.5 mm groove to groove. Or do I need a pin spanner and a chain tool?
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Old 12-05-12, 04:36 PM
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I have the proper tool I can loan you. Email me.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:55 PM
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looks (correct me if i'm wrong noglider) like a maillard var 405 - not a cheap fw remover - but one that is also in my collection

edit:looking for some links for ya...

https://www.melpintoimports.com/catal...roducts_id=606

https://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=UB-MFWR

now - you may prefer to borrow nogliders tool or let your LBS do the removal for $5 - but i like to buy these old tools - i think i have around 20 FW removers - collecting vintage tools can be as N+1ish as bike collecting

Last edited by marley mission; 12-05-12 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:02 PM
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email sent to noglider...thanks for the link marley, one more for the collection.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cradom View Post
Anyone know what tool for this?...
That's a Schwinn Approved Model F2 (Normandy/Maillard, made in France) freewheel. The tool to remove that is a Bicycle Research CT-3, which is out of stock from the mfr. however you can get one here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/280993776785

Here is another alternative, however there is a several week wait because it comes from overseas: https://www.ebay.com/itm/271102865770
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Old 12-05-12, 05:13 PM
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no problem cradom
btw - have a 71 varsity - cut my wrenching teeth on it - heavy - but i liked it alot
old schwinns are great imo

meta - i think the splines might not be correct on those links for the ct3 tool
one thing i learned though is matching up the right remover can be tricky (haha - better to buy them all )
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Old 12-05-12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by marley mission View Post
meta - i think the splines might not be correct on those links for the ct3 tool...
The cut of the "teeth" on the CT-3 do look a little strange, but they are correct as I have one and have used it to remove these freewheels. The one I wouldn't recommend is the VAR #405 because it doesn't have a hex end and therefore can't be used with an impact gun.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:43 PM
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yeah - i bet that ol freewheel is on there preeeeeeeeetty good
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Old 12-05-12, 05:53 PM
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Uploaded a few more pics to the original link - https://s228.photobucket.com/albums/e...inn%20Varsity/
Also, we went to Dickens on the Strand here in Galveston and there are some old bikes in this photoset - https://s228.photobucket.com/albums/e...Strand%202012/
Mostly pennyfarthings and a couple I've never seen before.
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Old 12-05-12, 08:21 PM
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What are your long term plans for the bike?

I recommend replacing the freewheel with a new ones. The new ones are better.
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Old 12-05-12, 09:53 PM
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Lucky to find such a tall frame, especially since the shallow seat tube angle on these bikes moves the top tube (and handlebar) rearward.

I often remind folks to get the biggest Varsity/Continental they can straddle, for this reason, and why I prefer the SuperSport model for it's steeper frame angles (while still getting my jollies riding on one-piece cranks).

I've never found such a tall Varsity when I "needed" one (when I had a parts pile that was looking for a reason to live).

I ended up building this, and would have prefered an even much longer stem if it didn't make the steering dangerously floppy:



Unfortunately, those original French-made freewheels don't seem to work well with modern chains, so improving the shifting will require the freewheel replacement that noglider has suggested.

Don't forget to lubricate the shifter pivot well when upgrading the cables. The Schwinn/Allvit derailers can actually work pretty well up to a 28t sprocket and five speeds (with the standard hanger bracket and no modifications to the derailer).
I sometimes modify the Allvit for 6-speed use and up to 30 tooth sprockets, but it requires exacting setup and much experimentation.
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Old 12-06-12, 12:07 AM
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Another bonus of the 26" frame Varsity is that they came with the lightweight long-reach alloy stem as used on the 24" and larger framed Continental, Super Sport and Sports Tourer. The smaller framed Varsity models used a shorter super-heavy forged steel stem. Another bonus on this bike is the headset. Up to '73 the Varsity came with the Schwinn Deluxe headset. The '74 and later Varsity used the standard headset.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:34 AM
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Not really sure what I'm going to do with it. It will be ridden but I have the 80 Sports Tourer I'm used to.
The RD was completely taken apart and rebuilt so lubrication isn't a problem. It currently has a couple of walmart bike wheels on just to see how it rides and it doesn't shift worth c*&P.
These are 7 speed so I know the RD wont reach all cogs. It's not like the 105 I have on the other bike.
Being used to a 60, this IS a tall frame being a 64. Almost too big. I'm 6' 2" with about a 35" inseam. Almost no standover.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cradom View Post
Being used to a 60, this IS a tall frame being a 64. Almost too big. I'm 6' 2" with about a 35" inseam. Almost no standover.
It sounds like you're on the best frame size then. Elsewise, the bars likely would hit your knees when you're climbing steep hills or sprinting out of the saddle.
Even with this taller frame, the top tube might not feel long enough. I trimmed an inch off of each end of my other Varsity's handlebar even though that bike is bigger than the green one.
The short "reach" of the standard steel bars doesn't help, but the lower ends are quite long enough to be custom-trimmed a good bit using a pipe cutter.
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