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Would someone buy a new bicycle today because it's a 'Schwinn Varsity'?

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Would someone buy a new bicycle today because it's a 'Schwinn Varsity'?

Old 10-01-14, 05:10 PM
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I didn't want one then, and I don't want one now, but I think they're pretty cool.
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Old 10-01-14, 06:32 PM
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Yeah, they are cool in their own way. I grabbed one out of the dump a few years ago and chronicled its refurbishment here somewhere. It looked fine when I picked it up, but it turned out to need a lot of work. When I finally got it going, I took it out for about five miles. It felt fine and not slow. Then I looked down to see I was actually in a low gear, going much more slowly than I realized. Well, that's OK, I guess. I took it downhill fast and went no-hands. I even turned my body around while cruising down fast. That's how stable it was! It must have 69-degree angles or something. Anyway, it was fun in a way. Those gigantic shifters work pretty darned well. So does that heavy duty kickstand.
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Old 10-02-14, 05:00 PM
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I did and it sucked. Exchanged it for a Genesis mtb.
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Old 10-02-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxillius
I did and it sucked. Exchanged it for a Genesis mtb.
What sucked about it?
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Old 10-02-14, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by John E
You are not missing a thing, but the designers at the new Schwinn are evidently a few balls short of a full bearing race.
This is the best line on this thread, . I haven't laughed this hard in a while; thank you.
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Old 10-02-14, 06:12 PM
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Sorry, I wasn't terribly eloquent there lol

Well, the frame was built beautifully, it rode really nicely for a steel non-suspended 700c, but I had to adjust many things that shouldn't've needed adjusting. Also, the seat post quick release seemed to be way too light for me, to the point I had to vice-grip the nut and use a lever on the handle to crank it down as tight as I could get it just so it wouldn't fall when I sat on the seat. The derailleur was maladjusted at the store (wouldn't select 1st without interfering with the spokes). The gearing and tall skinny tires suggested more speed than I was used to but I never could get that much out of it in 40 miles of testing. The crank arms felt like they were too short so with the seat in my lofty position my legs never bent to power position but if I put the seat lower my legs wouldn't straighten and I had even less power and tired faster. All in all, every ride was disappointing and it's no fun to keep a bike you're not happy with.
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Old 10-02-14, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxillius
Also, the seat post quick release seemed to be way too light for me, to the point I had to vice-grip the nut and use a lever on the handle to crank it down as tight as I could get it just so it wouldn't fall when I sat on the seat.
This sounds like you do not know how to use a quick release.

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Old 10-02-14, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
I didn't want one then, and I don't want one now, but I think they're pretty cool.
Until you pick it up.
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Old 10-02-14, 06:56 PM
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Actually, my current Genesis has an effortless quick release, the Avalon I had previously had one, as did the Next before it, the Trek before that, and the Royce Union before that had 3 that I was *just* smart enough to work out (sarcasm). No, the qr on that Schwinn wasn't designed properly. It was a quick release skewer in holes that were brazed directly to the frame so there was no way it could work properly. All other qrs I've seen were aluminum ring & skewer jobbies that fit on top of the seat tube so the skewer squeezed the ring, not just the top of the seat tube.
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Old 10-03-14, 08:39 AM
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If you are using a quick release correctly, then when do you need to use vice grips on the nutted end? Until you flip the quick release lever over, it will have no pressure on it and so should turn easily, right? Any chance you are closing the qr lever, and THEN tightening down on the nut?

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Old 10-03-14, 09:40 AM
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I didn't want one then, and I don't want one now, but I think they're pretty cool.
I'm, sort-of, in this camp.

Back in the "day" (70's) no one I knew would be caught dead riding one of those things. We were all bike "geeks" even though that moniker didn't exist yet so if it wasn't Campy, Reynolds, Phil, etc.. to us , it was trash.

Now I know better.

BTW a friend of mine had a Varsity. I rode it once, that was enough. I hated the feel of it.

I think today someone would buy a new one only because of the name, and not knowing, by being too young, but recognizing the name.
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Old 10-03-14, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxillius
No, the qr on that Schwinn wasn't designed properly. It was a quick release skewer in holes that were brazed directly to the frame
Sounds like the way scores of bike frames were built for decades before "aluminum ring & skewer jobbies" came into vogue. Either one can do the job just fine.
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Old 10-03-14, 12:52 PM
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No pictures in this thread yet, an opportunity to show off my freshly overhauled and slightly modified Varsity. It currently weighs a mere 34.5 lbs and should have no trouble stopping in the rain.


Here is what is was a couple weeks ago:
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Old 10-03-14, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by turky lurkey
No pictures in this thread yet, an opportunity to show off my freshly overhauled and slightly modified Varsity. It currently weighs a mere 34.5 lbs and should have no trouble stopping in the rain...
Looks great, tho I'm not used to seeing a Varsity with such a minimalist saddle. I've used a Speed-V saddle on mine, which sort of hides the seatpost clamp enough for my tastes. I sure wouldn't want to ride on the original saddle though.
That yellow paint and bar tape is one of the things that makes your bike so much stand out as a Varsity, but even with the black tape, no one would mistake it for anything else, even from 50 feet!

I see you removed the chainring chainguard, did you have to use washers to get the bolts to snug up with just the chainrings and no guard? I have sometimes had a challenge to find just the right sized washers there.

Were you able to get a six-speed freewheel on there after switching to the Suntour derailer?

It looks like you went with the modern, long and thin brake pads. That's what it took to give my Varsity's Weinman calipers a less-squishy feel at the lever, at least with alloy rims.

Thread's drifting here, but I'm always glad to see a thread came around to the subject of real Varsities!


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Old 10-03-14, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Sounds like the way scores of bike frames were built for decades before "aluminum ring & skewer jobbies" came into vogue. Either one can do the job just fine.
Either one can, that one didn't. Let's pretend I'm not a complete idiot for now, eh? If I still had it I'd invite you to try to put the reasonable about of tension on it then sit on the seat and see if it doesn't fall on you like it did for me. But I returned it as a result of the multitude of other problems it had. So I'll invite you to pop on down to the nearest Walmart, find a Schwinn Admiral, put the seat at the height you need it to be, then sit on it. I guarantee you that if you weigh more than 100 lbs it won't stay where you put it.

(From what I understand, the Admiral is just a Varsity in a different color with fenders and a rack.)
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Old 10-03-14, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxillius
Either one can, that one didn't. Let's pretend I'm not a complete idiot for now, eh? If I still had it I'd invite you to try to put the reasonable about of tension on it then sit on the seat and see if it doesn't fall on you like it did for me. But I returned it as a result of the multitude of other problems it had. So I'll invite you to pop on down to the nearest Walmart, find a Schwinn Admiral, put the seat at the height you need it to be, then sit on it. I guarantee you that if you weigh more than 100 lbs it won't stay where you put it.

(From what I understand, the Admiral is just a Varsity in a different color with fenders and a rack.)
I think he may have been referring to the front wheel QR's.
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Old 10-03-14, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by degan
I bet most people who buy the new Varsity with little to no knowledge of the previous Varsities. It seems like something that high school and college kids buy.
I still want a yellow Heavy Duti, chrome fenders, root beer grips, "custom" chrome chain guard (front to rear, not the frisbee), pie pan saddle on a skinny post, with the tires that said "Schwinn" on the side, tubes that said "Tractor" on them. I'll always wonder why those tubes said "Tractor" on them. It was the only bike almost too heavy to deliver papers on, but the built-in kickstand and great coaster brake were head and shoulders above the hardware store paper route bikes.

Lacking a yellow H-Duti, I'd like a black Corvette with the black and white chain guard, and the black and white fenders.
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Old 10-03-14, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
I think he may have been referring to the front wheel QR's.
Oh, it had one of those too but that one worked. At least I didn't try to take the wheel off so I don't know if it actually worked as intended but the wheel didn't fall off.
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Old 10-03-14, 09:24 PM
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Looks great, tho I'm not used to seeing a Varsity with such a minimalist saddle. I've used a Speed-V saddle on mine, which sort of hides the seatpost clamp enough for my tastes. I sure wouldn't want to ride on the original saddle though.
That yellow paint and bar tape is one of the things that makes your bike so much stand out as a Varsity, but even with the black tape, no one would mistake it for anything else, even from 50 feet!

I see you removed the chainring chainguard, did you have to use washers to get the bolts to snug up with just the chainrings and no guard? I have sometimes had a challenge to find just the right sized washers there.

Were you able to get a six-speed freewheel on there after switching to the Suntour derailer?

It looks like you went with the modern, long and thin brake pads. That's what it took to give my Varsity's Weinman calipers a less-squishy feel at the lever, at least with alloy rims.

Thread's drifting here, but I'm always glad to see a thread came around to the subject of real Varsities!
I like those bikes you have, I have seen pictures of both of those already. Before I started working on my bike I did a Google search for modified and upgraded Varsity's and it turned out that you and your bikes were involved in several of the threads that came up. So believe it or not I've actually learned quite a bit about the Schwinn Varsity bikes from you already, Thanks! For example I read a response in a thread (may have been a pretty old one) from you regarding the fact that washers were needed to replace the chainguard. I would have probably figured that out anyway, but yes, I did use washers. I just took one of the bolts to Ace and found appropriate sized stainless steel ones.

When I first started working on that bike I had planned on keeping it mostly original, and I tried pretty hard to reuse the original yellow bar tape, but it had been torn and was too short on 1 side so I couldn't get enough coverage with it. Of course I could have ordered some NOS Kool Lemon tape or yellow cork tape. Once I started putting on different parts, sticking with the original color tape seemed less relevant. I did manage to refrain from replacing the stem shifters with DT, though I considered doing that. I like the distinctive big twin sticks with the S on them and I will keep the kickstand and one piece crank as well. So it does retain much of it's Varsity identity!

The Suntour Ar rear derailleur works great with the six speed Shimano Megarange freewheel, and everything fits fine. I wanted to have a really low gear because I am planning on putting a rack and panniers on it and using the Varsity as one of my main commuter bikes. My commute has a few substantial climbs. I have only ridden the bike once, (today) about 15 miles and I had a blast on it. Varsity's are obviously not racers but that doesn't mean you can't get somewhere reasonably fast on them and have fun doing it.

I agree with you about the saddle not being ideal aesthetically but for some reason I tend to end up with those Velo saddles on my bikes. Mainly because of their cheapness and they are fairly comfortable to me. Every time I have it in my budget to buy a nice Brooks saddle I end up spending the money on a new bike project!

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Old 10-04-14, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxillius
Either one can, that one didn't. Let's pretend I'm not a complete idiot for now, eh? If I still had it I'd invite you to try to put the reasonable about of tension on it then sit on the seat and see if it doesn't fall on you like it did for me. But I returned it as a result of the multitude of other problems it had.
Sure, I'll play. I think most reading your other post would also conclude that you weren't familiar with the older style of seat post clamping and so blamed that, BUT let's move on. When using the QR, were you adjusting the nut so that the QR lever started to offer resistance when it was halfway closed?
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