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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 09-27-14, 07:51 PM
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Would someone buy a new bicycle today because it's a 'Schwinn Varsity'?

I was looking at the bicycles at Walmart today. I saw that they sell a 'Schwinn Varsity'. I know that Schwinn went out of business years ago, that some Chinese company owns the name, that today's Schwinn Varsity has nothing to do with the Schwinn Varsity I bought 50 years ago.

I can't imagine that anyone who would buy a bicycle at Walmart today would remember the original. The name doesn't sound exciting to me. I can't believe it redounds to its sales today.

Walmart's not stupid: I must be wrong. Maybe some old executive always wanted one when he was a kid.

What say you-all?
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Old 09-27-14, 07:56 PM
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Schwinn is owned by Dorel, a company out of Canada.
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Old 09-27-14, 08:19 PM
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As evidenced recently on the forum, the Schwinn name is "iconic," and there's a perception of "quality" that's still associated with the name, and the "Schwinn Varsity" name is still recognizable- if not identifiable, as the Varsity of today is NOTHING like the Varsity of yesterday.
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Old 09-27-14, 09:05 PM
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Chicago Varsinentals were manufactured by a unique process called "electroforging." It made mild carbon steel strong and durable.

That's why there are millions of them still around. In terms of quality, they're the best bikes Schwinn produced for the mass market.
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Old 09-27-14, 09:17 PM
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"the best bikes schwinn produced"? pshaw.

i wonder if today's varsity is better than the original. can't be much heavier.
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Old 09-27-14, 09:33 PM
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Agreed on the weight - we all believed the tubes were solid

Although maybe a nostalga appeal to the older crowd - they were indeed bulletproof in their day
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Old 09-27-14, 09:40 PM
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The company that now produces bikes under the Schwinn name has recycled a number of model names from their classic catalog. One of their most ubiquitous department store mountain bikes is called the "Sidewinder" which was a name they used in the early 80s. I've also seen a "Suburban" and a "Breeze" to name a few. The way I figure, you might be right in that not many people are going to be pulled in by these names. Having said that, you gotta name these bikes something, and this is a fairly easy way to tap into the massive currency lent to them by the Schwinn name and associated history. It creates some illusion of continuity, which is why people are still convinced that their new 150 dollar Schwinn is a steal.
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Old 09-27-14, 09:40 PM
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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.
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Old 09-27-14, 09:46 PM
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It looks like it retains at least the spirit of the original. It might make a good first-time road bike for someone.

700c Schwinn Varsity 1500 Road Bike - Walmart.com
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Old 09-27-14, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
It looks like it retains at least the spirit of the original. It might make a good first-time road bike for someone.

700c Schwinn Varsity 1500 Road Bike - Walmart.com
Heck the shipping weight is less than the original. As for this one it seems top of their line and would make an economical starter bike.

Insofar as "best" goes that would depend on your choice of attributes as concerns the old one. They were tough that's for sure.

Inga Thompson used to pass the local racer boys on the old one when she was in HS.....On the hills no less. Didn't even realize what she was doing and would wave and say "Hi" off the bike when they caught up to her in town, .

So the motor still matters in these things.
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Old 09-28-14, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill
Schwinn is owned by Dorel, a company out of Canada.
Thanks. I didn't know that.

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
As evidenced recently on the forum, the Schwinn name is "iconic,"
I didn't contest the Schwinn part, just the Varsity part; it seemed aspirational even then, appealing to kids impressed by being on the varsity, which wouldn't include kids actually on the varsity or anyone older than 18. Varsity seems like an old-fashioned word. I can't hear it without remembering Atlanta's Varsity Grill.

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
and there's a perception of "quality" that's still associated with the name
I didn't associate Schwinn with quality. I have owned 3 over the years, but I didn't think of high quality. Good enough, and a fair price, but not high quality.


Originally Posted by eschlwc
i wonder if today's varsity is better than the original. can't be much heavier.
I'm sure it's a better bicycle. It's easy enough to do: there's so much technology in the public domain that one could use to make it superior and at little cost.

Walmart sells the Varsity with 700x25 tires but doesn't sell 700x25 tires; nothing smaller than 700x38
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Old 09-28-14, 05:23 AM
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Looks similar to this 'Nishiki' at about the same pricepoint:

Nishiki Adult Maricopa Road Bike 2014 - Dick's Sporting Goods

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Old 09-28-14, 06:06 AM
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Plenty of people will, I am not among them. I like my bikes used because I'm cheap and I enjoy the hunt. The only new bike I intend to buy at this point in my life (dark side of 50) will be a custom-built frame that I'll finish building with my choice I components. That is on the bucket list.

FWIW, I stepped into LL Bean yesterday. Their LL Bean logo bikes have little Schwinn decals in them. I'm betting those bikes cost less at Walmart without the fancy logo.
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Old 09-28-14, 06:12 AM
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Not going to buy one but I am curious about the spoke lacing pattern

...shown in the wally world ad linked to earlier. Is there a benefit to that pattern? Stronger, require less/more attention to tension, or simply flash like gaudy decals?
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Old 09-28-14, 06:22 AM
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It's a marketing ploy developed by people who ride desks and receive company mail by someone who rides a beat up old Schwinn. We can thank American Pickers for some of this.

Varsity? Gives me the shivvers. When I get one in my shop, I cant wait to get it gone.
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Old 09-28-14, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by okane
...shown in the wally world ad linked to earlier. Is there a benefit to that pattern? Stronger, require less/more attention to tension, or simply flash like gaudy decals?
I would take 28 evenly spaced 2X or 3X spokes over that any day, and i would prefer 32 or 36 spokes per wheel, again in an evenly spaced 3X pattern. Grouping 28 spokes into clusters of 4 may provide a minuscule aerodynamic benefit, but it greatly compromises wheel strength and truing, and it forces the buyer into nonstandard replacement rims. Entirely a marketing "look at me" gimmick and a step backward if one is trying to build a robust, reliable wheel for everyday riding.
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Old 09-28-14, 06:50 AM
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Would someone buy a new bicycle today because it's a 'Schwinn Varsity'?

To some Schwinn and bike are synonymous. How many times have you seen a CL ad with, "Brand X, Like a Schwinn". For anyone of the Baby Boom, Bike Boom generation Schwinn was THE bike brand.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:01 AM
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When my brother and I received our $55 Bianchi Corsas for Christmas 1962, the first question from one of the kids on the block was, "Are they Varsities or Continentals?" Having just moved up from a cantilever framed two-speed Schwinn middleweight, I just replied that they were better, cheaper, and much lighter. The college guys and high school upper classmen had started buying the French, Italian, Austrian, and British imports, but the middle schoolers in fairly affluent neighborhoods rode Varsinentals for the most part. In those days everyone had downtube (or front suicide) shift levers, tensioned leather saddles, and plastic handlebar tape.

A couple of years later one of my high school chums showed me his 1960 Continental, which his father had chrome-dipped at work (oil drilling equipment manufacturer). That thing was heavy, but it looked sharp, with small decorative black-and-white handles -- designed for the ends of automotive turn signal and column shift levers -- on the ends of the suicide and downtube shifters. He had also replaced the original Simplex rear derailleur with a Campagnolo Gran Sport. We later replaced the downtube shift lever with a Campagnolo barcon, cobbling the required extra-long gear cable with a soldering iron, because the local shops carried cables long enough for downtube or top tube shift only.

When after my brother ran his Bianchi into a parked car and bent the head tube back, the owner of the local Schwinn shop pulled it back into shape, noting, "That's that cheap Bianchi frame -- it'll do that every time." I got some needed reaffirmation when I visited another bike shop, where the owner said, "Ah -- Bianchi. That's what my wife and I ride." He took me into the workshop area to show me two mid-1960s Specialissimas, which were the best-looking bikes I had ever seen.

What do I ride now? A fat-tired Schwinn and a Bianchi road bike.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by John E
I would take 28 evenly spaced 2X or 3X spokes over that any day, and i would prefer 32 or 36 spokes per wheel, again in an evenly spaced 3X pattern. Grouping 28 spokes into clusters of 4 may provide a minuscule aerodynamic benefit, but it greatly compromises wheel strength and truing, and it forces the buyer into nonstandard replacement rims. Entirely a marketing "look at me" gimmick and a step backward if one is trying to build a robust, reliable wheel for everyday riding.
That's what I thought, but didn't know if I was missing something.

By the way, I also wanted to include OldsCOOL comments, but I can't seem to figure out a way to include two quotes in this post. How is that done?
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Old 09-28-14, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by okane
That's what I thought, but didn't know if I was missing something.

By the way, I also wanted to include OldsCOOL comments, but I can't seem to figure out a way to include two quotes in this post. How is that done?
The little "+ symbol to the right of the "reply with quote" box.

with it checked, and you click reply with quote- both will be there.

if you cancel the reply- that "+ will STILL BE ACTIVE
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Old 09-28-14, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by okane
That's what I thought, but didn't know if I was missing something.
You are not missing a thing, but the designers at the new Schwinn are evidently a few balls short of a full bearing race.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RandomTroll

I didn't contest the Schwinn part, just the Varsity part; it seemed aspirational even then, appealing to kids impressed by being on the varsity, which wouldn't include kids actually on the varsity or anyone older than 18. Varsity seems like an old-fashioned word. I can't hear it without remembering Atlanta's Varsity Grill.
Their target market for the Varsity was teens and preteens.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RandomTroll
I didn't contest the Schwinn part, just the Varsity part; it seemed aspirational even then, appealing to kids impressed by being on the varsity, which wouldn't include kids actually on the varsity or anyone older than 18. Varsity seems like an old-fashioned word. I can't hear it without remembering Atlanta's Varsity Grill.

I didn't associate Schwinn with quality. I have owned 3 over the years, but I didn't think of high quality. Good enough, and a fair price, but not high quality.
This is something that was recently posted here by someone who wasn't, but decided that he was going to be a bike person:

I always look at Schwinn’s on CL first, then look at others like Raleigh, Huffy, AMF, or Peugeot.


Just seeing the name Schwinn- knowing that that the name has been around 100 years- even non-bike people know that. Older people buying a bike will remember wanting a Schwinn, younger people will just know of Schwinn- even if in the back of their mind- and as far as the name "Varsity..." it means 'first string.' Is it old fashioned? Yes, but so is the name "Schwinn."
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Old 09-28-14, 07:59 AM
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Most things marketed today under the venerable brand names from the 50'-70's are seldom produced by the company that currently owns the name, or in some cases they produce a few items and license the rest. Names like Coleman, Schwinn, Sunbeam, Hamilton-Beach, Raleigh and the list goes on. They are playing on the marketability of the nostalgic name and nothing more.

Schwinn Varsinentals were a solid bike and nearly indestructible, lord knows we tried. Most of the ones I saw broken, involved Jr. leaving it in the driveway and mom or dad backing over it with a 2 ton vehicle.

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Old 09-28-14, 08:35 AM
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When I was in the demographic target for a Varsity, in 1969, I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted a Raleigh Grand Prix. After I wore the Raleigh out (hey by then I was 15), I got a Nishiki. Schwinn had nothing that interested me except the Paramount, and that was so far out of my budget that it was laughable.
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