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Fixing up the Schwinn(6 posts)

Fixing up the SchwinnFloorTiger
Nov 6, 2001 9:27 AM
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I want to fix up my old Schwinn Varsity. It was the first major purchase I made using only my own money (caddied at the country club all summer) and I have kept it through high school, college and last rode it in 1986. It has some rust on the wheels and a little on the frame, the tires are shot and the shifters seem stuck. Any ideas or suggestions? I know some of you ride some old Schwinns. Just thought it might be fun.
make it a piece of garden sculpture!! (nm)the insultan
Nov 6, 2001 10:01 AM
Does it have horizontal drop-outs?pmf1
Nov 6, 2001 10:26 AM
You could fix it up as a fixed gear bike. I think 700 c wheels would fit (it probably took 27''). Given that the fork weighs more than most modern frames, you could get a good workout on a fixed gear Varsity. Its not very expensive to build up a fixed gear bike. A Varsity fixed gear would look kinda cool too.
re: Fixing up the Schwinndotkaye
Nov 6, 2001 10:51 AM
Been riding a 1976 Schwinn Continental since 1990, over the years have replaced just handlebar tape, cables, tires, tubes, brake pads. Everything else is working fine, though the frame is now mostly rust-colour.
27" tires can be found at Walmart for $6: although the Varsity/Continental really require Schwinn-specific tires, these have worked fine for me. Got brake pads the same place, also fine. Used the cheapest brake and der cables I could find. I keep the drivetrain clean and lubricated, haven't had to touch it otherwise.

If the bike hangs on another couple of years, until I'm out of the Toddler Years, I might just strip it and get it repainted, then fix it up to look good.

Have fun with the Varsity, it's a good training/foul weather ride. I've done triathlons on the Continental, it's about 5 to 8 min slower over 40k TT than a 20lb bike with aerobars.
If it were mineStraightblock
Nov 6, 2001 3:20 PM
A few ideas, no particular order:

1. Give it to Goodwill, where it will become someone's found treasure.

2. Get it in good working order & give it to my oldest son, so he can learn on a bomb-proof road bike.

3. Put on new tires, make sure the brakes work, and give it to a neighborhood kid with no bike.

4. Put on some flat handlebars and platform pedals, get rid of those junky "Schwinn Approved" Huret deraillers and nut-busting stem shifters, and convert it to a single speed cruiser for bagel runs & rides with the kids. I don't think I'd make it a fixie with that loooong wheelbase & low bottom bracket.

5. Sell it on eBay. Those people will buy anything & are willing to pay any price.
Don't try to make it more than it is ...Humma Hah
Nov 6, 2001 7:07 PM
... I've nursed my Schwinn cruiser for 30 years, am averaging 80 miles per week on it, and did a 152 mile day on it recently. The Varsity should be able to do that and more. Its not the best choice as a roadbike, certainly not a racer, but I find riding an old bike to be enormously satisfying, in part because it is NOT the best choice, and I'm out for exercise.

Fix the Varsity up to what it was ... leave on the old gear, put on fresh pads, cables, chain, maybe a new seat and bar tape. Fine steel wool cleans the chrome. I had the cruiser powdercoated, cost 4x what the bike cost new, but it is lovely. Something that extreme is only for bikes you have a strong attachment for.