Fixing up a Schwin varsity 1980s model, help needed



mflores31

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Mar 15, 2014
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Hello, I've been meaning to change quite a bit of parts (fork, crankset, etc) on this bike but I can't find the specs anywhere. If anyone can help me out/ suggest some parts, that would be much appreciated
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Bikes have lots of parts. It would help if you listed the parts you needed to replace. A lot of this stuff might just need cleaning and fresh lubrication. Of course, fresh tires, tubes, cables, housings, and brake pads almost go without saying.

The early '80s Varsity is a pretty standard Asian made "campus bike." That means 27" wheels with a 5-, 6-, or 7-speed freewheel, British threaded bottom bracket, friction shifters on the stem, and inexpensive alloy cotterless cranks. If you're a beginner at this, developing a relationship with a local shop that can order parts and dispense advice will save you money in the end.
 

mpre53

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Feb 20, 2013
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New crank, fork, and whatever else, at the end of the day, it's still a Schwinn Varsity. It's a good starter bike. New cables, brake pads, tires if needed, and keep the rest as is.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by mflores31
Hello, I've been meaning to change quite a bit of parts (fork, crankset, etc) on this bike but I can't find the specs anywhere. If anyone can help me out/ suggest some parts, that would be much appreciated
Sorry, I wasn't reading too carefully. The fork has a 1" threaded steerer. Your local shop can order a replacement fork and cut the steerer, set the crown race, and extend the threading, if necessary.

If you wish to do it yourself, Niagara Cycle (www.niagaracycle.com) is a good source. Here's their road fork page: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/components/forks/rigid-forks/27-rigid-forks. Clearance for 27" wheels will be an issue, so avoid the carbon forks, which are really for smaller 700c wheels. The Dimension steel forks will clear the wheels, but you might have a problem with brake caliper clearance. The Sunlight forks have 399mm axle-to-crown distance that will clear 27" wheels, fatter tires, fenders, and most long- and medium-reach brake calipers with no problem.

The crankset should for 8-speed chains, such as this Shimano 2300 unit: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categories/shimano-2300-8spd-170mm-39x52t-crankset-square. I recommend getting a new cartridge bottom bracket. Refer to the cranset specifications for the correct spindle length.

8-speed chains work with 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-speed freewheels and cassettes. I recommend replacement with one of these.
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Originally Posted by mflores31
Hello, I've been meaning to change quite a bit of parts (fork, crankset, etc) on this bike but I can't find the specs anywhere. If anyone can help me out/ suggest some parts, that would be much appreciated
What are you trying to accomplish?

How much did you want to spend?

Post a picture so that we know what you are starting with ...

If you have a METRIC ruler/tape-measure then you can learn a lot from taking direct measurements ...

Seatpost size varies widely with older, steel bike frames.

Sheldon Brown's web site should have information on SOME earlier Schwinn Varsity bikes ...

If your Varsity was made in Asia, then working on it should be a lot easier because I would expect that it will then have fewer-if-any proprietary components ...

So, OTHER, more generic information may be applicable.

BTW, Unless the bike currently has 27" wheels AND you are planning to switch to using 700c wheels, then you probably should NOT change the fork unless it is known to be damaged & subsequently NOT aligned properly.

If you are truly motivated to change the crankset, then I recommend that you get a used FSA MegaExo crankset because there will probably be fewer compatibility issues with trying to match the BB spindle to the the crankset.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
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I wouldn't go crazy on that bike, it was a low end bike for Schwinn. You need to total up all the parts you'll need to get it running condition and labor too unless you're planning on doing the labor, then see if it's worth fixing up. Is it a good starter bike? maybe, but so is spending $150 to $200 for a Walmart bike! And fixing up a Varsity could come close to that cost of a new bike and you would still have an old bike with old parts that could break at anytime. Or you could go to this place: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm and get more for your money then even Walmart. Just a thought.
 

Indytona674

New Member
Apr 22, 2014
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I just picked up a good condition 79 varsity. Going to be my around town bomber/errand bike. Not as terrified to leave locked up as my trek. I want to put fenders and rack on mine. Only upgraded I might do is new alloy 27 wheels for better stopping. What is your goal with yours?
 

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