Newbie questions to fix up my 1975 Schwinn Varsity.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by greenbikeclub, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. greenbikeclub

    greenbikeclub New Member

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    HI.

    I'd like to fix up my '75 Schwinn Varsity. Right now I have wheels ordered (27 1 1/4") and a couple of well reviewed-tubes that resist getting flats. I'd also like to get a new chain and a cassette while I'm at it but don't know where to start. Honestly I don't use more than three gears on this 10 speed and ideally I'd like to remove at least half of them. If that will be a ton of work then I'll just deal with it I guess. I have also considered getting a new rear derailleur. Also, could I remove the front derailleur and just use the back? I'd love to get rid of that shifter I never use.

    Any suggestions? I'm not looking to spend much more than about $75 bucks for the rest of the stuff (cassette, chain, perhaps derailleur)..

    Thanks!
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    A 1975 bike is unlikely to use a cassette, more probably a freewheel which is an entirely different beast already.

    Removing sprockets out of a freewheel/cassette is kinda-sorta doable, but:
    - Most sprockets are just stacked there on splines, with the outermost sprocket or a lockring holding the stack together. For anything you remove you need to add spacers to make the whole thing go back together.
    - Smooth shifting relies on there not being too much of a size change from one sprocket to the next. Removing sprockets from the ends will be "fine", but removing intermediate sprockets may get you in trouble.
    - Freewheels aren't really seen as serviceable items any more, some ingenuity and stubborness may be required to pull sprockets off.
    - you'd need to set the limit screws to prevent the chain from shifting off the shortened stack, and I don't know if the reach of the limit screws is long enough for a shortened stack.

    IMO, not worth it. Would you remove the top gear out of the transmission of your car based on not doing any highway driving?

    Bikes with double/triple chainwheels up front do rely on a chain that's flexible sideways. If you pull the front derailer off you may find the bike throwing the chain off with annoying frequency.
    If you don't need front shifting, don't touch the lever.

    Why are you looking at a new rear derailer while simultaneously wanting to remove gears from the bike? Unless it's been seriously damaged, I can't imagine a derailer being bad enough to cause trouble for someone who's happy considering shortening a cassette.

    If you get a new freewheel, do get a new chain. New chain+new freewheel/cassette is almost guaranteed to work well together. Mixing old and new will often cause trouble.

    But if you want to remove levers, want to shorten the cassette, and don't think you need more than three gears, and has ordered new wheels - Then why didn't you buy a wheel with an internally geared 3-speed hub instead?
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI. The skill level needed is not great ... the information is freely available on the internet (YouTube, www.parktool.com, www.sheldonbrown.com) ... what you need will be time & TOOLS + a minimal amount of literacy & dexterity.

    FWIW. It may be an incorrect presumption, but for the moment I am going to presume that you actually mean to suggest that the three gears which you are using are adjacent to one another OR very close to one another ...

    So, the replacement, 5-speed Freewheel which you want to buy should have a tighter stack (e.g., 14-18, 13-19, etc. ... if you can find a new one at your LBS or one in good condition on eBay).

    If you are ambitious, then you can replace the two chainrings with a SINGLE BMX chainring or 110BCD Ashtabula-compatible spider which would then allow you to install a variety of chainrings (check www.danscomp.com) ...

    OR, you can insert an Ashtabula-to-English adapter which will then give you significantly more crankset options.

    BTW. While the Huret (?) rear derailleur on your Schwinn could probably perform double duty as a small boat anchor, I agree with dabac that there isn't any reason to replace it unless you were planning a wholesale replacement of the components in an effort to lower the bike's weight to under 30 lbs. ...

    • if your rear derailleur is sluggish, then it probably needs to be cleaned & re-lubed
    • and/or, the cables-and-housing need to be replaced

    BTW, with all of the above in mind, I also agree with dabac that an internally geared 3-speed rear wheel may have been the best option for your Varsity.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. ANOTHER option would be to simply install a SINGLE SPEED, BMX Freewheel on your new rear wheel ...

    • if available, just choose the tooth count which is in the middle of the three which you are currently using (e.g., 16t) ... either pedal HARDER when going up hills or pedal with a faster cadence when you want to go faster
    [*] BMX Freewheels are available with either 1/8" ("Track") or 3/32" ("Road") thick cogs ... you can choose either, but continuity with the chain & chainring is better ... you can use a 1/8" chain on 3/32" teeth, but not vice-versa ...
    [*] I recommend ACS Freewheels, FWIW

    Re-dishing the rear wheel would be VERY beneficial ... on a rear hub with 120mm rear spacing it may be "okay" to use the wheel as-is ...

    • if you opt for the Single Speed option, then try the wheel as-is with the BMX Freewheel attached, first
    • adjusting the hub offset for the chainline & re-dishing the rear wheel could be considered to be a DIY project, but you may want to have a bike shop do THAT ...

    Don't forget to replace your brake pads and/or brake cables & housing, as necessary ...

    • the next time you are in a bike shop, check the brake lever EFFORT on the most expensive bikes in the shop ... it should be possible to achieve equally smooth & relatively effortless with almost ANY brake lever ...
    • the springs on some (older) calipers IS (often) stiffer, so that should be factored in when making your comparison
     
  5. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    " I'm not looking to spend much more than about $75..."

    I recently bought a 1974 Schwinn Continental (one model above the Varsity) for $35 from a Craigslist ad. It was in near-mint condition.

    I was restoring a neighbor's 1971 Super Sport and needed pieces parts. I ended up just giving him the Continental. Used, low miles vintage Schwinns are all over Craigslist, at least in my area. You might try looking there for a parts bike.
     
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