Schwinn Varsity back from the dead (at Walmart!)

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by the beef, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. the beef

    the beef New Member

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    Went to Walmart about a month ago, when I spied a road bike calling itself the "Schwinn Varsity", for only $199. It was shiny silver chrome, with an aluminum frame. No small chainring, 14 speeds. I took it out for a short spin down the aisle - the shifters were mounted in the middle of the handlebars. And the bike itself was pretty light. When I got home, I looked it up on the internet and couldn't find a trace of it on either the Schwinn or Walmart site.

    However, today I put in a Google search on a whim, and up came this site on Walmart.com. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4698938 Still no mention of it from Schwinn.com. Anybody know any more about this bike? I even saw one on the trail the other day.

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  2. IEatRice4Dinner

    IEatRice4Dinner New Member

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    you get what u pay for...
     
  3. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    Younger people won't resonate with this name. Those of us who are older grew up during the bike boom of the 70's and remember when you referred to a ten speed bike, you called it a Schwinn. I don't know who made that aluminum frame for that Wallmart bike, but I note, on their web site that it is out of stock now. I also note that the drivetrain is likely a Chinese made one, being 14 speed with bar-mounted shifters. Not having to pay any patents makes the parts cheap.

    On this web site most of the younger people will sneer down their noses at it. It is true, you get what you pay for. The people this bike is aimed at don't come to this web site and many of them think we are pretty weird for putting so much passion into and spending so much money on something as simple as a bike.

    For the market, I would guess that the Schwinn Varsity brand name still has some power in the popular mind. This bike was clearly aimed at adult buyers, not necessarily for themselves, but possibly for older children they have. Clearly this bike is not aimed at enthusiasts; it's a department store bike, after all. Just imagine if it was a high-end bike sold exclusively in bike shops with only high zoot components hung on it. That would tickle my fancy. :)
     
  4. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    The original Schwinn Varsity was hardly sold with high zoot components... I strongly suspect that it was related to the Paramount only by the fact that it was manufactured by the same parent company.

    I saw a Varsity at Walmart in the past few days, and I would have to say that other than perhaps the funky shifters I would probably prefer it to a similarly priced used bike. At least these are shifters that look like they might be appropriate for a road bike, and not the twist grip shifters on the other road machine at Walmart (the Denali?)

    We will know that Walmart plans to continue these bikes when they start to actually sell 700c tires...

    Of course, I would have to check each fastener and adjustment if I were to buy one, because I wouldn't trust the minimum wage worker that is in the back room assembling them.
     
  5. DIRTBLASTER

    DIRTBLASTER New Member

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    :D Nice looking bike. I just got a Schwinn mountain bike From Wal-Mart and it's awesome, the parts on it are pretty good. MAN I LOVE MY NEW BIKE:D!!!!:D!!!:D!!!!:D !!!!!
     
  6. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    I'm really showing my age here, but... somehow a Varsity that weighs less than 40 pounds just doesn't seem right. They were tanks.

    OEM equipment on the original Varsity was Huret. Curiously enough, the old Varsity also had shifters mounted up on the stem.

    Actually, I bought my wife a Schwinn labeled hardtail MTB last year. For $275, it really wasn't a bad bike - nice AL frame, halfway decent Shimano equipment.
     
  7. tcar5

    tcar5 New Member

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    I haven't found any specs on it either. I have contacted Pacific Cycle and Walmart but no one can provide anything.
    I bought one and ended up getting it for a song. $98 (the paint was scratched) So I was off to see how good I could make it. It now has Carbon fiber seat post, Selle Italia seat, carbon fiber fork (original was steel). This bike came with prowheel crank set, shamino rear derailer (7), promax brakes, cane creek stem, shamino shifters, winmann rims, Innova 700c 25 presta tires, cage pedals. I reused all the components except the seat, seat post, fork, reflectors and pedals. It rides fantastic and shifts crisp (after some standard adjustments). I will admit that if you buy this you should give it a good once over to verify a good build. It did need adjustments for brakes and shifting. I took the whole thing apart and rebuilt it. All said and done I have invested the up front $100 and an additional $100 in aftermarket parts. (ebay). So for $300 for those who paid full retail, I would dare you to compair any $300 bike to this. Sure you can mention bike shop support, better shifters, rims, brakes, but then again go ahead and upgrade the Walmart bike.
    This one is a diamond in the ruff and with very little adjustments you can have a very light, very fast road bike at a very good price. But I would make adjustments like what I mentioned above cause the ride over bumps on pure aluminum is quite a jolt.
     
  8. mwyatt1974

    mwyatt1974 New Member

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    A little guidance here would be appreciated. I am completely new to the idea of cycling. I know a few people that are into it and they gave me the names and number to the local bike shops. Well I talked to them and they told me that I should be prepared to spend ~$700 to get started...and that was buying a used bike. Not to sound cheap but I can't see spending that kind of money when I really have no idea if it is something I will want to do. My ultimate question is this.....I saw this bike in my local Wal Mart yesterday and it seemed like it could be a decent way to tap into cycling to see if it was worth spending some real $$$ on. Could any of you suggest if this is a good idea or not.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
     
  9. cheapie

    cheapie New Member

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    hmmm....good question.

    on one hand you don't want to invest in a good bike if you won't like it...on the other hand if you like cycling you're def going to want to get something better than you can get at wally world and you'll end up spending more money in the end.

    i'd suggest trying to find something on ebay. a good compromise. figure out what size you need and start watching auctions.
     
  10. tcar5

    tcar5 New Member

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    Here is just one breakdown of the cost of upgrading the Schwinn Varsity Walmart Road Bike:
    Fresh start Schwinn Varsity Stock ($199 new)
    Vincolo 700c Carbon Fiber fork (ebay $59 new)
    Carbon Seat post (ebay $25 new)
    Vincolo alloy 100mm AHead (ebay $15 new)
    Better Seat (Sella Itialia) (ebay $30 used but in perfect shape)
    Giro helmet (ebay $5 new)
    Shamino on/off road bike shoes (local shop on sale $39 new)
    Clipless pedals (shamino ebay $30 w/cleats new)
    Everything else stock......$0

    Total for everything.....$402.00
    What you get is a very good bike with all the necessities. Factor in the retail value of it all and here is what you have:

    Fresh start Schwinn Varsity Stock ($199 new)
    Vincolo 700c Carbon Fiber fork ( $98 new)
    Carbon Seat post ( $75 new)
    Vincolo alloy 100mm AHead ( $75 new)
    Better Seat (Sella Itialia) ( $130 new)
    Giro helmet ( $75 new)
    Shamino on/off road bike shoes (local shop $65 new)
    Clipless pedals (shamino $89 w/cleats new)
    Everything else stock......$0

    Total for everything.....$806
     
  11. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    tcar5 - how much does your modified bike weigh? What was the stock weight? It's nice to know there are cheap new road bikes again -especially with those cheap lever shifters. Poor people need their options too. I see a lot of poor people riding crappy thrift store bikes. My first road bike was for college and it was a Raleigh Marathon that cost $350? Sold it later and years later I now have 5 expensive road bikes when I got into the sport to lose weight. I actually also bought a Pacific MTN bike from Target and modified it with XT and now it's better than my Cannondale F600. I think Walmart should try a bike with better wheels and a carbon fork for $300.

    When I go to Walmart for an oil change I will look for this bike.
     
  12. cjack

    cjack New Member

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    I was looking at the same bike today. I am not very much into bikes but I want to get one. It happened so that I ended up having a 270-dollar gift card for Wal-mart (long story) and the Schwinn varsity + some extras looks good to spend the money. Would anyone recommend it? I also haven't ridden bikes with shifters in the middle of the handle bar - is it much harder with them rather than the hand shifters ?
     
  13. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Eggsellent advice. Why? A used bike in the same price range will always be better than the WaltMart bike AND if you don't like cycling the resale value/potentional will be better. Hey, I love WaltMart as much as anyone for oil, ammunition and general stuff, but they have no business marketing anything close to a road bike.
     
  14. tcar5

    tcar5 New Member

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    I believe it was around 26 lbs at first. It now weighs in at 22.9 fully dressed. That is including the pedals. I did change out the following and removed all reflectors and needless junk.
    Changed front fork, seatpost, seat, ahead, pedals, bar tape.
    I added headlight, computer, day pack, bottle cage.
    The fork was steel, the seat mount on the seatpost was steel and the ahead was steel. Getting rid of those really reduced the weight and replacing with carbon fiber really turned this bike into a great ride.
    I recommend this bike. Granted I took the upgrades to the upper edge of a good value but I still retained the shifters, chainring, cassette and brakes. There was nothing wrong with them, they work perfectly and shifting is crisp. Of course purest look down on it no matter what. But to the purest I say, good for you and your $2,000 bike, I still ride, I'm still fit and I still have money in the bank. AND when you crash, which at sometime you will, you won't see my trying to borrow against my 401K to buy a new bike.
     
  15. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    I just went to Walmart and saw a GMC Danali road bike. It had SRAM mtn bike shifters and was really heavy. The brakes were terrible. For $143 - I did not like the bike. I've noticed Walmart sells some real cheap mtn bikes that have the same components as the cheapest bikes in the Phillippines.
     
  16. zaternine

    zaternine New Member

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    hey i did the same thing on my first road bike, it was a 2005 diamondback century (before the new DBR came out) once i knew i was for sure going to ride i did a make over and put carbon fork, carbon seat post, full 105 drive drain, vuelta wheels, better brakes, and man it rides just as smooth as my Allez, total was 550 after all upgrades, the best part is riding next to those who drop more than 2grand on their bike (although i would do the same if had the cash)....have fun
     
  17. jv1126

    jv1126 New Member

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    i bought that bike as my first road bike, just ordered the fork and seat post for now. yeah sure that im gonna get snubed and looked down upon at local rides, but that still wont fix the fact that they were beat by a guy in a Wally World bike. But then again im that kid of guy that likes to bring the unexpected to a new level. I bought a v-6 camaro instead of the Z-28. after some TLC im leaving the v-8 guys dumbfounded in the dust. all in all, you can have your $3,000 bike, just dont be upset when the guy ahead is in a $200 bike.
     
  18. mydaughterchili

    mydaughterchili New Member

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    The exact dilemma I faced when I got started 8 months ago.... I went ahead and spent the $750 on a new cannondale R500 and haven't looked back since. My rationale was that I could resell a decent brand like cannondale and recoup most of my dinero back.
     
  19. cheapie

    cheapie New Member

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    good for you. but keep in mind that not all "concern" over the place of origin of your bike is mean-spirited. many of us have bought cheaper bikes and realized pretty quickly that we really like cycling and have gone out very quickly and upgraded, and therefore realize that it was kind of a waste of money getting something that cheap. ;)
     
  20. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    Some of your fellow Texans are well on their way to proving this theory:
    http://www.teamroadmeister.com/
     
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