Schwinn Varsity back from the dead (at Walmart!)

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

  1. jptaguilar

    jptaguilar New Member

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    The one that I bought was a brand new one at Wal-Mart for $199.00. Not too sure about an older used one.
     


  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    If you just want a serviceable bike, you could do a lot better.

    I don't know if the bike has collector value but would only pay $60 IF I was interested in collecting them and that's what it went for.
     
  3. AAAC

    AAAC New Member

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    Hi,

    Just bought this bike at Walmart.
    I heard about it on the thread, and didn't want to judge right away so I decided to stip by the local walmart to take a look at it. The Frame is 7005 Aluminum, just like my bike for the bike shop, it also fit me well. The components for gearing were low end shimano which is still better than no name that most bike shops have. The guy putting them together didn't know jack about bikes. He did tell me that is has been on the rack for over a year because no one wanted to by a bike with funny "French" valves. What he was refering to was the Presta valves. Also the bike was out of wack as far as the chain hitting the derailur. He did not even have a "French" pump so we could see if the tires were ok when inflated. I called over the manager and told him that I liked the bike and it fit well for me but was not sure if the tires were ok and they couldn't test them I also had him hold the bike while I moved the pedals to reveal the noise of the chain. After that I offered him 100 dollars for the bike, because it needed a tuneup and possible tires. He said OK and I left with the bike.
    The Schwinn Manual that came with the bike shows you how to tune up and adjust everthing on the bike from fit to mechanics. I adjusted the seat, seatpost, handle bars for fit. Then I adjusted the gearing so the chain would not hit anything, and the gears shifted smoothly. Bottom line I have a great beginner bike that is lighter than mostly all old used bike, shifts perfectly, has shimano gear components, and a 5 year warranty with Pacific Cycle, which I can register online. I am glad I did not listed to posters who did not look at the bike and just condemed it because it was from a box store, I think this is a great value for the money if the frame fits you and you are getting back into biking even at $199.

    For $100 I got a
    New bike, Just needed adjusting, (the Manual shows you how to do everything)
    Shimano (although low end its a known name and available and upgradeable)
    A smooth shifting bike (after looking at the manual and tuning this up it changes gears perfectly!)
    5 year Warranty on the Frame by a company that is still in business.
    7005 Aluminum Frame
    Low end but no no name components.

    To be its a no brainer for a beginner or beater bike!
     
  4. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    I would have to disagree here, all bike shops here have name brand components and higher end components than you would get with any walmart or sporting goods type of bike... heck, look at the derailer (sic) and try to even find it on the shimano website. You would probably not be able to find it... I bought a brand new dawes lightning from chicabike on ebay and the derailer was low end but at least listed on its site... very solid bike by the way...

    Supposedly, the Denali is supposed to have a warranty as well, but there have been difficulties actually getting replacement parts and such so if you do something where you need a replacement part you are gambling...

    up to a certain point, the more money you spend, the better bike you will get, as I stated earlier, I got a better bike off ebay than the denali, I haven't purchased the varsity but others have bought one and put quite a bit of money to make it a really nice bike... however, with that said, for recreational cycling and if you don't mind learning to wrench yourself this could be a serviceable bike...

    just to play devils advocate here, I bought a used bike and here is what I got...
    for 100$
    I got a Trek 1220 with 7 sp sora sti shifters and 3 sp downtube shifter.
    I got a frame pump (I tested it and it does work...)
    I got a seat bag (with a replacement tube)
    I got 2 new tires on the bike (I verified that by visual inspection...)
    it was in rideable condition.

    I did have to buy a 3 dollar cable (the front cable was broken)
    I did replace the stem (It was used by a taller person and had a longer stem reach
    than I like but I cannibalized it from another project bike...)
    and I put a handlebar bag on the front... (I like to carry two replacement tubes and
    I was also able to put an extra water bottle in the bag which was very useful on my 35 mile ride yesterday...)


    its a fantastic bike but I also have to say you don't see deals like that all the time. In fact, I find that I have to have something thats rideable now in order to really be objective in finding a great deal for a used bike and the varsity could be that solution...
     
  5. AAAC

    AAAC New Member

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    Sorry I meant most department stores have no name brand parts not local bike shops.
    I can upgrade to the shimano parts with low end 2200 or tourney parts if needed, but even those parts are on warranty for a year on this bike, the frame is 5 years.

    Yeah you could find a good deal here an there, but I read about this bike in the forum, after work went to walmart, put 100 dollars on my credit card, read the manual, adjusted the bike, and went for a ride later in the evening, and the next day went on a longer ride. I mean that is the beauty of the bike being available at a local store that most people have access too. You can get up and riding very quickly and you have some sort of warranty for at least a year on the parts and 5 on the frame.

    I think its is a good value for the money and TIME, for a beginner who does not know what to get or look for on ebay and the such.
     
  6. Frigo's Luggage

    Frigo's Luggage New Member

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    Does it come in lime green? It can't be a real varsity unless it comes in lime green.

    The Salvation Army store and other thrift stores are where I get my inexpensive bikes. I got a pretty good Panasonic from the '80s for $15. All it neededwas some love and care and new tubes. I suspect the quality was much better than what Walmart is selling for $199.
     
  7. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    well, its easy to find for the particular bike that I bought... and its a "buy it now" so there is no auction part to it... and there are different versions of the product with variations of components that you could get depending on your budget... the drawback is that you do have to wait about a week for it to be shipped to you and you do have to do some assemble (very easy though...) But I do agree that low end bike can get you out on the road very quickly and I because of the bike that I have, if I were to go to a bike shop for a "nice" bike, I would have a much better idea of what makes a bike comfortable for me...

    I think its interesting how people affiliated with bike shops harp on bikes being fitted to you... my experience with the local bike shops that they take a frame that fits your size (and thats easy to figure out) and they they start playing with seat height and stems to fit the bike to you.... well, you can definately save some money by doing that part yourself... and you become a more educated consumer...

    I would like to hear how you are doing with the bike because I would be a little wary of this one only because of some of the early posters about the bike... actually tcar's in particular (broken chain, ghost shifting and such) but the more information about the bike the better...
     
  8. AAAC

    AAAC New Member

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    No not lime green but I like the simple look of Silver and black because most components are that color. As far as the frame on your Panasonic, that is hard to say, I think the 7005 frame on my bike is more advanced meaning lighter and stiffer, the steal fork helps the ride also. Mine drives and shifts nicely. Just because it was bought at Walmart does not mean the frame is automaticaly bad or worse then a steel frame from the 80's, Steel rusts aluminum does not weather it is bought at Walmart or Ultra Cycle or any place, its also stiffer, and lighter. Don't get me wrong you can get lucky and fine a good used bike at your local thift shop and that is another option. There is no rust on my bike and I have the year warranty on the parts and 5 years on the frame, it didn't need anything execpt some adjusting. I will try and post some pics and videos. I will let you guys know how it goes....
     
  9. jiminos

    jiminos New Member

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    an update: with 400 miles on my Varsity (new style not old) absolutely no problems.... 10, 20, 30, mile rides all flawless. having said that...

    This being a light weekend for me... i have stripped the bike down to the frame for a good cleaning and preventive maintenance check. for those who want to know... the frame (with only the bottom brackets still in the frame) weighs 4.9 pounds (U.S.) Fully assembled it weighs 26 pounds! (there is some chubby componentry in there, folks!) My goal for this weekend is to get the fully assembled weight down under 20. So, tomorrow... a trip to the LBS to look at forks, crank sets, handlebars, brakes, shifters and wheel sets.... (already changed out the original seat, seatpost and pedals to a Brooks B-17 Champion seat, a Specialized 220x27.2 carbon post and crank brothers Eggbeaters pedals.)

    dang! this is fun. i love wrenching. almost as much fun as riding!

    be well,

    jim
     
  10. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    jim, not to get too personal here but what are your stats? height/weight/age...

    the weight being the most important in order to determine what kind of stress the bike has been under...

    just so you don't think that I "walk the walk", I bought a dawes lightning of ebay and have put about 900 miles on it but I did notice the rear axel was starting to bend... my stats 5'9''/314/45... I paid 100.00 to put a tiagra freehub wheel on it with a new 7 speed cassette...
     
  11. jiminos

    jiminos New Member

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    not too personal at all... i am 50, i weigh 209 pounds, i am 185 cm (73 inches) tall....

    after a day of pricing components at the LBS (not all that local... it's 90 miles away).... i ended up buying another bike and have decided to build up the Schwinn with components off e-bay.... LBS's just want tooooooo much for the parts .... so, the Varsity will be upgraded... it will just take a few more paydays.... then i will likely give it to my oldest son ... or... hook it up to the trainer... who knows....

    be,

    jim
     
  12. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    Being a fan of the the chicago varsity and remembering the idea was to get adults into cycling at the college level I guess naming this the way they did was appropriate.While I personally believe if you can find a better deal by buying a used bike and upgrade,this ready from day one bike may get a few old guys out of their pickup on a bike.Not a bad idea considering gas prices and obesity problems.[​IMG]
     
  13. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    yeah, I found that you only build up a bike yourself for one reason... to get the certain bike that you want; not to save money because buying a whole bike is always cheaper... if you look earlier in this thread. one guy built up the varsity using parts that he bought from the LBS and ebay and you could have bought a low end brand name for that. So he got what he wanted but I don't think that he really saved anything by not buying a bike from an LBS.
     
  14. CaGradGirl

    CaGradGirl New Member

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    This thread has been really helpful to me - I need a bike for everyday commuting (on and off trains and buses for some legs) and want to upgrade to a hybrid or road bike with a lighter frame than the 2-ton Raleigh I currently use. Unfortunately I am forced to lock my bike outdoors while at work (albeit in a safe area), so I am not willing to do that with a >$500 purchase. Also, it has been difficult finding an inexpensive used road bike for my height (why are craigslist sellers always so TALL?!?). So I am now planning to order the Dawes.

    Can anyone comment on sizing for the Dawes Lightning Sport? Chicabike would suggest a SM for my height (5'5"). I tested a SM mens Diamondback Century at my LBS (I think it was listed as a 44 cm) and it felt a little too small but not overly so. Sizing (in cm) seems to be a little strange on these flatbar road bikes. Any advice on whether to order the SM or M Dawes product on Ebay? My inseam is 29-30". Also, what is going on with those "short length" bikes? At my LBS in place of a M Century I tried a different M-sized frame, which seemed to suit me better except that my feet hit the wheels when I turned?! I don't plan to bike to work in clip-toe shoes - is this something I should watch out for?

    Thanks!
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    WHICH "2-ton Raleigh" are you currently using? AND, do you feel that the frame fits you, or vice-versa?

    How long is the (virtual, if sloped) top tube on your current bike?

    How long is the stem?

    If your Raleigh (or, any-brand for others who might be interested) is a "road" bike AND the frame fits, then you can probably reduce the weight to the 24 lb. region without too much effort ... more money (still, well under your alloted budget) should result in a lighter bike (~22 lbs.).
     
  16. saintsfan342000

    saintsfan342000 New Member

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    I've been back at school here at University of Texas at Austin for just one week, and I've noticed 2 or 3 vintage Varsities, and one new Wal-Mart Varsity. Looks like a solid commuting/campus bike.
     
  17. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    Its really a question of time and location. With a little patience,prayer and persaverance anyone can find the right bike for any situation. Networking can help too. Find out if there is a local bike club in your area. A few are full of bike snobs, but most are full of wonderful people excited at the chance to assist someone in finding the perfect bike to fit their need. They can explain what to look for and what you need to avoid.Check yard sales,thrift stores and E-bay.They can all produce results.There is also the possiblity that updating your raliegh with some 07 parts might also lower the wieght to a more acceptable poundage.
     
  18. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    I bought a sport based on my size and I found that it fits me... but I did have to play with stem height because I like the handlebars about the same height as my seat. you can also modify a "close enough" bike to fit by using another stem... don't know what you can do about your feet hitting the wheels when you turn because I don't have that problem....

    I don't know about upgrading your raleigh because getting newer components tends to become expensive pretty fast... but if you decided to go that route I would look for parts from ebay...
     
  19. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    sorry I forgot to put a link that I think will help you...
    http://sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html
     
  20. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Your feet will hit the wheel on a racing bike with it's short wheelbase. If you are just going to use it for commuting or pleasure riding, you don't need the racing geometry. See about getting a comfort bike or a "sport-touring" bike. Both of these will give you clearance between your foot and the front wheel. OR, you can just stop peddling every time you need to turn the front wheel past your foot. Since most turning at all but the lowest speeds is done by leaning into the turn rather than turning the handlebars, the foot clearance usually is not an issue.
     
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