Schwinn Varsity back from the dead (at Walmart!)

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

  1. gatucar

    gatucar New Member

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    Hi guys,

    Let me give you a little bit of my cycling background: I know nothing about bikes! Based on the current situation that affects the university parking lot (crowded all the time) I decided to get a cheap bike at Wally. After some research I got a Schwinn Varsity. So far (I have ridden a little over 100 miles on it) I think the bike is OK to me (maybe a little too big) and I am wondering if a carbon fork and a carbon seat post would make it NOTORIOUSLY more comfortable. If you could give me advice it will be very welcomed! :)


    Thanks

     


  2. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    Hope you didn't pay full price. The way I have been hearing on the net varsities have been going out the walmart door at about $100 just to get the dust out.Sorry if you paid full price.My suggestion would be to see if your local walmart has one of those GMC denali pro's left.They are what you are wanting to upgrade to kinda and walmarts are knocking the price down to $250from $329 to get rid of them.
     
  3. gatucar

    gatucar New Member

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    10 speed,

    Thanks for your reply. I paid 150 for my varsity (it is not the best price ever heard but at least it is less than the original 200).

    By the way, I tried the GMC Denaly pro but I returned to the store 6 hours later because it was heavier and slower than my varsity:eek:. On top of that the cassette seemed to not turn true on its axis (it oscillated way too much). The shifters were nice (after adjustments) especially for the comfortable brake levers but they were by far noisier than the cheap ones that I got .
     
  4. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    thanks gatucar. You just saved me from a $250 mistake.I guess I'm just going to have to save a few more bucks and go for the trek.
     
  5. flameburns623

    flameburns623 New Member

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    My advice: REFUSE to pay more than $300.00 for any new bicycle. REFUSE to pay more than $50.00 for any use bicycle. REFUSE to pay more than $5000.00 for a new car or more than $1000.00 for a used car. That's in US dollars, circa AD 2007.

    At times, I rather like feudal ideas about value far more than I like the modern "a thing is worth what someone is willing and able to pay for it" concept. The latter idea is a recipe for eternal inflation. I probably will explain this poorly, but the feudal economy was built around the idea of stability and utility: a thing was worth what it was intended for, and for whom it was intended. One would never make a cart (or a bicycle) of gold or precious metal because the item could never be worth more than a similar item made of base metal. This tended to ensure that the price of common means of transportation and of common tools of trade remained within the reach of common people.

    The practice of inflating prices based upon the ability of more-affluent consumers to pay was seen as price-gouging (there's a different term for it but I'm not finding the synonym at present), and it was subject to both civil and ecclesiastical penalties. The policy created stable, conservative societies which changed dramatically only during periods of extreme duress--periods of total war, disease, or famine.

    A few folks may remember the story, included in many literature or social-studies textbooks in about the 5th or 6th grade. The story was meant to demean conservatism, but I took away a rather different lesson. As I recollect, the story is told of an ancient, good-and-wise Chinese emperor who had built a very peaceful and prosperous kingdom, but made many enemies in the surrounding kingdoms. His enemies formed an alliance against him, and their combined forces were approximately equal to his own; the victory could easily go to either side. In the weeks prior to the great battle, the emperor was secretly approached by one of his subjects, a prodigy who had created several weapons which might give the emperor the decisive edge. One was a crude sort of blunderbuss, a sort of rifle. Another was a sort of cannon. Most importantly, the prodigy had devised some sort of flying machine (I don't recollect if this was a hot-air balloon or a glider), to which he had attached a platform from which his other weapons could be utilised.

    The emperor immediately recognised that these weapons would indeed give him a great advantage over his enemies. But he also recognised that these new weapons would totally disrupt the traditional methods of waging war, and would ultimately change society itself if such weapons proliferated. The Emperor excused himself and, without explaining why, sent the royal executioner in to dispatch the prodigy of his head. All of the prodigy's inventions were destroyed without anyone being told what they were. In the battle that ensued, the Emperor's army lost and he himself was mortally wounded; his dying words were something like "Though I have lost my empire, I have preserved it".

    We were supposed to be appalled, as I recollect, that a "good and wise" king would esteem his traditions so highly that he would refuse to change his ways of conducting war. But what if the "good and wise king" were actually a bad and exploitative one? What if his enemies had been the real 'good guys'? After all--at the risk of invoking Godwin's Law--the most well-known proponent of traditional values in our time was also the leader who embraced new technology most enthusiastically. And the one who most of us most fervently disdain and despise: Adolf Hitler.

    Sorry for the rant. I get frustrated at the bike snobbery that insists that a 'good bike' cannot be found for less than $700.00, largely because I just don't think that most people who buy bikes will ever perceive the least amount of difference between a $200.00 Schwinn from Wal-Mart and a $7000.00 bike from a local bike shop.
     
  6. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    An exellent observation in theory except for one critical point.Our precious dollar is practically worthless.A gaspipe huffy of 30 years ago was a by todays standard basic steel welded together frame with components designed to last 36mo of heavy duty abuse.Your big box bike of today given anywhere near the same treatment and you will find they hold up less than 90 days.Before you think I'm insulting the big box store that sell these bike shaped objects like 60 dollar Next with 18 speeds,I recollect the only new bike I ever bought was a 10 speed Murry bought in 96 for $79 +tax and that was because it was on clearance.With inflation today that would be $140 or so.These walmart bike serve their purpose.cheap because your worth it.I own 17 different bikes at this timeand have spent less than 700 or so on all of them together.All top shelf quality but if I was to club ride
    I would definitely spend $1500 on a good bike for speed and saftey.You get what you pay for .
     
  7. flameburns623

    flameburns623 New Member

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    The other side of the feudal-economy coin is that if you built it--you built it for the ages. In a feudal economy, no bike would cost much more than an 'expensive' Wal-Mart bike--but if a Wal-Mart bike wore out before your grandson passed it on to his grandson, someone at Wal-Mart would have their head rolling around in a basket. Which is why feudal castles are still standing, but our newest big-box Wal-Mart around here, just finished last year, will be plowed under and converted to parking lot by the time I retire. Feudal economies punished innovation and rewarded stability, reliability, and utility.

    So in my 'ideal' world--no one would ever build a bike out of carbon alloys or whatever space-age material is being used to make them so expensive, and bikes probably wouldn't be advanced much beyond the three-speed or mebbe the ten-speed stage . . .but they would be cheap in relation to whatever people's standard-of-living might equate to, and the things would last for generations on end.
     
  8. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    You must understand why a respectable commuter is worth 700 dollars. It is because that is the value of a quality bike.People in this country have assume the pay they recieve is below appropriate. The usual class envy lie. This countries politics has been to convince you to vote for them.Not policies. So they buy votes by borrowing money.People have to ask If what I do I wouldn't pay some one else to do it somethings wrong.If you went to the machine shop with that bike on paper do you think they could build one for 300 Idon't think so.
     
  9. flameburns623

    flameburns623 New Member

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    Why is there a massive blank space between my quote and your response? Did you try to post something that isn't displaying?

    In any case: Wal-Mart buys it's bikes for $15.00 and sells them for $150.00. We have already determined that Wal-Mart is failing to do it's duty as a retailer because it's bikes will not stand up under reasonable use. In addition, they are taking what I feel is an unfair and exorbitant amount of profit for their products. I frankly don't agree with you that the 'fair' starting price of a bike is $700.00. A bicycle is a working-class person's means of transportation and in a feudal economy that would be recognised and the price would be held to that standard: I'm somewhat arbitrarily naming that price as $300.00, but I think that's pretty close. Part of the problem is that you think that $60.00/hour labor charges are 'fair' wages. In view of the fact that the mechanic probably ALREADY is only making $10.00/hour or so--the rest going to the shop--I blatantly disagree. I think the entire free-enterprise pricing system has inflated prices all up and down the spectrum.

    The mechanic is probably getting a a fair living wage for his or her work--$20,000.00/year being a reasonable wage for what is essentially entry-level employment in most cases--but the shop owners are taking away exorbitant profits. Or they are paying exorbitant profits to their lessors, their suppliers, etcetera. Probably the latter. Feudal economies defined a 'fair profit', generally, as somewhere around 2% or 3%. Modern economies often DEMAND profits of 10% or more--anything in the single-digits is de facto a 'sluggish rate of return'. THAT is why you think that the starting price of a 'good bicycle' is $700.00. That and the fact that bicycles are being way over-engineered with ultralightweight carbon steel, carbon fiber, titanium, etcetera.

    In a feudal economy, if you put $7000.00 worth of titanium into a bicycle, you'd better plan to sell the bike for $300.00 or else melt the titanium back down into ingots; try to sell your titanium bike for more than the reasonable average price of other bicycles and your life would be forfeit. Probably not only YOUR life but the life of all of your known kinfolk, with your ancestral lands being burnt, salted, and left as a dugheap.

    There is way too much premeditated obsolescence in products generally, and in bikes and autos particularly. Bikes that are a mere ten years old are already said, widely and on this forum, to have 'outdated technology'; they are 'good starter bikes' for someone on a budget, but the advice is always--START with that bike BUT 'upgrade' ASAP. That is wrong. Our economy assumes that yesterday's products are trash, fit only for the very-poor or for the ash-heap--preferably the latter, so that the product does not impede the steady upward spiral of prices for newer products beyond the reach of common people.
     
  10. gatucar

    gatucar New Member

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    Hi guys,

    I respect both positions regarding the price of a bike. If you have the money and you will really enjoy riding a 1000 + bike…go for it (actually I would like to buy a nice bike). But there are other things that make me think different.

    1) The companies that manufacture nice bikes spend a lot of money in advertisement (supporting athletes, etc) and the consumer will finally pay for it. I have heard that close to 50% of the value of a brand product is actually advertisement, (I may be wrong but a Sam’s coke is half price than the real one). This makes a 1000 dollar bike worth of 500.

    2) The bike company will need to get some money as well…just say 100 dollars at least (10%)…We now have a 400 dollars bike.

    3) Depending where you live you will have to pay taxes. To me it is a good 10%. (10% of 1000 = 100). We have now a 300 bike

    4) Bike shops at my city (small city) are fairly small so I really doubt that they can get a good discount for buying a large number of bicycles from the bicycle company. Let’s say they have to pay 50 dollars more than a large business able of getting a nice discount. (we have to pay 50 extra dollars due to inherent inefficiency of a small store) We have now a 250 dollar bike.

    5) The bike shop will sell a reduced number of these nice bikes every month and from these few bikes these guys must make a living. This is: pay employees, the rent, bills, transportation, education for their kids, and so on. Let’s say that their earnings for selling a 1000 dollar bike are just 15 % (150 dollars). We have now a 100 dollar bike.


    OK my calculations may be dead wrong and it is true that a big store will never be able to take account of the entire extra price that I already mentioned. But just make the same thinking process with a 200 Schwinn.


    Advertisement= 0

    Company earnings (just say 10%) = 20 dollars

    Taxes = 20 dollars

    Big store gets the discount so I will discount zero from my calculations.

    Big store earnings (say 50%) = 100 dollars



    At the end we have “real values” of 60 and 100 dollars for two different bikes.



    Just kidding (but not 100% kidding:D).
     
  11. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    Ya know I agree with some parts of the efficency statement but the local bike shop in my nieghborhood tends to prove alot of what he says.I could never picture myself in a fuedal society knowing the values created in fuedal societies can be quite scary. In a free society you can have those responsible and those not. The irresponsible tend to rise then fall quickly on their own.Those who act with a responsible standard go on and on.The shop near me actually competes with walmart successfully by operating in a responsible manner.the prices of their products they sell compete well with the big box store. Some are a little higher but some actually cost less. The stuff is always of reasonable quality which I can't say about walmart bike products which I do buy.That being said a person in a country desiring the latest hottest items bargains are out there galore.You have to shop wisely.Update parts only when nessesary.Check those yard sales.Join the local Bike club and get chummy with the guys who get the latest frame and sell the old one cheap.they might sell you their old one just so you can keep up.
     
  12. reub2000

    reub2000 New Member

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    $700 is for a what the writer considers an acceptable road bike. The problem is that this is a luxury item. I upgraded last summer from a Giant Cypress ST, a bike which cost somthing around $250 new. It is a lot heavier than my new bike, and a lot slower. But if I needed to get somewhere, the cheap price tag did not prevent me from getting there.

    I was leaving a resturant, and was unlocking my bike, and a friend of mine was unlocking what looked like a used road bike. The components where probably outdated. But you know what, the bike got him home just fine. It might not be the first choice of a bike enthusiast who wants to go fast, but these bikes will get you from point a to point b. Complaining about what is a luxry item costing too much will not get you anywhere.

    Second of all, basic economic theory will tell you that limiting bikes to a certain point, would not work. Under a free market, the price will naturally settle at an equilibrium price, a price which is a compromise between the suppliers and the demanders. If the price is above this price point, to many bikes will be manufactored, but nobody will buy them at the higher price point. If the price point is set too low, then few bikes will be made, and consumers will fight over these few bikes, if they can find a store that has a bike in stock.
     
  13. jptaguilar

    jptaguilar New Member

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    I have now had my Schwinn Varsity for about 7 months and have put about 2,000 miles on it. I have ridden in three charity rides each about 50 miles, and it is still rolling. I did put a carbon fork and seatpost on it, to take some of the road buzz off. I think that the $200.00 I spent on the bike were well spent. :cool:
     
  14. 10 speed

    10 speed New Member

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    I think the new schwinn is an ok bike for the price(down to $154)is reasonable Ipersonally think you can get a better deal going used.










    9
     
  15. jptaguilar

    jptaguilar New Member

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    Just returned from Austin, TX, where I participated in the LiveSTRONG Challenge. I rode 65 miles in the hill country on my Schwinn Varsity, and it held up just fine, and shifted quite well. I now have over 2,500 miles on my bike and still no major problems. I still believe it is a good bike for the money, and for casual rides. :cool:
     
  16. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    I am a big dude, 5'9'' at around the 300... could I ask what your stats are? just want to put the mileage on the bike in context...
     
  17. jptaguilar

    jptaguilar New Member

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    I am 5'7" and 170 lbs.:cool:
     
  18. Zayce

    Zayce New Member

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    I have to say that for a $150 bike I got for christmas 3 years ago it was worth it! I have 7800 miles on my bike. I have had to replace many things. The first thing to go was the rear cassette followed by the Bottom Bracket. Then a couple 1000 miles late I had to replace the rear hub because I sprint out of an intersection and put just enough torque to break it. My bike weighs in at 29 pounds. I expect to get at least 10000 miles on my bike before it goes ka-put.
     
  19. GT Fanatic

    GT Fanatic New Member

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    I don't know a thing about Schwinn's history, but I just spent $1200 on one on Monday afternoon.

    All I know about Schwinn is that they sell some real crap under Schwinn's name at Walmart, and then there is the "real" Schwinn, which only cycling enthusiasts pretty much know about.

    I've never heard of a Stingray, Paramount, Varsity, etc., but I wound up on a brand new full-carbon bike called a "Paramount Series 7."

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Hammond Egger

    Hammond Egger New Member

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    Not around here you can't. For $154.00 all you can get here is a pile of junk.
     
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