Schwinn Varsity back from the dead (at Walmart!)

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

  1. SteelBisketts

    SteelBisketts New Member

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    I'm thinking of getting into cycling for recreational use and fitness. I researched some bikes online and went to 2 LBS. They mesured me and put me on two different frames 56 & 58 cm. They also confirmed everything I've researched online. I road a $700.00 bike and a $2000.00 bike. They were everything you would think that kind of money would buy.

    Like some of the posts here I didn't want to make a 700.00 investment when I don't even know if I'll stick with the sport. So I thought I can go down to Wally World and buy the bike and if I didn't like it, I'll return it. For a minimal 200.00 investment and a 30 day return policy, this was not a bad deal for me, so I took the plung.

    To insure that I give the bike it's due, I took the advice from this forum and went through it. It took me about 2 - 3 hours, but I took my time and did a through job adjusting everything.

    For what I'm going to use it for, I think it was a smart buy. Now if I start riding really long distances, I expect to put some money into it and wind up with a bike that eventually costs about as much. So if you are not sure about the sport and you want to try it out without breaking the bank, it's a nice buy. When it boils down, you are pretty much purchasing an aluminum frame.

    The Bike:
    I found the bike fit me better (Maybe because I adjusted it to my build).
    The bike road nice and handled well.
    I do not expect the comonents to last that long. The rear weel and derailer will probably go first. Not a problem if I get some mileage out of them.

    I would like to thank everybody that posted here. You have really helped me learn a tone about cycling. I hope this post helps other readers.
     


  2. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    First of all, thanks for this thread. It was more help than i ever expected to find on this bike.


    I found the thread last night after googling a bike I had just bought from WalMat -- the Varsity. It was the same story for me; I've never been a biker, but I liked doing it when I was young so I figured it would be a good way to get exercise. I wasn't sure about the big investment so I wanted to start small. Nothing new about that on this thread.

    But when I got it back, I was confused. The wheel seemed wobbly, and that didn't seem like something that was normal. I tried to take them off and reattach them, centered, but that didn't fix the problem. Since I know nothing about bikes, I don't know if the wheel is bent or if it just needed adjusting. Anyway, I got it so it wasn't bumping into the brakes, so it would turn freely, and that was good enough.

    So today I took it for a little test run, and my neighborhood has a lot of hills. So it was a lot of up-and-down riding -- climbing, coasting, climbing, coasting. I'm coming home, and I have to make the biggest climb of the trip, and it's really steep for me. The road goes through the woods, basically, and winds around, and theres no bike path, so it's fairly dangerous. Anyway, the climb was so steep I couldnt have kept turning around to check for traffic so I just kept plodding.

    And then, out of nowhere, the rear deraileur bends into the spokes, locks up the bike and I stop in the middle of the road. It was bad news. I had to drag the bike (still locked up due to the broken deraileur) the rest of the way home, and now Im pissed. I'm taking it back to WalMart and doing what I should have done to begin with -- go to a LBS.

    On a side note, I'm 6-3 and I'm pretty sure the bike was way too small for me. I had the seat way up, but that just made me lean down further, which couldnt be good for my back.

    Thanks for all the advice, from both Varsity apologists and WallyWorld haters. Though I had a fairly bad experience, I learned a ton and it was definitely worth it.

    -rick
     
  3. tcar5

    tcar5 New Member

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    Damn, dude I certainly would call that a bad experience. Good that nothing happened to your body since you can't really return that..! I bet your front rim was bent and probably from the Wally World racks that the cram the bikes in. I don't think I have ever heard of a derailer bending under man power before. Cerntainly in accidents but never from muscle. You must have some power man legs. But in any case, good luck to ya, glad no injuries.
     
  4. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    Haha. I have very not strong legs. It was probably a combination of the steep climb (seriously, it was hard!) and the bike being poorly assembled. But I wouldn't know what to look for, so I guess I was just hoping the bike was in good shape. Guess it wasnt.

    I had looked it over, and I had decided that I'd get used to the bike, even if it was too small. I was gonna take your advice and replace the seat post and fork and pedals, but now I'm back to square one. Maybe I'll look around at pawn shops for a decent used system and take it to a lbs to get it set up. Anyway, thanks again.
     
  5. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    Actually, I think I might consider the Denali Yukon XL. It goes up to a 25" frame, which should be about right, and it's still cheaper ($300) than a bike i'll find at a LBS. I can buy it online from WalMart, so I could put it together myself (which would ensure it's put together correctly and would force me to learn about the bike).

    Has anyone tried that bike out?
     
  6. Blademun

    Blademun New Member

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    I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more. EBAY! Screw wal-mart. In 10 minutes I can look up 10 different bikes that are all under 300$ and easily beat the Yukon in quality.

    But a even better bet is to wait and 'lurk' on Ebay, watching the individual auctions of bikes. Also, I would suggest spending around 400$. While yo ucan get a decent bike for 200-300$, I found that when I spent 400$ the quality level went up enormously. Heres a good example:

    http://www.bicyclebuys.com/Items01.asp?NavID=bikemfg&M=64&T=45

    Scroll down to the Marin Novato 03'. A New Old Stock(NOS) bike that weighs in around 22-23lbs, and is built with stunning quality. I think your looking for a big bike so this one won't work. :/ Thats ok though, theres many other deals out there on the web. Do a little research and you can save yourself big $$$.
     
  7. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    Thanks. That's kind of hard for me since I know so little about bikes, which is why it's just easier for me to get something from the w-place. But I guess I'm going to have to educate myself sooner or later... I'll look into some auctions.

    -rick
     
  8. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    well, as far as the derailleur, were you shifting when it went into the spokes?
    because there are limit screws to prevent it from doing that if it wasn't bent either during the ride or even maybe before and you didn't notice...

    a guy on this forum "Tcar5" has a schwinn varsity, and also has taken a look at the Yukon... you might try to get some info from him about that...

    as far as a bike recommendation, I have said in previous posts that I bought a Dawes Lighting sport that has a similar setup to the varsity (indexed stem shifters, 14 speed...) but I have had no problem with the bike and it cost about 250 which included shipping... it has a steel frame (some purists still prefer over the newer type of frame materials because of ride and if properly cared for will last a lifetime...). She sells the bikes in different sizes and she gives some sizing info on the ebay site where she sells them... (her name is "chicabike"). I have put about 400 miles on the bike with no problems except for one flat from some road debris...

    oh and just so you know, I am 5' 9'' and ~300 lbs, and that is after I lost about 30 lbs riding. The bike has handled pretty well, I would say...

    if you prefer the STI shifting like the Yukon, she sells a version that has that as well but it also costs a bit more...

    as a final note, you can do a google on dawes lightning sport for more info, and you can also read the feedback given to her by other customers.
     
  9. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    oh and one other note, you can also find out some info on the "gmc" line (denali, envoy, and yukon) by going to amazon.com and doing a search on it.
    it also has some review information by people that have purchased it...
     
  10. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    I wasn't shifting. I wasn't doing anything other than pedaling.
     
  11. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Is it possible the wheel went into the derailleur instead of the derailleur going into the wheel?:confused:
     
  12. renewkir

    renewkir New Member

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    I guess it's possible, but this happened at the end of a short (5 mile) ride, and the bike ran smoothly until then. my guess is that the derailleur wasnt fastened tightly and drooped a little too close to the spokes, until it finally got entangled in them. But who knows. The bikes back at the store now, and I tihnk I' mgoing to get the Dawes lightning sport... it does look like a good buy.
     
  13. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about your bad experience, Rick. During a period of deep employment doldrums, I used to assemble and sell bikes at Wal-Mart. Selling adult bikes there was always a personal conflict of interests for me. By my fiduciary responsibility I could not dissuade people from buying them, but if the customer ever suggested going to a bike shop, I always said that's probably a good idea. When I assembled, though, they always got the best setup I could do on such a bike--brakes, derailleurs, and even wheel truing. The managers even let me assemble Frankenstein bikes from salvaged parts--we used to sell them as used on the sidewalk, which made a lot of poor kids happy.

    If it's any consolation, most managers are pretty open-minded about refunds on bikes.
     
  14. SteelBisketts

    SteelBisketts New Member

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    Sorry about your bad experience....:eek:

    As in my post I stated that I had spent about 3 - 4 hours going through the bike to make it right. I re-adjusted all my derailers etc, etc....

    Right now I have 60 miles on the bike with no problems.

    I guess this bike is not for the faint of heart. You do have to know how to work on bikes and set them up in order to give it a fair run. Since you are not purchasing it from a LBS, you are the one responsable for the final setup/tweeks.

    It sounds like you got a bad bike from the start.

    Good luck on your next bike.:)

    Bizketts..............
     
  15. ovalbackmarker

    ovalbackmarker New Member

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    I thought you might enjoy this picture of my new Varsity. I converted it to a single speed, replaced the ugly seat post, and added a rear light. I have a couple of hundred miles on it now and it is a nice commuter bike. Even climbing hills with a 52 X 17 gear, there is minimal bottom bracket flex. I also like the way it looks.
     
  16. brad g

    brad g New Member

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    I bought a varsity a little over a month ago. I toiled that decision for weeks, then decided that $200 wasn't too much to risk, plus since I work for Wally World, I get the big 10% off, and you can always return it if you don't like it. I have read all the pros, cons, opinions, etc. I've put about 200 miles on it so far, no problems yet. I find that the frame is a bit small for my 6'1" 225lb carcass, but that doesn't keep me off of it. When I first got the bike, the rear tire developed an egg, not bad enough to keep me from riding, but annoying none the less. One quick call to Pacific Cycles and a new tire arrived about a week later. I don't have any real complaints about this bike. I'm still using all the original components and have added a set of Profile Design Aeros, which helps keep my hands from going numb. I honestly prefer to ride the varisty over the Trek 7.2fx.

    Ride hard!
     
  17. SteelBisketts

    SteelBisketts New Member

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    :cool:NICE:cool:

    Bizketts........
     
  18. SteelBisketts

    SteelBisketts New Member

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    Right Now I have 140 miles on mine. I'm now riding 5 days a week. 4 days at 10miles and the 5th day 25miles. No problems to really speak of. I had to adjust the rear derailleur cable. But this happens with new cables. They will stretch and eventually you will have to tweek them a little. I'm 5
    11" 220lbs, my inseam is 34" and I have no complaints about how the bike fits me.

    Things I check before each ride:
    Tire pressure (100psi).
    Wheels are secure
    Seat height (I mark my seat polls so I can tell if post is moving).

    :) Bizketts.........
     
  19. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Nicely done.
     
  20. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    I think THAT is one of the keys to being a successful owner of ANY bike -- ensuring that the proper adjustments are made in-the-beginning & throughout the life of the bike.

    Something everyone can do ...

    Bike maintenance is something only hand models + surgeons & dental techs (i.e., people who make their living specifically with their hands) OR people with "minor" disabilities (e.g., arthritis OR a sub-90 IQ) should avoid.
     
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