Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My 1982 Schwinn Varsity

Ever since I had been working in downtown Boston I often thought it would be cool just to have a beater road bike. I figured I could go to NJ and get my old bike and convert it to a single speed or something. Well, the first time I recently lifted the bike I nearly pulled a muscle in my back. It turns out that my "Lightweight" Schwinn Varsity weighs 38 lbs. That's heavier than both my mountain bikes. logic and reasoning told me that if I really wanted a cheap, no frills, single speed, that I could get one real cheap on Craigslist.

Well I no longer work in downtown Boston and I never really would have spent the time, effort, and money to convert my Schwinn. So I moved on...

So much for moving on...

This past weekend I was visiting family at my father's house and I saw my bike hanging in the garage. I took it down and put air in the vintage Panaracer tires and took it out for a spin. The bike was filthy and had seen better days. However it rode solid. I imagine at 38 lbs. that the ride should feel solid.

I'm not sure what I am going to do with it. I am pretty sure I am not going to do anything major to it. I will definitely have to clean it. From there we'll see. I imagine that maybe this could be my winter bike while the expensive, shiny bike is on the trainer. Then maybe put the Schwinn on the trainer while the expensive, shiny bike is on the road in the warmer weather.

The bike has all original parts.

There isn't a quick release lever to be found! It still even has the bike shop sticker from where it was purchased.

It needs:

  • new brakes,
  • probably new tires.
  • It could stand to have an upgraded seat post and seat.
  • The pedals WILL be replaced!
    (I think I still have scar tissue where the original saw toothed pedals often hit me in the shins.)
  • New handle bar tape (or no handlebar tape)
  • New handlebars?
  • and whatever breaks in the course of use...

38 lbs.! Maybe I should mount a tank turret on it ;-)

UPDATE: Project Schwinn

I've dedicated a section in my Amazon aStore to my Schwinn Project. I plan on listing an parts I find and use on my Schwinn there. I would like the tires but they seem to have been discontinued. Right now I just have some single speed conversion kits listed. NOTE: these aren't Schwinn specific.

Visit the Project Schwinn section on my aStore!


Anonymous said...

Go vintage or don't go at all. you have a classic on your hands. Why not add a rack, some panniers and lug bricks or sand bags for some real training?

New cables, brake pas and tires does sound like agood start. Grease all moving parts and lube that puppy up.

You could really 'show that bike what you've learned' and keep the old shin eater pedals and mash them to pieces before finally replacing them...
Mike D

Martinator said...

Thanks for the comment Mike. I actually did just order a rack that I may or may not add to this bike. "Going vintage" is probably the least expensive way to go :-).

It definitely needs a good cleaning and lube job first.

Jonathan said...

I'm in the same boat you were in except the only bike i have is the 38lb varsity. I'm looking to upgrade and try to shave off a couple of pounds....any ideas/suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat you were in except the only bike i have is the 38lb varsity. I'm looking to upgrade and try to shave off a couple of pounds....any ideas/suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Go Single Speed. my dad old varsity from shortly after they invented the wheel just had its rear derailur fail so i am dumping the whole drive train because its worthless at this point. shedding 4 pounds of anchient tech will help with the weight. Additionally as a hill trainer a single speed will give you strong legs

Ror said...

Hey my names Ror. I've got this same bike. You're right! there isn't much weight to take off. But, the wheels are steel and can be swapped with aluminum. Hopefully you've converted to a single speed by now. This is a good bike for training and for show. I just ordered a gold chain for it and saving up for a new fork. I love this bike!!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap!!! I'm so happy I stumbled across this site!! I have a blue 1976 Schwinn V in my parents garage I've been contemplating taking to the DUMP!.Now I'm quite sure I'll make a project bike out of it. So excited I can't wait to get to it this weekend to get it out of the garage> Thanks for the posts to read.

Martinator said...

@ROR: I haven't done much with it since the chain broke.

@anonymous(Holy crap!!!): If you are restoring/reviving your old Schwinn, keep in mind that it is an irrational labor of love. The only justification that holds any weight is: "I hate to see a perfectly good bike be put down..."

Anonymous said...

i just got done converting mine to a single fixed, replace it all down to the frame. mainly just some parts laying around alone with an old Varsity. In total dropped a whole whopping 12 lbs so it now weighs a fat 26 lbs