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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm extremely new to these forums, and road biking in general. I recently got a nice trail bike but found an old Scwhinn Varsity at the dump. (and brought it home.lol)

I would love to get it up and running but the hub, chainring, and most of the bolts are SUPER rusty. The breaks were shot, and all the cables were either cut or missing. Shifters are missing along with parts of the derailuer (not sure how).

I was hoping to maybe rebuild this thing as a single gear, (NO FIXIES :mad: ). BUT, as you can probably guess, I have no idea where to start. Any pointers on the first thing I should do to get this cleaned up and possibly running in the near future would be greatly appriciated.

Also, this bike will be for commuting back and forth to school and work, nothing serious.

Thanks!
 

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Fat'r + Slow'r than TMB
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This may end up costing you more in the long run depending on what shape some of the primary components (wheels, bottom bracket, cranks, headset). If the basics are good then I would suggest taking it all apart, clean it with mineral spirits, regrease every thing that needs regreasing and putting it back together. Again if any of those parts are shot then there may have been a good reason it was in the dump. By the way, nothing wrong with dumpster diving. Quite a few of us have found some diamonds in the rough but those are few and far between. Pictures would definately help us help you.
 

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A Schwinn Varsity was a bottom level road bike, with all steel parts, including rims and bars. They weighed 40+ pounds. If you found one in pristine condition at a garage sale it wouldn't be worth over $40-50. Personally, I wouldn't bother with a rusty one in the condition you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh Mr.! Where is your sense of turning a pile of junk into something beautiful?! Lol, I have looked into the bike though, and I do realize the bike is pretty bad in biking standards, but beggars can't be choosers >,<

I will upload some pics asap, and after posting before I realized it wasn't in THAT horrible condition. (I do tend to exaggerate a bit :p) But since shifters aren't really needed with a single gear I think it'll be very managable. I'm thinkin the headset is in really nice condition, and for the most part all the parts with barrings are still in nice condition, they could use a little lube though. I'm planing on painting it soon, and yeahh I know I kinda jumped the gun on in sanding and stuff, but I needed something to do while waiting on responses >.<

Thanks and ill get pics asap
 

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This time last year, I found a Varsity on CL for $40 and went over to see it. It was rough and the guy's wife said just make us an offer. I figured it was worth about $15 for a project SS or just in vintage Schwinn ebay parts. Once at home, a closer inspection and a tear down told me I overpaid as each and every single part went into the trash one by one.

Was it a waste? No and quite to the contrary. For $15, I throughly enjoyed a Sat afternoon tinkering with yet another old bike and far more than had I gone to the movies. More importantlty though was the private lesson of now knowing to look more carefully and be more selective next time out. In short, it was the most fun and the BEST $15 I ever spent on a bike in my life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mr Bentwrench said:
This time last year, I found a Varsity on CL for $40 and went over to see it. It was rough and the guy's wife said just make us an offer. I figured it was worth about $15 for a project SS or just in vintage Schwinn ebay parts. Once at home, a closer inspection and a tear down told me I overpaid as each and every single part went into the trash one by one.

Was it a waste? No and quite to the contrary. For $15, I throughly enjoyed a Sat afternoon tinkering with yet another old bike and far more than had I gone to the movies. More importantlty though was the private lesson of now knowing to look more carefully and be more selective next time out. In short, it was the most fun and the BEST $15 I ever spent on a bike in my life.
Ahh! Great story, that is pretty much what I'm going for, sentimental or "learning value" over anything. Odds are ill give this bike to my girlfriend anyhow, I do plan on purchasing parts from craigslist and ebay, and am not going for anything super fancy, I just want it to look clean and have breaks, lol.
 

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hemoglowen said:
Oh Mr.! Where is your sense of turning a pile of junk into something beautiful?! Lol, I have looked into the bike though, and I do realize the bike is pretty bad in biking standards, but beggars can't be choosers >,<

I will upload some pics asap, and after posting before I realized it wasn't in THAT horrible condition. (I do tend to exaggerate a bit :p) But since shifters aren't really needed with a single gear I think it'll be very managable. I'm thinkin the headset is in really nice condition, and for the most part all the parts with barrings are still in nice condition, they could use a little lube though. I'm planing on painting it soon, and yeahh I know I kinda jumped the gun on in sanding and stuff, but I needed something to do while waiting on responses >.<
It's good that you're going to turn the beast into a beauty and I'm definitely curious to see how that goes for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
lancezneighbor said:
Just use parts you already have on hand for the most part. Don't put too much money into it.

Thats what I was planning on doing for the most part. The wheels are in pretty good condition, nothing a little elbow grease can't take care of. Gotta get them balanced though.. The only thing I'm planning on swaping is the parts for a single gear, and a new seat, since this one was missing. But other than that everything seems to work nicely. Hopefully I can get some pics up and you all can gimmie some options on what to do first, or what parts I should or shouldn't order.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
A Schwinn Varsity was a bottom level road bike, with all steel parts, including rims and bars. They weighed 40+ pounds. If you found one in pristine condition at a garage sale it wouldn't be worth over $40-50. Personally, I wouldn't bother with a rusty one in the condition you describe.
God knows I'm no bike snob, but I gotta agree with Mr. V on this one. If I were going to put all that work into bringing back a bike from the condition you describe, it would have to be a lot better bike than this one can ever be. And there's no way you're NOT going to spend some money on this. Doesn't sound like you have a huge stash of old/spare parts out in your barn.

But it can be a fun project, and you'll definitely learn a lot, so if you really want to do this, feel free to post questions as you go along.

BTW, bike wheels don't get balanced. Unless what you mean is trued, and in that case plan to spend ten bucks on truing steel wheels that won't stop in the rain, even with new brakes (note spelling).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pictures, FINALLY!

Hello guys,
I finally got a chance to take some pictures, sorry for the quality, It was with my phone, I don't have a digital camera -_-.

Chainring and such. The crank seems to be in really good condition contrary to my
https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/killallsaysall/schwinnchainring.jpg

https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/killallsaysall/schwinnframasseblmed.jpg

https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/killallsaysall/schwinnhandlebarsbreaks.jpg

https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/killallsaysall/schwinnrearhub.jpg

I primered the bike already, as you can see. Because I'm impatient and didn't have anything to do with my spare time. I am going to grease everything I can today, however, I am lacking a tool to get into the crank, so I'll hopefully be able to get the rest.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm thinking I could get by with only buying a new set of tires/tubes, break pads and a single gear kit, if those exist. :p Thanks for the help!
 

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You gotta at least inspect and service the bearings in the hubs too. Might want to budget new set of brake cables too. To be cheap and to find the single cog you like best first, just break your chain to fit the 5sp freewheel for now.
 

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Loves to Suffer
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For a dump find I don't think you did all that bad. Could be a fine grocery getter without spending too much - from appearances anyway.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Aye! That's what I was goin for. While taking the wheels apart for inspection, I discovered the insode wheel and some of the little rubber lining on the inside have kinda rotted, bummerr. I think I might just have to buy some wheels?

The rear hub is greased and works seemingly well, but the cogs on the back are rusty yet, ima have to scrub them with a wire brush for a while.

Anyhow, does anyone have any suggestions on any parts(names/brands) that would be reccomended? Nothing fancy, just enough to get by. On that note, the chain is extremley rusted and hard to move, gonna have to soak it in something.
 

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Get a cheep chain from K-mart or sumthin like that. You may be able to screw a freewheel onto the hub after removing the 5 speed wheel. I'm not sure on that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
aye, I planned on getting a cheap probably used freewheel (if findable) and a cheap-o chain. I was lookin at freewheels online a bit last night, but I'm not quite sure what to look for. Any suggestions or tips on how to choose a freewheel that will fit a certain bike?
 

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hemoglowen said:
aye, I planned on getting a cheap probably used freewheel (if findable) and a cheap-o chain. I was lookin at freewheels online a bit last night, but I'm not quite sure what to look for. Any suggestions or tips on how to choose a freewheel that will fit a certain bike?
If you want to go cheap SS conversion, you might be able to get away with buying nothing more than a chain (and brake cables, probably, and almost certainly tires and tubes). Instead of getting a single-speed freewheel (and trying to remove the possibly very stuck old freewheel), just use one of the existing cogs. Pick a combination of chainring and cog that gives you a reasonably straight chainline and an acceptable gear, shorten the chain appropriately, throw away the derailleurs, and voila, instant cheap single-speed. Looks funky with the extra unused cogs, but only those "in the know" will notice at all, and those really in the know will admire your resourcefulness.
More info from Sheldon here:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html
What do you mean by "rubber lining" that's rotted? The tubes? Rim strips? Tires and tubes are probably shot, but you can get cheap replacements. Same with rim strips.

Don't bother trying to re-hab a rusty chain. Buy a cheap new one.

If you want the cleaner look of a SS freewheel, it's a little more trouble, because you'll probably have to re-space the axle to get a good chainline, and then you'd have to re-dish the wheel to center the rim, and that's a big problem with rusty old spokes.

For your intended puttering-around use, I'd get a new chain and go with the existing freewheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
JCavilia said:
If you want to go cheap SS conversion, you might be able to get away with buying nothing more than a chain (and brake cables, probably, and almost certainly tires and tubes). Instead of getting a single-speed freewheel (and trying to remove the possibly very stuck old freewheel), just use one of the existing cogs. Pick a combination of chainring and cog that gives you a reasonably straight chainline and an acceptable gear, shorten the chain appropriately, throw away the derailleurs, and voila, instant cheap single-speed. Looks funky with the extra unused cogs, but only those "in the know" will notice at all, and those really in the know will admire your resourcefulness.
More info from Sheldon here:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html
What do you mean by "rubber lining" that's rotted? The tubes? Rim strips? Tires and tubes are probably shot, but you can get cheap replacements. Same with rim strips.

Don't bother trying to re-hab a rusty chain. Buy a cheap new one.

If you want the cleaner look of a SS freewheel, it's a little more trouble, because you'll probably have to re-space the axle to get a good chainline, and then you'd have to re-dish the wheel to center the rim, and that's a big problem with rusty old spokes.

For your intended puttering-around use, I'd get a new chain and go with the existing freewheel.
Thats the exact comment I was hoping for :p, I was planning on just keeping the old cogs on, but one question. Do I leave the front chainring on if its not in use? I mean, there are two of them (unless I am getting my parts confused). Can I remove one or the other? Also, If I did happen to buy a SS freewheel, what are the odds I would be able to use it on a different bike that I bought/salvaged in the future?

Ahh I'm talking about the rim strips apparently, they line the rim on the inside of the wheel. lol. Sorry for my lack of riding jargon-_-. Those wheels seem to be a bit eaten away on the inside underneath parts of the rim strips. I'm not too sure they will take much stress, in that case a new bike would be in order unless I could get some wheels that would fit on this and another future bike I'd probably like to build.

Sorry for the super long posts, but. Lastly, I was googling a bit last night and found this

$110. This is my cheap beat around town bike.

$30 Schwinn Varsity
$10 track Chain
$70 used back rear wheel (Suzue Flip/flop fixed/free hub on it)
Bike has a OPC so chainline was perfect. Converting old ten speeds is so easy.

If you don't want anything fancy don't spend that much on the bike

It was a "Singlespeed & Fixed Gear - Over all cost of a fixed gear conversion?" forum.
Is this setup reasonable at all? I will look up the "suzue flip flop" later tonight but any info beforehand would be great! Thanks for everyones' help.
 
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