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70's Varsity Inner Tubes

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70's Varsity Inner Tubes

Old 01-18-21, 08:31 AM
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CaptMike
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70's Varsity Inner Tubes

I picked up two old 1970's Schwinn Varsities from a farmer for cheap, as they should have been. But since I am retiring as of today, I want to start finding old bikes, break them down, and refurbish, or just put them back together, to improve my bike mechanic skills. And also get into wheel building. I also work on mine. Unfortunately, there are no bike co-op's in my area to practice, or just help out. Or bike shops, for that matter. A buddy of mine also has a 1975 Varsity, in nice shape, and I am going to replace the cables, grease all the bearings, and do some minor wheel truing. His tires are shot, so he is sold on the Schalwbe's. They have a nice 27x11/4 white wall on Amazon. On all three bikes, the valve stems are sitting at an angle. The tires are essentially flat on the two barn burners, but his tires have some air in them. I took the tire off of one of the old ones, and there was a bunch of inner tube crunched up next to the valve stem. I never saw that before. The tubes were 27x11/4. I was wondering if there is a trick to measuring the valve stem hole, and order a tube based on that, or just order a straight up 27x11/4 tube. Or are the stem size variations just in length? I am going to stick with the Schrader valve stems. I aired up his front tire, and I believe it was still cocked to the side, but will have to look again. I haven't removed his tires yet. These are the original Varsity rims. I hope that made sense. Thank you.
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Old 01-18-21, 08:55 AM
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Just get a standard 27x1-1/4 schrader valve stem tube. You need to keep the tube centered as you install it. Put one side of the tire on the rim, insert the tube, starting with the valve stem, then finish with the other side on the tire, working symmetrically in both directions from the valve stem. If the stem starts to angle, back up to where you can pull the tire and tube to straighten it out, the continue, being careful to not pinch the tube.
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Old 01-18-21, 09:42 AM
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I've pulled tubes that were folded up like that and assume it's because they were installed incorrectly to begin with. I pitch them if they are creased as it's a good place for a rupture to occur.

When I mount tires and tubes I put baby powder on the inside of the tire, it helps the tube move inside the tire as you air it up and helps reduce pinch flats. It also keeps the tube from sticking to the tire when you remove it years later. I inflate the tube slightly so it will hold some shape and put it inside the tire. I then insert the valve stem through the rim and start the bead on one side onto the rim. I then feed the tube and other bead over the rim. Once that's done I verify the beads are inside the rim then put a little more air in the tire to bring the sidewalls and beads out to the rim but not tight, I make sure the valve stem is properly aligned and straight. I then work around the tire working it back and forth to make sure the beads fully engage the hook on the rims. Once I'm sure it's fully engaged and the valve stem is still in position I then inflate to full pressure in stages. It may sound like a PITA but I haven't had a pinch flat in years.
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Old 01-18-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptMike View Post
His tires are shot, so he is sold on the Schalwbe's. They have a nice 27x11/4 white wall on Amazon.
I have a pair of 27-inch Schwalbe white walls on my Dawes. I bought them at a time when I thought I would flip the bike and just wanted something cheap to replace the corroded tires that came on it. In the end, I kept the bike and now regret the purchase. I wouldn't recommend them for a bike you actually want to ride. Panaracer Pasela would be a much better choice I think.
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Old 01-18-21, 10:12 AM
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Thank you guys for the replies. MM, that is what I will do, and take my time when installing the tube. smontanaro, you are one of the first people I have heard not be happy with the Schwalbe's. I'm a 6'4" 245lb Clydesdale, and I run them on my Waterford Sport Tourer. I will never not have Schwalbe's on it. I have a lot of miles on my old Merlin Extralight, and have had way too many flats over the years. I wish I would have had the Schwalbe's back then. Is the Pasela a sturdy tire? Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-18-21, 10:24 AM
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CaptMike Yes, Paselas are good tires. As for preference, it is quite possible your Schwalbe whitewalls and mine are different models. I just peeked at mine. In three sections on the whitewall, it reads
  • Schwalbe
  • Active
  • Active Line/K-Guard
Also, I just recalled a thread on 27-inch tires with plenty of info. Note that it began in 2012, so some of the options might no longer be available. I see the Schwalbe HS159 is listed as a "good" tire. That's not what I have. As they say, YMMV.
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Old 01-18-21, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptMike View Post
Is the Pasela a sturdy tire? Thank you for your input.
I put a set on my '75 Varsity, they didn't make it any lighter LOL but it rides oh so nice now. I'm around 225 Lbs. and the bike is 45 Lbs. and sees mostly chip & oil and gravel roads.

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Old 01-18-21, 07:10 PM
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Absolutely beautiful, MM. I ordered the Pasela’s today. Great picture.
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