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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Schwinn Varsity

Old 07-23-11, 07:14 PM
  #1  
pcb09
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Schwinn Varsity

Hey all,

I am a noob to the fixed gear world and am looking for guidance.

I have been looking for a older road bike to convert into a fixed gear bike. I have found two schwinn varsity's on craigslist.

They are in this post.
https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bik/2509284804.html

Both are in very complete riding condition.

My questions will now begin.
1) Can i make a decent fixed gear out of one of these?
2) What parts do I need? Would love you to link me to the parts if possible.
3) Are these priced ok (high, low, ok)
4) Which one of the two would you recommend? Does it make a difference?

Thanks
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Old 07-23-11, 07:30 PM
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frantik
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"varisity" is one of the lowest end schwinn bikes.. you can do a lot better as a starting point. price is ok but not a bargain

as far as what parts you need... time to start googling... it looks like a one piece crank on both so you will need to get a new crank and bottom bracket along with the right rear hub/wheel.

these days you can buy a fixed gear off the shelf for close to the same amount it will cost you to convert an old one..

Last edited by frantik; 07-23-11 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 07-23-11, 07:32 PM
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UCF Eric
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They are both roughly the same bike, you can make these into fixed gears, you would need a new rear wheel at a minimum, preferably a wheelset. To forewarn you, I have a Varsity frame, they are heavy. Extremely heavy.
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Old 07-23-11, 07:40 PM
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Nope, will end up costing way more than it's worth as you'll likely have to replace everything and end up paying more than you would for a stock FG.
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Old 07-23-11, 07:46 PM
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EpicSchwinn
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I would strongly discourage you from getting a varsity. They are SUPER heavy.

For comparison an 86 Madison (schwinn's fixed gear) weighs 19 lbs. An 86 Varsity weighs 30 lbs.
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Old 07-23-11, 07:51 PM
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pcb09
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OK so it may not be a good idea, gotcha.

What is a good option for a complete bike online? Also what is a good choice for a frame and parts if I want to build one instead of just buy a completed one. This is really a bike for commuting on a college campus and I thought a fixed gear would be fun, it doenst need to be a super high end build. I already have a quality road bike.
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Old 07-23-11, 08:11 PM
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UCF Eric
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Check out bikesdirect for completes.
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Old 07-23-11, 08:47 PM
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pcb09
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Recommendations for a complete bike from bikesdriect?
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Old 07-23-11, 08:52 PM
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Use the forum search function. There are a lot of threads just like this with all kinds of suggestions. Most will tell you to look into the Mercier Kilo TT for a well rounded starter bike.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:41 PM
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sillygolem
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If you do decide to DIY, read this:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...bikes-to-SS-FG
The CL link is dead, but 30 lbs. isn't unreasonable for a cheap 70's 10 speed. However, a 70's Varisty weighs close to 45 lbs. D8

Expect to drop around 4-5lbs. on a conversion: Vintage multispeed freewheels are heavy, and the lack of derailleurs, shifters, and cables doesn't hurt, either.
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Old 07-24-11, 05:56 PM
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Ah, the Varsity. My first foray into riding classic/vintage bikes was one of those, and I have the frame stripped down sitting waiting for something to be done with it.

It's not unreasonable to strip everything off and replace only the front brake and wheelset (and chain, probably). A decent starting wheelset can be had for $100-$130 if you look around at Velomine, eBay, eighthinch, etc. Replacing the one piece crankset and bottom bracket is a good idea, and will run about $100 more, but it isn't necessary and you can definitely use the stock crankset/BB.

If you want to get into DIY/bike building, it's not a terrible idea to buy a good starting wheelset, slap it on the Varsity frame, and then save up for a better frame/parts that you can transfer the wheels too later. I've seen a good amount of bikes on Craigslist that were good candidates for conversions that happened to be missing only a wheelset.

Buying from Bikesdirect is the other option, it really depends on if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of bike building (you will have to put a pre-built bike together anyway though, it's just not as technical).
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