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American manufacturing

Old 08-03-20, 05:13 PM
  #51  
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Bite your tongue! The Schwinn Varsity is overweight, but it most certainly isn't junk that wouldn't last! These bikes are among the most robust ever built. Even the derailleurs (which were NOT Huret) seldom give any trouble even after DECADES of abuse. I've rescued dozens of these popular machines from friends or the trash over the years and have always managed to get them up and riding sweetly with few to no parts swapped. Back to Sheldon Brown bike school for you economists!
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Old 08-03-20, 07:11 PM
  #52  
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Not sure what Varsity you're talking about, but they were rebadged schwinn approved huret allvit derailleurs. They were outdated by sometime in the '50s.

Maybe you have been rescuing some of the ones with Shimano derailleurs put on them so they would shift

I don't usually say bad things about the vintage Varsity because I know people like them. But it's emblematic of why there was never really a bike industry in the U.S. worth talking about. Didn't have to be that way.

Last edited by unterhausen; 08-03-20 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 08-04-20, 01:38 AM
  #53  
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@Koyote
I refurbish a Schwinn beach cruisers back in the 80’s, I made a paint booth in my dorm room. By all accounts it was a third world setup, made with Hefty trash bags & using rattle can spray paint. What you’re saying makes sense, and intuitively there is no way Schwinn could have continued to manufacture their cruisers in the US. In my original post, I thought it was a supply and demand issue. I was drawing a parallel to Personal Protective Gear, and how people started sewing masks to meet demand. I thought that a tipping point might be reached for manufacturing bike parts and bikes in the US.

Some how I feel like an African buyer of used T-shirts, but instead beach cruisers.
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Old 08-04-20, 06:58 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Not sure what Varsity you're talking about, but they were rebadged schwinn approved huret allvit derailleurs. They were outdated by sometime in the '50s.

Maybe you have been rescuing some of the ones with Shimano derailleurs put on them so they would shift.
No, the derailleurs I'm referring to are the heavy steel units that originally came on all but the higher end Schwinns of the era. They were/are bullet proof. After decades of working on them I've yet to come across one that didn't shift nicely after a little cleaning, lubing and adjusting. I didn't know they were Huret copies. Apparently Schwinn corrected the problems on the units you remember when they approved them!

Last edited by AlmostTrick; 08-04-20 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:12 AM
  #55  
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They aren't copies, they are Huret derailleurs. The only difference is what they say on them. I guess we'll have to disagree about how a derailleur is supposed to shift.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:24 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
They aren't copies, they are Huret derailleurs. The only difference is what they say on them. I guess we'll have to disagree about how a derailleur is supposed to shift.
If the chains used in refurbishing the Varsities with the Huret Allvit derailleurs were modern chains, the shifting might have been improved to the point of being acceptable. With the original chains, I remember the shifting looking like stop-motion animation on the repair stand.

When I was working in a bike store in New Haven, a local distributor of bike parts received its order of about a million of those Huret derailleurs just before the '70s bike boom collapsed. I wonder what happened to those derailleurs.
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Old 08-10-20, 09:20 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
​​Since you weren't around in 1971, you may be forgiven for not knowing that the Schwinn Varsity was a piece of junk, as unterhausen has explained. Take it from someone who has actually ridden one.
No need to forgive, I've got a 1970s Varsity hanging on the wall of my garage. It's a good beater, and I stand by what I said about it's durability.

I'll give a couple more examples from that same garage: My son (born in 99) has an '84 LeTour that cost $229 new (about $550 in today's dollars). Smooth ride, relatively light weight, chromoly frame, Sugino cranks, Suntour ARX derailleurs, Weinman rims - all decent, durable componentry and built in the U.S. from a mixture of domestic, European and Japanese parts. There's no way you'd find that quality today for a comparable price. Whenever he brings it to campus he makes his classmates all jelly.

I also have an '84/85 Schwinn Voyageur SP - top of the line touring bike in its day. Cost about $450 new, or $1,100 today. Columbus tubing, Suntour Superbe and LeTech parts, Super Champion Touring Rims, Cinelli bars and stem - all first rate parts for the time. Again, you're not going to find anything close to that today for a grand.

Last edited by MassCommuter; 08-10-20 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 08-10-20, 09:30 AM
  #58  
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Low end bikes are a commodity and low profit margin, high volume, but cyclical, business. I don't see that coming back to America. Mid-range and high-end bikes seem to have a more consistent manufacturing presence in America though. People who want higher quality products will always pay for them. People who just want cheap, won't buy for quality, they buy for price.
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Old 08-10-20, 09:36 AM
  #59  
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Speaking of frames and forks, not the components - if you aren't buying American products, you are not looking very hard, sheepeople!


Support your local framebuilder. Otherwise, stop complaining 'nothing is made in USA'. Sheesh!
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Old 08-10-20, 11:41 AM
  #60  
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Note that frames are not bikes, assembly is not fabrication, and according to the Federal Trade Commission a 'screwdriver operation' does not equal 'Made in USA'.

IIRC with the closing of Victory in Orlando a year or so back, the last USA firm to totally manufacture bicycles is RBR in Alameda.
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Old 08-10-20, 11:45 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Note that frames are not bikes, assembly is not fabrication, and according to the Federal Trade Commission a 'screwdriver operation' does not equal 'Made in USA'.

IIRC with the closing of Victory in Orlando a year or so back, the last USA firm to totally manufacture bicycles is RBR in Alameda.
I remember people complained about "Made in USA" bikes which were really Panasonics/Giants which were assembled in the US.... but the line between that and building a bike out of Columbus tubes, Suntour derailleurs, Sugino crankset, Nitto bars, and a San Marco saddle seems... arbitrary.
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Old 08-10-20, 03:57 PM
  #62  
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How much are you all willing to pay extra for a North American made bike. Made over here it will cost more for the same thing although it may be built better.
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