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New to the Forum: Need some second opinions on a 63' Varsity

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New to the Forum: Need some second opinions on a 63' Varsity

Old 09-26-16, 03:14 PM
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avalentine94
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New to the Forum: Need some second opinions on a 63' Varsity

First time poster, long time lurker. I just picked up a 63' Schwinn Varsity. Looks to be mostly original as far as I can tell. I know the early ones with downtube shifters and round headtube badges are a bit desireable, but originality has a lot to with it. I know the seat isn't original, but that's about it in my eyes. Don't see any other 63' varsitys in the same color with the same "Schwinn" font. 63 Catalog lists a "radient sky blue" though... Just looking for some second opinions! Thanks! PS I know the front shift lever is broken off, have another on the way from ebay!





https://imgur.com/vDX4igY

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Old 09-26-16, 07:04 PM
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...I'm sorry, but this is the first I've heard of Schwinn Varsities being desirable. Even the Schwinn guys around here don't seem all that impressed with them. They do have a following, but most of those people don't want to pay a whole lot of money for them. You see some interesting CL ads for them, and there was at least one guy here recently who wanted to restore one.
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Old 09-26-16, 07:22 PM
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avalentine94
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3alarmer, I know pretty much all varsitys are bottom of the bucket, run of the mill bikes. I just thought this one looked pretty close to how it must have in 63, and that has a cool factor for me more than anything! I also didn't pay much at all for it, and plan on keeping it. I agree though on the CL ads though!
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Old 09-26-16, 08:25 PM
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...if you love it, it fits you, and it's all there, it's a solid bike that will get you where you want to go. Enjoy it. I'm probably just jealous because my old man would never buy me a Schwinn. They were more expensive at the time than all the other stuff.
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Old 09-26-16, 08:28 PM
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Nice condition. Seat post is installed backwards.
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Old 09-27-16, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
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I'm probably just jealous because my old man would never buy me a Schwinn. They were more expensive at the time than all the other stuff.
I only got a Schwinn when mine realized they were less expensive in the long run than cheap department store bikes. Ripley's Believe It Or Not story: "Kid wrecks his Schwinn bicycle". BTW, to me,. any type of road bike from '63 with the right frame size sounds like a nice addition to one's herd. That one also does look nice!
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Old 09-27-16, 05:58 AM
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It looks like the front derailleur is a replacement, maybe a Shimano. The original would have been a Huret. You can see the way the derailleur guide doesn't follow the profile of the chainring, which may cause some shifting problems. But, the bike looks to be in good shape, clean it up, and ride!
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Old 09-27-16, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Nice condition. Seat post is installed backwards.
Not unusual. Seat post all the way down and saddle turned forward. Often those bikes were sold for boys with "room to grow into". Meaning... the bikes were too large.

I had a 1963 Varsity, I got in 1964. It was just too big for the person it was intended for. But I was six foot tall at age 14.

These bikes can have great sentimental value to us old cyclists that owned... or had wished to own one.... back in the day. A few years ago I had found (bought and restored) an old Schwinn Continental that reminded me of my Varsity. Believe it or not... it rode just as I remembered my old varsity riding. It was a real hoot and wonderful trip down memory lane. It was in great shape and even had the original handlebar tape.

But there were millions of these old bikes made. And they are very durable, weighting around forty pounds. All of the value for these bikes are sentimental. I'd think a $100 bill would buy a nice Varsity almost any day you wished to buy one.
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Old 09-27-16, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Nice condition. Seat post is installed backwards.
I'm looking at Barnett's manual, 5th edition, Vol. 3, p. 29-4, on non-integral seatpost clamps for round-top posts.

There are three illustrations given to show acceptable clamp orientation. The first two show the clamps both fore and aft of the seatpost. The third shows an upside-down orientation to lower the saddle (rails below the clamp nuts instead of above). So if I'm reading these diagrams correctly, there is no "correct" orientation, it's whatever works for you.
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Old 09-27-16, 10:11 AM
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Aside from the saddle it does appear to be all original. As others have stated the saddle clamp is installed backwards from "normal", but it might have been done that way to fit a short rider. Here is the '63 catalog page:

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Old 09-29-16, 03:19 PM
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Sorry for the late response to y'all... So glad I could get some other opinions and great stories on the bike. I'm in college, and was trying to find a nice example of one to add to the fleet for sure. I totally love old bikes that were before my time. Didn't know anything about early downtube shifter Schwinns at all before I picked up this guy. I think it will totally fit the bill. Next step is teardown, clean and rebuild! I hosed it off and turned the seatpost around.
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Old 09-29-16, 03:25 PM
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Oh, also I checked, and both FD and RD are Huret, look to be original I got it for a song, so I'm happy to put some time and green into it.
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Old 09-29-16, 03:59 PM
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I would say $125 or so a presented and $175 nicely cleaned up with new cables bartape and matching tires. These early 60's versions with the DT shifter's and slightly nicer workmanship are worth about 2x what I would pay for one of the ugly green boom era ones.

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Old 09-29-16, 05:00 PM
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A Schwinn Varsity is what it is; heavy, mass produced and meant as more of a kid/teens bike. This early of one is kinda' cool though, there are probably very few left of that age and in that condition. I would imagine that the vast majority were ridden hard, little to no maintenance and probably left sitting outside most of the year.

If you clean it up and do the necessary maintenance, you should have a decent bike for around town that is pretty uncommon in this day and age.
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Old 09-29-16, 06:21 PM
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There's a good article on Sheldon Brown's website about the unique production methods Schwinn used for the electro-forged frames. It was written by Marc Muller, who was the head of Schwinn's Paramount facility in Waterford, WI, and is now Richard Schwinn's partner in Waterford Precision Cycles.

Inside the Varsity | Marc S. Muller
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