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August 10, 2013 / WPAdmin

deal or no deal?? Schwinn Varsity

The bike boom was my era – the late 60’s / early 70’s. My own bike of the time was a Sears 10-speed, made in Austria, with Simplex derailleurs and Lyotard pedals. It had funny geometry, but served me well.

The bike I *wanted* was a Schwinn Paramount. Full Campagnolo, Nervex lugs & leather Brooks saddle.

What many of my friends had were Schwinn Varsity’s.

I didn’t like them them and I still don’t.

These are the one bike I have no tinge of pain seeing stripped and made into low-end, college campus, will-probably-be-stolen-and-it-doesn’t-matter fixed gears.

Varsity’s are heavy and came equipped with the lowest end components.

Their one interesting feature was their smooth and attractive  faux fillet-brazed joints. (The Super Sport really did have fillet-brazed joints – Varsity’s and Continental’s have “flash-welded’ joints.)

From the Ashtabula crankset, to the crappy Huret derailleurs, nothing on the bike was praise-worthy.

Now, I know those of you living in Chicago have a soft spot for these. I understand. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. And Varsity’s are dirt cheap (or should be) up in the mid-west.

but deal.. nope. no way.. heavy junk.. keep shopping.


OMG! This Person actually RESTORED a Varsity! ewwwww! Sick! (in the vomit way)

(I can’t even stand to post pics of an Ashtabula crank…..)

(to end this in an uplifting way, here are some more links to classic 60’s and 70’s Schwinn Paramounts:


One Comment

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  1. 16incheswestofpeoria / Aug 12 2013 3:31 pm

    Totally agree on the Varsity. Though I disagree about the cranks. The cranks and bearings were and are probably the best one-piece cranks made, great for a wide-tired coaster-brake bike but not for a derailleur-equipped machine.

    Another fillet-brazed Schwinn worth mentioning: the Sports Tourer. A friend of mine used to ride this one years ago, and after a bit of rework, I do today.

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