With all the wonderful stuff we have these days, it's easy to forget
what a watershed bike the Schwinn Varsity was in the re-birth of
adult cycling in America. The Varsity outsold all other "ten speeds"
combined in the USA during the 1960's, and this 33 1/3 year old
example was one of over 1,500,000 built during its model year.
taken in this bike to save it from going to the landfill some years
ago. When my daily rider got stolen, I decided to rebuild the old
Varsity using components from my "big box of old parts" under the
workbench and put it back on the road. Most of the components I
wound up using on the bike date from around a decade after it was
respoked the original alloy hubs onto 700c MA2s (rear: 3X+radial,
front 3&3) with DT spokes. The super long reach alloy brake calipers
are also original to the bike. The drivetrain consists of an American-to-British
bottom bracket adaptor, a Phil Wood bottom bracket, Stronglight
99 cranks, a Shimano five cog freewheel and a shimmed Campagnolo
Super Record front derailleur. I moved up Huret's model line just
a bit from the original Allvit to a Duopar Titane and found a NOS
Sedisport chain to use, shifted by one Sun Tour and one Shimano
bar end. The bars are KB randonneurs and the brake levers are Shimano
600s. With the removal of the kickstand, the bike weights 25 pounds
- 13 pounds less than when it left Chicago in October of 1973.
actually kind of frisky, the braking is strong, it shifts clean
and light, the handing is sublime and it rides like a jackhammer.
It draws attention from cyclists and boomers every time I take it