Varsity ATB

Sep 29, 2013
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i had my eye on this varsity at work for a couple months.. It wound up in the trash last week, belonged to a scientist or something like that.
I think it's a 69.

It had a replacement rear wheel that looked like a snowplow got it and it just sat there for years after that. Had to toss everything but the frame and crank.
Derailuers were frozen.
Aluminum stem was frozen in the fork. Wheels were taco'd. Seat trash. Corny touring bars.

I used an old school straight wald fork. Mixed up a bunch of headset parts, femco wheels with a 6speed rear, derailuer, and brakes, that I removed from a women's beach cruiser. I ditched the front outer ring. Forged 4 bolt stem off a crusty old earth cruiser. Had these bars left from my kid's project, I extended them 3" per side. Brooks b72 that I had. Used the original seat post for now, I had a shim in the tool box.
 
Sep 29, 2013
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My phone didn't feel like taking pics Friday when I brought it home. Let's just say I got my balls broken for taking it. People were talking so much crap. Wife was talking trash so I figured I'd better break it down real quick and throw it all out. Usually the schwinn paint comes back, and I'm not really into repainting bikes. But I tried everything I could think of to get this thing to shine and it's not happening.
 
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Jan 21, 2009
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Zambales, Philippines
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They gave you crap about a free bike? A handwritten group apology is in order.

Turned out great, and looks great with the paint just as it is. Chicago, made in the USA! It looks like a 64, going by the seat tube decal. The serial number should be on the left dropout, that will ID the year.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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Had the same thing happen to me. Abandoned crusty BMX sittin in the high weeds in front of a vacant house that had burned down several years ago. Everytime I rode by I thought, maybe some cool parts. One day I grabbed it and posted it as a "find" (not on here) and people from hundreds of mi away started to talk trash about how I broke in and stole a bike. :bandit:
Crazy thing is the place still looks like a crack house/crime scene today. (mounds of old tires, furniture, appliances, even a old boat.) :crazy:
 
May 10, 2016
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Dig it! I’ve thought about doing this with a lightweight Schwinn before. How is tire clearance in the rear? Did putting the 25” fork on make the headtube angle steeper?
 
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Sep 29, 2013
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Tire clearance is pretty tight. Maybe 1/4" per side. I'd like a little more aggressive tire this is gonna be used on the trails but I have to see what is available that will clear.

I'm not sure how much the fork changed things. It was unrideable when I picked it up and I tore it down as soon as I got It home.
 
Sep 29, 2013
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Man I just saw an old school schwinn sierra atb on ebay, i never saw one but it's basically a varsity frame early mountain bike. looked just A little more mtb than a sidewinder.
 
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Nov 20, 2015
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Nice,"Maybe it was John Finley Scott, who was probably the first mountain bike enthusiast in the United States. In 1953 he built what he called a “ Woodsie Bike”, using a Schwinn World diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handlebars, derailleur gears, and cantilever brakes" quote Klunkers .com, this 65 Racer sported mountain bike wheels , tires & derailleurs, until I put 1.50" urban tires on it
 

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Nov 20, 2015
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Man I just saw an old school schwinn sierra atb on ebay, i never saw one but it's basically a varsity frame early mountain bike. looked just A little more mtb than a sidewinder.
The 1982 Schwinn Sidewinder, about thirty years after John Finley Scott did it with a Schwinn World tour and the last year for Chicago Schwinns :(

" In the late 1970s, Schwinn took note of a subculture that was to become mountain biking growing in Northern California. These kids were taking the old steel balloon tire bikes and trashing them on mountain trails. The kids called their rides "clunkers." Schwinn put out the abysmal Klunker 5 that didn't even have the strength to handle a curb. It was discontinued before the end of the decade. 1980 saw the introduction of the Schwinn King Sting, based on their popular BMX Sting. It featured a stronger chrome-moly steel frame, but cheap brakes, poor geometry, and too few gears to be useful on the topography of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. In 1982, Schwinn modified the Varsity to accommodate larger tires and called it the Sidewinder. Again, the geometry was wrong and it was too heavy to appeal to serious riders. Meanwhile, the Specialized Stumpjumper ($750) was priced at three times the Sidewinder and catapulted creator Michael Sinyard to the top of the market."
from Schwinn history , off Re-cycle.com
 
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Man I just saw an old school schwinn sierra atb on ebay, i never saw one but it's basically a varsity frame early mountain bike. looked just A little more mtb than a sidewinder.
5 - 6 years ago I had a varsity based MB I built with 26 inch wheels. All I can say is be carful on how aggressive you ride it. I'm not a real good MBer but I had some terrible crashes with it. Usually over sideways into a gully, once into a rock garden and once into a dump just missing getting speared by a broken sharp metal fence post. I found it to be tall and have geometry that made it hard for me to do much of anything on the trails. It also crushed my crotch on occasion. I don't remember what I used for a fork. I gave it away before I killed myself with it. It might be better with a real small frame but don't know for sure.
 
Nov 20, 2015
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5 - 6 years ago I had a varsity based MB I built with 26 inch wheels. All I can say is be carful on how aggressive you ride it. I'm not a real good MBer but I had some terrible crashes with it. Usually over sideways into a gully, once into a rock garden and once into a dump just missing getting speared by a broken sharp metal fence post. I found it to be tall and have geometry that made it hard for me to do much of anything on the trails. It also crushed my crotch on occasion. I don't remember what I used for a fork. I gave it away before I killed myself with it. It might be better with a real small frame but don't know for sure.
Maybe you should look into a step through frame easier on the nads :)
 
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Maybe you should look into a step through frame easier on the nads :)
I started riding again 8 years ago with a step through because I couldn't lift my leg over. I had to lay the step through down to get on it. Now I can toss my leg over. Something to be said for step through, got me riding again.