Friday, June 1, 2012

Vintage Find- 1976 Schwinn Varsity

1976 Candy Red Schwinn Varsity
Steel is Real!



Rummaging through the classifieds, sometimes you get lucky. I scored a deal on this 1976 Schwinn Varsity recently and I wanted to feature it as one of my vintage rides. This bike uses an single piece crankset and everything on it works through a series of bolts. That means no quick release wheels or seat post. It does however, feel very solid on the road and is built to take alot of abuse. It should be, because this bike weighs like a tank! I would conservatively say this bike is almost 40 pounds heavy. It comes with a "Schwinn approved" rear rack and eyelets on the saddle for a saddlebag. 

The really cool and unique feature about the Schwinn Varsity is it's rear derailleur. The rear derailleur on the bike moves horizontally rather than vertically along the gears, retracting from side to side rather than moving up and down. I can't say this makes for reliable or accurate shifting, but its a real interesting feature that you don't see on other bicycles.


Note how the rear derailleur moves in and out rather than up and down the freewheel.

The Vintage oval shaped Schwinn Headbadge.

This bike is a cool summer cruiser with the added advantage of having features which resembles that of modern day road bikes. This is a bike that I would use as a grocery getter or as a one of my Frankenstein creations to go on adventures with. They now have 27" knobby tires you can buy for these bikes to take them off road on flat dirt or gravel paths. If you stumble upon one of these bikes in this condition, it is definitely a bicycle sought after by a lot of Schwinn enthusiasts as well as vintage bike collectors. It is not the most prestigious bike Schwinn has ever made, but it is a piece of Americana from a time when bicycles started to become popular in the United States. This bike can also take a beating as a commuter or rainy day bike. 

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