Thursday, November 14, 2013

John's 1983 Schwinn Varsity Deluxe Refurbishment

My 1983 Schwinn Varsity Deluxe Project, putting
the bike up to date.

After and full overhaul and regreasing and replacing some parts, John now has a great little bicycle his daughter will enjoy.  Alot of parts were brought up to date and some parts were even replaced with parts I had extra from other Schwinn restorations I have done. Here's a couple of before and after photos.

 New brake pads and tires...

New cables

 New chain and and a re greased crankset

The bike now looks better and rides a lot better too. If you have a bicycle that is in need of repair, and live in the Dallas metro area, drop me an email and I will see what I can do. Thanks again for subscribing to A Bicycle's Point Of View.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Atala on a Budget

My new Bicycle, My Atala Build

After having sold my Raleigh Sport road bike along with a few other bikes and things to clear out the garage and supplement some much needed income at the time, I started to miss having a bicycle that was fairly new ( meaning less than 10 years old). I wanted a bicycle where I could start anew, something upgradable and something in the steel variety.

I had a few parts lying around in the garage and saw no need to buy a whole new bike with all the components already on it.  So I went on eBay and purchased this new old stock Atala bicycle frame which I then built up myself.

By the way, I love eBay and I love PayPal. The bill the later feature allowed me to finance this frame over the course of six months, not bad to pay off a frame a little over $300.

The wheelset, brakes, saddle, stem, handlebars and headset were all items that I either had from other bikes or that were given to me on trades and other small parts purchases. On a previous post I said I would not be going back to brifters, but every man has his price. When a coworker offered to sell me his brifters, crankset and rear derailleur for $25 I went for it. I ended up replacing the crankset with an ISIS drive crankset from eBay due to bottom bracket compatibility issues. I could not get a JIS crankset to work with the Italian bottom bracket I already had, so I went full ISIS drive. The rear cassette had to be adapted with a spacer to work with the 7 speed shifting. I purchased the chain, tires, tubes, rim liner, handlebar wrap and shifter boss adapters from the bike shop were I work at. Nearly $200 in parts later, I now have a complete bicycle.

So how does it ride, $500 later? The bike is very smooth and pedaling and shifting is effortless. On my usual 20 mile, hilly ride I hardly had to get out of my 53 tooth font chainring, and felt like I could have done the whole ride on my large chainring. The shorter chain stays allowed me to pedal up hill with a higher gear ratio than I would normally do otherwise. Despite their reputation for failure, the Shimano RSX shifters shifted on a dime making the bike ride like a champ. 

But how does this bike compare, to say, My Woodrup? The Woodrup is definitely the nicer riding bicycle. The steel is more springy and I hardly feel the road under my feet. For a steel frame, the Atala is very stiff. Not jarring stiff, but noticeably stiffer than my Woodrup. The frame is made from Dedacciai Zero Tre tubing, so one would expect a really nice ride quality from this bike, Italian tubing and all. The ride quality is comparable to 4130 Cromoly steel. The frame was so stiff that I did a magnet test to see if it indeed was a steel frame. The bike feels solid, but the fork hardly has any give and doesn't shock absorb as well as my Woodrup. I'm glad I decided on using 700x25 tires on this bike, otherwise I would feel the road imperfections even more so.  This is my only beef with the bike, that I could have bought a used Reynolds 531 frame for the same price or even a complete Fuji Connoisseur bike, also with Reynolds tubing.

I plan to make this bike work for me. Even if I don't do anything more than ride around for recreation, it is a good bike to cross train on. I feel the frame supports by body well and that I can keep it around for a long time and come out even if I ever want to sell it. Soon I plan on commuting on my bicycle more and it will be a nice bike to have around for that purpose. I can ride the Atala hard on the weekdays and relegate the Woodrup as my Sunday bike.

I feel like overall I really got a good deal out of this bike. $500 isn't chump change, but there is nothing out there at the moment cycling wise that can compare at that price point. Hundreds more could have been spent if I didn't have all those parts to build up the bike with. Therefore, I still feel like I built this on a budget, since I only had to come up with $200 up front. $500 all at once would have put a real dent in my finances, so I'm glad I went this route, even though I had other alternatives to choose from. Hopefully this is the beginning of many new and happy memories on my Atala.

Check out some more pictures for eye candy and subscribe to get more informative posts from a Bicycle's Point of View.  

Shimano RSX 7 Speed drivetrain and Vuelta ISIS drive crankset

Cinelli Handlebars and Stem. Shimano RSX Brifters, probably from the 90's

I didn't compromise on the saddle, it's Brooks or nothing

Sunday, November 3, 2013

John's 1983 Schwinn Varsity Deluxe Restoration

I recently started a restoration project for a customer of mine named John. This bike will be a present for his little girl, who will soon be big enough to ride it. This restoration involves a good detailing and regreasing of all the parts, so it is more like refurbishing to like new condition than a full restoration that would involve repainting or re-decaling.

John's bike is unique in that it has 24 inch tires and a freewheeling crankset and a fixed freewheel. This bike is also equipped with Shimano Positron shifting,  which uses an indexed rear derailleur. The purpose of Shimano Positron was to be able to shift gears without pedaling. The idea was soon abandoned in 1984, when Shimano revolutionized the bike industry with indexed shifters.

This will be a nice little project and I will post updates on my progress. Here's a couple of pictures of what I have done so far.
Freewheeling crankset actually uses a freewheel inside the crankset rather than on the rear wheel of the bike.
24 inch tires were common with youth's lightweight bikes of the 70's and 80's

Shimano Positron shifting came with a solid shifting cable and an indexed rear derailleur.

Repacking: Crankset and bearings are removed and ready to be degreased

Crankset and hardware before degreasing

Degreasing using Simple Green solution, an all natural degreaser that is free of harmful chemicals

I use chrome polish on all chrome parts to clean out the grime and surface rust on the bike.
Some more notes on this restoration: by 1983 Schwinn had apparently abandoned the S-5 rim as the Schwinn 547 rim diameter tires that I purchased for this wheel did not fit well on the rim and popped off. I will have to reorder some standard 24 inch tires with the 540 rim diameter, similar to what some wheelchairs use. This is an important observation as I could not find any information online about this previously.

Thanks to Hugh's Bike Blog about the tip for using chrome polish to clean and restore chrome finishes. Stay tuned and subscribe for more posts from a bicycle's point of view.