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.

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