Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Schwinn Varsity Tourist

I have a 1973 Schwinn Varsity Sport as a backup commuter bike. I like it, but it's about one frame size too small and the handlebars are a little lower than I like, especially for riding around in traffic.

I know there was no such thing as a Schwinn Varsity Tourist in 1973, but the difference between a Collegiate Sport and a Collegiate Tourist was the upright handlebars. So a Varsity Tourist would be the same thing as a Collegiate Tourist, only with 10 speeds. (Maybe that makes it a Suburban, but the frame says Varsity!)

Anyway, I've been thinking about putting upright handlebars on my Varsity and started on the task tonight. First I had to clean up the donor bars from a nasty Huffy I picked up on CL. I used the "green" method (inspired by Beany and Thom and Shelly- thanks all!) to remove the rust using lemon juice and aluminum foil to scrub:



Handlebars before:



and after (I actually cleaned up the handlebars a little more but forgot to take pics of the final version):



Stem before:



and after:



It's not perfect but I'm happy with the results. It's pretty amazing how well the lemon juice eats away the rust. On big, smooth surfaces like the handlebars, it was nearly effortless. The details on the stem were a little more difficult; it just took a little elbow grease.

Here's a shot of the bike from a few weeks ago to show what it looked like before I started:



and what it looks like now:





It's not done; I need to put the new brake levers on and route the cables. But this gives an idea of what the Varsity Tourist will look like.

10 comments:

Nicola said...

Wow that looks really good! I'll have to remember that method whenever I have some rust to get rid of.

RANTWICK said...

Nice, doohickie! I think it looks really sharp, and the lemon juice thing is a nice tip... I had been using harsher methods.

Doohickie said...

I had been too. This is actually easier than my previous method of WD-40 and 0000 steel wool. The lemon juice attacks the rust pretty well.

Beany said...

Glad this worked out for you.

mark bodah said...

nice one!

Rat Trap Press said...

It's looks a lot more comfortable with the new bars.

Doohickie said...

We'll see. I started to work on the cables tonight but decided instead to work on the Schwinn Sprint I'm building for my wife's friend. That project is done; we'll probably take it to her this weekend.

Back to the Varsity...

Big Oak said...

I'm anxious to see how you like riding it. It does look very much like a Collegiate. Nice job!

popeye cahn said...

What size are those drop bars and are you planning on using them...?

Doohickie said...

Email me through the address in my profile. I have several bars that I might be able to part with; let me know what you need.