Schwinn Varsity Party Bike

Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum

Help Support Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum:

Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
OK: here it is:

1962 Schwinn Varsity (I’m pretty sure - corrected from earlier post)

I scored the bike about a year or so ago.

The “find story” can be found here:

I’m building the bike for a specific function. -to ride monthly in a community event called “Syracuse Bike Party”

(Feel free to google; they look super cool and my friends who have ridden them say it’s a total blast)

I do a pretty good job at hitting most of the Syracuse Classic Bike club rides & events, but haven’t made it to a single Syracuse Bike Party ride.

This will be a typical build for me; not a ton of fab work; lots of cleaning and lube. Some BLO and some freshened up wheels, tires and probably drive train components. Probably a unique bolt on part or two.

As it is a Schwinn, and I do think somewhat of a special bike, I won’t do anything drastic to alter the bike.

Inevitably, during the build, I’ll find something broken or something will strip or break in tear down or reassembly that I will have to scramble on to get back into working order.

Finally, as these rides typically run into nightfall, many of the riders both have lights for riding and actually illuminate their bikes for the ride.

I will try to walk a tightrope between classic, restored Schwinn and tacky illuminated bike!!!!
3040A2C6-8DE8-45D9-B13A-9D25C203A126.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
In my fresh finds post, I do believe @Karate Chicken Industries was correct, even though the serial number is 10 of ‘61, this bike had to be marketed and sold in ‘62.

Going through the ‘61 Schwinn catalog, the varsity was only an 8 speed in ‘61 and not until ‘62 did the varsity come with 10 speeds. (@Wildcat also pointed this out)

So…. I guess it’s a ‘62!!!!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
9,741
Reaction score
12,182
Location
Zambales, Philippines
In my fresh finds post, I do believe @Karate Chicken Industries was correct, even though the serial number is 10 of ‘61, this bike had to be marketed and sold in ‘62.

Going through the ‘61 Schwinn catalog, the varsity was only an 8 speed in ‘61 and not until ‘62 did the varsity come with 10 speeds. (@Wildcat also pointed this out)

So…. I guess it’s a ‘62!!!!
The frame was made in 61, so it must be one of the first ten speed Varsitys!
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
Dang, that bike looks clean! It'd be tough for me to change anything about it... not that that would stop me. ;)

Looking forward to seeing you add your own spin to it! You've got a great starting point!
Thanks!! yeah, it's a super clean and complete bike. -I've done builds here that started with a frame only.... (like my '65 Stingray)

I don't have the time for that in my life right now, but I will make time to hop up a super cool bike for the Syracuse Bike Party!!!

I'm going to put a spiffy lube & tune on the Varsity this weekend and take it for a ride and see if everything is functional. it looks pretty good.

The seat is wonky. I'm not sure if the thing is stripped or what. it wiggles around and is loose, but when I go to check the nuts / hardware, everything seems tight.

My mods will be pretty simple and I'll keep any parts I remove that are original to the bike. There are definitely not a lot of great '62 Schwinn Varsity's out there, so I'm going to keep it as original as possible.

I have an older Schwinn Continental 5-speed that I will do one of these years, and I'll get crazy with that thing.

-for this thing, I'm just looking to update the saddle to something "more Schwinn," probably put on a new chain, try to add some tasteful lights and shine, lube, tune & ride, as-is!
 
Last edited:

Captain Awesome

👑 Lord of Irrelevance
Staff member
Moderator
Pro Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
5,718
Reaction score
10,426
Location
Da beach
OK: here it is:

1962 Schwinn Varsity (I’m pretty sure - corrected from earlier post)

I scored the bike about a year or so ago.

The “find story” can be found here:

I’m building the bike for a specific function. -to ride monthly in a community event called “Syracuse Bike Party”

(Feel free to google; they look super cool and my friends who have ridden them say it’s a total blast)

I do a pretty good job at hitting most of the Syracuse Classic Bike club rides & events, but haven’t made it to a single Syracuse Bike Party ride.

This will be a typical build for me; not a ton of fab work; lots of cleaning and lube. Some BLO and some freshened up wheels, tires and probably drive train components. Probably a unique bolt on part or two.

As it is a Schwinn, and I do think somewhat of a special bike, I won’t do anything drastic to alter the bike.

Inevitably, during the build, I’ll find something broken or something will strip or break in tear down or reassembly that I will have to scramble on to get back into working order.

Finally, as these rides typically run into nightfall, many of the riders both have lights for riding and actually illuminate their bikes for the ride.

I will try to walk a tightrope between classic, restored Schwinn and tacky illuminated bike!!!!
View attachment 194424
I misread the title and thought it said "Parts Bike" instead of "Party Bike"

When I opened it up I thought "wow that's a pretty nice complete parts bike" :giggle:
 

OddJob

Staff member
Moderator
Pro Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
10,041
Reaction score
21,671
Location
Maplewood, MN
Hey Jude, ( I never get tired of that! :grin: ) when you say 'update the saddle to something "more Schwinn" ', what did you have in mind? I can keep my eyes open around my neck of the woods.
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Messages
1,909
Reaction score
3,302
Location
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Thanks!! yeah, it's a super clean and complete bike. -I've done builds here that started with a frame only.... (like my '65 Stingray)

I don't have the time for that in my life right now, but I will make time to hop up a super cool bike for the Syracuse Bike Party!!!

I'm going to put a spiffy lube & tune on it the Varsity this weekend and take it for a ride and see if everything is functional. it looks pretty good.

The seat is wonky. I'm not sure if the thing is stripped or what. it wiggles around and is loose, but when I go to check the nuts / hardware, everything seems tight.

My mods will be pretty simple and I'll keep any parts I remove that are original to the bike. There are definitely not a lot of great '62 Schwinn Varsity's out there, so I'm going to keep it as original as possible.

I have an older Schwinn Continental 5-speed that I will do one of these years, and I'll get crazy with that thing.

-for this thing, I'm just looking to update the saddle to something "more Schwinn," probably put on a new chain, try to add some tasteful lights and shine, lube, tune & ride, as-is!
Sounds like you've got a plan! Looking forward to seeing you pull it off!
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
Hey Jude, ( I never get tired of that! :grin: ) when you say 'update the saddle to something "more Schwinn" ', what did you have in mind? I can keep my eyes open around my neck of the woods.
Thanks OJ!!!! (And @Bike from the Dead and @Karate Chicken Industries)

-Amazingly, I never get tired of hey Jude!

As for the saddle, I appreciate everyone checking their inventory!

Truth be told, I’d LOVE to put a green and white Schwinn stinger BMX saddle on it.... but I don’t think one was ever made!!!! I’d look at an alternate color stinger but they are sort of pricey for a seat that I would be “settling on”

I’ve seen a number of black Schwinn leather road saddles, like should be on the bike, at very reasonable prices, but I’m looking for something with a little more zing!!!

Over the weekend I visited my buddy “500 Bike Bruce” and found a seat that I could live with, as he sold it to me at a pretty fair price.

I’d prefer a green a little closer to the radiant green that’s on the bike, but this is close. More of an olive, but I’m ok with it. I do love the old school look and springs.

I did pick up a brighter green rear seat bag that I’m hoping will marry the seat to the frame.

I’m open for input or better ideas! -As I can’t take the seat back, I don’t have a ton into it and would look at something sharper.
9658A03E-B310-4A53-894A-D87116642DB8.jpeg

71CF606C-10A0-4963-A9AD-695A529E8865.jpeg

901333BD-75F5-42A3-A051-04DFFD8960B4.jpeg
 

kram

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
1,353
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
I would say yours is still a 1961. They changed from 8 speed to 10 speed mid year, so it’s not in the catalogs. I have a very similar bike to yours, but with the taller frame. My frame was made late 1960, but the fork is mid 1961 and the crank is 1961. All the research I have found says mine was a very early 10 speed for mid 1961. These bikes don’t pop up very often with the suicide shifter. I need to dive into mine, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you do. The stem and pedals on mine are area correct upgrades, possibly done at a dealership.
A8E1A5A3-D23E-47F0-9C17-4CAEDCF22F12.jpeg
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
I would say yours is still a 1961. They changed from 8 speed to 10 speed mid year, so it’s not in the catalogs. I have a very similar bike to yours, but with the taller frame. My frame was made late 1960, but the fork is mid 1961 and the crank is 1961. All the research I have found says mine was a very early 10 speed for mid 1961. These bikes don’t pop up very often with the suicide shifter. I need to dive into mine, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you do. The stem and pedals on mine are area correct upgrades, possibly done at a dealership. View attachment 194565
The frame was made in 61, so it must be one of the first ten speed Varsitys!
YUP! That’s what I was hoping when I got it!!!
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
I would say yours is still a 1961. They changed from 8 speed to 10 speed mid year, so it’s not in the catalogs. I have a very similar bike to yours, but with the taller frame. My frame was made late 1960, but the fork is mid 1961 and the crank is 1961. All the research I have found says mine was a very early 10 speed for mid 1961. These bikes don’t pop up very often with the suicide shifter. I need to dive into mine, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you do. The stem and pedals on mine are area correct upgrades, possibly done at a dealership. View attachment 194565
I really appreciate your input on this! I had no idea Schwinn made in year model changes.

it does make since though as @Wildcat pointed out, the 10 speed technology was being used on the continental in the same year.

If the varsity was the top of the line bike, I would think it would need 10 speeds too.

sort of like a ‘64’ 1/2 mustang! Lol!

our bikes are super close. I definitely have a different rear derailleur. Your decals are in way better shape!!!

any idea on bar tape colors? I’ve seen this bike on line and they all have white tape. Curious as to how mine got the green.

Stay tuned! I’m going to tune this puppy up and ride it! Thanks for your input and interest
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
3,436
Those grey and yellow kendas are sorta perfect there, aren't they?
Yep: tough to find and a little pricey, but I LOVE ‘em!!!!

I did not know, these Ross’s have an oddball wheel size, so the ISO size is what I needed, not the traditional 26 or 27 x whatever.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
9,202
Reaction score
17,236
Location
another time and place
these Ross’s have an oddball wheel size, so the ISO size is what I needed, not the traditional 26 or 27 x whatever
I'm facing that challenge with my build off bike, weird Canadian size 26 wheels. They're not decimal sizes, but also different from the old Schwinn sizes. If I don't switch the rims to something more common, I'm looking at approx. $200 for rubber. More than the bike is worth on any day!
 

Latest posts

Top