Author Topic: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity  (Read 548 times)

Offline KoolNick

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'72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« on: April 20, 2017, 07:40:35 PM »
Long time lurker here, first-time poster... mainly because I've been waiting for a spell to get my Dad's 72 Varsity. Last weekend, I went home for Easter and came back home with it.  :D

Cool things: my Dad always keeps all his paperwork forever, so I have the manual that came with the bike and he stapled to the front cover his receipt! He bought it on June 23, 1972, for $91.75 (after tax) less a $10 deposit from Ray's Bike Shop in South Bend, IND. Also, my Dad still had his generator and light set! No idea if it works, but we'll see.

Even though it was my Dad's bike until I convinced him to let me have it, I have fond memories of this bike. He would ride it next to me when I was a child and we'd go on after dinner bike rides together. Also, when I was in middle school and high school, I had a paper route and I used this bike every day to deliver the papers, so I sometimes wonder if I haven't already logged more miles on it than he did.  ;D

I've already started taking it apart to overhaul it and found a few quirks. First, it looks like the seat took the brunt of a fall at some point. I vaguely remember it being like that back in HS, but never did anything about it. Also, my tear-down stopped at the bottom bracket as I need to get a cheater bar... those pedals are not coming off very easily, haha!
1972 Varsity

Online acg_schwinn

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 08:07:30 PM »
Also, my tear-down stopped at the bottom bracket as I need to get a cheater bar... those pedals are not coming off very easily, haha!

At the risk of telling you something you already know, the left-side pedal unscrews clockwise, not counterclockwise, so I trust you're forcing it in the right direction...?  ;)

Offline Eric94TA

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 08:56:53 PM »
Really awesome to have your dad's Schwinn! Congrats! 8)

(He must be one tall cat!)
70 Campus Green Suburban 5-speed "Green Hornet"
72 Kool Lemon Collegiate "Old Yeller"
74 Opaque Blue Suburban ST 5-speed "Baloo"
77 Sunset Orange Runabout "Orange Crush"
74 Sunset Orange Collegiate ST (project)
77 Sunset Orange Runabouts ST, (project)
78 Flamboyant Red Varsity (project)
78 Sky Blue Breeze (project)

Offline JenniferC

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 09:10:16 PM »
Welcome to the forum. The bike itself looks to be in really nice shape. The saddle probably wasn't all that when it was new so if you're going to ride it much you might consider something a little more comfortable. Andy said what I was thinking about the pedals. Make sure you're going in the right direction. Have fun.  ;)

Offline Nick

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Offline Bikes42

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 03:20:10 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

Great story and it's nice to hear that you want to give a new life to your Dad's bike. I'm sure that it's giving him a good feeling.

Good luck, keep us informed of your progress and ask questions along the way if you need to.

Tad
1940 Maroon New World
1959 Radiant Green Tiger
1961 Radiant Blue Varsity
1964 Flamboyant Red Racer
1967 Sky Blue Paramount P13
1971 Burgundy Super Sport
1972 Flamboyant Red Paramount Tandem
1972 Opaque Green Super Sport
1972 Kool Lemon Sports Tourer
1973 Opaque Blue Continental
1973 Sunset Orange Continental
1973 Opaque Blue Super Sport
1974 Opaque Blue Typhoon
1977 Violet Le Tour II
1987 Ice Pink Prelude
1993 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra
2001 Bianchi Eros

Offline Echo_Delta

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 05:47:34 AM »
Welcome to the forum!!  It is AWESOME you have an interest in your Dad's bike. It will clean up GREAT!!
1939 Maroon New World
1954 Black Phantom
1955 Blue Corvette 3 speed
1961 Black Corvette 2 speed
1968 Blue Mini Twinn 2 speed
1972 Mens Burgundy Super Sport
1972 Ladies Burgundy Super Sport
1974 Blue Paramount
1979 Flamboyant Red Deluxe Twinn Tandem

Offline KoolNick

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 12:39:39 PM »
Thanks for the tip on the pedal direction. It was the first thing I thought of when it wasn't coming off easily... and I was initially doing it in the wrong direction!  ;D That might have tightened the left pedal, but the right one I've only done in the correct direction (I switched to see if it was any easier, lol) and it's not budging either. I think I'm going to take it to my LBS and make friends with them later today.

I am planning on riding it as my go-to bike when I'm done. Believe it or not, I actually liked the saddle! But I can't seem to find a vintage one that I like, so I'll probably end up with a Brooks new replacement. My philosophy for this bike is "original or NOS if possible (or as long as I have patience to look for it!), but I'm ok with new and will try to keep the overall aesthetic feel." Not that I need to get much for it, though, as everything's original and I can reuse it... except for the tape, cables and chain which I'll replace, and the saddle as mentioned above.

Oh, and something else on my mind, I've found lots of complete sets of lights, but haven't found just the glass that I'll need for the rear light (assuming it even works as my Dad removed it before I even started riding it).

Ok, enough for now.  :D

1972 Varsity

Online acg_schwinn

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 01:57:43 PM »
Oh, and something else on my mind, I've found lots of complete sets of lights, but haven't found just the glass that I'll need for the rear light (assuming it even works as my Dad removed it before I even started riding it).

Your lighting set is a first-generation Schwinn Deluxe set by Union of West Germany, as seen by that (rather rusty) headset ring mounting bracket. You might want to consider ditching that rusty bracket in favor of a second-generation Deluxe bracket instead, which just clamps around the stem. The headlight will fit either one.

Your missing taillight lens is part number 04 160 (lens and reflector in one glued unit), but unfortunately Union did not supply individual replacement lighting parts to Schwinn like their other suppliers such as Soubitez did (which makes you wonder why Schwinn even bothered assigning individual part numbers for the Union generator set components... force of habit, I suppose  :) ).

Further compounding the frustration is that those lenses tended to crack, especially around the small triangular retainer tooth that fits in the matching hole in the top of the chrome housing, after which the lens could fall out, and frequently did. Your best bet will be to snag a complete replacement taillight from a swap meet, eBay or elsewhere. In addition to finding one in a parts bin or off a donor set, it was also sold separately as an accessory taillight, as seen on this catalog page here:

http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1971_1980/1972_46.html

That page also shows a couple of other choices you could use as well. One is their 04 181 bullet taillight, which is a really nice example of that design (made by Cat Eye in Japan), but kind of small. My choice would be the 04 180 model on that page, which is not photographed very well there, but actually has a forward-facing amber lens in addition to the red one visible in the photo; very slick. That was also made by Cat Eye, and examples of that are pretty common on eBay. I've sold several Deluxe sets like yours in which the amber/red Cat Eye taillight had been installed as an upgrade. Good luck with the search...

Offline KoolNick

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 07:33:56 PM »
Thank you, acg_schwinn! I've already started looking this afternoon.

I'm almost there, otherwise. I have so far taken apart, cleaned, and put back together
both brakes
Both brake levers
Rear derailleur
Front derailleur

I didn't know at all what I was doing, but I've been taking things apart and putting them back together for almost my entire life. Add in a few techniques from YouTube videos and I got everything back together again. I guess we'll see if it all falls apart on the road! Haha!

Also took apart and cleaned
headset/front fork/handle bars
Bottom bracket
Frame

My tires arrived today. I went with the Schwalbe Marathons. I have them on my mtn bike I converted to a hybrid and love them. I really like the gum wall look these bikes have/had, but I wanted a nice touring tire with the reflective stripe for safety.

Tomorrow, the rest of the parts arrive (tubes, chain, bar tape) and I'll start putting it back together.  :D
1972 Varsity

Online acg_schwinn

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2017, 09:15:18 PM »
Thank you, acg_schwinn! I've already started looking this afternoon.

You're welcome! Here (below) are some better photos of what the optional amber/red taillight upgrade looks like, in a previous eBay listing of mine.

This was another first-generation Deluxe set like yours, as identified by the headset ring mounting bracket, but the original round red Union taillight has been replaced with this accessory taillight by Cat Eye of Japan (Schwinn part number 04 180). It fits the same mounting hole; just connect the wire and you're done. (Cat Eye also made the Schwinn Sting-Ray taillights, turn signals and second-generation pumpkin headlights.)

Offline KoolNick

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 08:43:30 AM »
I have to say, that is pretty cool! I honestly didn't think I was going to like that look with the amber light toward the front, but now that I see it, it's got me thinking...  :)

Also, another [not so] quick update. I assembled what I have... couldn't re-use the cables. Honestly, I wasn't going to reuse them at first, but then the tires and NOS fenders cost me about as much as the bike's probably worth, lol! So, I thought, "well, they were working before I removed them, let's see if we can't get by with the old cables for a bit." Unfortunately, every... single... cable... started to fray when I went to reinstall it.

Now, it's off to find cables. In this application, I'm very happy buying modern cables and would rather something more toward the inexpensive side of things. Just one problem, I can't seem to find (or at least tell online) if the shifter cables are the ones I need. It seems that not many manufacturers still supply the shifter cables for the "Twin-Stik Control Levers" (the little pills attached at the sides). Also, I'd prefer to get something grey, but black will do. Any advice on what cables to purchase or how to know I'm getting what I need?

Re-build notes:

The touring tires are a bit larger (in height from the rim) than the road/racing tires. Had to deflate the back tire to get it on the bike, but they look good and I know they'll perform well. Though, I already went through one tube! The back tire did the classic "I'm not going to seat well and so blow off the rim" trick. Applied a little soap (as I think I've read on this forum), gave it a little massage at about 15 psi to help out, and it's still sitting on the rim for the moment.

Buying NOS handlebar tape is a bit pricey for me as a disposable component of a bike I wish to use heavily. Also, and I have no idea why other than the market for it is too small, but I couldn't find a new/modern equivalent of plastic handlebar tape online. Decided to go with classic cloth tape and shellac (which for some reason DOES have a sizable market?!  :o ). I'm sure that the tape I removed was at least the second taping of the bars. I remember Dad getting it reapplied in, I think, the late '80s along with a "tune up" as he calls them. Anyway, the tape I removed went all the way to the stem. Looking online, it seems that a lot of people put it on "as the factory did" and start it about two to two and a quarter inches from the stem. Therefore I started at two inches. It might look more "OEM" like that, but I can already say that with my large hands the tape doesn't go far enough to the stem if I place my hands there.  :-\

The chrome cleaned well, but there's pitting. Dad had pretty much stored the bike by the time I started riding it in the early '90s and continued to do so after I stopped riding it, and I treated it like a workhorse while I used it. Unfortunately, not that big a surprise that the chrome plating is starting to show its age after that treatment. Similar issue with the paint. That said, I'm OK with that. It's all a part of the story of the bike, and I'm not kidding myself into thinking that it's a museum piece by any stretch of the imagination.

Chain: I bought a new chain, removed the factory lube (I know, heresy, right?!) and then proceeded to dip it in my homemade bike chain lube. I don't know of anybody else who's tried it this way, but I've recreated the chain lube recommended by a French manufacturer as seen in this post on the Sheldon Brown website http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html. It's a mix of tallow and parriffin. I've tried this treatment before, and it works wonderfully!

Still need to overhaul the wheels. Judging from what I saw on the BB and headset, I'm sure they're dry as a bone in the hubs... but that requires a freewheel tool, cone wrenchs, and maybe a place to hold the wheel... which means more money to spend, haha! Also, while not out-of-true so much (if at all... a miracle after 45 years?) the spokes are very loose on the rear wheel (so now I need to purchase a spoke tool, too). All of these tools are obviously re-useable, so I'm not that upset about buying them, just more money than my short-sighted thinking foresaw.  ;D
1972 Varsity

Offline Wildwest

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 11:11:39 AM »
I read with interest your rebuilding experience. I think we all pick up certain methods and shortcuts from others. One idea I have used is to mix equal amounts of acetone with automatic transmission fluid for chain lube, also on Sheldon's site. This is also a good mixture for parts that have seized. Thanks for detailing your methods.
Paul

Offline KoolNick

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 12:04:43 PM »
Thank you, Wildwest. And just for the record, I was NOT trying to start an argument about chain care and lube, haha! I know it can get heated, I was just detailing what I've done and liked. Also, I was pointing out that as far as I know I'm the only one who's actually tried that tallow/paraffin mixture. It seems that recently paraffin has a growing following, but I have yet to see anybody try the "retro" recipe.

As for the cables, so far it looks like Jagwire might have what I need. BUT I'll need to piece together my own kit by buying the shifter cable/housing together and then buying the correct inner cable. Either that or buy the inner cables separately and then 50m each of outer and inner cable!
1972 Varsity

Offline Eric94TA

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Re: '72 Kool Lemon Varsity
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 01:58:32 PM »
Looking good!
70 Campus Green Suburban 5-speed "Green Hornet"
72 Kool Lemon Collegiate "Old Yeller"
74 Opaque Blue Suburban ST 5-speed "Baloo"
77 Sunset Orange Runabout "Orange Crush"
74 Sunset Orange Collegiate ST (project)
77 Sunset Orange Runabouts ST, (project)
78 Flamboyant Red Varsity (project)
78 Sky Blue Breeze (project)