The Chainlink

Hey guys.

I rebuilt a Schwinn Varsity (steel frame) and it didn't come out as light as I was hoping. Even in single gear, my friends hybrid is lighter. One idea I had was to port out the frame (shave some metal off the inside of the frame). Has anyone heard of this working? Any suggestions other than spending a fortune on carbon fiber?

Here are some pics of the process:

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o0_dan_0o said:
im sure you could probably drill oh say 50 or so 3/8" holes in that gas pipe frame and not really have much to worry about. you might have to think very hard about where you put those holes and even after that youd have problems with corrosion related failure. but it will be lighter.

i say do it and film every moment you spend on it.
It doesn't have to be light to be fun.

But pedals, stem, bars -- an easy 3-700g. The BB, cranks, and seatpost and problematic and/or expensive to swap.
Hang on to it, ride it a lot, and then in a couple of months or even a year switch to something lighter. I guarantee riding a heavy old Varsity will only help you with whatever goals you might want to attain by riding more often (bike maintenance, bike control, speed, climbing).
I think Video Drome is pointing you in the right direction. Most old Schwinn frames are made from mild steel tubing which is much heavier than cromoly steel tubing. To bore out the frame would be a waste of time, money and a risky endeavor, IMO. Find an old 80s "moly" frame and transfer your bits to that whip.
I won't tell you you should or shouldn't try to lighten your bike. I'll just add my experience.

I had an old Schwinn Suburban for years when I decided it needed a total overhaul. When I had it stripped down, I got an aluminum stem (not an easy find -- 21.1 mm) and bars, and a bottom bracket adapter, used cartridge bottom bracket used crank set. I also rebuilt the wheels using Nashbar rims (10 bucks on sale!).

Here are the figures: When I started, the bike was 38 lbs. Frame, fork and headset were 13 lbs. Rebuilt as a 1x8 with the lighter parts -- 29 lbs. Total project cost was probably close to a hundred bucks (mostly in the adapter and crank set)

I did it mostly for the fun of it. It was my "learning" build, and I did learn a lot by stripping a bike down to its frame and building it up again with different parts. Plus, it was more fun to ride afterwards. But I don't ride it anymore. I ended up buying a cro-moly lugged frame and moving most of the parts over. I loved the boat-like ride of the old girl, and the tire clearance allowed me to fit knobby tires and fenders for winter, but after a while I became disenchanted with how much effort it took to get rolling again after a stop.
Hey Guy:

Sometimes putting in all that work you don't know what you get: I have converted about 12 crappy old ten speeds into hipster transports in the last few months. The Varsity is an OK way to start.

I have ported a frame, and it's not true that the frame is only able to be taken as is, much like an engine. The thing is though that you would want to port the downtube and the rear triangle; really hard to get to if you don't know how to weld; imagine this is Cro Moly, which means PITA Tig Welding.

I see other ways to lose weight: First, those 32? spoke rims; I have a Rolf Vector Pro 16 spoke on my fixie with a Profile design front end: fork, stem, bars. In total it's about twelve pounds. Also, instead of porting the tube, remove all those chain stays and guides, the kickstand housing, and the rear pannier holes.

I have done a couple Varsity's and Collegiates though: I guess my advice next time is to go in the range of a World Sport or something or World Tourer.

And on second thought, that bike frame is solid steel :( and heavy,) I would sell it to a beurgoning hipster and start over myself.

Plus, about boring, porting, whatever you want to call it: I have done it successfully but it is so un-noticeable and you need special tools to do it properly. Assuming that you would be porting from the inside of the tubes and not just sanding the surface. Basically, even if you bore/port the frame properly, what u save is about the same as stripping the exterior paint.

I have a picture of a Black World Sport that I ported the seat tube down to the BB: not for weight, but so the new seatpost fit.

Best of luck.

PS: You did a great job on it and it looks good.
What size are those wheels? looks like you have a lot of clearance.

Anyone have any experience with 1/8 inch brand? prices seem too cheap to be good.

J said:
It doesn't have to be light to be fun.

But pedals, stem, bars -- an easy 3-700g. The BB, cranks, and seatpost and problematic and/or expensive to swap.
Mine are 700c. It was the closest size to the original wheelset I could get, and I wanted to keep the original front brake. If you're asking about the blue and white on in the link, they look like 700's too...

Thanks for all the input guys. I don't think I'm going to worry about weight anymore though.



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