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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I'm looking for a crash course in DIY for my '74 Schwinn Varsity. I've heard they're easy enough to work on and I'm on tight college budget and I'm 6'10" leaving me with the hand me down from my tall uncle (which I love!). I can't really afford a new bike, but really what's most frustrating is how much the bike shop a) charges for tune-ups (brakes, wheel alignment, lube, derailed adjustment, etc.) & b) tell me how my old bike is worthless. I know I'm mechanically savvy enough to do this stuff with some direction and I just haven't turned over the right stone online yet so I joined this here forum.

If this is a generalized post can someone help me with brakes...? Pads are almost new, but when I pull brake lever they just don't bite. It's like they're slipping and my stopping distance is rather long. I'm thinking maybe line tension? I'm not sure. Any suggestions!?
 

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Welcome to the forum Mojo. I would suggest checking on you tube for video tutorials. There are loads of them some are good and some are not. This way you can view of video of something that needs addressing and follow up with questions you may have over here.
 

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Varsity's had poor brakes. The pads were gum rubbery and the rims were plated steel you may be able to find better pads than whats on the bike now. Although it is a difficult starting point when you dont know what you have. Look for braking videos of varsity's. Someone out there has a good braking bike and is willing to share what they did to improve.
 

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First, welcome to TwoSpoke!

As Davereo has mentioned, there are a ton of videos available, I like Park Tool's website for my own use.

That being said, there are times when you will not have a computer near you, for this I'd suggest a good book. Park Took's Big Blue Book is good and Zinn's books are an easy read.

Feel free to post your questions here, we have a good group that is eager to help.
 

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If you cannot find it on the Park Tool website, Sheldon Brown, or a Zinn book, then it's not broken. Of course, we'll offer much more personalized assistance right here. I had the Traveler, circa 1976, so I am familiar with that bike.

And welcome to the forums!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all. This forum has been impressively friendly and helpful.

I watched some videos but they all had the added option of adjusting spring tension, but from everything I see on my brakes the spring is stationary and not adjustable as far as tension goes. I believe this may be the source of the problem because I'll get the brakes set right (equal distance from rim, pads hitting at the same time, etc) but after the pads squeeze they don't reset to the proper position. I have a hunch I may need a bit more than an adjustment...
 

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Center pivot brakes have a tendency of shifting over when used. Meaning the brakes tend to open toward the heaviest spring and rub on the side with the lightest spring tension. This problem has been solved with dual pivot braking calipers.

You can try to bend the return spring on the side that rubs to try and even out the tension from side to side.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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Have you put a drop of oil where thay pivet, and new pads evean verry cheap ones will help it stop, as thay get hard with age. The last set of 4 was around $8 that I baught for the Huffy, thay made a big differnce:rolleyes:
 
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