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72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?

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redditor Offline
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Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2011
Post: #1
72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
I'm pretty new to refurbishing bikes, and I just purchased a 72 Schwinn Varsity from a yard sale. It was not in very good condition, so I'm trying to fix it up. I noticed that a nut from the front wheel axle is missing. I've taken the bike to a local bike repair shop that had been suggested to me, and I've visited the local Ace Hardware. Neither had a fitting nut, as the (apparently) 5/16" axle's threading isn't standard. (Note: the wheel is a Schwinn Tubular S-6 for a 27X1 1/4 tire, and mounted on the front if that matters.)

I've read that there's a lot that isn't standard about the older Schwinns and I've hunted around the internet for a place that sells a nut that'll fit the threading, but I haven't really found anything. I can't find the specifications of the nut, and no sellers have enough information for me to assume any given nut is right.

So I was wondering, does anyone know what I need and/or where to purchase it? I'm hoping it's a nut that I could find in a hardware store, but that seems a bit unlikely.
Apr 28, 2011 07:13 PM
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trevgbb Offline
Senior Member

West Midlands UK
Posts: 416
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #2
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
I am pretty sure this would be a 5/16" British Standard Cycle Thread, fairly easy to obtain here in the UK.
You could replace the complete axle assembly, just make sure it is for the same bearing dia. probably 3/16", and get new bearings at the same time.
Apr 29, 2011 12:16 PM
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Duroon Offline
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Posts: 46
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #3
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
Yep, I contemplated replacing the axles on my '74 when I was redoing it. My local bike shop mechanic told me he could replace the axles easily enough, I think he even mentioned being able to put in a quick release on the rear but he said the front was too narrow? Doesn't seem to be to me but oh well. The front and rear axle on my '74 Varsity take different size nuts, the front is 9/16" and the rear is 5/8".
Apr 29, 2011 01:10 PM
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JohnV Offline
Senior Member

Tampa. FL
Posts: 472
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #4
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
Quote:I am pretty sure this would be a 5/16" British Standard Cycle Thread

OK! I thought that everything in GB was metric. When did they start adapting to the Imperial measurement?

HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
Apr 29, 2011 01:36 PM
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Duroon Offline
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Posts: 46
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #5
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
GB created the Imperial measurement system, they have since adapted to metric. We Americans are way behind the rest of the world on that.
Apr 29, 2011 01:43 PM
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redditor Offline
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Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2011
Post: #6
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
Thanks much guys!

I was able to find a less known bike shop that was able to fish out a nut that works with my axle. It didn't seem like that location had a very reliable stock either, so I'll definitely remember the British standard threading in case I need to purchase online.

I'm a bit surprised at how little the bike shops I visited knew about the nuts, though.
Apr 29, 2011 03:43 PM
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trevgbb Offline
Senior Member

West Midlands UK
Posts: 416
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #7
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
Since we have gone metric here in the UK, we now a choice of;
front, 3/16", 8mm., 9mm, 3/8" and 10mm. axles.
rear, 3/8" or 10mm, with the added complexity of BMX, which can be 3/8" or 10mm. front or rear, and 14mm. front and/or rear.
Makes it difficult to sell one nut when the customer doesn't know what the size is.
Same goes for bearings, you can have front, 7/32"(some BMX mags.)
3/16", 1/4" front and/or rear.
Apr 30, 2011 11:58 AM
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redditor Offline
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Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2011
Post: #8
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
I understand the difficulty. I was just surprised because where I live, old Chicago Schwinns I'd imagine would be fairly common.

I've since gotten new tires, pads, tubes, brake/shift lines, and chain. It's got a little rust on the body where the old lines rubbed off the paint, but I don't feel up to sanding the whole thing down. Sad
Apr 30, 2011 12:13 PM
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Half a Load Offline
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Saco, Maine, USA
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2011
Post: #9
RE: 72 Schwinn Varsity axle nut?
Hi all, I'm new here, but wanted to thank you for this info and share a story....
I work in a parts store with a very good supply of hardware. When a customer brought in a plastic spoke 12 inch wheel and needed an axle nut. I thought; "Piece of cake." But to no avail, I couldn't find a single nut to fit. The axle measured 3/8" O.D., but the thread was a finer pitch than the finest pitch SAE nut I had.
So, I found this thread, which answered my thread question.

After some research I found out that GB went from the Whitworth system in about the mid-70's to the US's SAE standard which took considerable time before finally going to the metric system. As a mechanic, I always found it to be a pain in the arse to work on 'American' made vehicles with Japanese engines, I had to keep two sets of wrenches. I guess if I were in GB, I'd have at least three sets of wrenches! Now we need to stop putting off the inevitable and adopt the Metric system here in the States, like the rest of the industrialized word!
Thanks,
Ride on!

Jun 5, 2011 10:33 AM
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