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New shift for old Varsity
I have a Schwinn Varsity from somewhere around 1978-79 in storage and want to fix it up as a commuter. My one chronic complaint about the Varsity was the shifters. I wasn't fond of the way the levers worked, or their position (looked like a good way to eviscerate yourself if you ever went over the handlebars). Is it possible to convert a Varsity to use another form of shifter?

I'm thinking of removing the smaller chainring to eliminate one shifter and then finding a handlebar mounted shifter for the rear. I know this will probably require that I fabricate a custom cable, but that is not a problem. I'm more concerned about finding a shifter compatible with the rear cassette and stock derailleur. I'm trying to avoid converting to a fixie.
I have a riding buddy that converted a bike with down tube shifters to trigger shifters on an old Bianchi road bike because he didn't like the shifters either. He didn't like the drop bars either, so he went to a straight bar, which is why he got the trigger shifters. I don't exactly know what he did or if he did the work himself, but it is doable as long as the new shifters are compatible with what you have. I would start looking on eBay and Amazon to see if they have compatible shifters.

I don't know what type of terrain you ride in, but if you ride anywhere with hills, I wouldn't remove the small chainring until you build your leg muscles up to where you can ride a hill with ease on the large chainring.
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Does anyone know if the Schwinn Varsity has a 1:1 or 2:1 cable to derailleur movement ratio? I think if I switched to a straight bar, I could use grip shifter if I can find the right one to match cable movement and number of cogs.

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