QUESTION ! quick.. about Sears Free Spirit or Shimano parts

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QUESTION ! quick.. about Sears Free Spirit or Shimano parts

Postby oklahomajewel » Sun May 24, 2009 9:49 am

Hey .... I'm gonna call a couple of people later today, tomorrow about bikes they have for sale. Road bikes, not mountain bike.

One is a Free Spirit 10 speed bike, from the 80s . the person doesn't know for sure, but I searched google and find that Free Spirit is a bike sold by Sears and looks to be good. Do any of you know anything about Free Spirit?

And one mention of a Free Spirit bike from the 80s mentioned that it had Shimano gears. I've heard that on any bike, if it has Shimano gears or parts , then that's a good thing to look for.

How do I know if it's Shimano parts or not?? Is there a marking or a 'look'?


THANKS Y'ALL !!!!
Some things are way over my head !! ...but it keeps me looking UP!
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Postby Dean_A » Sun May 24, 2009 10:44 am

Shimano makes different grades, from low-end department-store type components, to very high end component, so you can't really judge a bike based on that alone. and yes, the Shimano parts will be labeled as such. Look for the markings on the shifters and derailers.

I don't know how much you want to spend, or how you would use the bike, so it's hard to make a recommendation. Free Spirit bikes sold for about $80 new, and they are poorly made and VERY heavy. They fall into the category of "department store bikes". You also may have problems finding replacement parts due to the bike's age. If the seller is asking $20, sure, go for it. Not much to lose. If you want a really enjoyable bike-riding experience, go to a bike shop and et some expert advice. They may be able to steer you toward a good-quality used bike. Bikes and components have come a LONG way in 30 years.
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Postby oklahomajewel » Sun May 24, 2009 11:23 am

Thanks Dean ... yes, I've heard to NOT buy a bike from a store like Target or Walmart... but wasn't sure about Sears... of course in the 80's it might have been different too .

I really don't think I'll look at that Free Spirit . There is a guy here in OKC that fixes up and sells lots of bikes on Craigslist and he's got 2 or 3 that I want to look at. He's got his own little shop. The big store, Al's didn't have any used road bikes for me.

Should I trust the Murray brand?

I don't want to spend a whole lot right now , but might be riding in on 10-15 mile trips in town, around the city lake ... I have a friend that is going to look at my mountain bike and fix it up for me .


Thanks !
Some things are way over my head !! ...but it keeps me looking UP!
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Postby Dean_A » Sun May 24, 2009 1:03 pm

Sorry, Murray is going to be in the same category as Free Spirit, and Huffy. Low end, heavy and poorly made. See if you can stick with one o he higher end brands. Trek, Giant, Specialized, Gary Fisher, Marin, Cannondale. I suspect you could get a used lower end model somewhere in the $150-$200 range. You're better off getting the low end of a quality brand than one of the cheap, boat anchors.

Also keep in mind the form factor. For beginning riders, just doing casual around-town trips, a more upright riding position is sometimes more comfortable. Traditional mountain bikes and road bikes have you leaning over a lot more. They've come up with a new category they call "comfort bikes" which have the more upright position of a cruiser, with all the benefits of gearing and suspension.

Just my 2 cents! You mileage may vary. Good luck! :thumbsup:

P.S. And ALWAYS wear a helmet.
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Postby BPFox » Sun May 24, 2009 1:08 pm

For what it's worth, I had a Sears "Free Spirit" road bike in the 70's. 10 Speeds were all the rage back then and the "Free Spirit" was the bike to have at the time. Surely not dealer bike grade, but it was one of the more expensive department store bikes you could buy. Folks back then thought I was crazy to spend over $100.00 for a bke. Of course that was 35 years ago so things change.

I'll echo what Dean says, "comfort bikes" are a good choice for just riding around. The upright position provides a more comfortable ride over long trips. I have a Haro 7 speed and just baught one for my wife. Riding 15 - 25 miles is no problem on these bikes. (especially with that big old "cloud 9" seat the kids got me for my birthday.) I balked, a little, about spending that kind of money for bike from a dealer, but I must say, it's been worth every penny.
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Postby iplay10us2 » Sun May 24, 2009 1:15 pm

Dean has given some great advice. Go to a bike shop and talk to them about your needs/wants. Have them "fit' a bike to you, because that can make all the difference in your enjoyment and continued use of any bike. I have an older model Giant hybrid that I had fitted to me for crotch height, peddle placement, distance to handlebars, seat height, etc. and it makes a world of difference in comfort.

Comfort bikes/hybrid bikes might be best for your needs because of the more upright position.

Bike shops also may have a bulletin board where people are selling older bikes as they upgrade, so be sure and check.

I would also recommend the extra expense of a Terry bicycle saddle. If you can't afford it at first, plan on getting one if you do lots of riding.
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Postby mikeschn » Sun May 24, 2009 3:38 pm

Hmmm, a road bike. There's lots of older road bikes on craigslist that would work for you.

A steel frame would absorb a lot of the shocks from the road, much better than aluminum. So don't be afraid to get a steel frame. But pick one that is lighter weight.

As for components, I prefer Shimano, but like Dean said, there are many grades of components.

I think the best approach is to get out there and test drive a few, and find one that fits you well. Once you have a bike that fits well, you can always tweak a component if you don't like it.

I just dumped my Gary Fisher Utopia, because it didn't fit well. I replaced it with a Crosstrail, which fits much better. 2" makes a lot of difference. (No jokes needed here.) I can't stress enough, get a frame that fits well, and brings a smile to your face. Everything else is just details...

Mike...
The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, so build your teardrop with the best materials...
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Postby ARKPAT » Sun May 24, 2009 7:03 pm

Just what Mike said on fit. :thumbsup:

Julie I you want a Box Store bike look at Academy Store Bikes. :thinking:

If it where me; I Would do like your friend was willing to do is make the changes to your bike. It would be about the same cost or less as a Box Store Bike" . Just my insite.

:thumbsup:

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Postby Laredo » Mon May 25, 2009 12:24 am

I gave $5 for a Free Spirit 26'' frame 12-speed during my Air Force days. Loved it, but couldn't touch the ground at a stop (I'm 5 feet 6). It was fast. Compared to other bikes around at the time it was a good ride (1976-80).

I'm still trying to find a 3-speed Texas Ranger bike again (that's what I replaced the Free Spirit with, from another garage sale on base, after I got hit on the FS. Put me in the base hospital with 3 cracked ribs, bent the frame and both rims on the bike).

Wish I knew who really built the "Texas Ranger" bikes -- they were tough-as-nails, a little heavier than the FS. Since I rode "off pavement" a lot, I needed that; treated mine like a mountain bike and it held up fine ... it was stolen while I was in college. :(
Mopar's what my busted knuckles bleed, working on my 318s...
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Postby kennyrayandersen » Mon May 25, 2009 3:38 am

So I ride kind of seriously (Friday night I rode around 50 miles). And I agree that it pays to buy quality... BUT... I don't think that's the kind of riding you are going to do. The simpler the bike, the more that can be put into the components. You might think about an older balloon tire-type bike even with the coaster brake. Unless you have a lot of hills, you may not need the gears. On Friday night I was climbing 10% grades, which was a bit painful even in low gear due to the winter weight gain and the conditioning tending to be off at the start of the season. I also went down equally steep descents; so, having a lot of gears is mandatory. If you are only riding around town and there are no hills, a single speed might get you where you are going and if you ride the wheels off that one you could get a more serious bike.

For $20 buck though, a lot of those 'dept. store' bikes never really got rode much and it may be in good condition. Buy it, ride it, and when the first thing breaks, just throw it away because this is definitely something that you don't want to spend any money fixing up.
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Postby mikeschn » Mon May 25, 2009 6:09 am

Since Laredo likes the Free Spirit so much, here's one in your neighborhood that you can check out... No clue what size it is, or if it would fit you.

http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/bik/1175130366.html

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Postby oklahomajewel » Mon May 25, 2009 7:11 am

Mike , that's the one I was referring to . Emailed him but didn't go look at it.

I did go look at another set, a guy on CL that fixes and sells several.
He had a Murray in pretty good shape, good fit that was $75 but then had a Schwinn (Chicago) Varsity , red, good fit and pretty good shape, new tires , for $95.

The guy was telling me that the Schwinn was the older bike but better made with out the plastic gears, etc. good solid bike. I almost bought it . But wasn't prepared to spend $95 . I do want something that will ride good for a few years, to get up to 15 mile trips or more... and it might go to my son (at college) this fall.
And then will fix up the mountain bike I have for the camping trips.

I'm still looking at little but might consider that Schwinn varsity.

Thanks for the comments y'all.
Some things are way over my head !! ...but it keeps me looking UP!
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Postby kennyrayandersen » Tue May 26, 2009 1:25 am

oklahomajewel wrote:Mike , that's the one I was referring to . Emailed him but didn't go look at it.

I did go look at another set, a guy on CL that fixes and sells several.
He had a Murray in pretty good shape, good fit that was $75 but then had a Schwinn (Chicago) Varsity , red, good fit and pretty good shape, new tires , for $95.

The guy was telling me that the Schwinn was the older bike but better made with out the plastic gears, etc. good solid bike. I almost bought it . But wasn't prepared to spend $95 . I do want something that will ride good for a few years, to get up to 15 mile trips or more... and it might go to my son (at college) this fall.
And then will fix up the mountain bike I have for the camping trips.

I'm still looking at little but might consider that Schwinn varsity.

Thanks for the comments y'all.



Ok, just to give you an idea. I just bought a new set of tires, at a steep discount for $80 bucks… that’s for the pair… You can get them cheaper but when I’m going 45 mph I would prefer not to end up in the ditch. So the money you spend should be appropriate to how you are going to use it.
$100 for a well-build bike is really not so much. The older Schwinn, though not particularly light, is probably fairly robust and they made some pretty good bikes back in the day. A friend of mine road one A LOT for several years and I have a 20 inch Schwinn that my boy road the wheels off and it’s still rides like new. You should really think of it more of an investment – especially if the boy will take it to college. A cheap bike will be trouble and if you can get an older ‘good’ bike (or low mileage) for the same money as a department store bike, you should really consider it.
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Re: QUESTION ! quick.. about Sears Free Spirit or Shimano pa

Postby Fenlason » Sun May 31, 2009 7:49 pm

oklahomajewel wrote:Hey .... I'm gonna call a couple of people later today, tomorrow about bikes they have for sale. Road bikes, not mountain bike.

One is a Free Spirit 10 speed bike, from the 80s . the person doesn't know for sure, but I searched google and find that Free Spirit is a bike sold by Sears and looks to be good. Do any of you know anything about Free Spirit?

And one mention of a Free Spirit bike from the 80s mentioned that it had Shimano gears. I've heard that on any bike, if it has Shimano gears or parts , then that's a good thing to look for.

How do I know if it's Shimano parts or not?? Is there a marking or a 'look'?


THANKS Y'ALL !!!!


as has been said.. Shimano makes all quality levels of parts. Most any lower end bike today will have shimano parts, on it. In better quality bikes
you have choices, there are other brands of components available, the other choices are also good.

I don't think that free spirit would be any faster than your bike, if you put faster tires on your bike. I thought you were going to bring your bike in to a shop to get looked at?

around here you can get bikes like that free spirit on a lawn sale very inexpensively.

I would go to a shop and see what they have that is used. We don't do much with used stuff like you are looking for, but a shop I used to work at would have all kinds of stuff. better than that for not a lot more.
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Postby Fenlason » Sun May 31, 2009 7:54 pm

some of these lower end department store bikes are really of a poor quality. I have always said if CPSC really cared, and really did their job, many of these bikes would not be on the market.

Brake levers that snap off in your hands if you try a panic stop. I have seen frames that would bend from pedaling to hard. We could bend them back with our bare hands...

brakes that don't stop. I could go on and on...

I once was offered a job building bikes for department stores... assembling them. they were going to pay me $3.00 a bike. you have to build a few bikes in an hour to make any money.. most people don't realize how much work it takes to assemble a bike and to adjust it so it works and is safe.

look at hospital reports of how many kids are hurt on bikes each year.. much of it is mechanical failures..
glenn

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