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70's Sears 10 speed(14 posts)

70's Sears 10 speedmtb-les
Jan 27, 2003 1:04 PM
I am looking to build a bike from my past and need help finding one. It was a tan 10 speed purchased at Sears in the mid to late 70's. Any resources are greatly appreciated.
Free Spirit? I see 'em occasionally in thrift stores.cory
Jan 27, 2003 3:04 PM
Assuming there's no specific Sears-retro source out there, you might check places like the Salvation Army every couple of weeks. You rarely see good bikes there (I did score a decent Klein once), but it seems like I see Sears and Schwinn cheapies, Free Spirits and Varsities, all the time. Prices in the Reno area are generally $20 to $40, with some room to bargain.
re: 70's Sears 10 speedmicha
Jan 27, 2003 6:04 PM
The Austrian "Puch" company sold thousands of 10-speed bikes to Sears in the early 70's. Ninety percent of these were blue Puch "Bergmeister" 10-speeds, rebadged "Free Spirit" for Sears.

Those bikes were a bizarre parts mix of he good, bad and the ugly. But they got some of us into serious cycling and will therefore be remembered fondly.

In your search, try "Puch", "Bergmeister", and, of course "Free Spirit."
Dumpsters and ghetto junk piles (nm)Alexx
Jan 28, 2003 8:16 AM
Maybe, but just imagine ...Humma Hah
Jan 28, 2003 4:02 PM
... having a perfectly restored version of this venerable Sears POS ... showing up for a club ride or century, and realizing that it can keep up with no problem whatsoever!

As long as you're not racing, a bike like that is perfectly ridable. And it IS a significant machine due to the sheer number of 'em build and the incredible number of riders who got started on 'em. It is worth preserving a few examples ... probably best done on really nice ones that have been in dry storage almost since they were bought.

Consider that the Ford Model T, the most ubiquitous POS "tin-lizzy" ever stamped out in mass production, priced as low as a few hundred bucks new, is now a valuable collectable car. Given that few collectors would want a Free Spirit right now, they're cheap. Also, few are being preserved, so they're getting scarcer. Held for 20+ years by someone who has a soft spot for 'em presently, better examples could actually develop some value.
You get it, Alex doesn'tmtb-les
Jan 29, 2003 7:12 AM
I'm looking to find or restore one to it's original condition just for that purpose, I have a race worthy roadie but don't need to ride that with the wife and kids, or on fun rides, this would be a conversation piece for guys in their late 30's early 40's, we all had one at one time.
You get it, Alex doesn'tHumma Hah
Jan 29, 2003 2:36 PM
I get it because I basically DO that every time I ride. My main ride is a 1971 Schwinn singlespeed cruiser, and I'll show up on it for centuries. Usually draws a chuckle or two, but the tone changes when a paceline passes me for the third or fourth time and they recognize my cute little "icense plate". I may be slow, but I usually don't spend much time stopped.
I don't????Alexx
Jan 30, 2003 11:36 AM
My first bike was one of those piles of garbage similar to the one you described. My old man was too damn cheap to get me anything better. I was overjoyed when somebody stole the thing-took me 3 months of leaving it in visible locations unlocked, but some moron finally took it. Good riddance! It was a poorly built piece of junk, heavy gas-pipe tubing, stamped shetmetal dropouts, derailleurs that didn't shift worth a d@mn, cr@ppy brakes, lousy tires, etc., etc.
Why not buy something better? E-Bay is filled with GOOD 70's vintage frames for dirt prices! I bought a classic silver-brazed trek 740 frame once for $50!! Made it into a really nice roadbike with age appropriate parts-it's still my nicest riding bike.
Want a conversation piece? I have an old English Raleigh "Dutch Roadster" that I found in the Salvation Army store-for $2!! Even though it's heavy, it's 10 times the bike any P.O.S Sears bike will ever be.
Yeah, but the Free Spirit is a bit better a roadbike than ...Humma Hah
Jan 30, 2003 3:16 PM
... my cruiser. I've ridden both the Free Spirit and Varsity, would rate the FS junkier but a little lighter, with the Varsity (I've owned one) weighing nearly as much as the cruiser. Given my preference, I'd ride the cruiser almost every time, 'cause I'm attached to the old thing for, um 32 years this summer and its my old buddy. And I cried when they sole its almost identical predecessor.

And my choice for an oldie to buy off e-bay and build up for those double-centuries and 300k brevets that are beyond the capability of the cruiser is a 74 Paramount. But if I chance upon a 71 Varsity or Continental in really good shape at a bargain price, I'll probably snap it up and ride it occasionally for about the same reasons mentioned above, pure sentimentallity about a bike many of us started on.

I applaud anyone who wants to preserve a nice example of ANY old bike, even Huffys and Western Auto and department store junk (the Free Spirit being a cut above many of that ilk sold today). That's what we're about here, preserving and enjoying the past. And maybe taking a little piece of history out for a ride and rediscovering our youth, and the fact that almost any properly-maintained roadbike is at least 90% as good as a new one in doing the basic things a roadbike must do.
I think the FS was junk, tooDougSloan
Jan 30, 2003 4:24 PM
My brother and I had those things about mid-70's. I think they weighed close to 50 lbs. Everything on them was total junk. I rode the crap out of it, but then I had no choice until I found a PX10 at a pawn shop (talk about night and day). I wouldn't consider restoring an old FS unless it was absolutely mint (not much to restore, then), and it has some emotional value, being the exact same bike you had when young. Still, I'd spend my time on something else.

Then again, I could be wrong. Do whatever makes you happy. Different strokes...

I have a FS equipped with Campy NRwspokes
Jan 30, 2003 6:44 PM
Just kidding, Don't stone me off the list!

I still want to know who makes those awesome Wood fenders on that Vanilla Bike!!

make 'em yerselfdesmo
Jan 30, 2003 7:05 PM
easy to steam bend thin laminated hardwoods. start with Google, plenty 'o woodworking sites with that kind of info. I'd volunteer to make you a set but know it would be forever until I got around to actually doing it. yer in "new yankee" land aren't you, check with some small local furniture builders. bring 'em a 700c wheel with a junk tire they can use as a "buck". doubt it would cost too much. just use a lot of marine spar varnish for the top coat.
make 'em yerselfwspokes
Jan 31, 2003 5:02 AM
Good idea actually, I do constant woodworking all around my home and never considered making them myself. It will take me forever as well, but the satisfaction will be worth it. thanks for the suggestion.

There're Fres Spirits and then there are Free SpiritsWalter
Jan 31, 2003 1:54 PM
From the 60s thru the early 70s, as mentioned above, FS's were Austrian made. You could buy one with 531 main tubes.

Not the Holy Grail but a decent frame, most would agree.

They later devolved into something like what my wife (then girlfriend) bought in the mid80s. Weighed a ton and the truly cheap Shimano steel stuff that didn't work.

They hold no appeal to me, or my wife who was shwn the light when I tracked down a used Fuji Supreme with their VaLite tubing and SunTour Cyclone gear. But as was also pointed out above....different strokes....