Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries - Sears Free Spirit Ten Speed
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These seem like pretty fun bikes, but probably not worth the $150. Thoughts?
09-09-10, 09:00 PM
From what I've gathered these department store bikes are the absolute bottom of the barrel but I'm interested to see what more knowledgeable users think it being in such good condition + being his and her's affects the price.
09-10-10, 04:07 AM
In my area, if a rider really needed a bike, both for $150, wouldn't be a bad deal. Not anything to try to resale for a profit, though. Even thought they are Sears bikes, they may be made by Puch.
09-10-10, 06:06 AM
Free Spirit can vary quite a bit depending on the maker of the bike. My understanding is that 'Free Spirit' was Sears brand name but was made by Puch, Murray and later made in China. In the case of Puch they were made in Austria. The Austrian made ones are better with nice lugged frames, but even those are mainly bike boom hi-ten steel, except for the Ted Williams 531 frames. So look for 'Made in Austria' and feel the weight of it. All the pics of the 531 Ted Williams I've seen have been a gold frame w/drop bars, so I doubt these are anything but regular old steel. If they fit you and are in really really good shape, you might consider them based on your market. They seem to be over-priced, or at the high-end of the scale depending on your market, so they are not flipper material. If you can work on them yourself, repack all the bearings, replace the tires, rejuvinate the chains....etc. I think about 1/2 the asking price would be more reasonable given the price you can buy new dept. store bikes. I've got a couple of these that are waiting to be resurected, they are not performance bikes, but would be suitable for grocery getters and short trips--5-to-10 miles--about town.
I have a matching pair of blue ones that I actually just kept because they were in pristine condition and they are awesome for meandering around town on.
Someone might pay that much for them, but their utility is quite limited.
Very few of the Free Spirits were made by Puch. The Sears/Puch partnership had begun in the 50's, when Sears began importing motorcycles built by Puch (this lasted until 1969), and at some point, also began selling their bicycles.
The 3 speed Sears/Puch was very comparable in quality to the standard Raleigh "Sports", but possibly not so light as the "Superbe", but perhaps lighter than the Schwinn 3 speed "Racer".
I had a new Sears Austrian-built Puch bicycle in 1970, and thought highly of its workmanship.
In 1972 or 73, the Free Spirit models came out, and were obviously (and disappointingly) of lower quality (stamped dropouts squashed into the chainstays and seatsays, one piece cranks, etc).
I never knew anyone who owned the Ted Williams model, so can't comment much, except that it may be the very last model Sears bike produced by Puch, and the very best of the Free Spirits.
09-10-10, 10:34 PM
I had a Free Spirit that a guy gave me once. After new cables , tires, lube etc it was a pretty decent bike. Not worth a whole heck of a lot of money but kinda fun to tool around on.
09-21-10, 09:10 PM
This is my childhood bike, taken off of my parents' garage wall to see daylight after 30 years of hanging there. It's got that Ted Williams label, and it's definitely steel (heavy, but tough). I do have some other pics, but these should give pretty good idea. I don't plan to sell it; maybe I'll have it refurbished at the LBS, but I wondered about the value. Thoughts?
09-21-10, 09:56 PM
I have a Freespirit- not sure if it's the Ted Williams one, but it is not the gaspipe-welded crap that some Freespirit bikes were. It has lugs, cottered three-piece cranks, it was a ten-speed, and has mustache bars, a sprung Velo seat, and quality full fenders. For a steel framed bike it's surprisingly light (about 32lbs or so, my estimate) and the build quality and finish is actually very nice (no cheap welds, faded paint, cheap chrome, etc).
Would this be one of the Ted Williams specials? Doesn't really matter to me as I'm happy with it for my fixie project one way or another but the value would be interesting to know.
09-23-10, 09:53 AM
170948As a reference, attached is a frame that I gave away to a C&V member. The Ted Williams 531 bikes have this color and look like this. Otherwise, anything else is likely your run of the mill free spirit.
09-24-10, 10:37 AM
I picked up two Free Spirit 3 speeds for $20 each at a yard sale. It was one of the few times I've lost money on bikes.
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