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  1. #1
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    New (to me) bike- needs help!

    Hello.

    I have recently purchased a 27" Free Spirit Sun Bird road bicycle and am fairly happy with it thus far, however, I do realize it needs some general maintenance. Also, I am hoping that the noises I am hearing and the minor problems I have been experiencing is not something I need to be largely concerned about. I apologize that I am unfamiliar with all of the terminology of the parts of a bike (although I do know quite a bit because I have been riding and servicing my personal bicycles for about 10+ years and have been learning along the way).

    I believe there may be a problem with the rear cassette and whatever slips when I am coasting. I think there is a problem because I was coasting and went to pedal again, normally it would catch and start powering me forward, no problem. However, I found today that the pedals moved forward and spun around about 3 times before the drive mechanism caught and started moving forward again. It did that a couple of times and then seemed to resolve itself. I wonder if the slip mechanism in the rear wheel is failing or needs to be lubricated, etc.

    Also, I notice grinding noises from what I believe is the crankcase as I am pedaling, primarily going up hills (under heavy strain, etc). I am wondering if the crankcase is failing, needs to be lubricated, or it is something in the rear drive mechanism.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    this may not help... but i think what you're trying to say is that the chain slips off the cassettes when your coasting/climbing?

    if so:
    mayhap your cassettes have worn out?
    maybe your chain has been overly stretched?

  3. #3
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    I assume this is a 70's Sears Free Spirit and not some department store bike that's resurrected the brand name. If so, you've got a freewheel, not a cassette, and it's probably worn out. You can try lubing it first, but I don't hold out much hope for that to be successful. Read this next:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Is this a new bike, or an older bike that may have been sitting for awhile?
    IF the latter, the freewheel pawls are probably gummed up.
    Check the link above and go to lubrication. After doing the "spin" thing, I'll leave the bike laying on it's side and dribble a little more oil on it to seep in for a couple hours.
    That's your easiest, cheapest, best first approach. If the problem persists, it's probably time for a new freewheel.

  5. #5
    Newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    I assume this is a 70's Sears Free Spirit and not some department store bike that's resurrected the brand name. If so, you've got a freewheel, not a cassette, and it's probably worn out. You can try lubing it first, but I don't hold out much hope for that to be successful. Read this next:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html
    Yeah I would imagine it has a freewheel and not a cassette (like I said I'm still learning the terminology so every little bit helps). I have looked over the link provided and am still confused on what I should do; I can try lubing it yes but if not is there any hopes of changing it?

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Yes, and freewheels are interchangeable so it shouldn't cost too much. How many speeds?

    Quote Originally Posted by drglinski View Post
    Also, I notice grinding noises from what I believe is the crankcase as I am pedaling, primarily going up hills (under heavy strain, etc). I am wondering if the crankcase is failing, needs to be lubricated, or it is something in the rear drive mechanism.
    Sounds like you need to go into the bottom bracket, too. Can't tell what you have to do until you get in there.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    "I can try lubing it yes but if not is there any hopes of changing it?"
    Yes, a few drops of oil are SO EXPENSIVE!
    Much cheaper to just replace the part!

  8. #8
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    The freewheel might actually be the problem that seems to be coming from the BB. Remove the rear wheel and pull the chain off the crank. Turn the crank and listen for any grinding noises. You can use a big screwdriver as a stethescope. Put the business end on the BB shell and your ear on the handle. If it sounds reasonably good, leave it until you work out the freewheel issue.

    New freewheels can still be found at places like looscrews.com. Old freewheels were very durable and getting a transplant that's perfectly good from another old bike isn't hard. You'll need the right freewheel removal tool to replace it or you can have your LBS do it probably pretty cheaply.

    Once the freewheel is working properly, then see if the other noise is gone. If it isn't, then a bottom bracket overhaul or replacement may be in order.

    Oh, and if you do the stethescope thing, keep your face away from the crank.

  9. #9
    Newbie
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    Ok well I took the wheel off and lubed the rear gears and am going to let it sit over night. Also, I have discovered tonight riding it that I have popping noises coming from the back axle. Any thoughts on what that might be?

  10. #10
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drglinski View Post
    I have popping noises coming from the back axle. Any thoughts on what that might be?
    Given that the poor bicycle has had little or no maintenance over 30 years or so, I'd say it's probably the sound of a Free Spirit falling to pieces. You need to put some time and/or money into restoring it and stop asking for random guesses as to what might be wrong. Likely everything.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

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