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  1. #1
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    Help: Finding a specific 80's? road bike

    Before I got interested in cycling I picked up a thrift store road bike, rode it a little bit and couple years later sold it on CL.

    I'm now trying to find that specfic style of bike again. Here's what I remember about it.

    1. Very light so probably aluminum.
    2. I think it had the words Sport Lite or Olympic Lite on the frame.
    3. Had the extra safety "suicide" brake levers.
    4. Shift levers were on the top of handle bar stem.
    5. 26" road bike wheels
    6. It didn't have a major brand name which is why I'm having trouble finding it. It may have been a Sears bike.

    If anyone has some knowledge of who made bikes for Sears in the 80's, early 90's I'd appreciate some direction in that area.

    thanks

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Free Spirit would have been the name on the frame if a Sears bike, and the frames were made by Panasonic and Giant, IIRC, but of relatively low grade steel. With the 26" Wheels, it could have been the Free Spirit, or Huffy. They both had 26" Road offerings with 26X1 3/8 tires, like the old English 3 speeds.

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  3. #3
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    Thanks Tom, I googled some free spirits and while the bike sorta looks like this one:

    http://www.americanlisted.com/hawaii..._14359314.html

    Based on the description you gave, I'm leaning towards it not being a Sears bike now.

    I've learned enough about bikes to realize I had something pretty nice at least weight wise. I have a Trek 560 sport and a Diamondback ExpertTG which are decent vintage road bikes but they are both heavier than the bike I'm trying to find.

    Do you know who was making aluminum bikes in the 80's or early 90's?

    The only markings I remember on the frame were the words Olympic or Olympia, Sport and "Lite" or "Light".

    The chain slipped sometimes on the rear gears and I didn't know anything about fixing bikes yet which is why I let it go. Even so it was faster than any of the bikes I have now.

    I'm in SoCal but sold it in Central Cal so wouldn't be able to find the buyer now.

  4. #4
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    Tom, it's color scheme looked a lot like this bike but didn't have these decals or words.

    http://mos.bikeradar.com/images/news...JPG-850-99.JPG

    That page said this bike was built by "Serotta" and that name seems to ring a bell.

    The page where the image is from has a info sheet posted and says that bike was 21lbs.

    This is probably who make the bike I had. Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by amazauc; 04-29-12 at 03:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amazauc View Post
    Very light so probably aluminum.
    Quote Originally Posted by amazauc View Post
    I've learned enough about bikes to realize I had something pretty nice at least weight wise. I have a Trek 560 sport and a Diamondback ExpertTG which are decent vintage road bikes but they are both heavier than the bike I'm trying to find.
    So... how much did that bike actually weigh? And what target weight are you shooting for? Aluminum bike will not necessarily be lighter than a steel bike, and vice versa. A Sears Free Spirit? Those were pigs, really bottom of the barrel and probably well over 30lbs.

    Trek, Cannondale, Raleigh, Klein (?) are some makers of Al frame bikes from the 80s that I remember offhand. Certainly there are others.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Add Viscount/Lambert, Alan, and Vitus to the list. Kleins are pretty unique, with lots of unique build features and colors. I've had vintage aluminum bikes from Trek, Cannondale, Klein, and Viscount. While they were all nice bikes, I do not consider than super light in comparison with high end steel from that era (like my Tange Prestige frame Prologue). My 1984 Lotus Classique (Tange 1 Champion steel frame), weighed within 6 ounces of my 2005 Trek 1000 (aluminum frame).

    There was a thread a year ago on vintage aluminum frame bikes.
    Last edited by wrk101; 04-29-12 at 05:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    The 26 inch wheels and name Olympic lite seem to match that model Free spirit which weighed in around 27-28 lbs not really light. Also American Eagle sold models with a similar name and 26inch wheels in the 70's that where a bit lighter.

  8. #8
    Senior Member arimajol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amazauc View Post
    Tom, it's color scheme looked a lot like this bike but didn't have these decals or words.

    http://mos.bikeradar.com/images/news...JPG-850-99.JPG

    That page said this bike was built by "Serotta" and that name seems to ring a bell.

    The page where the image is from has a info sheet posted and says that bike was 21lbs.

    This is probably who make the bike I had. Thanks for your help.
    No, your bike was probably not built by serotta.
    Last edited by arimajol; 04-29-12 at 09:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    So... how much did that bike actually weigh? And what target weight are you shooting for? Aluminum bike will not necessarily be lighter than a steel bike, and vice versa. A Sears Free Spirit? Those were pigs, really bottom of the barrel and probably well over 30lbs.

    Trek, Cannondale, Raleigh, Klein (?) are some makers of Al frame bikes from the 80s that I remember offhand. Certainly there are others.
    I didn't weigh it but both my Trek 560 and Diamondback are heavier and neither of these weigh much for steel bikes.

    Its still the lightest "older" bike I've seen. From the responses, it sounds as if it was on the low end which shouldn't be too hard to find.

    I'm not trying for a specific target weight, just want to identify it.

    Thanks to you and the others that provided some of the different brands of als from the 80's. At least this'll help me narrow it down.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Add Viscount/Lambert, Alan, and Vitus to the list. Kleins are pretty unique, with lots of unique build features and colors. I've had vintage aluminum bikes from Trek, Cannondale, Klein, and Viscount. While they were all nice bikes, I do not consider than super light in comparison with high end steel from that era (like my Tange Prestige frame Prologue). My 1984 Lotus Classique (Tange 1 Champion steel frame), weighed within 6 ounces of my 2005 Trek 1000 (aluminum frame).

    There was a thread a year ago on vintage aluminum frame bikes.
    Good info there, especially the Tange 1 frame weight comparison. It'll be interesting to learn about the different makers you mentioned.

    I'll read that thread so thanks.

  11. #11
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Also it is not unkommon for realy nicely riding older bike to feel a lot lighter than it is. A moutain bike with typical heavy 2.0 X 26 tires and slightly clunky 18 speed well feel heavy comapred to nearly any good working road bike .

  12. #12
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Personally I think your going about your quest all wrong. If you want a decent light '80s road bike you simply need to go buy one. rather than look for some 'bike I had once' just find a bike that fits well and has decent frame and components.

    There are several things I do not understand about you postings. The dream bike you are hunting for is described as possibly aluminum but had safety levers and stem mounted shifters. Those two items don't generally go together on a quality bike unless someone cobbled something togather in the garage.

    Why did you ditch the Trek and Diamond Back?

    Setting out on a quest to find a bike you have some vauge description of sounds more like an excuse not to get a bike.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
    Also it is not unkommon for realy nicely riding older bike to feel a lot lighter than it is. A moutain bike with typical heavy 2.0 X 26 tires and slightly clunky 18 speed well feel heavy comapred to nearly any good working road bike .
    Agreed on all points here. I'm not comparing it to the mountain bikes I've ridden, I'm comparing it to the two vintage road bikes I have now.

    The Free Spirits were described above as being heavy and my bike definitely wasn't so I can rule out it being a FS. Thanks for the mention of the American Eagles, another brand to check out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    Personally I think your going about your quest all wrong. If you want a decent light '80s road bike you simply need to go buy one. rather than look for some 'bike I had once' just find a bike that fits well and has decent frame and components.
    I'm not looking for just any light 80s bike. I'm trying to identify the 'bike I had once'. As in, the Girl He Left Behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    There are several things I do not understand about you postings. The dream bike you are hunting for is described as possibly aluminum but had safety levers and stem mounted shifters. Those two items don't generally go together on a quality bike unless someone cobbled something togather in the garage.

    Why did you ditch the Trek and Diamond Back?
    I haven't ditched either, I still ride them.

    I'm not saying the other was a quality bike just that it was lighter than these hence my guess that it was aluminum. But as someone described above, he has a 1984 steel that is within ounces of a 2005 aluminum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    Setting out on a quest to find a bike you have some vauge description of sounds more like an excuse not to get a bike.
    LOL, I have eight bikes I ride regularly. An excuse to not get another (or three) is actually what I need.

    Since I didn't take a picture of the first bike and its been over two years since I sold it, I thought it'd be fun to try to identify it.
    Last edited by amazauc; 04-30-12 at 09:42 AM.

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