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Old 09-11-12, 12:33 AM   #1
Baytree
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What in the world.... austrian Sears Free Spirit lugged ladies' frame?

Found this bike in a junk pile, and it's a little strange. The frame is a step-through style labeled Free Spirit, with a badge on the front that says "Sears, Ted Williams, Made in Austria." Steel, and lugs with fancy cutouts. I found it next to a pair of wheels - neither of which fit - and with cables/shifters for two deraileurs even though it has no hanger for a rear one and the spacing is too narrow for a five speed cassette (I tried one).

Can anyone tell me what I've got here? Sorry for poor quality photos.
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Old 09-11-12, 01:27 AM   #2
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Free Spirit is a brand sold by Sears of which the frames were made in Austria. Ted Williams is another brand like Free Spirit. You would need an external hanger for a derailleur or the bike might have come with the gearing built into the hubs (a la Sturmey Archer or Shimano 333). The bike is low end department store bike made with heavier steel.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:23 AM   #3
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Ted Williams

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Originally Posted by Veloh View Post
Free Spirit is a brand sold by Sears of which the frames were made in Austria. Ted Williams is another brand like Free Spirit. You would need an external hanger for a derailleur or the bike might have come with the gearing built into the hubs (a la Sturmey Archer or Shimano 333). The bike is low end department store bike made with heavier steel.
Likely originally set up as a 3-speed. Are you saying that the rear dropouts are more narrow than 120mm apart?

Ted Williams was the best pure baseball hitter of his generation. He taught kids how to play baseball through a series of recordings and books in the 1950s and 1960s. He became a sporting goods "name" brand for Sears during that era. I had a Ted Williams bat made by LS, a Ted Williams mit, and even a 45 rpm Ted Williams record on the fundamentals of hitting.

Nostalgia value of this bike if restored to clean working condition, maybe $125.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:34 AM   #4
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I have a couple right now, Austrian made 3 speeds. Sears had a variety of companies make bikes for them. The Austrian models tended to be among the better ones.
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Old 09-11-12, 07:28 AM   #5
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These are all right basic cheap riders if complete in good condition. Incomplet in really rough condition this bike has very little value.
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Old 09-11-12, 09:23 AM   #6
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Yep, Sears sold zillions of them with a few variations. The cottered crank shows the timeframe. Not really a historical significant find so recommend a full dissembly, cleaning and rebuild, keeping as much original as practical. You'll end up with very nice daily rider and is a smooth, comfortable ride for your favorite lady. Should be able to find another Sears 3-spd bike on craigslist for $10-$20 to give you a usable set of wheels and any missing bit pieces. I see that this one has the shifter on the stem which may not be correct. Look just inside the bar grips for signs that a twist shifter was once installed on it. If so, recommend looking for a reasonable correct replacement as most 3spds used them. If by chance you can find a 5 speed IGH and shifter that fits the frame, that would be a nice quiet addition. I think Peter White has correct fitting/looking tires for them at his shop (phone number on his webpage).
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Old 09-11-12, 12:07 PM   #7
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If you look closely you can tell this was orginally a ten speed model with stem shifters and not a 3 speed IGH model.
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Old 09-11-12, 12:23 PM   #8
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+1 Stem shifters = formerly a ten speed version. Really not worth rebuilding, unless you have a pile of free parts, tools, and spare time. I've picked up bikes like this before (for free) and taken them directly to the co-op. They will donate the parts to complete to someone less fortunate and get it back on the road.
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Old 09-11-12, 12:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
If you look closely you can tell this was orginally a ten speed model with stem shifters and not a 3 speed IGH model.
Yes, that sounds right. It has two chain rings in the front, and those shifters look to be original. What I'm not clear on is where the back derailleur is supposed to go. I'll probably just scrounge some free parts and make it into a nice grocery hauler.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Yes, that sounds right. It has two chain rings in the front, and those shifters look to be original. What I'm not clear on is where the back derailleur is supposed to go. I'll probably just scrounge some free parts and make it into a nice grocery hauler.
A derailleur claw is needed.
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Old 09-11-12, 08:07 PM   #11
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Most of these had a claw type Huret rear derailleur and 26 inch/650 steel wheels.
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