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  1. #1
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    Anyone familiar with the 531 Free Spirit?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=6564145399

    This is new to me. Check the dropouts and the Crane rd.

  2. #2
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Man, is that thing original! Looks like dad or gramps didn't ride much, and it got hung up in the garage... They're Puch bikes labeled for Sears. I believe it was one of the top models Sears sold, if not the top. Looks like the killer deal at that starting price!
    nice lugs baby!

  3. #3
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Are you sure those were Puchs, even that late? It's European at any rate; looks like it's got an AVA stem, an old seat like I've had on old Frenchies, but it's also got an old Japanese SR crankset like the ones on old Rampars.

    Boy, that thing's the sleeper of the year though; a high-quality Free Spirit. You could make a fortune with it winning bets at swap meets.

  4. #4
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Well, the frame is nice. What would you want with the rest of the parts though? The chainring and the guard are the worst.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  5. #5
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Just over in Lynchburg; I'd be tempted if it were a 62cm, at that price... friend keeps trying to fix me up on a blind date with some lady from l'burg, tho, I'd have to keep it secret... always thought the hi quality Ted Williams special was columbus tubing, but it's not like I've seen many of them... actually, none of them...
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

    Waste your money! Buy my comic book!

  6. #6
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Those chainrings are actually pretty good looking once you get rid of the guard.

  7. #7
    Sweetened with Splenda
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    Shipping at over $100 is going to kill this as a bargain, in my opinion...

  8. #8
    Junk Collector
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokenrobot
    Shipping at over $100 is going to kill this as a bargain, in my opinion...
    I was all hopped up til I did the payment calculator and it was 50 cents short of triple digits. No thanks, but still a cool bike. But what the hey did Ted Williams have to do with cycling???

  9. #9
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    Wow. I had no idea those bikes were wanted. I just gave one away for free about a month ago. Oh well.... I'm sure the woman that took it will enjoy riding it as much as I did.

    Koffee

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    I do have a nice bridge (753) to sell.

    ROTFLMAO!

    You could buy Decals for a song back then. Just about every shop had em and you could easily get your hands on any of them - Reynolds sold in 1/2 doz lots - Columbus was more exclusive, you could buy 4 or so easily.
    We even took my friend's younger brother's Royce Union and 'built' it up with Colnago stickas, World Champ Striping and Columbus. I know I have that polaroid pic in a box somewhere...

    That thing is purebred Asian Natural Gas Pipe, and a mighty fine example at that.
    luv that seatpost!

  11. #11
    Senior Member meatwad's Avatar
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    I was thinking the same thing. Rather fancy drop outs though. Parts are sure bottom line to be put on such a frame if it were so. Then again odd things happen when department stores make bicycle decisions.

    I had a Ted bike that was cromoly but not sure what brand. It was an internally lugged model though. Also had lower end parts on it.

  12. #12
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    That thing is purebred Asian Natural Gas Pipe, and a mighty fine example at that.
    luv that seatpost!

    I disagree. As odd as this seems, this is the real deal. It would be even more bizarre to put those dropouts on a gaspipe frame and the Crane r-derailleur is good quality stuff. Crankset may be cheap looking but it is alloy. In ’73, most of the mid-level and under euro-built bikes were still using cottered steel cranks.
    Last edited by Noah Scape; 09-28-05 at 08:10 AM.

  13. #13
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    ...That thing is purebred Asian Natural Gas Pipe...
    The components aren't what I'd drool over, nor is the finish or style of that frame, but it most likely is built of butted 531 by Puch. They're not all that desirable, but are collectable just 'cause they're an unusual attempt at offering a quality product by a big US chain store. If I found a clean one that's cheap, I'd pick it up. No doubt it rides very nicely.
    nice lugs baby!

  14. #14
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Scape
    As odd as this seems, this is the real deal.
    I agree.

  15. #15
    Glutton for Punishment
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    I think zen's rush to bum-rap the Free Spirit name (and who among us doesn't enjoy that?) has betrayed his unfamiliarity with older European makes. Look closely at the pics; everything on the bike except the crankset and derailleurs screams 'Europe!'; the axle wing nuts, the stem, saddle and post, the dropouts are the same as on my Motobecane. '73 was about when Shimano came on the European scene, so that checks, too.

    It probably is a nice little ride, even if it's not the pick of the litter. That early '60s J.C. Higgins/Puch bossman had last week was the same way; eccentric looks, but light and a solid handler.

  16. #16
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    There's certainly no reason to think the frame was made in Asia. I know nothing much of Free Spirits, other than my best friend during my junior high years had one (a red, white, and blue color scheme, probably a '76 bi-centennial model; I'd be willing to bet BIG money it didn't have 531 Reynolds tubing, though!). At the time, I rode an Otasco-branded ten-speed. We were true bike snobs. Anyway, with the recent post regarding the old "made in Austria" Sears three-speed, and with this bike having a decal stating the same, I see no reason to think Sears didn't have some folks in Austria making some bikes for them. And as the experts have said, there are some uncommonly nice things about this frame, for the time period, particularly the dropouts. For whatever it's worth (not much), my opinion is that it's the real deal. To me, once again, it just shows how much things have changed since '73.

  17. #17
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    "That thing is purebred Asian Natural Gas Pipe, and a mighty fine example at that."

    Nah. Sears did offer a higher end machine. You just don't see a lot of them. This is likely it; a quick question about seat post diameter would be the clincher. The dropouts are another clue; look again. I'd be asking were I intending to buy.

    That said, shipping is (Very) high, but L'burg ain't far from me, so if it were the right size, I'd be picking it up, mostly on the curiosity. 94$ for under 100 miles, I'd be driving.

    One thing I've learned on this board is you can't often make sweeping assumptions by Brand name. Ross, king of the beach cruisers, made a very nice line of Signature bikes, and some of the grand Tours aren't bad. There are Serrotta built Huffys in existence. Good god, the otherguy has even made it impossible for me to slag Murrays, for god's sake. Next thing you know, Roadmaster might be rebadging Rivendells or something.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

    Waste your money! Buy my comic book!

  18. #18
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    Anyway, with the recent post regarding the old "made in Austria" Sears three-speed, and with this bike having a decal stating the same, I see no reason to think Sears didn't have some folks in Austria making some bikes for them.

    Puch absolutely made bicycles for Sears, rebranded as Free Spirit. They also made motorcycles & mopeds for Sears during the same time period that were branded as Allstates, which are pretty collectable these days.

    If I'm not mistaken, some Puchs were also rebranded as Murrays.

  19. #19
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    And who could forget the early 70s Carlton built Huffy...

  20. #20
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    I'm fairly familiar with the bike. They were indeed nice 531 frames, but had a very long top tube. Had a friend who had a very long torso who had 2 and was was always keeping an eye out for another.

  21. #21
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick burns
    Puch absolutely made bicycles for Sears, rebranded as Free Spirit. They also made motorcycles & mopeds for Sears during the same time period that were branded as Allstates, which are pretty collectable these days.

    If I'm not mistaken, some Puchs were also rebranded as Murrays.
    Puch did make stuff for Sears, as noted, and also made higher end stuff for their own AD label. But mixin the 2 - 'higher end' and sears...
    there are no COMFIRMED specs or product that are 'free spirit' production and any form of higher end frame tubesets. - I would even qualify Ishiwata or Tange in that group.
    You guys find bonefide specs for one - I'll eat an Allvit...

    gas pipe

  22. #22
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    Puch did make stuff for Sears, as noted, and also made higher end stuff for their own AD label. But mixin the 2 - 'higher end' and sears...
    there are no COMFIRMED specs or product that are 'free spirit' production and any form of higher end frame tubesets. - I would even qualify Ishiwata or Tange in that group.
    You guys find bonefide specs for one - I'll eat an Allvit...

    gas pipe
    I too would like to see product info and specs, but unfortunately it's rather hard to come by. Hopefully someone else will chime in with more detail. I did find one small mention at John's Vintage Bikes:

    http://johnsvintagebikes.com/dating/..._Sears_LW.html

  23. #23
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    I think zen's rush to bum-rap the Free Spirit name (and who among us doesn't enjoy that?) has betrayed his unfamiliarity with older European makes. Look closely at the pics; everything on the bike except the crankset and derailleurs screams 'Europe!'; the axle wing nuts, the stem, saddle and post, the dropouts are the same as on my Motobecane. '73 was about when Shimano came on the European scene, so that checks, too.
    rush... more just a high cadence kinda guy.
    as for 'unfamiliarity', that is relative. I'm not here to enter a pissin match or concern myself on other's estimates. I've happily learned a few new things here and easily acknowledge that. You're also welcome to 'evaluate' any smack comment I make here.
    'Certainty' is however quantum mechanics when it comes to this topic; unless there's some solid evidence of Sears spec-ing butted framesets. the probability of this being 'gas pipe' is still quite high.
    There is the possibility that itz a high quality gas pipe, as in Reynolds 501 (common on the continent) or similar, seamed straight tubes of similar composition using chromium as a major constituent.
    501 was a common tubing for the '10 speed' craze days when a little cache was nice. Owned a '71 CCM of 501 - stronglight, huret, normandy, wingnuts and all - that I used as a commuter for over a year - nice.

    But sears wasn't selling to the 'Reynolds' shopper. FreeSpirit was about 'Mod-Squad' and "You find the nicest people on a Honda". It was about Colt45 and Annie Green Springs not Dubonnet.

  24. #24
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Zen,

    I don't have it yet but I've requested a copy of the Sears spec for the
    Reynolds 531 Free spirit.
    Yes they existed.
    Go to : http://catfood.phred.org/query.asp
    enter "Free Spirit" in the search criteria and "Classic Rendezvous" as the list to
    search, 3 pages of results (75 posts) by some of the most serious afficionados
    in the country.
    How would you like your Alvit served?
    Sono più lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

    Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. Its free, and only takes 27 seconds!
    Want to upgrade your membership? Click Here.

  25. #25
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    ...There is the possibility that itz a high quality gas pipe, as in Reynolds 501 (common on the continent) or similar, seamed straight tubes of similar composition using chromium as a major constituent.
    501 was a common tubing for the '10 speed' craze days when a little cache was nice. Owned a '71 CCM of 501 - stronglight, huret, normandy, wingnuts and all - that I used as a commuter for over a year - nice....
    No offense, but you're sure it wasn't 531? I was under the impression that 501 (which is supposedly like seamed 531) wasn't on the scene 'till the early '80s.

    Free Spirit was just the label Sears used during the '70s; they'd been importing bikes from Puch with some sort of Sears labels since the '60s. Some of the bikes were quite good. Sears had been using JC Higgens & later Ted Williams names for years, and when the '70s came along, Free Spirit sounded pretty hip to their ad people... Not all Free Spirit bikes were junk. No Cinelli, but not bad either.
    nice lugs baby!

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