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Old 06-30-09, 10:26 AM   #1
stephaniep69
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Vintage sears austrian ladies bike

Hello, I'm new this forum, (or any forum for that matter).

I picked this bike up on Craigs List about a year ago. I realize that its probably not worth much, but I would like to get it in working condition. Its my first bike and I would like to learn how to do my own maintenance, but I'm not sure where to start. I know that I need new tubes and tires. Does anyone know much about this bike or where I can pick up some literature to get me started?
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Old 06-30-09, 10:49 AM   #2
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You probably aren't going to find a lot of information about the bike other than what was in the Sears catalog if you can find it.

As a 3 speed, if it has a Sturmey Archer hub on the rear, you should be able to determine a year for the hub, and if it is original, it will help you to determine an approximate date for the bike.

Sears did import bikes from Austria, a few high end (like the few Ted Williams Free Spirits that were made with 531 tubing) and a lot of lower level bikes. Some (if not all) were contracted from Puch or Astro-Daimler (as I recall from reading somewhere on the forums).

As far as basic maintenance, you can search SheldonBrown.com for information, and it will provide some useful information.
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Old 06-30-09, 11:34 AM   #3
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I just picked up a Puch-labeled 3-spd. off Craig's List. Looks very much like the one in the photo - except it's a male one. And it has a Shimano 3-spd. hub. I'm in the process of putting a Sturmey-Archer hub on her. It rides very nicely - has the "magic" of a Puch.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:18 PM   #4
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Those old Sears bikes are Puchs. On the older versions, JC Higgans, the hub was often a SA clone made under license. Sears had nice bikes before the Freespirit.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:33 PM   #5
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I have one of those. On the rear brake bridge I believe it says "ESGE Plescher, Under License" or something like that in German. I think the frame was made by Plescher (who still make kickstands). Mine has a very unusual rear hub with Shimano Lark derailleur driving 5 external speeds, plus a 2-speed, speed activated internal gearbox (i.e., automatic overdriver of sorts). The only problem is that the axle is partially stripped and it's hard to tighten it enough to keep the axle from shifting.
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Old 06-30-09, 01:09 PM   #6
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Thanks!

Thank you for all of your input! Tonight I'm going to attempt to change my tubes and tires....will I survive? Once again, this is my first bike.
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Old 06-30-09, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stephaniep69 View Post
Hello, I'm new this forum, (or any forum for that matter).

I picked this bike up on Craigs List about a year ago. I realize that its probably not worth much, but I would like to get it in working condition. Its my first bike and I would like to learn how to do my own maintenance, but I'm not sure where to start. I know that I need new tubes and tires. Does anyone know much about this bike or where I can pick up some literature to get me started?
Nice bike. I like 3 speeds.

Do you have hand tools? You'll probably need some metric wrenches, to start. Tire irons make changing tubes and tires easier. You can get cheap plastic ones that will do the job for a couple of bucks.

Tubes and tires aren't so hard to change. The hard part is finding the right ones. Sheldon Brown's site is excellent; lots of good info there on tires. Look for a number on your current tires; most three speeds have 26"X1 3/8" tires, 590mm. The 590mm is also known as EA3, sometimes as 650A. Schwinn had a different size tire sold as 26"X1 3/8". Once you have the right number, it's a lot easier to find tires and tubes. Some discount stores carry that size, but mine didn't, so I ended up ordering on-line for Kenda K40 tires for my wife's bike and mine.

Sheldon Brown's webpages are very good for repair information. I found this site to be helpful for basic maintenance, too:
http://www.bikewebsite.com/repair-bike-index.htm

Also, just a little oil in your hub will do wonders for shifting. I use the blue can of 3 in 1 oil for electric motors; it's SAE 20. Don't use regular 3 in 1 oil--use regular auto motor oil instead.

Gary
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Old 06-30-09, 01:24 PM   #8
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You will survive.

If in doubt, I LOVE this site: http://bicycletutor.com/

the video tutorials are really good and easy to follow.

this one is about fixing a flat: http://bicycletutor.com/fix-flat-tire/

You can do it.
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Old 07-01-09, 06:14 AM   #9
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Some of these bikes came with a rear hub that says "SEARS" and "made in Austria" on it. It is a clone of the Sturmey Archer AW hub, right down to the unusual axle threading. In the unlikely event that you need to replace any parts of the hub --most likely the indicator chain or an axle nut-- don't worry, replacement Sturmey Archer parts will fit fine.

Removing the indicator chain, so you can take the wheel off and change the tires, is just like on a Sturmey Archer one; when you're all done, adjusting the cable is, again, just like a Sturmey Archer one.
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Old 07-01-09, 06:39 AM   #10
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I just picked one up. Here are some pictures:



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Old 07-01-09, 08:12 AM   #11
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I have one of those 3 speed Austrian hubs. Are they SA clones? How do they compare?
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Old 07-01-09, 12:20 PM   #12
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"Old Fat Guy", your bike looks like "brand new", wow. The Sears "Made in Austria" bikes I've seen have all been sturdy and well made, and I seen several of exceptional quality. One came with tires that looked "normal", but which were almost impossible to remove from the rims...either the tires were an "odd" size or the rims were an "odd" size.

Lots of adults in the age 40 to age 70...80...90...bracket could benefit from riding a bike, but are put off by both the price and complexity of the bikes sold at most bike shops. The Sears three-speed bikes from Europe sold in the 1960's and 1970's were cheap, simple, and reliable...great "around the block after supper" bikes for adults.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:28 PM   #13
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"Old Fat Guy", your bike looks like "brand new", wow. The Sears "Made in Austria" bikes I've seen have all been sturdy and well made, and I seen several of exceptional quality. One came with tires that looked "normal", but which were almost impossible to remove from the rims...either the tires were an "odd" size or the rims were an "odd" size.

Lots of adults in the age 40 to age 70...80...90...bracket could benefit from riding a bike, but are put off by both the price and complexity of the bikes sold at most bike shops. The Sears three-speed bikes from Europe sold in the 1960's and 1970's were cheap, simple, and reliable...great "around the block after supper" bikes for adults.
It's for sale on the local CL!
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Old 07-01-09, 12:29 PM   #14
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I have one of those 3 speed Austrian hubs. Are they SA clones? How do they compare?
I have one, but haven't used it. Someone gave me the wheel and shifter, and I've never installed it on a bike. So I don't know. My superficial impression, for what it's worth, is it's a perfectly okay hub.
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Old 07-01-09, 01:41 PM   #15
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Mine has a PUCH head-badge (sticker) and says U.S. SERIES on the downtube. But the hub is Shimano. I'm in the process of restoring/upgrading. That seat is going! LOL!

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Old 07-02-09, 11:25 AM   #16
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That seat is hideous! Then again, if you look at what they were putting in cars at that time....

I was going to ask what you were doing with that seat, but from what I can see of the undercarriage it's similar to one that was on a Huffy parts bike I bought.... and the Huffy seat was pretty cheaply designed and made- it made "Schwinn Approved" look like gold plated!
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Old 07-02-09, 12:05 PM   #17
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Actually the guy I bought it from used the seat (real Leather - he quipped) as a selling point. I laughed in his face! I must admit, though - it is rather comfortable. But I'll be getting a Brooks for it.
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