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  1. #1
    Junior Member Hyperion001's Avatar
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    The right frame for the right conversion ~

    I just recently bought a road bike for commuting in the city -- an old 10 speed Free Spirit, certainly nothing fancy, but my needs are pretty basic, so it works for me.

    What I'm thinking of doing is one of two things:

    1) Convert this bike to single speed

    2) Buy a bare frame and build a whole new bike

    I would prefer to go with #1, if only for the point of cost -- I already have a frame, fork and bars. But what I'm wondering is this (and forgive me if this is a noob-ish question):

    I've read some not-so-great things about the Free Spirit bikes, but is there any reason that taking the frame and ditching the rest of the bike would be a bad idea? The frame is sturdy and relatively light (it seems to be aluminum), so I don't see any reason why that wouldn't be a bad idea.

    I just wanted to get some more experienced opinions on this.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    mediocre member djeucalyptus's Avatar
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    any pics of the frame? that might help the most.

    Free Spirits are hit-or-miss... indeed some are not-so-great... bordering on bottom of the barrel. some were contract-built in europe and/or asia for Sears and actually fairly awesome frames. I've seen a few of the cheaper ones that have suffered from weak welds, weak lugs, and weak tubing. Is there any sticker identifying the tubing?

    A simple (i.e. cheap) bare bones conversion wouldn't be bad, but if you're going to go through the trouble of replacing a bunch of parts, I'd personally consider other frames. That being said, a bike is a bike, and you could conceivably ride it forever without any problems, regardless of the frame quality.
    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    This is the internet dude. You're free to be an asshat.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Hyperion001's Avatar
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    Here are some pictures of the frame, and some close-ups of the joints. I'm in the office currently, so I didn't have a chance to take super-great photos.

    Most of the gunk in the last photo is dirt -- I've only found a very, very tiny amount of rust on the frame, which I could probably just scrub off with some steel wool or something.

    Thanks for the input!






  4. #4
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    You could do a no cost/low cost conversion on that bike, but I would not spend any/much money on that bike. That is a cheap, one piece crank frame. If you want to build something decent, start with a decent bike.

    You could take off the shifters, derailluers, and cables. The shorten the chain to fit whichever rear cog gives you a decent chainline. Not much to gain with this cheap bike though.

    So I would leave it as it is, if it functions well. The buy/build something decent.
    Not too much to say here

  5. #5
    Junior Member Hyperion001's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.

    Out of personal curiosity -- and the eternal pursuit of knowledge -- what differentiates a frame like the one I have with a frame that I would want for a nice conversion?

  6. #6
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Almost any bike with a one piece crank is not worth much effort. Add to that the frame is cheap, butted hi -ten steel. Don't get me wrong, it may be useful as it is, just don't spend any money on it. Like putting money into a Yugo.
    Not too much to say here

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion001 View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    Out of personal curiosity -- and the eternal pursuit of knowledge -- what differentiates a frame like the one I have with a frame that I would want for a nice conversion?
    about 4 pounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  8. #8
    mediocre member djeucalyptus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion001 View Post
    Out of personal curiosity -- and the eternal pursuit of knowledge -- what differentiates a frame like the one I have with a frame that I would want for a nice conversion?
    The tubing used on that frame is pretty much bargain steel, just a slight notch up from your basic pipe steel. in order to be as strong as cro-moly, it needs to be thicker, thus significantly heavier.

    One could theoretically make a nicely welded frame out of hi-tensile steel, but nobody does because if the weight. which means on the frame you have, the welds may or may not be top notch and could possibly be prone to failure down the road (I have seen it happen myself). Additionally, since most hi-ten steel frames are cheaper, the precision used when making the frame is usually sub-par, meaning the faces of the bottom bracket and/or headtube may not be perfect.

    when you throw in the fact that it has an one-piece crank (i.e. american BMX-style bottom bracket), as mentioned above, it becomes a bit more difficult to upgrade if you desired.

    Again, it's a perfectly fine frame and I've seen some decent fixed gear conversions out of low-budget sears frames and the like, but not really the cream of the crop.

    hope that answers a few questions good luck with whichever way you chose to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    This is the internet dude. You're free to be an asshat.

  9. #9
    niteridar
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    it is not too difficult to get around the one piece bottom bracket.
    many stores online sell bb conversion kits which make the bb shell smaller. this allows you to use modern sealed bottom brackets in which case you can then also use modern 3 piece cranks.

  10. #10
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    I have converted several Free Spirits (they are easy to find for polo) and they make fine fixed gears. There is really no point of buying a bare frame and building it up except for the experience itself. It will be very pricey also. Between the two options, I say go with the former. It will be cheaper (all you need is a new rear wheel with cog/lock) and you will get a similar experience out of it, with the exception of learning to uninstall/install a BB. The second option is even less preferable to getting a new bike ... from a money perspective, imo.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Hyperion001's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info. I did see some of the BB conversion pieces online, and I was actually kind of wondering about the quality of them. I was considering looking into one of those, but for $25...? That's money probably better spent towards a newer bike.

    In the end I'll probably just end up doing a simple conversion that was mentioned earlier -- removing the derailers and shifting levers and keeping it like such. The Free Spirit really needs new parts all around -- it's ride-able, but only in a purely practical way.

    Taking all of the other parts I'll need into account, it's really not much more to drop $40, or even $100 on a much better frame.

    Again, thanks for all the info on this!

  12. #12
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soul05 View Post
    it is not too difficult to get around the one piece bottom bracket.
    many stores online sell bb conversion kits which make the bb shell smaller. this allows you to use modern sealed bottom brackets in which case you can then also use modern 3 piece cranks.
    No, it's not difficult to install a conversion kit, but you still have the boat-anchor frame.

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