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Ancient bike?

Old 02-13-02, 06:22 PM
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LittleBigMan
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Ancient bike?

I found a "Free Spirit" (ya, I know!) ladies bike with lugged frame, reasonbly lightweight, with really old Shimano shifters, mustache handlebars and Sugino (sp?) cranks w/rubber pedals.

Is this thing worth $25, or is it just plain, "old?"

:confused:

Is it possible the name, "Free Spirit" actually appeared on quality bikes at any time in the past?
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Old 02-13-02, 06:52 PM
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How wide are the moustache bars? All the new ones are too wide for me. If they are 48 cm or less I'll give you $30 for them.
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Old 02-13-02, 08:07 PM
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Free Spirit was Sear's badged bikes. Some of the nice ones come from Austria, and they were very decent for carbon steel.

I haven't tried moustache bars yet and have heard good and bad about them. I'm kind of crazy for French upright touring bars, though.
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Old 02-13-02, 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by Jean Beetham Smith
How wide are the moustache bars? All the new ones are too wide for me. If they are 48 cm or less I'll give you $30 for them.
Hmm...

Just to be sure, aren't mustache bars shaped like an "E?"

And, if so, how many inches are 48 cm?

(I'm willing to do it for a fellow Bikeforumnus cyclocommuterus.)

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Old 02-13-02, 08:36 PM
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Originally posted by Oscar
Free Spirit was Sear's badged bikes. Some of the nice ones come from Austria, and they were very decent for carbon steel.
Thanks, Mr. Oscar!

A cyclist volunteering at the thrift shop actually does some minor adjusting to the bikes they sell. Of course, don't expect new tires or anything!

We talked for a few minutes.

"Dr. Livingston, I presume?"
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Old 02-13-02, 08:42 PM
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The open market may or may not support a $25 price tag, but it is not a bad bike. It is almost definitely a Sears-rebadged Steyr-Daimler-Puch, of Graz, Austria. The only downside will be finding replacement Swiss-threaded bottom bracket cups. It's too bad Sears later abandoned Steyr for boat anchors from Huffy/Murray.

Sheldon has a good picture of moustache bars.
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Old 02-14-02, 02:05 AM
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Originally posted by Pete Clark



And, if so, how many inches are 48 cm?

Pete, 48 cm = 18.90 inches
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Old 02-14-02, 06:12 AM
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I'd bet those are preist bars, not moustache bars. If I'm not mistaken, moustache bars came only in 25.4mm diameter, which would not be on a 30+ year old bike-it would most likely have 22?mm bars that were common at the time.
Those old Austrian lugged frames were probably made by Puch. They weigh a ton, too, and headsets, BB's, and possibly even pedal will be oddball sizes by today's standards. Sheldon may have parts to fit it, but really, unless the thing is pristine, $25 is the upper limit of it's value.
The Shimano shifters probably date it to the early-mid 70's, and the fact that it's a mixte probably lowers it's value to about the $10 value.
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Old 02-14-02, 06:47 AM
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Originally posted by D*Alex
a mixte probably lowers it's value to about the $10 value.
WOW, such excitement over an old Sears bike! This is thrilling.

I didn't catch that it was a mixte frame. How do you figure that, D*Alex? It sounded like just one of the many Sears Free Spirit ten-speeds we see so often on the curbs. How does a mixte frame deduct from the value?

Actually, Sears knew what they were doing when they bought adult bikes. Most of the kids bikes were made by Murray, but the adult three speeds and ten-speeds were pretty well made imported machines. Of course, they were heavy, but most bikes were heavy in those days.
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Old 02-14-02, 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by mike


Actually, Sears knew what they were doing when they bought adult bikes. Most of the kids bikes were made by Murray, but the adult three speeds and ten-speeds were pretty well made imported machines. Of course, they were heavy, but most bikes were heavy in those days.
Yes, they knew what they were doing when they introduced their Steyr-Daimler-Puch adult bikes, but they forgot a few years later when they discontinued these in favor of the more familiar Murray boat anchors. At 28-30 lbs, the S-D-P 10-speeds were of about average weight for that era, in which the very lightest tubular-tyred racing bikes weighed about 22 (Peugeot PX-10) to 24 (Schwinn Paramount) lbs. The Murrays are almost as heavy as Schwinn Varsities (39 lbs).

As a Capo owner, I am biased, but I like Austrian frames, which tend to be well-crafted and durable.
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Old 02-14-02, 12:30 PM
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I have canabalized a couple of older Sears adult bikes.

When I saw the quality components of the Austrian machines, I felt guilty about what I was doing.

Still, there just isn't any market for them and there isn't any space to keep them.

One day in the future, some young bike enthusiast will look at the old bike bones in my garage and cry "oh, Grandpa, how could you do this?" Just like I do today when my aging bike wrench pals toss out valuable collectibles and keep the wheels for me to realize what was lost.
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Old 02-14-02, 12:56 PM
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Timing is everything, I saw two of them at a fire department auction during the summer. I bought a single speed Sears Cross Country and restored it. Great shore bike, put the whitewalls on it and I just cruise along, Moves pretty good. I would say its worth $25.00 minimum. if you don't have to put too much money into it for parts. Like everyone else is saying the parts are going to be hard to find.
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Old 02-14-02, 06:49 PM
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I didn't catch that it was a mixte frame. How do you figure that, D*Alex?
Because he said it was a ladies frame. Mixte is a French term, meaning roughly "ladies frame".

How does a mixte frame deduct from the value?
Go to any charity store, or bike shop which sells used bikes. the mixte frames go for half the price of a "man's" frame. Ask a bike shop how much a mixte of anything is worth-they'll tell you-there is no resale value on them. go to any ghetto neighborhood in the USA. All the "homeys" are riding mixtes. Why? Because the shops can't sell them, so they give them away in poor neighborhoods-they are worth more as a tax write-off than as a piece of merchaindise.
To this day, I haven't seen a single used mixte frame bike sell for more than $20, even in good condition. Even good old Raleigh 3-speed roadsters.
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Old 02-14-02, 09:39 PM
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Originally posted by D*Alex

Because he said it was a ladies frame. Mixte is a French term, meaning roughly "ladies frame".


Go to any charity store, or bike shop which sells used bikes. the mixte frames go for half the price of a "man's" frame.
Hmmm....

Well, D*Alex, you know I always enjoy your posts and have the utmost respect for the wisdom you share.

In this case, though, I have to question your use of the term "mixte" frame. From what I understand, it is something a bit more elaborate than simply "a ladies frame". As I understand it, a traditional mixte frame is one in which the top tube(s) and the rear stays are one and the same. I'll poke around in my resource books and see if I can post a scan of a mixte frame for you.

They aren't necessarily cheap, either. There is a rare issue of the Schwinn Le Tour with a Mixte frame that brings in a respectable dollar. Also, there have been several Italian mixte frames that are sought after.

Of course, if you mean that ladies framed bikes sell for less than men's bikes, well I certainly agree with you on that.
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Old 02-15-02, 09:44 AM
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Sheldon gives a good definition of a European-style unisex or mixte (pronounced "MEExt," just as [Rene] Herse is pronounced "erz," not "hearse" or "er-say"). Start with a men's frame, sans top tube, and run a third, intermediate, stay from each rear dropout to a special lug at the top of the head tube. Reinforce the frame by brazing these dual top tube/stays to the seat tube. This creates a frame with an intermediate step-through height and better structural rigidity than a conventional step-through frame. Some mixtes, notably the higher-end Austro-Daimlers, are in demand, and a Peugeot UO-18 mixte is worth at least as much as an equivalent Peugeot UO-8. (When I worked at Bikecology/Supergo in 1973, we could not keep white UO-18s in stock, because of rampant demand.)

(Regarding "men's" and "women's" frames: in Japan, most commuters ride non-mixte step-through frames; in China, most people ride traditional diamond frames with top tubes. One of my UCLA physics professors, a visiting Frenchman, commuted into campus every morning on a Motobecane mixte, just as he did in Europe.)
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Old 02-15-02, 04:46 PM
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Thank you, John. I was under the impression that Mixte meant any step-through "girlie" frame, not just those split-tube French versions. Now, is there a special term for those double-top-tube roadsters which are so common in Pakistan and Afghanistan? They look like they are built for abuse.
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Old 02-19-02, 09:14 PM
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This is very educational...

I feel like a small kid who asks a question and watches a bunch of professors debate while he just scratches his head.

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