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New to cycling and hoping to get advice on repairing an old bike!

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New to cycling and hoping to get advice on repairing an old bike!

Old 07-26-17, 08:48 AM
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Specsappeal
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New to cycling and hoping to get advice on repairing an old bike!

Hello! I'm new to this forum and to cycling as well and I was hoping to get some advice on possibly repairing an old school bike that I have!

I believe I have a 1970's Sears "Free Spirit" 10-speed bike and am hopefully planning to repair/update it with newer parts. I plan to use this bike for getting to and from work, as well as exercise/biking on paved trails! It's the first "new" bike that I've gotten since early 2000 when I was in elementary school

That being said, I have very little (if at all) info in regards to building bikes so I was hoping to get some advice so please bear with my lack of bike knowledge

I've spent the better part of the day attempting to take off the rusted pedals using elbow grease and PB blaster and...its still a work in progress. My first plan of action after was to change the one-piece crankset to a three-piece crankset using an american to euro BB converter. From there, I believe I need a cartridge bottom bearing and found an affordable one for around 22-25 dollars, but immediately became concerned as to what size I would need to order (if this would even work)

In addition, I no idea what kind of crankset I would need to fit said cartridge. (I don't have a HUGE budget for this adventure, but I was hoping to use it as a way to travel between jobs so it's a tad important )

Thank you for your time and patience!

EDIT with photos:

https://i.imgur.com/iTCmDUb.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/ac3SBfj.jpg

Last edited by Specsappeal; 07-26-17 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Added pictures!
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Old 07-26-17, 08:55 AM
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Welcome! You may have the best luck with your specific questions in the Classic & Vintage (C&V) or the mechanics forums. Happy riding!
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Old 07-26-17, 08:59 AM
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yeah, mechanics sub-forum. congrats & welcome to adult cycling! wear a helmet! sorry, couldn't resist, the Dad in me ...
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Old 07-26-17, 08:59 AM
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Thread moved to C&V.
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Old 07-26-17, 09:03 AM
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Old 07-26-17, 09:04 AM
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Specsappeal
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sorry I wasn't quite sure if i needed to make separate posts in each subforum >.<

Thank you!
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Old 07-26-17, 09:39 AM
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Welcome! Learning to wrench on your bike will make this hobby worthwhile.

The biggest advice I can give at this point without seeing the bike is to not pour too much money into it yet. If there's nothing wrong with it (other than being gunked up and rusty) then just clean it up and ride it as is. You'll probably need new tires and tubes but that's about all you would need. If the cables are corroded and frayed then they would need to be replaced as well. The bulk of your spending should be on maintenance tools and cleaning/lubing supplies, and consumable parts.

Once you get the hang of it you can start looking at upgrades.
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Old 07-26-17, 10:09 AM
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thanks for the response!

I'll definitely try to post some pictures once I pass the "new user" restriction on posting image

As far as the condition its in, I believe the brake/shifter cables and housing and the bar tape have been replaced already so I figured either the tires or the crankset would be the next set of goals
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Old 07-26-17, 10:16 AM
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Here are some photos of my bike!

https://i.imgur.com/ac3SBfj.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/iTCmDUb.jpg
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Old 07-26-17, 10:16 AM
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...your Free Spirit 10 speed is a great bicycle to learn all the mechanical stuff on. You can basically disassemble the whole thing, clean everything up, and reassemble it using new grease and rubber parts like brake pads and tyres, and you will have a very functional commuter bicycle.


It's vintage, but not what most would consider classic. So updating it with new stuff is kinda not a good idea.

I would suggest maybe a complete strip and rebuild, and pay some attention to the wheels. Save the updating with newer stuff for your next project. I can't imagine a commute that this would not be a bike that would be reasonably good transportation.

The pedals required will have 1/2 " spindles, not 9/16".
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Old 07-26-17, 10:17 AM
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Pic Assist.



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Old 07-26-17, 10:26 AM
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It is a CLASSIC gas pipe special, vintage 1970s.

Clean it up. Lube the freewheel, derailleurs and the chain.


Check the tires and brake pads. If they are still soft, keep them. If they are hard, replace them. These two items are safety items. They have to work.


If you have the tools, clean and repack all the bearings - headset, bottom bracket and hubs. If you don't have the proper tools for that, check to see if they really need it.

Perhaps a pair of pedals would be a wise investment but do not put any money into replacing components. To a large extent, it would be money wasted. Especially don't bother replacing the crank. That crank is literally bullet proof.

Last edited by Bad Lag; 07-26-17 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 07-26-17, 10:37 AM
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Thank you for the advice!

Is there a special tire that you could/would recommend for this kind of bike? Is there anything uniquely special about a Classic gas pipe special bike?
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Old 07-26-17, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Specsappeal View Post
Thank you for the advice!

Is there a special tire that you could/would recommend for this kind of bike? Is there anything uniquely special about a Classic gas pipe special bike?
He's being cheeky. Gas pipe is a name folks here use to talk about cheap, low end bikes from the 70s and 80s where the frames were made from thick walled high tensile steel, rather than more expensive and desirable CrMo. I'm no expert but I've assumed that's because it's like the frame was made from welding together natural gas pipes...

I'm in a similar spot to you. About a month ago I decided to take up cycling again for the first time I was a kid. I've found the most enjoyable part to be learning about bikes, maintenance, parts, etc. I've gone about doing that by reading these forums, watching the fantastic hot to videos from GCN on Youtube, and finding an old bike I got for free and just messing with it. Taking what I've learned and taking the bike apart, learning to lube and clean it, how to reassemble, etc. While I have a brand new, modern road bike to ride, my goal is to learn enough to be able to restore a vintage bike or two that I really fancy.

Last edited by theK00L_AIDman; 07-26-17 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 07-26-17, 11:08 AM
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Some sources of info that helped me when I started:

Sheldon Brown Sheldon Brown-Bicycle Technical Information

A good bike service manual - I used Zinn and the art of road bike maintenance but there are others and you can find many manuals from the 70's dealing with 10 speeds for pennies online

Lots of stuff online -how to videos - from BikemanforU: Shop Bike Parts, Free Shipping to https://www.youtube.com/user/shyflirt1

By the way that style crank is referred to as an Ashtabula crank or one piece crank. If you search on that it will help find how to videos.

As others have said your Free Spirit it is a solid entry level bike and a great platform for starting to learn how to work on bikes but its not worth pouring a bunch of money into. BTW "gaspipe" is a reference to the low end alloy that is used for the tubes i.e. they built that thing out of gas pipes! as a way to deferentiate it from the high end and expensive tubing used on race bikes such as "531".

Good luck with the rebuild and have fun.
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Old 07-26-17, 11:11 AM
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haha I shouldn't be so gullible. Thanks for the responses!

I'll post update pictures when the time comes
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Old 07-26-17, 11:19 AM
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It looks like it's been partially refurbished, so half the work is done! It appears that you only really need pedals. The tires look ok.

To keep the cost down, I suggest you check out your local bicycle co-op or bike shop and rummage through their used parts bin. You'll probably find a pair for $5-$10.
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Old 07-26-17, 11:49 AM
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Don't spend more than the bare minimum on this bike, even less, if possible. In case it's not clear, people are being polite but this was a very cheap bike in its day. As some have said, it's a good opportunity to learn how to work on bikes. You may or may not enjoy the ride. It's not built to last. I don't mean you should be ashamed of it or you shouldn't enjoy it. You need to know what you have.
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Old 07-26-17, 11:54 AM
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Yep, go as cheap as possible on that one, and don't upgrade anything, just replace and re-lube what it needs to function. I bet every part on that bike is still usable with a little lube and cleaning. If the bike is your size, it should be a solid if somewhat unexciting rider.

If you decide you like working on bikes as a hobby, keep your eyes open for higher grade machinery that is selling cheap.
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Old 07-26-17, 12:09 PM
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You mentioned pedals, and I see that the left (non-drive side) pedal is still on the bike. That pedal has left hand threads, so it is removed by turning clockwise.
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Old 07-26-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
You mentioned pedals, and I see that the left (non-drive side) pedal is still on the bike. That pedal has left hand threads, so it is removed by turning clockwise.
I've been turning it clockwise and applied another coat of PB blaster and STILL nothing

It honestly looks like the pedal has fused to the crank arm itself and I have no idea what to do
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Old 07-26-17, 12:25 PM
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To echo what a lot of others have said, this bike will never be valuable. That being said, there isn't any reason it wouldn't be perfectly good transportation, and would be an excellent opportunity to learn about bike mechanics. Nothing you add or spend on the bike will have any real impact on it's value, but there are a number of possible upgrades if you want to increase the comfort or safety. One of the bigger bangs for your buck would be to replace the tires with something more supple. This will make it roll faster, and smoother. For about $50, you could buy a set of Panaracer Pasela 27" tires that would be worlds better than what's on there now, at least from a ride quality point of view. After that, new brake pads, as the current pads are likely 30-40 years old, and quite hard. Kool Stop salmon colored pads are probably the benchmark, but run about $15-20 a set. Most bike shops carry generic black or grey pads for about a $1 a pad that while not as good as a Kool Stop, would be much better than what you have on there now.

The rims are chromed steel, which unfortunately doesn't provide very good braking, especially when wet. Upgrading to aluminum rims would help the braking a lot, but honestly, it would be throwing money away. You could probably find a much nicer bike that already had them for probably $50 used with some patience.
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Old 07-26-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Specsappeal View Post
I've been turning it clockwise and applied another coat of PB blaster and STILL nothing

It honestly looks like the pedal has fused to the crank arm itself and I have no idea what to do
I wouldn't give up on it yet. If you have a propane torch, heat the junction until it is damn hot. As it cools a bit, apply some more Blaster (I prefer Liquid Wrench to PB, but I hate the smell).
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Old 07-26-17, 12:47 PM
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another good online reference is Repair Help Articles | Park Tool

I concur with clean, lube, make work but don't put new parts on.

Does this bike fit you ?

also if you list you location (or close) people will often give ideas of good bikes for sale in your area. It is often cheaper to get a better bike upfront (used) than to put a lot of parts on a lower end bike
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Old 07-26-17, 01:48 PM
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If that pedal spindle is really fused, a quick tip is to tap it with a hammer just enough to "shock" it loose. It may take a few blows (not too hard) but it has helped me loosen stuck bolts.
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