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Has anyone heard of a Free Spirit?

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Has anyone heard of a Free Spirit?

Old 08-12-18, 09:37 PM
  #151  
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Originally Posted by fullergarrett View Post
I guess I'm going to jump on board here. I saw another Free Spirit (albeit a cruiser) and that got me to thinking.

I have a 12-speed Free Spirit Pinnacle road bike. Friction shifting, standard brakes, very basic. The bike has 27x1 1/4 rims and tires. The bike is about to be "replaced" by a new Giant Sedona, as the bike has bent rims, a broken kickstand mechanism, and a crooked seat. I've had problems with the tires on this bike, since they lack the hooks and most of the modern 27x1 1/4 tires recommend 75-90 PSI and anything safely below that results in snakebite flats.

I asked the LBS owner whether or not this bike is worth fixing. He honestly said no. I was wondering if anyone could give me an idea of when the bike was made, and who likely made it for Sears-Roebuck, just out of curiosity. I think one of the rims serial numbers had "81" as the leading two digits (possibly a mfg. date of 1981?), but I'm not sure if those are the original rims. A large percentage of the parts on this bike were made in Taiwan. The mechanical workings still work mostly fine, just replacing the rims and other problems would cost more than its worth.

I just installed new tires and brakes on this bike, as well as having it tuned up. A professor on campus has a nice Austro-Daimler road bike from around the same period, which kind of inspired me to fix the Pinnacle and get it back on the streets.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I have pictures but unfortunately it won't let me post links to them since I'm a new user.
Unfortunately, your LBS owner's advice is good. Unless you have a strong sentimental attachment to your Free Spirit, once you start looking into replacing wheels and other major components over and above maintenance, well, you see where that is heading. Your new Giant will be a big improvement.
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Old 08-12-18, 09:47 PM
  #152  
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Unfortunately, your LBS owner's advice is good. Unless you have a strong sentimental attachment to your Free Spirit, once you start looking into replacing wheels and other major components over and above maintenance, well, you see where that is heading. Your new Giant will be a big improvement.
Okay. I believed him, knowing that even when the bike was new it wasn't anything special. It was just a very basic road bike with basic parts. Though it's built fairly sturdy and still rides fine minus the issues mentioned earlier. Both rims are toast - they're rusty and bent out of shape, likely as a result of me (330 lbs) riding on rough sidewalks and roads with underinflated tires (<65 PSI).

The Giant Sedona seems to be a nicer bike, at least from what the LBS owner told me and what I've found online. It seems like it would be a more economical decision, and would be more reliable. It seems to be more suited towards me (being a larger rider.) The only thing I don't like about the Sedona that the Pinnacle has is appearance. The Pinnacle "pops"... it's sparkly blue paint flashes in comparison to the modern bikes, including the dull grey Sedona that I'm getting. That and it looks cool thanks to it being a road bike.

Sorry everyone for bringing this very old thread back from the grave.
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Old 08-12-18, 10:04 PM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by fullergarrett View Post
Okay. I believed him, knowing that even when the bike was new it wasn't anything special. It was just a very basic road bike with basic parts. Though it's built fairly sturdy and still rides fine minus the issues mentioned earlier. Both rims are toast - they're rusty and bent out of shape, likely as a result of me (330 lbs) riding on rough sidewalks and roads with underinflated tires (<65 PSI).

The Giant Sedona seems to be a nicer bike, at least from what the LBS owner told me and what I've found online. It seems like it would be a more economical decision, and would be more reliable. It seems to be more suited towards me (being a larger rider.) The only thing I don't like about the Sedona that the Pinnacle has is appearance. The Pinnacle "pops"... it's sparkly blue paint flashes in comparison to the modern bikes, including the dull grey Sedona that I'm getting. That and it looks cool thanks to it being a road bike.

Sorry everyone for bringing this very old thread back from the grave.
Seems like paint was a lot different back then.
Consider donating your old bike to a COOP. It could easily be refurbished to usable condition by someone that has all the parts available already like a "Build a Bike" program for kids to learn how to work on bikes.
No worries about the zombie resurrection, some threads go on for years, ignore the whiners.
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Old 08-12-18, 10:16 PM
  #154  
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Seems like paint was a lot different back then.
Consider donating your old bike to a COOP. It could easily be refurbished to usable condition by someone that has all the parts available already like a "Build a Bike" program for kids to learn how to work on bikes.
No worries about the zombie resurrection, some threads go on for years, ignore the whiners.
I've been on forums where resurrecting a thread like this was a huge no-no, and you'd be instantly in hot water for doing it.

I don't think I'm going to get rid of this bike, at least not right now. I'm not sure if there are any COOPs around here. I don't want to recycle a bike that is still in good condition, and I don't want to see someone chop it up into a million pieces and hack it into something which makes you scratch your head and think "huh?" I know a lot of people turn these old road bikes into fixie bikes, but I'd like to see it stay mostly stock.

I recycled a modern Huffy Superia/piece of junk mountain bike a couple years ago and was kind of excited to see it go. I think I'd shed more than a couple tears to see the Pinnacle get recycled. I'm not emotionally attached to it per se, but I don't want to see it get recycled or parted out when it could be restored easily by someone who has the parts laying around and the know how. I used the bike extensively when I was younger, before I got my drivers license.

The Sedona I'm getting is, as mentioned, a dull grey. It looks like every other bike. When I park it in the bike racks, it will blend in with the other bikes that look just like it. I don't have that problem with the Pinnacle. It stands out. While it needs some TLC, I've received compliments on its appearance.

As a side note: I stopped biking regularly when I was 14/15. Now that I'm a college student, I find it much easier to just hop on the bike and go a couple blocks instead of get in my car and drive a couple blocks. When I was younger (like 12 or 13), I rode this bike (the FS Pinnacle) on a near daily basis. This bike has seen sidewalks, streets, black-top roads, and even trails. I used to regularly take the Pinnacle on trails and go a good 12-14 miles (round trip) to the next town over. Then I started having problems with tires constantly blowing out, and then the brakes got wore out. My late uncle gave me the aforementioned Superia, and it lasted maybe three or four years before it was too far done and was set out by the curb for the scrappers to come get. When I stopped riding the bike, I was much thinner. Now I'm 330 pounds (mind you I'm 19) and would like to get back to that point, if not a little further.

Last edited by fullergarrett; 08-12-18 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 09-02-18, 08:39 PM
  #155  
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I think I'm now able to post pictures. I'm still interested in learning about my bike, such as when it was likely made and who made it for Sears.



Since some parts on this bike have been replaced and most of the parts I know to be original don't have date codes, I'm having a difficult time trying to find a estimated production date. I got the 1981 figure from a code stamped into one of the rims, but I'm not sure if that is correct or not.

Most of the parts on this bike appear to be Taiwanese, or at least the original components. The brake mechanisms claimed to be made in Taiwan. I believe the original tires on this bike were Taiwanese, as they were "Golden Boy" gumwalls. And I understand that later on Sears farmed out production of these bikes to Taiwan and companies like Murray or Huffy, while earlier specimens were made here in the US or made by Puch in Austria using globally-sourced components.

A bike that is usually parked in the same bike rack is a 1981 Puch/Austro-Daimler Pathfinder. I've noticed a couple similarities between how the frames are assembled, Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can chime in?
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Old 09-03-18, 04:52 AM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by GTBruiser View Post
Today, I gave 20 bones for this 1981 Free Spirit. Love the original blue bar tape and matching saddle. The color coordinated parachute pants protector is a crack up! I'll ride it for a couple of weeks, then, take it apart, clean and lube, and put it back together. I'd love to keep it, but, my get one bike/give one bike rule comes into play and I don't want to get rid of anything currently in the stable. I'll give it to a friend whom I know would love it.
Back in 79 after a bad crash, needing a bike for school, I picked up one very similar to that one. I don't think mine had the blue highlights on the chainring, but the other things on the bicycle looked the same. I rode that thing for 4 years and all I ever did was put some oil on the chain. All in all, it probably had about 4K miles on it during that 4 years of school. I think I paid $99 + tax for it, and brought it home and put it together.
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Old 09-03-18, 12:20 PM
  #157  
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Here is one I pulled from a dumpster. The paint was in great condition, the parts were crap, and the fork was bent to the side slightly. It sat around for quite a while before I began working on it. The first iteration was a Sturmey 8 speed IGH. The second iteration (and current state) is a 5 speed derailleur with flipped north road bars. The frame was built by Giant for Sears and weighs about 25 pounds according to my bathroom scale.
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Old 02-18-19, 09:07 PM
  #158  
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looks almost new

I was gifted this 930se by a co-worker who knows I'm into bikes. It's in really good shape and just seems to need a cleaning more than anything. I'll clean it up, adjust it, and move it on to someone who can use it.
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Old 02-18-19, 09:51 PM
  #159  
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In around '81 or '82 my parents gave me a silver Sears Free Spirit ten speed with drop bars and stem-mounted indexed shifters. It had possibly the worst ever implementation of a rear disk brake. For the life of me I can't imagine why that was thought to be a good idea. It was heavy, squeeked, would barely hold you from rolling backwards down a hill, and could cook an egg in a pinch. But the worst part of that rear disk was that it was proprietary enough that when my wheels became far enough out of true that I could feel a flat spot, there was no way to get a commodity replacement wheel. This was before eBay, so it was not easy (or even possible) just go out and find a replacement wheel designed for this kooky disk.

That ten speed had an aluminum rear rack, but lacked any means of attaching bottle cages. What were we thinking riding around on that kind of stuff? All I can say is I was 13 and thought it was really a great bike, at the time. It wasn't until looking back years later that I realized what tripe it was.

My longest ride on it was when I was about 14; I took it about eight miles from our family's suburb into the city and another eight miles back. It felt like an epic journey, but I suppose not bringing water would turn any 16 mile summer ride into an epic journey for a 14 year old. I think I stopped at a church that had a few cars in the parking lot to avail myself of their mercy and take a few sips from the drinking fountain before heading back home.

Anyway, this is not to say that the Sears Free Spirit ten speed could not be made into a good bike. But for my specific bike, doing so would mean getting rid of the stock wheel-set, switching to traditional caliper brakes in back, adding some bottle cages, and for heaven's sake, swapping out that rear cassette that I managed to wear out to the point that applying enough pressure going up a hill would cause the chain to skip on it. I wonder how many miles that took? I rode that thing a lot, every day from 82 to about 87. I don't think its components were designed for daily use.
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