Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

What's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

What's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels?

Old 08-09-19, 07:50 AM
  #26  
Kovkov
Senior Member
 
Kovkov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 310

Bikes: 1957 Alpa Special, 1963 Condor Delta, 1967 Tigra Sprint, 1977 Oltenia, 1987 Mondia, 1965 Staco de luxe, 1969 Amberg

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 28 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by dayco View Post
Thanks everyone for your response.

I didn't want to create trouble or embarrass my Granddaughter.

I'm retired. I could easily go out tomorrow and buy a modern bike. But my Huffy fits my needs. It does everything I ask of it. It's old and bottom-end but I know it like the back of my hand. I ride it daily (weather and energy permitting) without any pain or discomfort. I use it on bike-camping trips with my retired brothers. It feels 'right'.

I'm happy with it.
I have still 20 years until retirement and could easily go and buy a modern bike too. But i'll never do it. For all the bikes i ever owned and or still own, there is a strong correlation towards "the older it is the more reliable it is". Data range is 2000something back to 1956.
Kovkov is offline  
Old 08-09-19, 08:55 AM
  #27  
livedarklions
Je suis Snap Motomag
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 4,441

Bikes: Trek FX 3; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; "Motobecane" Fantom CX

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2248 Post(s)
Liked 672 Times in 411 Posts
Originally Posted by dayco View Post
Thanks everyone for your response.

I didn't want to create trouble or embarrass my Granddaughter.

I'm retired. I could easily go out tomorrow and buy a modern bike. But my Huffy fits my needs. It does everything I ask of it. It's old and bottom-end but I know it like the back of my hand. I ride it daily (weather and energy permitting) without any pain or discomfort. I use it on bike-camping trips with my retired brothers. It feels 'right'.

I'm happy with it.
NO!!!!!! The bike you really need is....

Hahahaha, just kidding!
Sounds like you love riding it--what else could you need? I suspect at this point, you probably also have a sentimental attachment to it that all the money in the world couldn't buy--it sounds like it's associated with a lot of good times with the family.
livedarklions is offline  
Old 08-09-19, 09:22 AM
  #28  
tkamd73 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
Posts: 497

Bikes: 1984 Schwinn Supersport, 1988 Trek 400t, 1977 Trek TX900, 1982 Bianchi Champione del Mondo, 1988 Trek 400 Elance, 1978 Raleigh Supercourse, 1991 PDG Paramount OS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
Absolutely nothing is wrong with them.
I've heard the typical: ' you know that I wouldn't be caught dead on a Schwinn ' since 1975.
Back in '75, it was more a reaction to Schwinn dealers' arrogance and the factual knowledge that for the money , there were indeed much lighter, high quality road bikes with Japanese components (Maeda-SUNTOUR or SHIMANO) that were in the marketplace then that were priced better than Schwinns and thus for the dollars spent, if you knew where to look and what to look for, you did substantially better than shopping at the Schwinn dealership where prices were rigid and high.
You had to have been alive them, to grasp just how it was.
Inflation was significant by 1975 and remained high until well into the early eighties.
Anyone remember the WIN buttons? Everybody remembers the Yellow Smiley face.
Schwinn built quality bicycles. Columbia, Ross, Huffy, and AMF built bicycles too.
The Ashtabula One-Piece crank or AMERICAN STYLE crank as it was known was a fixture of millions of bicycles.
It was unbreakeable, easy to service, supremely reliable and simple.
There is a fantastic book that everybody that owns any basic bicycle, or any road bike made before 1980 should own a copy of.
The book is " GLENN'S COMPLETE BICYCLE MANUAL" (c) 1973 339 pages 8.5 x 11 softbound --by CLARENCE W. COLES and HAROLD T GLENN
This book probably sold over half a million copies during the period of 1973 - 1977.
This is the best bicycle book that has ever been written. Many people still share that opinion.
The first chapter of GLENN'S COMPLETE.... is called The Bicycle and You - CHOOSING YOUR BICYCLE , and for the for the first time ever, folks were told in explicit detail all about bicycles made in the USA versus the more advanced European makes at that point in time circa 1972-73.
There is no specific mention of Japanese bicycles (Fuji / Bridgestone....) or others with SUNTOUR or SHIMANO components as at the time the book was written there was the belief by the authors that Campagnolo equipment was the world's best. This was what everyone thought at the time, having no experience with maeda SUNTOUR or SHIMANO or just limited experience in knowing they were on inexpensive bikes just beginning to arrive.
In the chapters that cover adjustment/removal/replacement of REAR DERAILLEUR both the Suntour and Shimano are praised as quality and covered with the section.
From page 6 (...choosing your bicycle) (c) 1973 Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual : "For the individual purchasing his first quality-built bike, here are names that indicate better component parts on bicycles in the price range indicated, but the list should not be considered all-inclusive. At the derailleur units, the names of Simplex Prestige, Huret-Alvit, Campagnolo Gran Sport, and Campagnolo Gran Turismo are found on bikes in the $100 to $250 bracket. The Italian firm of Campagnolo dominates the market of bikes costing over $250 with their Campagnolo Record and Campagnolo Nuovo Record units"
This great book is the book that really informed millions of Americans as to the various distinctions between bicycles, especially road bicycles that to the untrained observer in 1972 -1973 probably looked all alike...........you just thought, oh yeah that is just another ten speed..................Well the authors, Mr Coles and Mr. Glenn tell us about luggged frames, double butted joints (not the kind hippies were smokin in '72..) and Reynolds 531 tubing and details on how a higher quality frame differs from something common and inexpensive. From page 6 : " The frame on bicycles under $100 are mass-produced with the tube members butt-welded at the joints. They are heavier built to withstand the rough treatment of city riding".
My belief is that many baby boomers like me first came to really learn about such differences from reading the GLENN'S MANUAL in the early to mid Seventies.
I recall CONSUMER REPORTS did some comparison/testing of 10 SPEED ROAD BIKES back at that time too. If I recall acurately, there was one that I remember buying and reading back then, the JANUARY 1974 Consumer Reports Issue on TEN SPEED BICYCLES.
Basically that was it for me as a young adult then, although I am sure some people that were more tuned-in were probably reading specific Bicycling magazine or related publications. The GLENN'S MANUAL and CONSUMER REPORTS were what really told millions of us "BOOMERS" that maybe the bicycles that we thought were just all ten speeds were not all the same. By 1975 the average Boomer that was already gainfully employed and fresh out of college, that wanted a nice bicycle wanted that bike to be light and high quality. Forty pounds of electro-forged Schwinn and the One-Piece crank was in a sense as desireable to them as a 1965 Corvair convertible was. Pretty in appearance but undesireable because of the heavy weight of the Schwinn.......the Corvair was perceived junk because it was notoriously unreliable, much like it's successor the VEGA.
Every one who wanted a ten speed bicycle by 1976, wanted something LIGHT because there were so many that were about 30 pounds on the market at that time and several in the 26 to 30 pound range. It was the trend and what folks that knew about bikes wanted to buy.
It is not all bad, having added weight, a super strong frame , and an Ashtabula ONE-PIECE Crank , but it definitely was not something that most Roadies (not the folks who work for McCartney or the Stones..) would have by 1976 or 1977.
Another factor at play is that because the ONE-PIECE Crank is so durable and simple to service, so many of these ancient TEN SPEEDS, FIVE SPEEDS, THREE SPEEDS, and SINGLE SPEED bicycles still survive.
Many bicycle shops today HATE THIS, that any one with the GLENNS MANUAL and basic tools can revive an old bike that has been in the shed, attic, barn, garage, basement, or found at the dump. They would rather sell you something for $550 than to see you rolling around on an old Huffy, Columbia, Ross, or Schwinn. Many folks online that have intense hatred for such old bicycles and raging hatred for new Wal-mart / Target bicycles from China, may work in a Bicycle shop, or perhaps own a local bicycle shop. They view that as an attack on their livelyhood as more folks riding Walmart /Target bikes or old bikes means that other people will see that you can get around the neighborhood or ride anywhere on a $120 sale special from Walmart or Target or something dragged out of Aunt Judy's garage. They don't view it as more folks riding bicycles = more probable future customers. They view it as oh damn, there riding those POS bikes instead of the $550 bikes that my bike shop sells. Some bike shops (you know the ones....) severely detest having any "common" bike come in the door, as it is potential sign to customers inside there that there are bicycles that can be purchased and ridden for far less than the $1800 sticker price that they may be in the process of being shown.
Because millions of Bike Boom Era (1971 through 1974) bicycles still survive, as well as many excellent, well kept examples of late seventies, eighties, and nineties models, one can pick up one for next to nothing in cost. Thus, they have to be creative and market their bike shop offerings as vastly superior, which they likely are, but what they don't tell you is that not everybody needs the vastly superior equipment in road bike forum. At its basic forum, a bicycle is just a bicycle and it does not have to be complex. Even a $89 Wal-mart special coaster brake single speed can provide enjoyment and good exercise for someone.
Just like you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, you ain't got to buy a fancy smancy bicycle from your local bike shop.
Walmart / Target /Amazon/ Webland all have them. It depends on just what exactly that you might be perfectly satisfied with.
A bike from a local bike shop will be properly assembled, properly adjusted and perfectly ready to ride. If you go the other route, NEW or Old used, you will have to determine if the bike is ready to ride, or you may have to assemble it and/or fine tune it......unless you want to pay the LBS to do it.



Nothing is wrong with the ONE PIECE CRANK or any old bicycle.
There are thousands of folks that restore and drive Corvair Convertibles and MGB's. Both cars were mostly POS as originally sold, but there are enough "solutions" that those faithful to those cars have figured out over the years that they can be driven with a degree of reliability that did not exist in the old days.
One certainly cannot say that the '65 Corvair convertible, or a '73 MGB is not a very attractive car with a nice ride. Many folks will say oh why bother with such trash but you know those things will turn more heads today than they did back in the day because of their timeless look and because most folks have never seen one up close and in person. That sort of adds to the "Cool Factor" doesn't it even if most folks find them undesireable.
It is the same thing with a Murray, Columbia, Huffy, AMF, Hawthorne, Hiawatha, Western Flyer, Flying-O, Free Spirit, Ross, Rollfast, JC Higgins, JC Penney or K-mart special, Schwinn or whatever bicycle that may have the ONE PIECE CRANK.
If you like it, enjoy the bicycle and ride it proudly and don't hesistate to tell others how many miles you have ridden it and for how many years you have ridden it.
It obviously is a decent bicycle that has served you well. Just realize that just as you don't need a Ferrari for your everyday automobile......


Man, I wish I still had my 73 Schwinn Continental, and Sports Tourer to go with my 73 MGB. Never had a Corvair though, bit before my time. Tim
tkamd73 is offline  
Old 08-09-19, 09:38 AM
  #29  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 11,018

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, homebuilt recumbent

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 939 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 44 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Just looking at post No. 6 nearly gave me a seizure.
If he's trying to get his post count up, that's the hard way to do it.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Likes For BlazingPedals:
Old 08-09-19, 10:45 AM
  #30  
JonathanGennick 
Senior Member
 
JonathanGennick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Munising, Michigan, USA
Posts: 4,125

Bikes: Priority 600, Priority Continuum, Devinci Dexter

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 680 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 44 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by dayco View Post
It feels 'right'.
This ^^^ is so important. Don't let go of that. One of my favorite bikes is a hopelessly outdated 2002-ish frame that I've built rigid on 26er tires. Wrong tire size (26). Wrong type brakes (calipers). Wrong suspension (none). Wrong geometry (old school). Wrong stem type (riser). It is the anti-trendy bicycle that just feels so right whenever I ride it.
JonathanGennick is offline  
Likes For JonathanGennick:
Old 08-09-19, 04:07 PM
  #31  
livedarklions
Je suis Snap Motomag
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 4,441

Bikes: Trek FX 3; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; "Motobecane" Fantom CX

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2248 Post(s)
Liked 672 Times in 411 Posts
BTW, if he ever starts at it again, there is no good response that doesn't start with "listen, you young whippersnapper..."
livedarklions is offline  
Old 08-09-19, 04:57 PM
  #32  
OldTryGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 4,487

Bikes: 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 680 Post(s)
Liked 65 Times in 47 Posts
Just don't mix up the 66 with the 64.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Old 08-09-19, 04:59 PM
  #33  
Dr.Lou
Senior Member
 
Dr.Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 200
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 37 Posts
Must be something to it if the one-piece crank is still being used on new bikes and still working on bikes that are decades old.
Dr.Lou is offline  
Likes For Dr.Lou:
Old 08-11-19, 06:47 AM
  #34  
Rollfast
What happened?
 
Rollfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Around here somewhere
Posts: 7,688

Bikes: 3 Rollfasts, 3 Schwinns, a Shelby and a Higgins Flightliner in a pear tree!

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1631 Post(s)
Liked 111 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
He is young and lacks the wisdom that comes with decades of life experience.
Ask him about cars, that will seal the deal.
__________________

Marcia Brady rode a ROLLFAST!
Rollfast is offline  
Old 08-11-19, 06:48 AM
  #35  
Rollfast
What happened?
 
Rollfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Around here somewhere
Posts: 7,688

Bikes: 3 Rollfasts, 3 Schwinns, a Shelby and a Higgins Flightliner in a pear tree!

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1631 Post(s)
Liked 111 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
BTW, if he ever starts at it again, there is no good response that doesn't start with "listen, you young whippersnapper..."
How much is he making to support this girl? It turned out that love didn't really keep the Captain & Tennille together.
__________________

Marcia Brady rode a ROLLFAST!
Rollfast is offline  
Old 08-11-19, 07:47 PM
  #36  
Bandera 
~>~
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX Hill Country
Posts: 5,936
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1109 Post(s)
Liked 144 Times in 93 Posts
Re: Post #6 :
Completely Impenetrable, as if Paragraphs were rationed like Potatoes in the siege of Leningrad.

-Bandera
__________________
'74 Raleigh Internat'l. '77 Trek TX900 FG. '90 Vitus 979. '10 Merckx EMX3. '13 Soma Stanyan
Bandera is offline  
Old 08-12-19, 11:36 AM
  #37  
Schwinnhund
Gearhead
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chatsworth, Ga.
Posts: 222

Bikes: 1982 Schwinn Sidewinder, Sun EZ-1 Recumbent, Cannondale R-400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I don't think there is anything wrong with Ashtabula cranks. If someone doesn't like them, that's their preference, and it's OK. I have a few bikes with Ashtabula cranks, and they are still road-worthy, even after 40+ years. I think the only real objections to them are they are heavier than other types, and maybe a bit more trouble to service, but not prohibitively so. If you are not racing, weight shouldn't be that big of an issue. Ashabulas are so indestructible that it is worth the extra weight. I think they are also a little cheaper to manufacture.

Use what you like. There's room for all of it.
Schwinnhund is offline  
Old 08-12-19, 12:05 PM
  #38  
drhiii
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quite a thread. I had a Bridgestone XO that was lost in a total house fire. Replaced it in 2000 with a Trek XO1. That I still have. Recently had the rear components replaced. Have the original Rolf Vectors and acquired a couple sets of RV's as backups. Had a whippersnapper nephew purchase, rather his dad purchased a, forgot what it was, but it was a snazzy modern thing. Complete with electronics for speed, distance, watts, blahblahblah and other accoutrements. So, let's go for a ride. Ok. 30 miles later, bike got stored. I'm still riding. Hm.

Nice kid, life experience will smooth out those rough snarky edges. I'm riding, still.

Moral of the story.. there is none. Just ride and love what you have. When someone wants to get into a mild pissing contest, hand them a can and ask them to get back to you in say 15-20 years on it. Guess that makes me a snarky old man. That seeks hills in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado.
drhiii is offline  
Old 08-12-19, 01:27 PM
  #39  
littlevikingca
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 7

Bikes: Kona Sutra, BMC SLX-01, BMC CX-1, Ridley Fenix, Claud Butler European, '50's Humber Roadster, '53 Rudge Pathfnder, '94 Trek 930, '48 Rochet Super Special, 60's A. Boisis "demi-course"

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
In addition to the "young whippersnapper" start, my recent favourite goes something like: "well back on the old long haired bell-bottom analogue days, you could fly from New York to Paris in 3.5 hours and men regularly walked on the moon but I guess [ insert modern technology type] is a huge advancement..."

Cheers!
littlevikingca is offline  
Old 08-12-19, 08:55 PM
  #40  
trek800
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: midwest
Posts: 6

Bikes: trek 800 antelope, older raliegh 10 speed

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post

Man, I wish I still had my 73 Schwinn Continental, and Sports Tourer to go with my 73 MGB. Never had a Corvair though, bit before my time. Tim
The MGB was the best looking sports car EVER. Yours looks GREAT!!! My 78 needs a little painting.
trek800 is offline  
Old 08-13-19, 04:50 PM
  #41  
dddd
Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race
 
dddd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 6,632

Bikes: Cheltenham-Pederson racer, Boulder F/S Paris-Roubaix, Varsity racer, '52 Christophe, '62 Continental, '92 Merckx, '75 Limongi, '76 Presto, '72 Gitane SC, '71 Schwinn SS, etc.

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 588 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 33 Times in 32 Posts
Getting back to the OP's questions, the Ashtabula cranks aren't currently supported by any maker of clipless pedals (having the needed 1/2" threading).

But "Ashtabula" cranks make "de facto" economic sense when it comes time to making lowest-cost bicycles that won't fall apart.
Note that "Ashtabula" actually refers to original one-piece cranks (and handlebar stems) made in Ashtabula Wisconsin, but has become a generic term, much as "Xerox" might refer to any xerographic-process copier in street parlance.

The reversed-cup design of the "Ashtabula"-type bottom bracket also prevents the occurrence of water getting trapped in the bearings while being shielded from rapid evaporation. That and the larger 5/16" (vs. 1/4") ball bearings tends to make for a long-lasting setup on bikes left outdoors, especially when the cup/cone parts are galvanized, as on Schwinns and perhaps others with 1-piece cranks.

Also, with no cotters or tapers to loosen, and being serviceable with household tools, makes the one-piece cranks user-friendly.

Last edited by dddd; 08-13-19 at 05:00 PM.
dddd is offline  
Old 08-13-19, 06:33 PM
  #42  
Vintage Schwinn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 31 Times in 16 Posts
Hey dddd , it was Ashtabula Ohio wasn't it...........

Who the heck needs clipless pedals???

You are just a little bit absurd on that!
Vintage Schwinn is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.