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Old 07-03-08, 02:05 PM   #1
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Ancient bike find -- what should I replace?

For some reason, family is offering to give me an older bike for a road beater bike, although I don't consider a 1970s Free Spirit a true vintage bike, although they seem to be decently engineered for the time and the price range they were originally.

Other than tubes and tires, which are suffering from dry rot, what should I replace regardless? Other than being stored in a garage for decades, the bikes seem fine with no rust, or anything really out of true. Its pretty much been in a garage for virtually all of its life.
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Old 07-03-08, 02:09 PM   #2
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Older bikes can be great "ride to the store" bikes, but expensive to update. Have your corner bike shop put grease and oil on the bearings (wheels, hubs, headset) adjust the brakes and shifting, new tubes and tires, and then just enjoy it.
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Old 07-03-08, 02:13 PM   #3
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Repack the bearings, replace the tires/tubes, double check the condition of the brakes (you don't want a frayed brake cable breaking or coming loose or dry rotted pads going to pieces), and go for a ride.
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Old 07-03-08, 02:38 PM   #4
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It being a Free Spirit, just tune it up and ride it.

It's going to be heavy, no matter what updates you do. Some weight saving updates might be alloy vs steel wheels. Check the crank and see if it's a three piece or a one piece boat anchor, seat post and steering stem. It seems like a lot for a Free Spirit/Retail bike.

The better approach is to watch eBay and pick up some used components to make it shift better, and just ride it.

Heck, I'll bet more than a few of us elder ridesmen started out on a Free Spirit. Mine served me well for several years until the big upgrade to a Nishiki!
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Old 07-03-08, 02:59 PM   #5
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My Free-Spirit 3 speed came with dried out brake pads, so that's another item.
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Old 07-04-08, 06:46 AM   #6
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ask this question in the vintage/classic forum - those folks are a veritable fount of information - especially about where to get parts for those classics!
As with mud, life, too, slides by.
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Old 07-04-08, 05:16 PM   #7
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Definitely brake pads - and if the rims are steel (check with a magnet), get salmon-coloured Kool Stops. They are apparently the only thing that can stop a steel rim in the rain. (Disclaimer: it has not actually rained since I put my Kool Stops on, but I can definitely attest that generic black rubber brake pads, even if brand new, do not do a darn thing as far as slowing you down if the rims are wet! That was a scary ride!).

Free Spirits are on the lower end of the scale but any bike that you ride is a good bike!
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