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1974 Sears Free Spirit

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1974 Sears Free Spirit

Old 06-25-18, 10:24 AM
  #1  
PennyTheDog
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1974 Sears Free Spirit





I just finished this 1974 Sears Free Spirit update for my friend. It was his father-in-lawís bike, so it has sentimental value to his family. I stretched the frame to fit new wheels, and used a Truvativ adapter to fit a three-piece crankset.

The new wheels are 650b with 36 spokes, and I put on fatter (38mm) tires. I set it up 1x8, and used Tektro long reach brakes. The stem and handlebars are original. I had a cool blue chain guard before, but I replaced it with a small silver one.

I really like how it turned out. Itís not horribly heavy, and itís a nice bike for mixed terrain. I had to do a lot of dremeling to get the bb adapter in, because the frame tubes extended into the bottom bracket shell; Iíd never seen that before. I did a similar update to a Schwinn Continental a few years ago, and thatís become one of my favorite bikes.
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Old 06-26-18, 01:08 PM
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That looks great! What type of shift lever is that?
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Old 06-26-18, 02:33 PM
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Thanks! Itís the Sunrace SLM96 friction shifter. It only costs about $20, and it works great. Itís so cheap and works so well you might think about trying the SLM10, thatís only about $10 for a pair. Donít do it! I speak from experience.

Originally Posted by brandonk View Post
That looks great! What type of shift lever is that?
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Old 06-26-18, 08:26 PM
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Sweet steed. You did an awesome job of upgrading it, without going too far down the rabbit hole. I love that seventies blue... I don't that color exists anymore, in our world today. My oldest sister had something quite similar, in Bicentennial white, with patriot accents.
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Old 06-26-18, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
I just finished this 1974 Sears Free Spirit update for my friend. It was his father-in-lawís bike, so it has sentimental value to his family. I stretched the frame to fit new wheels, and used a Truvativ adapter to fit a three-piece crankset.

The new wheels are 650b with 36 spokes, and I put on fatter (38mm) tires. I set it up 1x8, and used Tektro long reach brakes. The stem and handlebars are original. I had a cool blue chain guard before, but I replaced it with a small silver one.

I really like how it turned out. Itís not horribly heavy, and itís a nice bike for mixed terrain. I had to do a lot of dremeling to get the bb adapter in, because the frame tubes extended into the bottom bracket shell; Iíd never seen that before. I did a similar update to a Schwinn Continental a few years ago, and thatís become one of my favorite bikes.
Good job on that, looks cool. Makes me want to build one. Think I'd prefer an internally geared hub though.
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Old 06-27-18, 04:38 AM
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I think I have one too: same color, same frame, maybe same year. I took the 'Hot Wheels' stickers off and the paint was in excellent condition, like yours. It's a heavy bike but rides well. Mine has been named "Babe the Blue Oxen". It's the bike I ride thru the winter - if I cannot ride as often nor as far as usual, I may as well ride harder. I like mine. I repositioned the stem shifters to the DT and changed the steel wheels for alloy.

Nicely done build on yours. Enjoy.
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Old 06-27-18, 11:12 AM
  #7  
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I hated my early 1970s Free Spirit, but I do like the upgrades you have done on that one. The only additional changes I would suggest are:
1) proper set of three aluminum or chrome cable clips to replace the zipties for the rear brake cable;
2) cable stops and open cable run for the shift cable.
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Old 06-27-18, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
Thanks! Itís the Sunrace SLM96 friction shifter. It only costs about $20, and it works great. Itís so cheap and works so well you might think about trying the SLM10, thatís only about $10 for a pair. Donít do it! I speak from experience.


thanks for the info! Those will be perfect for.my current project. I'm sure your friend will love riding and admiring the bike.
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Old 06-27-18, 12:14 PM
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Youíre right, that would look really nice! Where do you go for stuff like that? I looked once on eBay and gave up.

Originally Posted by John E View Post
I hated my early 1970s Free Spirit, but I do like the upgrades you have done on that one. The only additional changes I would suggest are:
1) proper set of three aluminum or chrome cable clips to replace the zipties for the rear brake cable;
2) cable stops and open cable run for the shift cable.
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