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What's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels?

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What's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels?

Old 08-07-19, 11:15 PM
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dayco
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What's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels?

I have an old 14 speed Huffy that I love to ride. I put 2-3000 miles a year on it.

My Granddaughter was over today with her friend. He was riding a newer small frame Trek. He started picking on my Huffy. He didn't think much of Ashtabula cranks or freewheels.

Ashtabula cranks are strong, simple, easy to adjust and repair. My 7-speed freewheel is strong, simple, self-contained and bullet-proof. I could replace it with a new duplicate freewheel in under 15 minutes. What's not to like?

Outside of being associated with bottom-end bikes, what's wrong with Ashtabula cranks and freewheels? They work fine to me.
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Old 08-07-19, 11:20 PM
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To me, anyone who would pick on someone else's bike, especially someone you really don't know well (a friend of a granddaughter) is rude and a dweeb. Maybe he was honestly just making conversation and/or trying to inform. But still...

As for the shortfalls of that equipment, there are technical reasons that "better" bikes have different cranks and freehubs/cassettes, like weight, maintenance, strength, etc. But being happy with a bike and riding it that much trumps any "advantage" of the modern gear, imho.
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Old 08-07-19, 11:51 PM
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Thank you.

I'll admit I don't know much about bikes outside of my old Huffy. I do my own repair and maintenance. The 2-3000 miles a year I've been put on my bike are dependable trouble-free miles. I didn't say anything but maybe I should have.

He was also commenting on my rims. And this is coming from a guy riding around on what looks to be wheels with only 16 spokes.
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Old 08-08-19, 12:18 AM
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He went after the crank first because it's obviously the best part of the bike
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Old 08-08-19, 12:35 AM
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Picking on a bike is usually uncalled for, but...

Originally Posted by dayco View Post
Ashtabula cranks are strong, simple, easy to adjust and repair.
They work fine, but they're quite heavy.

My 7-speed freewheel is strong, simple, self-contained and bullet-proof. I could replace it with a new duplicate freewheel in under 15 minutes. What's not to like?
The biggest problem with freewheels is the length of unsupported axle between the drive-side dropout and the hub. The wider the freewheel, the more prone the wheel is to broken axles. In addition to being a structural weakness, this limits practical cluster width, which is why freewheels are rarely made with more than seven speeds.

Freewheel removal is a theoretically simple process, but because they get constantly jammed onto the hub during use, they're sometimes tough to remove. Your "15 minutes" comment alludes to that; 15 minutes is a very long time to change out a rear cluster. The lockrings on cassette freehubs are pretty good about not seizing up, so removal is usually a smooth and fast process.

Originally Posted by dayco View Post
And this is coming from a guy riding around on what looks to be wheels with only 16 spokes.
Old and cheap wheels have high spoke counts because the rims are weak and/or flexy, and thus require extra support. 16 spokes is perhaps going a bit far in the opposite direction, but it's not a sign of poor quality.

(Too few spokes can require an excessively-beefy rim, and it can result in annoying lateral wheel flex if the spoke bracing angles aren't wide enough.)
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Old 08-08-19, 03:10 AM
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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......
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Old 08-08-19, 03:28 AM
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Old 08-08-19, 04:48 AM
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Sounds like a snotty teenager trying to impress your granddaughter. Your bike fits your needs perfectly. Big question is whether you tell your granddaughter that guy is a spoiled jerk.
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Old 08-08-19, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by dayco View Post
My Granddaughter was over today with her friend. He was riding a newer small frame Trek. He started picking on my Huffy. He didn't think much of Ashtabula cranks or freewheels.
He is young and lacks the wisdom that comes with decades of life experience.
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Old 08-08-19, 06:30 AM
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On the other hand, the kid cares about bikes, and will mellow over time, especially if he goes to college and discovers how long his bike lasts in that environment. Most "kids these days." wouldn't even recognize an Ashtabula crank. Moreover, the apparent continued evolution of BB's and cranks suggests that maybe they haven't worked the problems out of modern cranks yet.

I picked up an old Schwinn frame this summer and turned it into a dedicated winter bike. I'm going to ride the one-piece crank with pride. It was fun to remember how to take it apart. The bearings were in perfect shape after nearly 5 decades, despite the fact that the frame showed evidence of fairly extensive use.
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Old 08-08-19, 06:47 AM
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Strength and ease of service with non-bike specific tools makes me appreciate one piece cranks.
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Old 08-08-19, 07:32 AM
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I still have my "GLENN'S COMPLETE BICYCLE MANUAL"
Great book
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Old 08-08-19, 07:42 AM
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Just looking at post No. 6 nearly gave me a seizure.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Just looking at post No. 6 nearly gave me a seizure.
and that's one of his short ones - gotta love it. It's kind of cool how after awhile you get to know the idiosyncrasies of our little community. You get kidded for posting the same photo of your nice light green Ti bike (Elgin I think). I'm guilty of going on about my love for the this electroforged '75 Schwinn Continental with its Ashtabula cranks, steel rims and worlds best kick stand.

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Old 08-08-19, 08:43 AM
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Just because somebody wants to initiation argument doesn't mean that you have to participate.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
and that's one of his short ones - gotta love it. It's kind of cool how after awhile you get to know the idiosyncrasies of our little community. You get kidded for posting the same photo of your nice light green Ti bike (Elgin I think). I'm guilty of going on about my love for the this electroforged '75 Schwinn Continental with its Ashtabula cranks, steel rims and worlds best kick stand.
I'd love to see a photo of that bike!

I've got an old 10 speed (now a SS) with steel rims that I like well enough. The rims are in great condition. I probably wouldn't do the TdF on it but for JRA it's A OK.


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Old 08-08-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Just because somebody wants to initiation argument doesn't mean that you have to participate.
Are you talking about the kid who started the argument with the OP, or the OP who started the argument on the Internet?
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Old 08-08-19, 03:38 PM
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Forgive the kid for his lack of manners. As he grows up he will become wiser and will understand why those cranks are simply the best ever produced, and he will understand why freewheels are simple and foolproof. They have served generation after generation with dependability, easy serviceability, and low cost. Just how can that be beat?
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Old 08-08-19, 03:54 PM
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How old is your granddaughter? What does she think of the guy now? Just curious....
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Old 08-08-19, 06:03 PM
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I was talking to a gentleman last Sunday riding an old Schwinn Continental, and we started talking about our respective bikes. I happened to be on my CF Ridley, and he called his Continental his weight loss plan since due to the weight difference he lost two pounds to every one I lost. I told him my bike was my mid life crisis vehicle, more bike than I needed, but I wanted it anyway.

I also told him his bike rode the exact same way mine did, you pedal and it goes.

Truth be told, that Continental will probably still be around when my Ridley is carbon dust.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:25 PM
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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......
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Old 08-08-19, 08:49 PM
  #22  
skidder
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Nothing wrong with Ashtabula cranks, if it works for you, ride it. I see plenty of beach cruisers with them. I'd have one myself if I didn't have an old MTB that I fixed up as a 'cruiser'; its got a square-taper crank that gets some comments similar to what you got from that 14 yo.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:29 PM
  #23  
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Maybe don't let a kids comments throw you off your center. He probably thinks your music sucks too.
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Old 08-09-19, 01:24 AM
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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......
In the words of the great Phil Rizzuto...


Holy Cow!
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Old 08-09-19, 07:13 AM
  #25  
dayco
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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.
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