• Seth

    Literally, the first character means “pursuing”, the second “wind.”

    However, it is also possible that they are Japanese, as Japanese has a lot Chinese character in formal writing. For example, Kamikaze was written as “神風” (devine wind), of which the second charater is the same as on your free spirit.


    • laverack

      Let me state that I am no scholar, however I’m pretty good at crossword puzzles and the like. I came up with a slightly different translation. I read that first character, loosely, as “glorious”. The second, again loosely, as “tiny shaft of wood that pesters”. The third, is more succinct; it is the symbol for “smiles upon”. Next, I filtered my results. Another word for glorious? “Splendid”. Tiny shaft of wood that pesters? A “Splinter”. “Splendid Splinter Smiles Upon”. As he was beloved and respected around the world, I concluded that the three characters can only read, “Ted Williams Approved”.

      • rob

        Makes sense!…Sears licenced Ted William’s name and used it on practically everything in the sporting goods dept. back in the day. They had Ted Williams shotguns, Ted Williams shotgun shells. I have even seen an old Sears Ted Williams outboard motor.

  • Paul S.

    The characters on the seat tube clearly state “do not use suicide levers in the rain”. It is an early Chinese product liability warning.


  • http://cscribble@yahoo.com Craig

    I have a free spirit very similar.
    two piece crank. Lugged frame. No Chinese…

    Can you provide additional info..

    BTW .. what did you mean by suicide levers?

    • Art F

      Suicide levers are the horizontal brake levers that move the brake levers mounted on the drops . these can be pressed when keeping hands on the center portion of the handlebars . they are called suicide levers because they are limited in how gar the brake shoes will move before the levers hit the handlebars or come up to a point where you will not be able to apply brakes while still holding handlebars. If doing this while steel rims are wet the brakes may no do any stpping at alll. draggiong your feet on the ground would be more effective. If brakes are not in good adjustment the suicide levers are also useless . always use the levers on the drops when riding in wet conditions or if you are going fast in trafffic or downhill.

  • http://ha.mmytown.com Laura Smith

    I have one just like this, same color, same characters, with suicide levers, etc. The bottom bracket is totally shot, tho. Does anyone have a suggestion of a suitable modern replacement for it, since I doubt I’ll be able to find an original BB 40 years later? Also, does replacing the BB mean I’ll have to also replace the crankset? I have the original cottered cranks on mine right now.


    • Art F

      If you really want to put in a new bottom bracket AND change the crankset look at this threadless botttom bracket I found

  • Art F

    I would say that you can take the bottom bracket apart and sand out any pits on the axle and cups with very fine emery cloth and then replace the individual ball bearings and it will be just about smooth as new . I don’t know if there are loose bearings or bearings in retainers inside the bottom bracket but my guess would be loose bearings . If these are loose bearings any bottom bracket and crankset with tapered cranks made for th same bottom bracket width will work . I wouldn’t replace the fixed cup unless it was very grooved.

    • Art F

      Let’s try it again . For a bottom bracket AND crankset conversion see

  • Paul S.

    You have a choice. If you want to keep the original cranks, then you can use a salvaged replacement cottered bottom bracket (BB) & bearings from some other OTS that has a good BB, but is otherwise knackered. If you do this, try to get a BB that is the same length as your current BB. This solution should cost you practically nothing and will keep the bike ‘original’, but it may take some time to find the right BB. I also recommend Sheldon Brown’s web-pages on cottered cranks (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/cotters.html).
    Alternatively, you could use a cotterless BB (or even a cartridge BB) with new cranks. This is the option I would take. This option may involve some cost depending on whether you use new or salvaged parts. If you take this option, then try to make sure that the new BB & cranks will give you the same chain-line as your current BB & cranks (see http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainline.html). Cheers

    • http://ha.mmytown.com Laura Smith

      Paul & Art: Thanks to you both! Now I have a project for this lovely Memorial Day Weekend.
      Best, Laura

  • rob

    They sold that model in the states. I remember seeing one just like with the green paint and the chinese characters in Sears circa 1983-84. Some Sears Free Spirit bikes had those cottered cranks well into the mid 80s.

  • Tim

    I have the exact same bike, same color, same symbols. I bought it from the original owner. He even had the original Sears “lightweight 27″ bicycle” owners manual. I currently both posted on Tampa Craigslist for sale.