Friday, April 22, 2011

Free-Spirit "PhysioFit" meets "Schwinn Cruiser"

Hello and Welcome, When last winter hit, there was not enough room in the shop/garage for all the un restored bikes. Unfortunately a few of the "lesser bikes" were left out in the back yard. One of these, a "Department Store" Schwinn "Cruiser" with a step-through frame. The other two were a Department Store BMX/Free-Style bike and a "Sears" Free-Spirit Physio-Fit. Last week I decided to see what I could make out of the the two adult size bikes.

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Above: I removed the wheels and derailleurs and small chain-ring from the Physio-Fit. I replaced them with the coaster-brake (single-speed) wheel-set off the Schwinn Cruiser. Which was equipped with white-wall balloon tires. The idea was to build a single-speed Rat-Bike. I also changed the handlebars and saddle to used road-race style. I wanted to build a bike that I could (next winter) try-out the "zip-tie" snow-tire thing. Below:(Google Image Search) A step-through Physio-Fit with the same equipment (minus the rack and bottle-cage)as mine before I stripped it.
Below: Unfortunately I was not able to get the coaster brake hub working properly. After taking it apart and cleaning and re-greasing, it would not function properly after re-assembly. After two or three attempts at getting this thing to work I found a video online. I took the lap-top out to the shop so I could check each step
with the video. Still no luck. It was time for a new plan.
Below: I decided to re-use the 5 speed rear wheel set-up that was originally on the Physio-Fit. I also tried to use a Sun-Tour derailleur with a index-shifter mounted on the flat next the the stem. I was unable to shorten the throw on the derailleur enough. So latter-on I changed the derailleur and shifter as well.
Below: This was going to be my front brake set-up when I was building a coaster-brake bike. This too will be changed.
Below: I decided to flip the handlebars and cut them off using a pipe-cutter. After the first cut I used the piece to mark the other side. I have never made a set of bull-horn bars before. What better time to try than now. As you can no doubt see, I never really had a fixed plan as to what this bike was going to be when finished.
Below: I think the handlebars turned-out cool. I have located the rear brake-lever on the left. With the Bull-Horn bars this cable routing worked-out better. At this point I had not yet changed the shifter type or position. I eventually will end-up with a vintage Allvit derailleur and a Simplex (modified) stem shifter.
Below: At this point I had changed the saddle to a new and cheap "Brooks Kock-off". I have also added a rack and have attempted to re-use the fenders. For obvious reasons I decided to pass on the fenders.
Below: I did eventually rebuild the crank and replace the chain. The Skulls and Dagmars are old license plate mount bolts. Dagmars got their name from a Hollywood starlet, for reasons I won`t get into here (:
Below: This picture shows the Ze'Fal lights and the over-sized SKS detachable mud-guard. Also the Simplex stem-mounted shifter. I cut the left side shifter post off and ground it down. The left side shifter is mounted on the right side as the original was broken. It was tricky to get the left side shifter to fit on the right side. There is a chrome cover or jacket that strengthens the plastic shift lever. I had to re-drill the hole in the jack so it could me mounted on the wrong side. That was probably more trouble than it was worth. But scraping the jacket or cover would have weakened the plastic lever. I do think the mud-guard is a bit too large, I might cut it down to a more manageable size.
Below: The bike finished (for now anyway). I rode it last night just before dark it is very comfortable and shifts smoothly. The Zefal lights were under 20.00 batteries included. The front light can be easily removed and used as a flash or signal light. Both front and rear lights have three settings. I am told on the flash setting the batteries will last a long time.
Below: Bike left side. The hoods are Cane-Creek. The brake levers are Dia Compe. All the cables and housings are Jag-wire. The new chain and pedals are Schwinn. And the brake-shoes are also jag-wire. The Rack is Sun-Lite (Under 25.00) And the temporary kick-stand is junk.
This build was lots of fun. I got to try some new things. Some worked well and some "not so well". But It Was a "learning experience". With the high-volume tires and the lugged frame, This thing has an incredibly smooth ride. And in the long run the 5 Speed set-up is better for me. I found myself down-shifting on the inclines quite a bit. And I was glad that I was able to do so.
Till next time, RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh


  1. Recycling a couple of mediocre bikes into something cool is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. I like it!

    BTW, I still have my original "Give Earth a Chance" button from the first Earth Day.

  2. Thanks Jay,
    I appreciate that. This bike was fun to build. It gave me a chance to do something different and try a few new (to me) things as well.
    I have what I think is an "Australian football jersey" with a rain-forest graphic on it that I always try to wear on Earth Day.

  3. I just did my first flop and chop too, but the brake cables were bothering me a lot. So after some thinking and trial and error I was able to safely reverse the cables exits on some old Dia Comp levers. I am not sure if you know or would be interested in that, but let me know if you are.

  4. Hey Ed,
    I would be very interested in seeing that. And I am sure my readers would be too. Could you send me some pics and a description? Or send me the url if you have it posted somewhere.
    I think you can e mail me through my profile. If it is ok with you, I might want to do a post about it as well. Let me know if you have any trouble getting the info to me. I am curious to see if you are doing this the way I am picturing it in my head.

  5. I will be able to tear down my latest and get you some photos and details by Monday.

  6. Hi Hugh -

    The contact option on your profile page doesn't seem to work, so I'll just put this in the comments.

    Here is an interesting project for you...

  7. Where did you get the tires plz help

  8. Hey Anonymous,
    Those phat white walls came off a parts bike. But I think "bike man for you" who sells on the "e bay" might have them. Good Luck with you project.

  9. I have this same bike, and the tires are just a little small for me. Do you think if I removed the fenders, the forks would be long enough to handle 27in tires?

    1. I think you mean "the wheels" are too small for you. As most 27 inch tires are very small. But to answer your question, No I don`t think they would fit properly. But I have been proven wrong before. And not just by my wife! :)

  10. So Hugh what year roughly is the physiofit??


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