Sears offered many bicycles over the years (all built by other manufacturers), but some of the best ones were those made by Puch/Steyr in Austria. This 1965 model is very much like the one I rode in my youth over logging roads and along irrigation canals, picking up treasures on my way and loading them into its front basket.
While definitely a copy of the iconic Raleigh Sports bicycle, it also has its own certain charm. The color scheme, with its black paint and cream accents (probably originally white), surprisingly classy head badge, and “windows” on the head lug make it especially appealing.
This is the bike as it came to me in its unrestored condition, except for a replacement Brooks saddle which I added for these photos. The original saddle shipped had broken seat rails, and of course I planned to replace the saddle anyway.
This bike has a Sturmey Archer 3 speed AW hub, as opposed to the Puch/Steyr licensed copy found on other models. You can barely see the “65” date code on the hub in the above photo.
The bike also has Weinmann brake calipers and a proper 3 piece cottered crank. Other models often featured the cheaper and ugly Ashtabula one piece cranks.
I’ve always been puzzled by the odd “street sign” logo on the top tubes of these bikes. Is it meant to indicate the way ahead? The road less travelled? Or?? But, the seat tube logo is very attractive and evocative of the styles of the 1960’s.
The bike’s handlebars are equipped with Weinmann levers and are clamped with a one bolt stem that both tightens the bars and the expander on the steerer tube.
There are nice accents on the fork blades and full color matched fenders, with the rear painted white for visibility.
My biggest worry in restoring the bike is getting the hub in proper working order. For these photos, and for initial assessment of the hub, I generously oiled it with some light weight lubricant. Fortunately, the hub spins freely and may only need a flush to clean it, followed by some 30 weight automotive oil to keep it maintained. The shifter did not perform properly, but these can be fiddly, and with the right cable tension can hopefully be brought back into working order. If I need to do a full on overhaul of the hub, I could attempt it myself (if I’m in the right frame of mind), or can send it out to Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in Seattle. If I decide to do it myself, I’ll watch this video from RJ the Bike Guy, which will undoubtedly convince me to send it out…
I’m looking forward to enlisting this bike as my office errand machine. It’s bound to offer a comfortable feel, and with the AW hub I should be able to get around on the minor hills in the neighborhood. I’ll probably add a front basket or rear rack to make it more useful for lunch jaunts and local expeditions. Should be fun!