Classic & Vintage - Vista Bicycles
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06-20-05, 02:43 PM
My uncle gave me one of the bikes he had as a kid a couple weeks ago. It's a Vista, I believe early-70s? I know the company stopped existing in '73, and they were originally around to compete with Schwinn. Has anyone had one of these? Or know if it would be worth fixing up to ride? I'm contemplating making my first fixie out of this. The bike looks pretty solid, and all the parts appear to work except the brakes.
Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.
I don't know if this is a different company or not, but there was a Vista company in the late 1970s that survived well into the 1980s. I know they produced entry and mid range bicycles. It would not surprise me if they also had a high end model or two, though I have yet to see one. The answer to your question would depend on which model you have. Post the model, tubing info and component list so the forum members can get a better appreciation of the bicycle.
06-20-05, 08:49 PM
Hmmm, perhaps it's the same company. I remember reading somewhere that they were bought out by a Japanese maker in 1973 or thereabouts, though. Next time I'm in the area, I'll jot down what information I can get; he's keeping it there until I can find a way to lug it back to my place.
07-29-05, 04:28 AM
I have just acquired a "Vista Torino 500" and it is in good condition. With a little TLC, the bike could be a very nice little toy, but I cannot seem to find "Vista" on any web pages about classic or even just any bicycles!! Does anyone know of any web pages or of any other info that could help me? I would love to know...
I have just acquired a "Vista Torino 500" and it is in good condition. ... I would love to know...
So would we! Please post the brand and models of the compoents. Any tubing decals on the frame? Pics would help. Components are most likely Shimano or SunTour and if so should have two letter date codes on the back. Component date codes, provided the parts are original, are usually the same year or one year older than the frame. This will give you a good idea of the vintage. The keys for the codes can be found at http://www.vintage-trek.com/component_dates.htm .
07-29-05, 08:42 AM
I think Vista was a trademark of Columbia. About the time frame you mention one of the kids on the block had a brand new Vista 10 speed. Very similar to the Schwinn Varsity in features. Cast iron crankset, lead pipe frame, steel wheels. I think it had Shimano Eagle derailers. Definitely had stem shifters and extensions on the brake levers. Components may have been "Vista Approved". Definitely a low ender.
07-30-05, 05:56 PM
I recently found something like takara14 described. I thought it to be worse in quality than the Varsities. The varsities seem solid and heavy, the vista just looked heavy. The ends of the stays were just crimped onto the ends of the dropout plates, no brazing or welding was visible. I was looking for a real heavy-duty rider when i found that in the trash and still decided to pass on it due to some flaky looking details. I actually took one of the wheels a week before the frame was put out in the trash at the same house and ride it occasionally with no issues, except poor braking
09-14-06, 12:16 PM
my vista elite has date codes like ec (1980 march) with some from 1979... nice shimano 600 parts mostly.
the cranks have only a date code and no part number like the later 6200 etc.. the wheels are dated EC and the rear has one of those early 6 speed cassettes with the wrench of bottom cog. The hubs also have little holes in the center (grease ports) but the cover clips are long gone??
States made in Japan with a serial number stamped on the side of the down tube.
09-08-07, 11:20 PM
any info about this vista?
09-09-07, 12:27 AM
I've seen a couple of Vistas. One I saw someone riding just yesterday. They looked Schwinn-ish (they even had headbadges with a similar oval shape and color) but not quite, as they appeared heavier and had lesser components on them.
any info about this vista?
Megasloth, that Vista looks a lot different from the ones I've seen. The lugs look like those on a lower to mid-range Japanese bike I sold a while back. What does the sticker on the downtube say?
09-09-07, 04:40 AM
My Ted Williams Free Spirit has that same crankset.
09-11-07, 01:33 PM
09-11-07, 01:41 PM
THe vista I've dealt with most recently was a decent low end mid eighties japanese mixte frame made from some type of cro-mo tubing. Decent bike, but nothing spectacular.
09-11-07, 01:48 PM
it also has a silver "MADE IN JAPAN EXCLUSIVELY FOR NIDA" sticker on the lower downtube.
I bought a Vista Elite around 1982 with a very nice Shimano 600EX Arabesque group with cassette hub, black frame with red head tube, and double butted spokes. I used to ride it to the airport, rearrange the pedals, seat and handlebars using only a hex wrench, and hand it to the ticket counter lady to put on the plane, unboxed.
This from Lou Deeter's Used Bike Buying Guide:
"VISTA: Service Cycle Supply Co, 75 Modular Avenue, Commack NY 11725. Mad by Columbia in U.S. and Japan.
Elite 82 Araya steel
Carrera 7 84 Chromoly"
NIDA is another name for Columbia, a bicycle company dating back to the origins of bicycle.
06-07-08, 11:25 AM
I obtained a Vista bike last week from a local thrift store. It is Red and marked as a Summit model. Considering in was made 30-40 years ago, It is in very good condition. (some scrapes and scratches in the paint) Comparing it with my Schwinn World, I see very little difference in quality. They look like they could have been made in the same factory. The Vista has the following decals: Seat tube- 4031 chrom moly steel; VISTA Made of Excellence, by, H.J.C., Dallas; Made in Taiwan. Top Tube-Vista Summit. Head Tube: Emblem showing a Crown over Vista. Down Tube: SUMMIT. Rims are aluminum and marked ARAYA, 27X1 1/4, W/O Japan. Shifters are Suntour Power. Brakes are Dia-Compe. Derailours are Suntour ak. Crank is Sakae CR. Pedals marked as HTI-A1. Handle Bar is aluminum and marked on one side with a crown over HSINLUNG. It is fun to ride.
Note: e-bay has one listed untill June 8, 2008, that is Black in color, and marked as a Vista Espodo. It shows clear photos detailing components and decals. The only difference I can see is the Espodo has Shimano brakes, derailours, and shifters; crank is alero. I also could find no other information on Vista. Hope this helps.
06-07-08, 12:26 PM
I have a Vista Cavalier mens 3-speed that used to be my grandfathers bike. I rember riding this bike as a kid in the 70's. I just went out and looked at it closer, it's got a sturmey archer(sp?) shifter and weinmann(sp?) brakes, there is a decal that states Vista by NIDA and a BMA/6 Certified sticker on the seat tube. It was and still is a solid bicycle, but I have no idea if it's an alloy frame or the composition. I suppose the good shape it's in is because it's always lived indoors and was well cared for.
06-08-08, 01:14 PM
I have to take back part of what I said, I was out looking at the bike today and noticed that the rear drops are a weak point.
06-08-08, 03:20 PM
This is a Vista i just picked up. It has to be an 81-82 model based on the components. This is a mid level bike. Vista also made a Dura-Ace equipped model.
09-05-08, 07:32 AM
I picked up a Vista "Workhorse" at an estate sale two years ago for $3. It's a single-speed coaster-brake bike...I've been slowly working at making it a beach cruiser.
Looked like this when I bought it.
Looks like this right now...
I searched around and found that Vista was a sub-brand of Columbia in the 70's, and actually found another "Workhorse" for sale on eBay:
09-05-08, 07:42 AM
This is a better .jpg of my Vista aero course.
I found a Vista "Sophisticate" lady's three speed in the trash a couple years ago. It was a nice bike, very much like a Schwinn Breeze. The frame was made in Japan, but looked just like a Schwinn electro-forged one. The rims were Rigida 26 x 1 3/8 with a Union front hub and a 1972 Sturmey AW rear; Union pedals on Ashtabula style crank. All in all I thought it was a pretty odd mix of parts for a Japanese bike.
Recently I saw an older Vista Sophisticate. It was locked up, six feet off the ground, in a tree next to the North Ferry on Shelter Island; couldn't tell if it was abandoned.... But anyway, it was a lot like theone I found, except that this one was a Raleigh! The only brand name on it was Vista, but fine print on the head badge said "Nottingham," and there was a "Made in England" decal in cursive on the top tube, Sturmey Archer hubs and rims, non-heron Raleigh crank, and so on. I couldn't get close enough to read the date code on the hub, but I'm guessing mid-to-late 60's.
09-11-08, 08:47 PM
I pulled this out of the weeds in my Dad's fenceline. I've had my eye on it for a while. I just started riding again (after 20 years!). I bought a Huffy cruiser at a garage sale, it works fine, but I like the looks of this bike.
Needs tires and tubes, I think I can get them for $25, probably more than it's worth. It's a Vista Carerra 7, code from the gears is JE - 1985. It has Shimano brakes and shifters. Seat needs to be replaced (rusted), some spots of rust on rims, little bend in the back fender, lettering if about 40%.
I would like to get it going, but I'm hesitant to spend the money because I'm unsure of the shifter location. I've only used shifters that are up on the hadlebar....these seem like they're in an inconvenient location. Also, I don't know how to use the two seperate shifters to add up to the gear I want.
09-11-08, 09:04 PM
For contrast, one of the cheap-o Columbia-built Vista frames with Ashtabula fork. The "Esquire":
P.S.: The thread that won't give up, eh? :eek:
03-24-11, 11:54 PM
I just picked up a Vista Carrera 7 from craigslist. Long story short I paid 5$ for it.
The frame seems pretty decent, the components are a mix of okay and crap. The derailluers are suntour and decent, as is the freewheel and sprockets. The wheels are ok. The handlebars are okay.
I broke it down, wire wheeled anything without paint on it, degreased the whole thing, greased all bearings, and now I'm putting it back together.
I only needed to buy tubes, tires, cables and bar tape which is going to cost me 81$ total, so I should have a serviceable bike for 86$. This is where it's at now, I'm still waiting on stuff in the mail.
07-19-12, 10:40 AM
hello i got these two bikes yesterday from a old couple a vista cavalier and a raleigh the vista was made n.i.d.a.has three speeds it says on the bike modle was tested by a independent testing laboratory to meet bma/6 safety its got every thing the same as when it was made..and a 3 speed raleighsays r.co on it made in nottingham england gots a reflector on back fender seat is leather with brooks tag made in england green and gold bands under seat and duck logo on fender with pop out reflector tires on both are [37-590] 26 by 1 3/8 hfc-111-13 they got chain gears built in to the back weel back tires have plastic see thru cap over gear tires made by bell streetster white wall wanted to no if eny one knows about them in very good condish was up in a shead got for free its got a stamp on it 2030 dont no if there was more its a little faded but if you know eny thing about them plese let me know thanks
07-19-12, 11:15 AM
yea its worth fixing my friend its a good smooth ride just got one yesterday well two was in a old couples shed all still there as when they was made rides better then my mountine bike but mine is a class 6 i think its all ways the breaks becouse the breaks on mine are a little funny taking a wile to get them to work but still a great bike does yours have a three peace crank the one i got was made in england been trying to find out more about them the same as you but not many people know about them unless they was in the old times but if you would like to talk about them my post is at the bottom of the page wolfmanjack1981 i put every thing i seen on mine and righting and tire size hop to here from yea you have a good day
03-15-13, 11:29 AM
In addition to my regular bicycle, I also have a Vista and enjoy it. When adjusted properly, shifts smoothly and rides great. What you do with yours really depends on what sort of riding you have planned. For enjoyment, yes. For racing, no. There is also a large market for vintage bicycles, including Vistas. Since it has been in the family, I would restore it and use for the sheer enjoyment of riding. Good luck and enjoy.
03-15-13, 12:31 PM
I remember reading some time ago where Schwinn made some 70's models for other bike companies like they did way back for BF Goodrich, etc.
I had a VISTA two seater and the fork was an exact match for a Varsity I had at the time (along with the previously mentioned oval head badge that fit the Varsity). That led me to do some research and that's what I found out. I don't know if complete bikes were just re-badged, or just parts sold to other companies.
08-10-13, 05:34 PM
P.S.: The thread that won't give up, eh? :eek:
Not if they still quote you five years later ....
Picked up this Vista Islena today. Kinda nice touring bike. Apart from the rust from sitting in a damp shed for thirty years or so it looks like it hasn't been ridden more than a couple of blocks.
08-10-13, 05:51 PM
Wifey's mixte is a Vista Espada, with the Araya 631 tubing (as with the Islena touring bike just shown above).
Maybe it's a gaspipe knockoff, but the fit and finish are beautiful - they're MIJ classics for sure. Swapping the heavier parts gets the weight down substantially, making the bikes that much more fun to ride.
08-10-13, 06:11 PM
I just checked: the Islena weighs 13 kilograms as pictured above.
08-10-13, 06:39 PM
I recall Vistas were popular with smaller urban bike shops with less space, 1980 -85 era maybe. Haven't seen one lately. The Aero looks nice.
08-12-13, 03:07 PM
Update on the Islena: frame + fork + headset = 3.65 kg's. Seatpost = 26.2. The bike was probably a personal import to Holland, as there's a sticker on it from Anthony's, Highland Park, NJ. Frame has what I assume to be an Araya serial number: ARYK035111.
Can't find anything on Anthony's:
08-12-13, 04:03 PM
I paid $5 for this Vista Mixte. The seatpost and stem are not stuck, but it needs some love!
08-13-13, 04:55 PM
^ That is a very cute mixte. Great color scheme. I'd really be tempted to rebuild it with some nice lightweight and very shiny parts.
08-13-13, 08:27 PM
334545334546334547334548334549334550334551334552334553334554334555One of my experts said that it might be a Vista Shadow. It's a fast, solid ride! No flex! New go to beater bike!
08-14-13, 10:41 AM
From what I read somewhere online, Vista was a company that started up when Schwinn yanked the rug out from many of their shops in the late sixties. That's why there were so many likenesses to Schwinn in the early models. Ashtabula forks, color schemes, etc. Up until two months ago I had a Vista Elite with vertical dropouts. It came with Arabesque 600, and had a complete visual ripoff color scheme of a mid 70's Motobecane. Even down to similar decals and headbadge. This last Sunday at the flea market there was a Vista BMX bike with all the right styling cues for the early 80's. Anodized brakes, and matching handlebars, chrome frame. The visual was the end of it, as it weighed a metric ton. Chrome rims with anodized looking clear shot over them, etc. I didn't even ask how much, though it was definitely cool looking, and mint condition for it's age.,,,,BD
Here's an Elite completed auction. VERY Moto flavor 5-6 years after the fact, and made from Araya 631 (Wannabe 531 perhaps?)
08-14-13, 10:51 AM
Would love to own that Islena. It's a classy looking bike, and very clean for it's age. I'll trade you a Carabela with chrome lugs?;) Apples to Apples if you ask me, though the Carabela is a bit of a caramel apple, haha. Chrome lugs and Gran Compe stem.,,,,BD
08-14-13, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the link to the Elite, BD. Very much the same frame. Every bit as heavy too, I suppose. Looks great though.
08-14-13, 07:33 PM
I found my #334703
10-03-13, 03:48 PM
Here is a VISTA that my son and i restored and sold.
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