Classic & Vintage - Japanese Nishiki bike history website
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01-25-09, 10:21 PM
I took ownership of my first Nishiki in 2007. It's a 1985 or 1986 Prestige, and definitely "Handcrafted by Kawamura."
My coworker has a Prestige, but a different year. I also own a Nishiki USA Backroads mountain bike.
Surrounded by all these Nishikis made me curious - so I started a website. Right now it's called Nishiki Bicycle History. I'm attempting to document all Kawamura factory-produced Nishiki bikes sold in the United States.
If you would like to contribute, please email me, email@example.com. You can contribute by emailing me links, photos, personal anecdotes, or by getting a login to the site and updating pages. It's wiki-style so it's really simple to create and edit pages.
01-25-09, 10:32 PM
I'd suggest you do an archive search here at C&V for all the old postings from T-Mar that include "Nishiki" in the subject line...you can practically fill your website with all the knowledge he has contributed over the years.
01-26-09, 09:42 AM
I got something for you:
An oft-posted page I put together about a 1976 Nishiki International I bought on Craig's list in San Diego, how I picked it up, what I did while I was there, and how I got it home.
I recently converted it to 700c studded tires for use as a winter bike and this weekend I went out to the Minnesota Human Powered Vehicle Association ice races and won the time trial event on it. Go Nishiki!
This is before I switched over to racing garb (Lake boots, lobster claws, and a lighter jacket)
Here I am passing a tandem in the circuit race after they came into a corner a little too hot.
01-26-09, 09:46 AM
Make sure you transcribe the information in T-Mar's Nishiki Serial Number Database thread:
My serial number is recorded in there.
And cover the "American Eagle" years...
02-02-09, 06:01 AM
Thanks for the input guys. The Serial Number Database thread is immensely helpful.
02-02-09, 07:29 AM
This type of brand-based consolidation project is really helpful to anyone who picks up a vintage bike, or anyone thinking about pulling the trigger on a bike. You might take a look at the Vintage Trek site (http://www.vintage-trek.com/TrekBrochures.htm) for some ideas on what works well. That isn't a perfect site but it was immensely helpful to me with the three Treks I bought last year. Some things that I think would be useful:
1) catalog scans (this is the most helpful thing you can do)
2) model hierarchies at different points in time
3) original price lists
02-02-09, 02:06 PM
I think the most important thing on that Vintage Trek site is the component dating area. A lot of work went into figuring out the weird codes on the back side of brakes, cranks, lever, and such. They helped me figure out how old my 3 Fuji's were before T-Mar's serial number database and they confirmed his findings. I don't think any brand-based site project is complete without a tip-o-the-hat to the Trek site.
02-02-09, 03:31 PM
Oh, I agree with you about the component dating. That is extremely useful and I've used it a lot. But I see no reason to repeat that, so I didn't list it in my suggestions for the Nishiki site.
+1 Vintage Trek site is awesome. But no reason to recreate the component codes, I would just direct traffic to the Trek site.
+1 Catalog scans are great. The Schwinn scans are incredible. Miyata scans are pretty good too.
I believe my Lotus Classique was hand brazed by Kawamura as well.
I think there would be a market for a vintage Japanese bike club. Lots of great Japanese bike brands out there.
02-02-09, 05:48 PM
Just in case you haven't already seen these sites
A Nishiki History (http://www.cykelhobby.com/nisheng.htm)
Ode to Old Nishikis (http://yojimg.net/bike/nishiki/)
02-02-09, 06:00 PM
Oh man, this is great! I may have to PM you. Most of the Nishiki's I own or those that passed through my hands have changes so they are not completely original. However, I currently have a 85 or 86 Prestige that I believe is completely original except for the tires and I can probably find some close enough replacements in my spare parts bin. I have one or two pics of my 88 Nishiki Ariel before I made all the changes to it. Unfortunately, I took them at a higher pixel level and can't load them onto this forum. I had considered starting a Nishiki web site myself because there needs to be a central location that discusses this brand. The other sites that have been started don't seem very open to information from others so my hat is off to you for your effort.
Here is my one element for your Nishiki database:
American Eagle Semi-Pro, 23" C-T, purchased new 19 March 1971 at Rancho Park Cycles in west Los Angeles, at the full fair-traded list price of $149.95
color: yellow enamel very close to Schwinn Kool Lemon; other options were green and coffee lacquers
crankset: 171mm Sugino Mighty Compe, 54-47 (late 1960s bikes had 52-47; 1972-5 bikes had 54-48)
cogset: Maeda SunTour 14-18-22-27-34
hubset: SunShine Campagnolo clone high-flange QR
rims: Araya convex with 4-way directionally drilled spoke holes
brakeset: DiaCompe Weinmann 999 clone centerpull w/ suicide levers
shifters: SunTour downtube mounted w/ white caps
rear derailleur: SunTour VGT
front derailleur: SunTour Spirt normal-high
pedals: Kuokoto Pro Ace road quills with leather toe protectors on the toeclips
serial number: KS78091 on bottom of bottom bracket shell
handlebars: slightly flared drops with randonneur rise at each end
Don't knock it -- with tighter gearing (54-44/14-24), a proper tensioned leather saddle, and tubular tires, it got me through a 12:18 double century in June 1972. :)
failure mode: seat tube lug broke off of bottom bracket shell after 40k miles / 20 years
02-03-09, 01:01 PM
And the little blurbs from Sheldon's page about Japanese brands:
A short-lived brand name from the mid-70s bike boom. I believe they got into trouble for the misleading name, and reverted to the Japanese name "Nishiki."
Nishiki got off to a good start in the U.S. market, but made the error of selling some models to department stores, which created bad feeling against the line among independent bicycle dealers, and they lost a great many dealers as a result of this.
Later, the Nishiki brand became a division of Derby, along with Raleigh and Univega. The Nishiki and Univega names were retired in 2001 so that Derby could concentrate on its Raleigh brand.
I picked my blue 1976 International in San Diego a couple of years ago. I needed to get it home to Minnesota so I went to a local bike shop looking for a box. Outside the shop was a homeless guy with a nearly identical blue American Eagle. Except for the headbadge and the finish where the seat stay met the seat post, the bike was the same -- even the same components. He was rightfully proud of his ride and it was in pretty good shape, too. I really wish I'd had my camera with me!
02-03-09, 01:18 PM
When looking at vintage-trek.com, check out the model/year/color pages. That's been really helpful for me to determine year of a bike I'm looking at before I go paging through catalog scans. Replicating that to the degree possible for Nishiki would be great.
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