Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries - Mikado Sportster Circa 1980? Seller wants $160
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01-18-11, 02:22 AM
I found this for sale nearby, the brand says Mikado, the model is Sportster. I don't think it's very high end, steel wheels, no tubing decal, and cottered alloy cranks. The derailleurs are all steel Shimano, with stem shifters. The bars are alloy, the brakes are Dia Compe Center pulls.
The seller says he'll throw in a set of extra alloy Ukai rims with sealed bearing Viscount hubs, a pair of Shimano 400 derailleurs, and a clean used Shimano 400 crankset and BB. It's got two new cheap gumwall 27" tires on it now that go with the deal, and a sprung saddle. The bike rides great, feels good and shifts fine as is, but I have little doubt my size and weight will over tax the cheap hubs and steel rims. The wheelset that he's throwing in looks new, and is built with DT Champion SS spokes. I took this for a ride as it sits, even in the snow it felt good. He had it listed at $225 in a nearby newspaper under the free ads, he dropped down in price even with the spare parts. He won't go any further and says he's got $160 in the bike and the spare parts. The bike is in really nice shape, clean paint, no dents, and it looks well kept overall.
I've never run across this brand? The bike is no doubt Asian built, there's a Made in Japan decal at the base of the seat post.
Who sold these? Were they a common brand somewhere else besides here?
Barring any severe weather, I plan to go get it with the truck later on today.
If it doesn't show up on Google, it is a department store bike. I would pass.
Mikado was a line of Canadian touring bicycles introduced by Procycle in the mid-1990s. However, the OP's bicycle would appear to predate this by a couple of decades, so Procycle may have purchased the rights to the brand name like they did with CCM, Miele and others.
The thing that captured my attention were the alumnium, cotterless cranks. Almost certainly, these are SR Grand Silver cranksets and they were nasty. Offhand, cottered aluminum cranksets may seem like a good idea, but they were flawed in practice. Every time you drove the cotter in, the crank hole enlarged. It only took 3 or 4 bottom bracket overhauls for the hole to become enlarged to the point where the cotter could no longer be sufficiently tightened. If the cotters and hole look new, the bottom bracket has probably never been overhauled. The large chainring is also swaged directly to the crankarm, so you have to buy a new crankset when the teeth wear out, though I don't think any of them ever got to that point, due to the cotter issue. It's a good thing the seller is offering a spare crankset and bottom bracket.
As suggested, it may be a department store brand, though aluminum bars and Dia-Compe brakes sound a bit upscale and more like a brand name bicycle. Certainly, everything still sounds entry level, though the Grand Silver cranksets were orignally found on upper, entry evel models. However, once the problem surfaced, they sold excess stock to whomever would buy them.
01-18-11, 12:15 PM
The seller sent me this photo. The bike sort of reminds me of a Nishiki Sport model, the frame isn't chromoly, just plain steel I guess but it's fairly light, still under 30lbs, and it's my size. The cranks do say Grand something on the arms, I didn't pay that much attention to them since they would no doubt be getting changed.
The wheels are in great shape but low end, and have thin spokes. The whole bike don't look very used. There's not a lot of wear on anything.
I made a deal with the seller to swap over all the parts, I'll be picking the bike up when he's done now. For an extra $25, I thought it was well worth it as I could never get that much work done at a bike shop that cheap. If all goes well I'll have a ready to ride bike for only $225. He even says he'll throw in a rear rack and a belt driven odometer that goes on the fork. Its not as fancy as the Lotus I looked at, but a lot cheaper and it fits me even better. Besides, the wheels he's going to install look like they'll hold a ton of weight. The spokes are way thicker than any others I've seen and the hubs are heavy duty looking. The rims say Ukai, but look just like Araya rims, but their more polished. I actually like the stem shifters, their so much easier than having to bend down and hit my chin on the bars to reach frame mounted shifters.
There's a shop decal from somewhere in NY on the bottom of the seat tube but I don't recall exactly where. Once I get this bike, I'll be on the road for less than half of what the Lotus would have cost me. It leaves me with enough extra cash to maybe have a second bike if I can find one similar to this, I was thinking maybe one with wide tires for hard packed dirt, and with road tires for the streets.
Once you get the bicycle, the serial number may tell us the original manufacturer and the year. Also, take a close at the fork. In the photo, it looks bent. The fork blades look angled back relative to th the head tube, however this can sometimes be an optical illusion if the front wheel is slightly turned or the picture was taken using a wide angle setting on the camera.
01-18-11, 06:40 PM
The forks look fine to me, maybe just a bad angle in the pic?
I went over and gave the seller the rest of the cash tonight, I did notice a small gold ribbon decal down below the dealer sticker that reads Made in Taiwan not Japan. There's a top part of the decal rubbed off, it appears to read Toyoda something but most of that part of the decal is gone, partially covered up by the dealer label which has curled up a ruined part of the gold label. He finished stripping the frame down and was washing it all out with mineral spirits and clearing out all the old grease. The new crankset has a cartridge type bottom bracket with it. He's also installing a Tange headset vs what was on the bike since the new shifters clamp to the stem not under the headset nut. He didn't like the way it looked with a stack of washers in there. The chrome Tange headset looks better anyway. He also has a set of Dai Compe G side pull brakes he was going to install but I prefer the center pulls as they're easier to keep from dragging. He tossed those in the box with the old parts, he said if I don't want them, he'll just toss them, so I guess I'm getting the old parts too.
He said all the parts he's using on this came from a new old stock Schwinn Letour he stripped that was damaged in shipping. The wheels came from an older Viscount. It was the only set of good alloy wheels he had for that width frame.
01-19-11, 11:40 AM
I couldn't find any numbers on the Mikado frame, but the seller also has a smaller Nishiki Sport sitting there, the lugs, color, dropouts, and even the spacing and location of the head badge rivets are the same. The seat post decals are even the same other than the Mikado has a fancy 'M' logo between two gold bands, and the Nishiki has an 'N' in the same place. Even the gold seat post bands are identical. The Nishiki has a number on it's left rear dropout, 1125333, there is nothing there on the Mikado. The Made in Taiwan decal is a square foil decal on the Nishiki, while the Mikado decal appears to be a waterslide type decal in the shape of a ribbon. The paint, fork crown, and even the seat post and Diameter is the same as he used the aluminum seat post from the Nishiki on my Mikado. (The Nishiki has a bent fork and some frame damage so he's using it for parts).
Could Mikado be made by the same source? He says the Nishiki is older by several years, either a 1976 or 77 model. The Nishiki has cottered steel crank arms and steel Araya rims.
01-20-11, 05:24 AM
Alright, I went looking online and see what you mean, the frames do where the decals look the same or very similar, but the frame details don't match the later Giant built frames? Most of the Giant built bikes, including Schwinn and Nishiki, had their cable guides brazed on the lower right side of the top tube, not on top as on your Mikado. The years would be similar but other details are also different, most Nishiki models I've seen have a slightly fancy lower head tube lug where the Mikado has a plain lug pattern. If your Mikado was built by Giant, it may have a G for Giant, then date code on the right dropout.
+1, given the serial number and location, it sounds like it may be a Giant manufactured frame. As suggested, check the other dropout.
Toyoda would have been the importer/distributor. I'm not sure exactly what the business relationship was, but Toyoda were also the Miyata distributor/importer until about 1982/1983. At that time, Miyata Industries became the listed importer but the address did not change. I'm not sure if Miyata bought Toyoda, just the facilities or if there had been corporate ties all along.
Personally, I wouldn't put too much weight on the resemblance to Nishiki. It was not uncommon for lesser brands to mimic the cosmetics of more more popular brands. Regardless, the Nishiki brand was owned and imported by West Coast Cycle Supply, so the Toyoda reference would end the possibility of their being related, even if it turns out to be a Giant frame. At the time, Giant was a Taiwanese contract manufacturer who manufactured bicycles for numerous other companies.
01-21-11, 09:56 PM
Well, I got the bike home finally, it's all converted over to Shimano 400, derailleurs, crankset, a Shimano 14-28 freewheel, matching Ukai alloy rims and Viscount sealed bearing hubs with SS spokes. He swapped the brakes too, but their just newer versions of the same Dia Compe center pulls. He added some fancy padded bar tape too. The new tires are 1 1/8" skinwalls vs the plain 1 1/4" gumwalls that was on it. Plus, I have the old parts to use elsewhere. The steel wheels are straight as an arrow and on Shimano hi flange hubs, the old crankset did say Grand Silver on it, he was pretty insistent on keeping that so I didn't bother trying to keep it. The derailleurs and old freewheel are in good condition, and the old brakes can be reused with some cleaning up.
I'll get some pics once the weather gets better, its too cold to even think about messing around outside right now.
As to the real manufacturer, while it would be cool to know where this came from, it did turn out to be a nice bike, I didn't get to ride it much today, everything is covered in black ice from this morning's rain and snow flurries. I barely got around his driveway a few times without dumping it and myself on the ice.
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