Mountain Biking - Nishiki
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I have a few Nishiki bikes in my stable, doe's anyone know anything about their history?
Specifically the Alien and Ariel models.
10-27-12, 03:45 AM
Nishiki Alien - http://mombat.org/MOMBAT/Bikes/1990_Nishiki_Alien.html
10-28-12, 12:53 AM
That Red alien with the silver rear is the one I nearly bought. If I find one local for a reasonable price it's mine. I'd guess that particular bike is the most coveted of all Nishiki Aliens.
Both are great 'elevated chainstay' bikes. The Alien probably has more name recognition and value among collectors. In minty condition a 1990 Red Alien might fetch $1K+ to the right buyer (I might not even pay that and I like the bikes). Well ridden but not trashed maybe $150-$200 for a typical Alien frame $250-$300 for a rider. Fairly typical range for a mid level MTB but there are definitely going to be some interested buyers. The Ariel maybe $20-$50 less if they are in comparable condition.
Sort of guessing the Alien was the higher end of the two but I don't recall the Ariel specifically. The fact MTB icon Richard Cunningham is associated with the bikes give them some added appeal to collectors.
...and just because 'collectors' might be interested in the bikes doesn't make them priceless. It just means there is a market and you don't have to cave to the first low ball offer.
10-28-12, 09:18 AM
Currently have seven Nishikis in the collection. Two Ariels and one Cascade MTB. Nishiki was a very good brand back in the day, but when Darby bought them they went downhill in a hurry including their wierd marketing practices.
The Alien was always the top of the line MTB model when it was in the line up. When it wasn't, the Pinacle was the number one MTB. Sometimes there was more than one Alien model. To the best of my knowledge ALL the Alien models had raised chainstay.
The Ariel was always an upper level MTB in the Nishiki line-up, but never #1. It varied from #2 to as low as #4, but was always one of the better and pricier models. As a benchmark, in the late 80's an Ariel sold for around the same $$$ as a GF Hoo Koo E Koo after discounting. Not all Ariels were elevated chain stay although some Nishiki collectors think so.
In 89, the first elevated chainstay marketed by Nishiki was a steel frame, with round tubing and labeled as Alien. In 1990, the aluminum square tubing ( or rectangular) came out and that is the well known, Alien collectors covet. However, the steel frame from 1989, continued on to become the Backroads and the Ariel models. So the later Ariel and other steel framed, elevated chainstay Nishikis actually have the same frame as the first Alien. BTW, Nishiki was not the first to market the elevated chainstay, but they were one of the more popular brands to do so.
As far as buying an Alien goes, be careful. They are notorius for having cracked headtubes that make the frame an instant collector item that should not be ridden, certainly not on
difficult single track. Ironically, the less expensive Ariel and Backroads, made of steel do not have this problem.
Both the Alien and the Ariel frames have 1 1/8 head tubes and can accomodate sus forks, but be careful about using a fork with a lot of travel as these frames were designed during the age of 40 to 70 mm travel.
I've been told the initial steel Alien has a 1" headset, but I can neither confirm or deny this.
10-28-12, 09:29 AM
Here are some pics of the two Ariels that I have. The first is the older, 88 Ariel that is not an elevated chainstay frame. The second is a frame up build 92 Ariel. Note the period correct, Clark Kent, Scott, sus fork on the 92. The 88 is my #1, MUP rider, used frequently when I ride a gravel MUP that they have around here. The 92 is ridden once in a while on single track, but has to compete with a couple of late model Stumpys for ride time.
Soon the 92 will have a period correct XT crank.
EDIT: BTW, those raised chainstay bikes handle very nice. IMHO the 92 handles better than any of the other vintage MTBs I've owned and that includes a sought after late 90's steel Hoo Koo E Koo and a 97 GF Tassahara. I also found it to be a better handling MTB than any of the 02 Treks we owned (820, 4300 and 4500).
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