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  1. #1
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    1986 Nishiki Sport Drive Train Upgrade

    I would like to convert my original drive train (Sun Tour AR front and Rear Derailleurs w/ 52x40 double crankset) to a triple. I also currently have a 13-28 freewheel. I'm looking for advice.

    I was thinking, since I just recently put in a new square taper BB, I would go with the Suquino XD-600 crankset, Shimano M591 RD. But I haven't decided what to use for the bottom pull FD. Too be honest I didn't even notice this till I took the attached pictures. I plan to stick with friction shifters.

    My specific questions are:

    1. What would you suggest for a bottom pull FD? Or, would the original Sun Tour AR have the range for a triple crankset?

    2. Can I reuse the RD "hanger" from the original derailleur to fit the Shimano M591? If not, what should I use?

    I'm open to any and all suggestions. I know some may say the frame isn't worth it. Some will say to convert to a single speed. Some might say keep the double and get a mega range freewheel.and some might agree with what I'm doing. I'd like to hear all your opinions.

    In hindsight I probably shouldn't be this far into this bike. But I am the original owner and it's been hanging in the garage for the last decade while I've been commuting on my converted Trek 950 mountain bike. Out of boredom I started riding the Nishiki. First I stole my wife's mothballed Gitane's aluminum wheels. Than I got a Salsa Bell Lap 46 cm handlebar and put on some of those old style foam grips. I got me some Vittori Randoneure (.sp ?) tires and a couple weeks ago some Planet Bike fenders. I've been having so much fun on this bike, but I to admit the gearing's just not low enough for my 53 yo legs.

    Let me know what you think,

    Matt
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  2. #2
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Have you considered just going with a compact crank? I converted a Sugino standard crankset to compact by swapping chain rings from a MTB crankset. That AR RD would probably handle it just fine. If you want to go with a triple, I would just go with a similar Suntour RD, a GT version: AR, ARX, Blueline, Cyclone, even a VxGT would be fine.

    Play around with the gearing calculator at the Sheldon Brown site. A lot of vintage standard double cranks had 42 tooth small rings. So a move to a compact size can provide quite a bit of relief. I went from a 52/42 crankset to a 47/35 or something like that just by swapping rings. The other advantage of staying with a double is that the rest of your drivetrain should be fine (BB, derailleurs, etc). Will probably have to lover the FD just a tad.

    By all means, as a minimum, try that front AR derailleur first, it is bought and paid for.

    That XD600 crankset is not cheap. I guess I am too thrifty for that option.

    If you really want to go with a triple, I would try something like this perhaps:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-sugino-c...item27b5e1bed4
    Last edited by wrk101; 10-23-10 at 02:31 PM.

  3. #3
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    I can't imagine that AR FD wouldnt work. I refurbished an 83 nishiki century a few months back which had a Suntour Spirt FD on it. I put a triple on it and ZERO problems with getting it to work. Heck, It had a short cage Suntour Honor RD on it and I put a triple AND a MEGARANGE 7speed freewheel on it and had it working fine, It handled the 34 tooth big cog on the megarange fine, it just didn't take up all the slack in the granny gear if I shfited more than 3 gears down.

    You have taken good care of the bike, I hate when people say "its old, don't put money into it" that is stupid. If the damn thing rides, it rides! so what if you won't have good resale, your planning to ride it!

    When I went to 7speed, I bought a $35 allow 130mm spaced freewheel hubbed wheel from www.aebike.com I only rode this bike for a few hundred miles before selling it but I had no issue with the durability of the cheap wheels. because it was 130mm spaced with a freewheel, I simply spun the new 7speed freewheel on, there was no re-dishing involved. I did have to force it into the dropouts but that isn't a big deal, it's easy enough to make getting the frame coldset not worth it. I do NOT recommend the megarange freewheel however. It goes 14-16-18-20-22-24-34 and quite frankly, the huge jump from 24 to 34 is a bit annoying. If you keep the existing crank on there, perhaps it's worth it, but if you go with a triple up front, you probably wont need a 30/34 combo. I did use that combo and it was great for a couple of enormous hills I faced but I'm 235 lbs as well. Simply going with a triple and a 14-28 7speed freewheel should have you set.

    Did you simply repack bearings in the old square taper bottom bracket or did you replace with a cartridge unit? if you convert to a triple you will probably need a new spindle

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    wrk101 - Yes, I did consider a compact. Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places but it seems to me chain rings are expensive. At least half the cost of the XD-600 ... if not more. Where should I be look'in?

    I've really branched out on my evening commute home since I started riding the "road" bike. The problem is 10 -12 miles is uphill; some of it fairly serious. Last week I took my converted rigid mtn. bike, expanded the route even a bit more, and found myself on the 2nd lowest gear of its triple at the tail end. I'm pretty sure I need a triple but will check out Sheldon's calculator.

    I too am cheap. I'm also somewhat of a rookie bicycle mechanic and have experienced the frustration of compatibility issues. By cheap, I mean I order everything I need all at once to save on shipping. My excuse for ordering parts that I may or may not need is they can be transfered to the eventual touring frame I plan to build up. But I digress.

    cappuccino911 - We think alike, but I must take into consideration this Nishiki has a lot of hi-tinsel steel. But is sure rides nice and makes me feel a bit unique out on the road. And yes, I'm planning to go 7-speed. My current 6-speed freewheel is starting to skip and needs to be replaced. I too like closer gear spacing and am planning to stick with a 13/14-28 freewheel if I go with a triple. But nothing's ruled out yet.

    No, I didn't repack the old BB bearings. I replaced it with a Shimano UN54 68x122 cartridge BB.

    Everyone - I'm still curious about that RD hanger. Is it reusable? In other words can it be used universally with other derailleurs?

    Anyone else ?

    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    wrk101 - Yes, I did consider a compact. Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places but it seems to me chain rings are expensive. At least half the cost of the XD-600 ... if not more. Where should I be look'in?

    I've really branched out on my evening commute home since I started riding the "road" bike. The problem is 10 -12 miles is uphill; some of it fairly serious. Last week I took my converted rigid mtn. bike, expanded the route even a bit more, and found myself on the 2nd lowest gear of its triple at the tail end. I'm pretty sure I need a triple but will check out Sheldon's calculator.

    I too am cheap. I'm also somewhat of a rookie bicycle mechanic and have experienced the frustration of compatibility issues. By cheap, I mean I order everything I need all at once to save on shipping. My excuse for ordering parts that I may or may not need is they can be transfered to the eventual touring frame I plan to build up. But I digress.

    cappuccino911 - We think alike, but I must take into consideration this Nishiki has a lot of hi-tinsel steel. But is sure rides nice and makes me feel a bit unique out on the road. And yes, I'm planning to go 7-speed. My current 6-speed freewheel is starting to skip and needs to be replaced. I too like closer gear spacing and am planning to stick with a 13/14-28 freewheel if I go with a triple. But nothing's ruled out yet.

    No, I didn't repack the old BB bearings. I replaced it with a Shimano UN54 68x122 cartridge BB.

    Everyone - I'm still curious about that RD hanger. Is it reusable? In other words can it be used universally with other derailleurs?

    Anyone else ?

    Matt
    my nishiki was Hi-Ten as well. it weighed 32lbs when i took it in off th estreet. it had steel wheels, steel bars, stem, just about steel everything! I put a threadless carbon fork on it with aluminum bars and stem, swapped out the old crank for a modern triple that used an isis cartridge bottom bracket and put on the aluminum wheels I mentioned above. When all was said and done, it was done to 24lbs which was fine for a 235lb guy like myself. You are on the right track, but you will probably need a new bottom bracke when you make this crank change.

    Your RD hanger may or may not be reusablebut it's easy enough to get a replacemtn universal hanger. I'm not familiar with the RD that you mentioned but if money is an issue, you can get a shimano tourney RD for about $15 online. they aren't the prettiest but they work and they are an indexing deraileur in case you decide to upgrade to index shifting down the road.

    Are you deadset on a vintage looking crank or would you put something more modern on there? Nashbar sells a compact crank that is about $60 but its black. There is an ebay seller wheelandsprocket that often has good deals on cranks as well. As someone who uses a triple, almost the only time I go to the granny gear is when i hit the biggest of hills and then I use the granny gear with only the two largest sprockets. I'm definately switching to a compact on one of my bikes thje triple is a bit overkill.

    EDIT: just looked at the pic of the rear deraileur. It's definately reusable and probably preferable to reuse that one. Those cheap Tourney RD's i mentioned above come with and without a hanger
    Last edited by cappuccino911; 10-23-10 at 06:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    BTW, your bike is NOT an 86. its an 83. Do you see the code on the dropout that says G0283? that means it was manufactured by Giant in February of 1983

  7. #7
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Here's my two cents (because I'm really cheap):

    First I'd get a Megarange 7-speed freewheel. I'm quite happy with the one on my mountain bike. The 34T acts as your granny gear, a substitute for a triple if you will. If the gearing isn't sufficiently low after that, I'd get a smaller chainring up front. As small as you can fit on the crank. I suspect those changes will give you all the range you need. 35/34 is quite a bit lower than your current lowest gear of 42/28

    Finally, your bike is worth upgrading if you like it. Don't let anyone tell you different.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post

    ...Snip

    You are on the right track, but you will probably need a new bottom bracke when you make this crank change.
    ...Snip

    Are you deadset on a vintage looking crank or would you put something more modern?

    ...Snip

    EDIT: just looked at the pic of the rear deraileur. It's definately reusable and probably preferable to reuse that one.
    Why do you think I'll have to change my BB? Chainline? Newer tech?

    Good to know that hanger will work.

    Thanks

    I'm not deaset on the vintage look but for some reason seem to be stuck on square taper. Familiar I guess.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
    BTW, your bike is NOT an 86. its an 83. Do you see the code on the dropout that says G0283? that means it was manufactured by Giant in February of 1983
    I knew that, but Thanks for pointing it out. It's kinda like square taper BB's. I get these things stuck in my head and ...

    Matt

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    Here's my two cents (because I'm really cheap):

    First I'd get a Megarange 7-speed freewheel. I'm quite happy with the one on my mountain bike. The 34T acts as your granny gear, a substitute for a triple if you will. If the gearing isn't sufficiently low after that, I'd get a smaller chainring up front. As small as you can fit on the crank. I suspect those changes will give you all the range you need. 35/34 is quite a bit lower than your current lowest gear of 42/28

    Finally, your bike is worth upgrading if you like it. Don't let anyone tell you different.

    Sounds like a good strategy but the question is can the RD handle the mega-range freewheel and/or take up the slack of smaller chain rings? It's nice to go piece by piece but from a mail order perspective the shipping kills it. Maybe I should go to my LBS.

  11. #11
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    Sounds like a good strategy but the question is can the RD handle the mega-range freewheel and/or take up the slack of smaller chain rings? It's nice to go piece by piece but from a mail order perspective the shipping kills it. Maybe I should go to my LBS.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/lowgears.html

    This article might help you answer your question.

    If it were me, I'd consider converting to singlespeed, but I live in a relatively flat town. One thing you might want to do before embarking on a big upgrade project would be to add new bearings to the hubs and check the tension on the wheels they all look in good shape, but as someone who does a lot of vintage overhauls, I've found tightening up the wheels seems to make a bike feel better overall. Perhaps you could swap out the stem shifters for some $5 Falcon thumbshifters since you're planning on going friction. Much easier to operate. Someone posted about that recently. Bravo on sticking w/ friction.
    Last edited by peripatetic; 10-23-10 at 10:39 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    Sounds like a good strategy but the question is can the RD handle the mega-range freewheel and/or take up the slack of smaller chain rings? It's nice to go piece by piece but from a mail order perspective the shipping kills it. Maybe I should go to my LBS.
    that old suntour stuff is amazinglyversatile. i got my suntour honor rd to work with a megarange freewheel by reversing the b screw, however I could really only use the 2 largest cogs before taking up the slack became a problem however there was no issue with getting it to shift tothe big ring. Chances are in the granny gear you won't need more than the 2 biggest cogs anyways so I say buy a new inexpensive rd but try the stock one first and then switch if need be or buy the crank online but pick up a proper rd at an lbs, they will probably have a used one for cheap.

  13. #13
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    1. I had an '85 Bridgestone with a Sun Tour ARX (one step up from the AR) derailleurs and the front worked just fine with an SR triple crank so your AR is also likely to work. Try it and see before you spend any money on an unneeded replacement.

    2. Your rear derailleur hanger looks like the current derailleur is bolted on with the standard M10x1.0 threads so you should be able to use it with any replacement derailleur.

    I favor the triple crank used with a modest range freewheel approach. The trouble with megarange and similar freewheels/cassettes is the huge gearing gaps. Even 10-speed wide range cassettes have them. With 6 or 7-speeds the gaps are way too big.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, I prefer closer-ratio freewheels and triple-crank for all-around versatility. I just converted a similar bike for my wife and put 13-24t 8-spd freewheel in back and 24/36/48t triple in front. There's only 2-3 gear overlap at each end of the cluster and it has higher and lower gears than she'll ever need without too much spread between each gear.

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    Pursuing the possibility of just replacing the chain rings I decided to measure. My understanding is that for a 5-bolt crank I'd measure two adjacent bolts center-to-center and use the formula mm * 1.701=BCD. Using this formula I get a BCD of 186 +/-. Is this possible? I attached the rather poor quality photo as proof of my measurement of 109.54 mm +/-.

    This is the original Sugino crankset.

    MattDSCN3046..jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/lowgears.html

    This article might help you answer your question.

    If it were me, I'd consider converting to singlespeed, but I live in a relatively flat town. One thing you might want to do before embarking on a big upgrade project would be to add new bearings to the hubs and check the tension on the wheels they all look in good shape, but as someone who does a lot of vintage overhauls, I've found tightening up the wheels seems to make a bike feel better overall. Perhaps you could swap out the stem shifters for some $5 Falcon thumbshifters since you're planning on going friction. Much easier to operate. Someone posted about that recently. Bravo on sticking w/ friction.

    I like that article from Sheldon. Thanks.

    I went all through this bike. All the bearings and wheels. The rear wheel was professionally rebuilt just 1K miles ago. The bike rides nice. Someday, if I ever return to the flat lands, I'll convert it to a single speed. But for now I've just got too many hills. I'll check out those Falcon thumb shifters. Never heard of 'em.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    Pursuing the possibility of just replacing the chain rings I decided to measure. My understanding is that for a 5-bolt crank I'd measure two adjacent bolts center-to-center and use the formula mm * 1.701=BCD. Using this formula I get a BCD of 186 +/-. Is this possible? I attached the rather poor quality photo as proof of my measurement of 109.54 mm +/-.
    You don't need to replace the big-ring really, just leave that. Measure the inner ring and see what BCD is, then get the smallest ring that'll fit that crank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    Why do you think I'll have to change my BB? Chainline? Newer tech?

    Good to know that hanger will work.

    Thanks

    I'm not deaset on the vintage look but for some reason seem to be stuck on square taper. Familiar I guess.
    I'm far from an expert on this stuff, I just know that when i put on my modern triple crank the manf had a recommended bottom bracket of 118mm for the triple but I think 113 for a compact. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable can provide a batter explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    You don't need to replace the big-ring really, just leave that. Measure the inner ring and see what BCD is, then get the smallest ring that'll fit that crank.
    The smaller ring is a 110mm by my measurement unless it's some weirdo proprietary Sugino size and I'm off by some fraction of a mm. It looks like the smallest 110 ring I can get is a 34T. Is it mechanically feasible to shift from a 52T big ring to a 34T small ring? 18 teeth?

    I'm still hoping someone can answer my question regarding the BCD of the 52T large ring. I'd really like to reduce this to a 48 or 46 tooth.

  20. #20
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Its possible to make the shift but it isn't going to be pretty or smooth. Are you sure those rings come off completely? Most of those back then looked like the came apart but really didn't. Also buying a good used crank is cheaper than buying rings usually. And even triples aren't bad (case in point here) But you might have to change the BB spindle to accommodate a triple. A compact is nice (I use one currently) but it works really nice in conjunction with the newer 9/10s rear so that your jumps aren't unusually large and you get the range of gears you want, which is why they did half-step back in the 5/6s days on a triple crank.
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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    The smaller ring is a 110mm by my measurement unless it's some weirdo proprietary Sugino size and I'm off by some fraction of a mm. It looks like the smallest 110 ring I can get is a 34T. Is it mechanically feasible to shift from a 52T big ring to a 34T small ring? 18 teeth?

    I'm still hoping someone can answer my question regarding the BCD of the 52T large ring. I'd really like to reduce this to a 48 or 46 tooth.
    No problems with shifting from 34 to 52t. Just some minor FD bending mods and fine-tuning really helps.

    I've replaced big-ring on those cranksets before. I just drill new holes in the ring to fit the larger the BCD. However, you won't be able to go much smaller, maybe just to 50t.

    Best bet is to get a used 110mm crankset with 34/46t or 34/48t rings (about $20-30 used). Heck, you can pick up a complete garage-sale or thrift-store bike for $30-40 that has those cranks and end up with a lot of spare parts.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-25-10 at 04:17 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member tk1971's Avatar
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    On my Nishiki Prestige, I went from a double 52/42 with 6 spd 13T - 26T, to a triple 52/38/28 and modern 135mm rear with an 8 speed SRAM PG-830 11T - 32T(276g, and $20). I'm a spinner, and can't ride up my usual weekend canyon road runs without the triple. Even now, I find myself in full granny mode more often than I'd like (ego-wise, that is).

    The 68 x 122mm bottom bracket didn't work for me (smallest chain ring would hit the chain stay). I ended having to buy a 68 x 127mm (square) for my triple crank. I got a used Sugino VP triple 110-74 BCD off ebay for $29 + shipping with 48/38/28 rings in great condition. I removed my 52 from the double and put it in the triple, giving me 52/38/28. My stock Suntour Cyclone front derailleur shifts well with the triple. For the rear with the PG-830 ([52T- 28T front] + [32T- 11T rear] = 45T capacity needed), I opted for an older XTR mtb long cage derailleur (RD-M952-SGS 236g). If I were to keep my stock rear wheel with a 11T - 26T freewheel (only 39T capacity needed), I would have kept the Suntour Cyclone rear derailleur as well.

    Everything is smooth and I almost cut climbing the same canyon road in half compared to riding my full suspension mountain bike (39 lbs, Camelpak, and 26x2.35 tires).

    Friction shifting is the greatest, since I can incrementally fine tune everything for a perfectly quiet drive train.

    Here is my Nishiki before my PG-830 arrived. The Shimano HG-30 (8spd) was a whopping 416g.



    tk

  23. #23
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1971 View Post


    tk
    Very pretty silver-and-red color combination on that.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
    Very pretty silver-and-red color combination on that.
    Thanks. I've since had to remove the reflectors because after short rides, they'd be loose and rattled. I guess my next set of tires will have to be reflective.

    tk

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    I really appreciate all the replies and am taking everything into consideration. The used market really seems like the way to go. I find it interesting the 68x122 BB may not be wide enough to accommodate a triple crankset. Of all the things to consider that's the one issue I didn't think I would have to worry about.

    Once again Thanks, and please continue to share your insight.

    Matt

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