Since everything else on the bike is pretty much period correct (the levers IMO are fair game since they all sucked balls next to the Tektro/Cane Creek style); I wouldn't want to put obviously modern pedals on it...
I was thinking some nice old ally quill pedals with clips and straps would fit the bill perfectly.
And changing the brake hoods was another really GREAT idea. Totally changed - improved - the look and feel of the bike. (I ended up with the Cane Creek models). I really like the way that the cables and housing are now hidden beneatht the bar tape. Thanks so much.
Since the thread is still current I just have to reply. I don't have broad experience with old bikes, but from about 1992 until hitting a tree last fall, I rode a mid-eighties Canadian market Nishiki Rally mixte. It was a decent bike when bought but not particularly fancy. (The fancy bike is my dad's Miyata.) Even so, it beat all the dozen or two dozen bikes I test-rode last year and this year trying to decide about repair or replace. Now I *have* to replace as the frame bent in the accident such that the front wheel overlapped the downtube. So seeing your refit Nishiki and how happy you are with it makes me happy, and I'm going to be all nostalgic at you.
I am probably the next vintage-refit bug victim. The local bike co-op found something my size over the winter: a mystery Bianchi touring frame, Ishiwata 022 CrMo, Japanese built, 1983/84 ish Canadian market. Model unknown and unknowable -- no decal left at all and I can't find any Canadian catalogs to compare. There was almost nothing left beyond the frame and fork (chrome socks and metallic red paint), but the frame seems straight and undented. I'm having trouble deciding between refit it NOW, or buy something new/trouble-free to tide me over. I think the answer requires an acid bath to remove the rust: if the Bianchi is sound under it, well, I still have functional 27" wheels and tires and some other bits and bobs, so buying half a bike of parts, mostly drivetrain and brakes, at the co-op and paying to have it painted and assembled would probably be about the same as the $500ish new bike. Much less expensive than a new steel touring bike, for sure. And I bet the mystery Bianchi would ride far sweeter than a $500 aluminum hybrid, don't you?
To "Wyn" : First off, I really enjoyed reading your response . . . just a pleasure to read it. Thank you. And your quote, "Much less expensive than a new steel touring bike, for sure. And I bet the mystery Bianchi would ride far sweeter than a $500 aluminum hybrid, don't you?" - is spot on. It prompted me into a mental exercise: comparing the ride on my old Univega aluminum hybrid to the ride on my (much older) steel bike. They were both fun to ride - they're BICYCLES, after all - but the stability, look and ride of the steelie really took me by surprise. It just makes me smile. I do hope you'll restore that old Bianchi. It sounds as if you'll be doing much of it yourself with the help of your local co-op? If so, even better. Including the cost of the new Brooks saddle, I guess I've also got about $500 in my Nishiki. And yes, it's exponentially better than any similar-priced aluminum hybrid. IMO.
We'll be riding three bikes on this morning's 2400 foot climb. Bruce will have his mail-ordered, carbon-framed Motobecane, which has improved his speed and climbing ability greatly over the heavier aluminum hybrid he once had. Jane will be riding her CF Roubaix. We purchased a new 155mm saddle for her, trying to make these longer rides a bit more comfortable.
Me? I'll be riding the Nishiki. The $3,000 CF Tarmac will again sit in the garage. I don't know why. That's just what seems to happen each week.
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At the shop where I had previously brought the Nishiki for repairs, everyone was sad about its demise. One mechanic actively commented that it must have been a very nice ride and was supportive about my not being into the aluminum flat-bar indexed-shifting hybrids I tried on there. (That's 4 major differences: frame material, bar style, shifting style, and bike category.) I'd like to try a very similar steel and aluminum pair, because most of my try-ons have been *so* different from my main ride that what I came away with was that the handlebars were all too far away, the saddles all hurt, and that I would be far happier with a friction shifting system. I could not feel much difference between them over prices of $500, $800, and $1100. Is the problem me or the bikes? I don't know, except that next time I'm bringing my own saddle for try-ons. The saddle and stem length are easy fixes; I'm not sure how annoying it is to switch back to friction shifting with levers, and frame material...well, better like what you buy. I plan to try on a few of the more classic steel bikes I can't afford, in hopes of learning whether the dealbreaker is steel, friction shifting, or both. I have some money constraints right now, but long-term, I'd rather spend more on one or two bikes that I'll be happy riding for decades than less per bike and never be happy with them. I will certainly want to get a classic steel bike to suit me, whether it's sooner or later. I love how they look, and I suspect I love how they ride.
Vintage frames small enough for 5'-2" me are not common, unfortunately. (Frames my size are not even common new, based on my reading around makers' sites. Why? There are many other women my height.) I've done minor repairs and maintenance for years, and have a reasonable selection of tools for most bolted-on bits. What I don't have is assembly experience: I need a supervisor. The "logical" thing to do is to buy something like a Kona Dew or Specialized Globe Work, and put on my North Road bars, convert to friction shifting, and put on my own saddle. When I finally started seriously planning that, I realized that the same money could just as easily buy a refit on the project bike, and who can resist chrome socks?
I would much rather a bike shop handle things like cold-setting the stays, truing the wheels, and removing/reinstalling the bottom bracket and headset. I ought to ask around for painting quotes from auto shops in case that's the better buy. I'm sort of thinking, if I have to strip it to de-rust it, why don't I paint it too? Who does the rest of the labour is negotiable so long as expertise is on hand. It's busy season at bike stores and I want to be out riding SOON, so building it myself during guided repair time at the co-op over my May vacation might actually be faster!
I stripped all the paint off the Nishiki before taking it into the paint shop. I thought that's what I was supposed to do. They told me it didn't matter one way or the other. They would sandblast it anyway before applying new powder coat paint. $150 if I stripped the paint off first; $150 if they stripped off the paint.
I'll never cold-set a frame - I prefer the stock 1.25" tires and rims. Like you, I let the bike shop true the wheels, although with most of these restorations I simply buy new wheels.
"Wyn," I've made 2 changes to my bike that have altered its demeanor more than any other: (1) New, non-cantilever, hooded brake levers from Cane Creek. SO much more comfortable than the old metal brakes. (2) down-tube shifters vs. the original stem-mounted shifters; I got a nice Suntour Power Shifter set from E-Bay. Both are highly recommended, and neither cost very much.
There are a lot of 49 and 50 cm frames for sale out there. Not sure what you're looking for, but I hope you can make the Bianchi (or similar) fit you. BTW, I'm 5' 10". With the seat and stem extended to their specified max length, my Nishiki 50cm bike fits me better than fine; it fits me like a glove. But it has a very LONG, 56 cm top tube; a full 2 cm longer than my 56 cm Schwinn. So I'm actually surprised that your Nishiki fit you.
one of those. It's a weapon.
My old steel bike doesn't compare, despite having all the mod cons...
To be fair, after spreading the stays, making sure it's straight, aligning the dropouts, chasing the BB and facing the BB and head tube, there was one operation I couldn't perform, and I think it needs it - making the head and seat tubes parallel... I think it's twisted.
[QUOTE=Kimmo;16705392]I have one of those. It's a weapon. [QUOTE]
That's true. My carbon bike took me from the back (riding a Univega hybrid) to the front of my riding group for most rides, especially any in which climbing was involved.
[QUOTE=Kimmo;16705392] My old steel bike doesn't compare, despite having all the mod cons...[QUOTE]
It may not compare to your carbon in terms of acceleration or as a climbing weapon. But you may find it compares quite well - or even excels - in other areas.
Old steel road bikes belong in a category of their own. For roaming the countryside quickly - with a bit of gear strapped on - a steel road bike is far more adept than any beach cruiser or MTB. So I suppose you could place it in with aluminum hybrids. But that wouldn't be fair either, because to me, the old steelie is more comfortable, efficient, and better looking. Just an opinion.
Good to know, about the stripping. Part of me wants to preserve the original paint...but it's got so many nicks and scrapes and flaking sections, and the decals are ratty. Might as well hang out a sign saying, "Hello, Rust!"
I had gone frame-shopping the obvious way, at the local used bike shops, and probably at the wrong time of year. It could be a local supply issue -- they said they don't see a lot of small steel road frames. I'd be a little nervous about buying something like this online when lacking experience and not having a lot of money to burn on learning experiences.
I have a set of almost-new alloy 27"x1.25" wheels from getting the Nishiki running again last year, which is how I got enticed down this rabbit hole. They still look like wheels not tacos. I was able to use the front wheel to check the Bianchi's fork for straightness, so either they're both okay or they're both bent in a highly complementary manner. But the back wheel I could not test: there's an almost-new 6 gear cluster on the back wheel, and so when I tried to slip that into the rear stays, I discovered that the Bianchi must have had a 5 speed cluster, because it was exactly 5mm too small. So I intend to get the stays spread for a 7 or 8 gear cluster, and get a triple crankset if easily done. If I have to buy and rebuild the whole damn drivetrain, I may as well have the best selection of the parts bins, and I can use smaller clusters with a spacer or two.
Neither existing brake levers are worth keeping. Look what was done to these poor drillium levers!
And here's what was left of the Bianchi, generally:
But this time around, I'm putting an Nitto North Road townie bar on. I'll keep the nicer of the drop bars in case I want to switch back...but I had gloves and gel and padded tape and I was *still* getting numb hands. The old bars were narrow enough that I felt like I couldn't quite breathe enough, and the North Roads are much wider. I'm debating between regular city/MTB levers and inverse levers; I got the model that could accommodate bar-end thingamabobs.
I'm going to have my choice of downtube shifters (the Bianchi), stem-mounted (the Nishiki), and getting creative with either set on handlebar mounting clamps. (The spare set can be mounted on the DT bosses again.) I've never had DT shifters so I'm not sure if I'll like them. Also wasn't sure I'd like bar-ends -- I would need to ride the bike a while and know how often the bar ends might intersect with my legs.
My newest acquisition is a '94 Trek 930, purchased from a LBS as part of a complicated trade involving a 2 for 1 trade plus cash. That said, the True Temper OS II frame is one of the nicest rides ever, maybe better then my Taiwan made Salsa Casseroll. After riding it a few times, I can say without reservation that the way it is built up now, it is a far better value than any entry level Modern Trek/Giant/ Specialized hybrid. And that is as it sits. Still plenty of room for improvement. That said, IDK if I would recommend a newbie work with a bike shop to build up a 20 year old steel mountain bike, as opposed to just buying a new bike with warranty.
Last edited by MRT2; 04-27-14 at 01:07 PM.
1. The high-normal front derailleur (FD) was binned and replaced with a more modern, low-normal Shimano FD.
2. The canitlever ("turkey leg") brake calipers were replaced with Tektro hoods that concealed the cables beneath the bar tape and provided a much more comfortable and clean assembly.
3. The stem-mounted shifters were replaced with SunTour downtube shifters. Another excellent upgrade.
All else - the center pull front brakes, side pull rear brake, Suntour RD - are original parts that came with the bike.
YOU, on the other hand, will need to replace all of these. It's a more ambitious project than mine . . . but judging from your previous posts, I expect you have the experience, knowledge and intelligence to bring it all together. Very much looking forward to observing your progress. Best. DB
That Brooks saddle looks outstanding on your build, how are you liking it?
Jane and I finished our ride in Golden Cove, RPV late this morning. We had a light breakfast at the Yellow Vase. Fell into a conversation with a man (about my size) and his wife at the next table. He admired the Nishiki, admitted he was a fan of these old classics, and eventually asked if he could take it for a ride. I said, "Sure!", and he rode away. (He left his wife as a security deposit.) He came back about 20 minutes later. Happy. Said he'd give me $300 for it. I replied it wasn't for sale. His final offer was $400, which is probably what I've got into it, including the seat, the paint and the gas money to Riverside. My response was the same: "Sorry, it's really not for sale." He left, annoyed, with (I believe) a relieved wife.
He never asked what frame size it was.
The world is full of kind people. If you can't find one - BE one.
Set up properly, the seat is more of a "perch" than a "chair." In other words, your weight is also supported by (primarily) your legs and (secondly or thirdly) your arms. The saddle becomes a component of a 3-part weight distribution system.
My wife's first bike - a 3-speed beach cruiser - had an overstuffed seat that was about a foot wide. She complained about her sore butt after long rides. She's happier on the narrow Specialized road bike, because her weight is now distributed as described above. DB
The world is full of kind people. If you can't find one - BE one.
The firm saddle makes sense. They can hurt at first, especially if you haven't been riding for a while, but feel much better later on.
I really like your story by the way, that would put a smile on my face for sure.
Stupid Harebrained Plan: rebuild a vintage Bianchi with no experience!
So far what's really frustrating is being slow and indecisive about critical decisions.
What Size Bicycle Fits What Size Rider?
Up until the early '80's, this was a fairly easy question to answer. You would stand over the frame of a bike, and if there was an inch or two between the top of the top tube and your tender parts, that was the right size. Bikes commonly came in frame sizes two inches apart, so there was not much question whether the 21" or the 23" was the "right" size.
At that time, in the world of mass-produced bikes, the difference between different size bicycles was that the larger sizes had longer seat tubes and head tubes , so the top tube was higher [note - not longer. DB]. This was usually the only difference between frame sizes.
In a given model, the height of the top tube would vary, but the length of the top tube and every other part of the frame would be same, whether the bike was a 19" or a 25". A person who buys a 25" bike is likely to have a longer upper body than someone who buys a 19", so the larger rider will likely feel cramped by having the same length top tube that puts the handlebars too far away from the 19" rider. The only concession to this difference was that the better builders would supply a stem with a longer reach on larger frames, and a shorter one on smaller frames.
The world is full of kind people. If you can't find one - BE one.