Hi everybody..I've been viewing this site without membership for years and decided it's about time I stop lurking in the corners because I'm looking for opinions on a purchase.
I've ridden Schwinns ever since my first tricycle, minus a brief dalliance with a Raliegh cruiser. Right now I've put many miles and much maintenance into a 1988 WorldSport (pretty much the newest Schwinn I've ridden) with the help of the local bike shop but I've been considering an upgrade since my new commute is longer and along a rural highway. I'm also interested in doing a much longer ride at some point next year.
One of my options is a Nishiki Cresta, 15 speed, which according to the ad is a 1980s model (still waiting to hear on the model number) with Dia comp center pull breaks, Sun tour front, sun tour VX Quick Cage rear derailleur, Sugino 3 piece cranks, KKT KF2 peddles, Sakeae custom road champion bars and ARAYA 700C Presta Valve aluminum wheels with Kenda Competition Kontender 700 X 26 c tires. It's for sale at $150 minus a seat and has been well maintained, so it sounds like a good deal to me but I just don't know enough about Nishiki and it's testing my brand loyalty.
I'm wondering, is the price fair? Any opinions or information on how Nishiki might ride? Any recommendations for other, better things to wait for at around the same price? With a 20 mile ride to work, am I even right in considering what I understand is a touring bike? The frame is my size and I'm 5'4'', so it seems like I might be best off just getting it since I haven't seen a lot that would work, but is that a good idea? Thanks!!
The Cresta is a grand touring model, meant for multi-day rides with camping equipment. It has relatively slack angles and a long wheelbase which contribute towards a comfortable, stable ride. It will have fixtures for front and rear racks, fenders and multiple bottles. It will have wide range gearing with a triple crankset and wide range freewheel. The brakes are cantilever style, a sub-class of center-pull brakes, generally employed on touring bicycles to provide extra clearance for wider tires and fenders.
I'm guessing it is circa 1986 as the Cresta used 27" wheels though 1985 and went indexed shifting in 1987. If you get it, I should be able to definitively determine the age via the serial number and/or pics.
Nishiki was actually a USA contract built in Japan by various manufacturers. Given the assumed age and level, it was probably built by Kawamura, a well respected firm. Again, the serial number will tell us for sure. Regardless, the Cresta was a good, mid-range grand touring model.
A grand touring touring model might be well suited for that 20 mile ride, particularly if the terrain is hilly. It would be a bit slower than a sports model, but at least it's equipped for racks to carry your lunch and a change of clothes. Many commuters favour grand touring bicyckes.
Based on the assumed age, original price would have been about $375-$400 US. Grand touring bicycles are a hot commodity and command a premium. If it's in good condition, that is a good price, unless the local market is very soft.
Since you have been viewing this site for years, you know that Japanese touring bikes in good condition bring a lot more than $150. At the $150 price, you are not going to find a better bike, in your small size, unless you make looking for bikes a part time to near full time job (I look for bikes every day).
Most of the Japanese brands are interchangeable. A couple of brands enjoy a premium, (Miyata comes to mind), everything else is pretty similar. In general, on Japanese bikes from that era, focus less on the brand, and more on the build. Most of my keeper bikes were made in Japan in the 1980s (Panasonic x 4, Univega, Centurion).
Center pull brakes will hold the value down somewhat. A touring bike with cantilever brakes would enjoy the best market response. I would double check that aspect, the Crestas I have seen had canti brakes (see my comment at the end about specs changing year to year). But even if it has center pulls, its a deal.
For a price comparison, there's a small sized one for sale right now in San Diego for $385.
As far as specific information on this exact bike, my advice is to go look at it, soon (it should not last too long). Bike specifications changed just about every year, often they got better, occasionally they got worse. In person inspection is the key.
Current 79 Nishiki Royal, Jeunet 620, 59 Crown Royal, notable previous bikes P.K. Ripper loop tail, Kawahara Laser Lite, Paramount Track full chrome, Raliegh Internatioanl, Motobecan Super Mirage.
This seems like a good price for a C&V bike in a Grand or Deluxe touring model if it is in good condition. I often see basic Touring models sell for more money. While not as prestigous as other brands the Nishiki's exspecially those with Kawamura frames are sturdy good riding bikes and some of the most dependable of the C&V bikes from the 70's and 80's.
Thanks for all of the information. I thought this price was suspiciously low but I'm going to check it out tomorrow morning in person. I'm purchasing in the town where my parents live and the market is definitely soft due to the long winters. Hopefully everything is as good as it looks in the pictures when I see it in real life!
Time of year helps. Around here, prices are bottoming out. Not many bicycle buyers during winter, and you have the after Christmas dash to get cash. January can be a particularly good time for buying, and lousy time for selling.