This question is something I hope the famous and talented T-Mar or the great Sheldon Brown can answer… I have an older Nishiki Custom Sport road bike, which I’m hoping to obtain more information on. I feel like I got a great deal on it, and have built it up with some fairly decent parts; now I just want a bit more info as to its age. It’s serial number is KC 38338, and it has a nice rich burgundy red and gold paint (with gold pinstriping around the lugs). The steel is Tange double butted (no further indication as to whether it’s the Champion #1, Infinity, etc. type tubing – just “Nishiki Double Butted Chromoly Tange” on the decal). It has the “handcrafter by Kawamura” sticker I’ve seen on practically every decent Nishiki I’ve come across.
The reason why I liked this frame so much originally was that the paint was practically perfect, and appears never to have been built up. Once I did begin to build it up, several things were interesting to me. First, despite the relatively good quality of the tubing, there isn’t a brazing for a rear derailleur threading (although there are braze-ons for brake cables, under-the-bottom bracket cable guides, and one bottle cage). Also, despite ample clearance for what I believe were 27” wheels, the brake holes are drilled for later recessed, allen-type brake bolts, as opposed to the older nutted brakes. Seems strange to me that a frame with good quality tubing, designed for more “modern” brakes and with a good set of braze-ons, was designed for older standard 27” wheels and no rear derailleur braze-on, no? And for others reading this forum, this Custom Sport is great. I built it up with Suntour Symmetric DT shifters, Vx-GT rear derailleur, Suntour sprint front der, Campy Record cup and cone BB, Stronglight 99 model 86mm BCD cranks (47/32T) that are pimpy nice and low-Q, and (although a HUGE anachronism, a set of Alex ALX330 rims that look kind of out of place – 20 spokes rear, 16 front – I’m looking for a more classic set of hoops to build up, but in the meantime, it’s nice to go so fast with such little effort!) The wheels have a 12-32 cassette I built up from a mix of parts I had in the bin. It’s a good range, I think.
This forum is great – I’ve read it for a long time. Having a late 80’s Miyata 610GT and a mid-80’s Univega Viva Sport, an ’80 Trek 412, and an ’83 Trek 830, this resource is a valuable one for me to answer questions. Previously I would able to figure out an older bike’s age thru the stampings on its components, but having purchased the Nishiki as a frame and fork only, I couldn’t go this route. Any help from any of the member on this forum would be greatly appreciated.