I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but I'm an occasional lurker and I enjoy your discussions here, so I thought I'd ask for your opinions/advice.
I've been riding a Murray 3-speed for a while now, but I've never been happy with its generally creakiness, and now that I've moved to a walk-up, I'm not too happy about the 42 pounds either. I also managed to overtighten the rear axle so that the axle came loose from the hub while riding, and while it seems to work fine now it makes me nervous. (I don't fully understand what happened, but that's another issue.)
So I've been trying to decide what to do next, looking at the overpriced local listings, having appointments cancelled, when I happened to pass by a nice looking frame in my neighborhood, leaning against a rowhouse gate -- missing its rear wheel, seat, and brakes and generally looking sorry. I went back a couple days later and bought it from the older gentleman there for $10. (It took some haggling -- he said I could have it for free, while I countered with $20.)
What do you think? It's a Nishiki Olympic 12, a 1983 based on the serial. Made in Japan, double-butted Tange tubing. And oh, it's light -- the catalog said it shipped at 26 1/2 lbs. Sorry for the low quality photos.
It's about my size, maybe a few cm small.
A couple twigs in the seat tube and some rusted out chipped paint ...
I think the front wheel is original (Sunshine?) and looks to be in good shape.
What I'm thinking is to set it up for comfortable upright riding with an internal gear hub. I am on a budget, so I'm trying to figure out how to do this cheaply.
The puzzler for me is what to do about a rear wheel. Nobody seems to sell new 3 speed hubs in 27 inch wheels, and wheelbuilding seems pretty expensive. It seems like it would cost at minimum $150, probably more, all told. Is that right? Another option is to buy a rusty, low-end cruiser just for the wheel -- if I can find one in 27, I could probably do that for around $75.
Aside from that, I think I need to clean it and build up the rest of the parts. Would steel wool and clear coat work for that bacne-looking top tube? Could I keep the big sprocket for the 3-speed setup? ("Sugino RT" on the crankarm.) And any pointers on how to navigate the universe of widths and threadings I need to fit parts to?
Thanks for any input!