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Old 07-13-11, 05:16 PM   #1
maladroit
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Nishiki 3-speed budget project?

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!
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Old 07-13-11, 07:10 PM   #2
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Why are you trying to force a 3 speed out of it? If the back D works and you can put a tire on the back that fits, plus the rest of the missing parts, just don't shift past the 5th gear. You will actualy get a wider gear range. At least you will be riding and finding out if the bike is worth your time and MONEY.

Welcome to the build !
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Old 07-14-11, 10:31 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Surprising given your handle! I'm not sure why I'm biased against derailleurs. A combination of aesthetics and lack of understanding of physics I think. Also, city traffic. Plus, would I be able to use a chainguard?

That's a good idea for now, though. Of course, I still have to find a rear wheel...

I'd still be curious whether you or others think it's a worthwhile frame. I'm taking my finding it to be a sign that I should use it.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:49 AM   #4
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the frame sticker says it's double butted cromo tubes.. sounds like a decent frame
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Old 07-14-11, 11:48 AM   #5
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Decent frame, decent parts. Put it back together and ride. SunTour Symmetric shifters + arX derailleurs are nothing to dismiss.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:04 PM   #6
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fixie?
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Old 07-14-11, 01:33 PM   #7
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That is a good bike.
I agreeing with the above, you should get it going just as it is built, for now, and think about your 3speed IGH conversion "long-term".
Parts, wheels etc. will make themselves available, just see.
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Old 07-14-11, 02:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for your input everybody! I'll give the derailleurs a shot. It's been a while -- before the 3-speed, I rode fixed for several years (before I lost my fixation). Of course, if I happen to come across an IGH wheel ...

David, I like your attitude about finding parts. Positive thinking!
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Old 07-14-11, 08:32 PM   #9
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Yes, I think it could be a good frame for your purpose. If it can be made to fit " your " frame without too much compromise to proper riding position.

I know, my handle.... it's more of a statement , not a preference. No matter what I ride usually, I tend to find 3 gears that suit me and stick with them. But I do own and use the Raleighs too !

I mostly want to see another good ol' steel lady back on the road and think maybe you can help her.

Parts will come, road is there already. 3Speedslow
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