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  1. #1
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    New to commuting! - Miyata Vintage 12 Speed?

    Hello everyone, this is my first post at BikeForums as I need advice from the knowledgeable masses. My truck recently made its final death rattle and so I figured what better time to start full time commuting than now? I'm commuting to work on an old Puch Toledo (I can't find much information on it) and I think it's time to upgrade. I know very little about cycling but I've been looking at used bikes and found this ad:

    Miyata Vintage 12 Speed - Beautiful condition and well kept. Fully lugged. Shimano Exage Motion Shifters and brake system. Biopace engineering. Love these older Japanese engineered bikes. The Miyata ride better than even the handbuild Panasonics. If you have never ridden one of these superior great old bikes, come take this one for a spin.



    Do you think it would make for a decent commuting bike? Would I be better off buying a new bike? I don't have the option to take my bike inside my place of work and this will be my only mode of transportation.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
    Last edited by swhitis; 10-07-07 at 09:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Seņor Member ericy's Avatar
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    Tell us a little more about your commute (how long, and if there is anything unusual about it). What kind of roads/trails, and what kind of condition is the pavement? For example, if part of your commute was on loose gravel, these skinny tires might not work very well, and something more like a mountain bike might work better. If you were on decent pavement the whole way, then these types of tires would probably be fine.

    You would want to make sure that the frame size is appropriate for you, of course.

    Other than this, I can't think of a reason why this bike wouldn't work well for you.

    The other problem with these older bikes is that they have the older inch sized tires, so getting replacement tires can be a little harder.

  3. #3
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    My commute is only 3 miles and about half of it includes bike lanes with decent roads overall. There are a few hills but nothing major and I never need to go off road. I'll be using whichever bike I purchase for all my errands and out on the town duties though, all of them still on decent roads.

    I left out some key information on the bike; 23" frame, 33" standover, 27" tires.

    I think the standover might be a little bit on the high side for me, I've never had a proper fitting. I hope that's not the case, but if it is should I consider buying a new bike with all the commuting things I'll need like fenders, etc? I'm kind of apprehensive about buying a new expensive shiny bike only to have it stolen. Buying new my budget's around $500. Would it be possible to buy a better solid used bike and outfit it commuter-worthy within that price range?

  4. #4
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    I would cry if that Miyata is mine and get stolen.
    Find a beater at your local pawshop. Something <$30 if you can find one. Or get a folding bike, that you can put in a bag and sneak it inside your workplace.
    Mine, waiting patiently at a corner inside my workplace.

    It comes with a bag.
    Last edited by DVC45; 10-07-07 at 11:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Seņor Member ericy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swhitis View Post
    My commute is only 3 miles and about half of it includes bike lanes with decent roads overall. There are a few hills but nothing major and I never need to go off road. I'll be using whichever bike I purchase for all my errands and out on the town duties though, all of them still on decent roads.

    I left out some key information on the bike; 23" frame, 33" standover, 27" tires.

    I think the standover might be a little bit on the high side for me, I've never had a proper fitting. I hope that's not the case, but if it is should I consider buying a new bike with all the commuting things I'll need like fenders, etc? I'm kind of apprehensive about buying a new expensive shiny bike only to have it stolen. Buying new my budget's around $500. Would it be possible to buy a better solid used bike and outfit it commuter-worthy within that price range?
    If you look around this forum, lots of folks who commute prefer the older steel-framed bikes for a variety of reasons, so there isn't any need to buy new if you don't want to. Unfortunately I can't say whether this size is right for you or not - that's something you will have to figure out yourself. Perhaps others can suggest some simple tests that you can try to see if the frame is roughly the right size, but here is one resource you can use:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html
    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. 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.
    So I guess the answer depends a bit on how old the bike is. From the picture, it looks like the old rule of thumb may work.

    When I was in school, I never had fenders. I put a rack in the back and put a piece of cardboard in it to keep the mud from spraying all over my back. Then again, fenders aren't that expensive .

  6. #6
    Seņor Member ericy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC45 View Post
    Find a beater at your local pawshop. Something <$30 if you can find one.
    Yeah, but stay away from Walmart bikes. Those things are maintenance headaches.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericy View Post
    Yeah, but stay away from Walmart bikes. Those things are maintenance headaches.
    Exactly. Know thy brands: Magna, Next, Mongoose....etc. are no go.
    Look for 4130 chromo decal on the frame, if you're looking for steel bikes.

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    If the Miyata is your precise size, and your neighborhood bike shop staff look it over, and find no problems, it would be a nice bike for commuting. But, get it checked over before you buy it. Spending $100 to fix up a $50 "bargain bike" makes it much less of a bargain.

    But, if the cost of buying the bike, and getting it into A-1 shape is LESS than a total of around $150, you would be getting good value for your money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swhitis View Post

    I left out some key information on the bike; 23" frame, 33" standover, 27" tires.

    I think the standover might be a little bit on the high side for me, I've never had a proper fitting.
    It's a big frame, 59cm. It's for a 6' person.
    There is a chart: http://www.prodigalchild.net/Bicycle6.htm#FrameChart

    There are many oversized bikes on craigslist, and very few in the 52-55cm range.

  10. #10
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    It is a sweet bike though.

  11. #11
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    can't tell if there are any braze ons or holes to attach a rack -- always useful when commuting. Beautiful bike, it looks a bit more like a racing bike -- faster geometry. I agree with the comments... look for a steel beater (older TREK 830 etc) and set up for commuting.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by swhitis View Post
    My commute is only 3 miles and about half of it includes bike lanes with decent roads overall. There are a few hills but nothing major and I never need to go off road. I'll be using whichever bike I purchase for all my errands and out on the town duties though, all of them still on decent roads.

    I left out some key information on the bike; 23" frame, 33" standover, 27" tires.

    I think the standover might be a little bit on the high side for me, I've never had a proper fitting. I hope that's not the case, but if it is should I consider buying a new bike with all the commuting things I'll need like fenders, etc? I'm kind of apprehensive about buying a new expensive shiny bike only to have it stolen. Buying new my budget's around $500. Would it be possible to buy a better solid used bike and outfit it commuter-worthy within that price range?

    If you can get it for around 100.00 go for it. 27" tires are still readily available and will be for a long time. Just keep it lubed and tuned and the bike will last you a long time. Repack the bearings 2X per year, oil and wipe the chain as needed and hit the cable pivot points w/3&1 oil about once per month. Wipe it down and re-lube after riding in rain. Basic stuff.

    A Schwinn Letour, Fugi Grand Tourer, Panasonic DX 2000 are just a few of the Pac-Rim road bikes I've used as commuters over the years. They're simple and reliable. Your concern about bike theft is a solid one. That's why I used the older steelframe rbs. The components, though solid and reliable aren't worth much to a bike thief.

    Add, rack, lights, fenders, bags, etc. as needed/desired. Cycle commuting is a work in progress and one discovers clothing/gear applications when gaining experience. Post here, ask questions, sift through the answers and apply what pertains to your particular needs. There's a wealth of info @ BF. You're off to a good start w/t Miyata.

  13. #13
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    From your description of your commute, the Miyata should do you fine.

    I have an American Eagle/Nishiki that I used for commuting from the late '70s until recently when I moved to Little Rock. The steep hills and poor roads convinced me that changing to an early '90s Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike modified for street use with street tires, fenders, a rack and lights.

  14. #14
    It's true, man.
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    I commute on an old Miyata 610 and I love it. I'd ride that thing in a heartbeat.

    If you find the standover a bit too high, you could drop a few bucks and convert it to 700c wheels to buy some 'nard room.

  15. #15
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    I see a fixed gear conversion in your future.

    Actually, the Miyata is cool if it's your size, fixed or geared. My first fixed gear bike was built from an old Giant that had Shimano Exage. It worked great. I probably would have kept it geared, but the rear wheel was tweaked and I decided it would be easier and more fun to make it a fixed gear.

    Most of the time, all that an old bike needs to be "restored" are cables, tubes and tires.

  16. #16
    It's true, man.
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    I'm traveling tomorrow, and was looking at CL to see if any deals were to be had where I'm going - and I ran across this same bike.

  17. #17
    Seņor Member ericy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
    I see a fixed gear conversion in your future.

    Actually, the Miyata is cool if it's your size, fixed or geared. My first fixed gear bike was built from an old Giant that had Shimano Exage. It worked great. I probably would have kept it geared, but the rear wheel was tweaked and I decided it would be easier and more fun to make it a fixed gear.

    Most of the time, all that an old bike needs to be "restored" are cables, tubes and tires.
    Add to that list new brake pad, repacking the bearings with grease, and lubing the chain.

  18. #18
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    the photo makes it hard to see but to my eyes that chain and maybe even the casette have some rust issues. if that's the case you're going to have some repair bills. other things i tend to look at on used bikes:

    - bottom bracket. is it stiff? is the rotation even.
    - wheel true.
    - rust on lugs and braze ons.
    - brake pads
    - rear derailler and hanger. is it bent? this is a deal-breaker.
    - serious 'shark fins' on the chainring/cassette.
    - do the h & l screws on the rear derailler actually, you know, move. i've seen some spectacular rust there!

    when looking at an older bike i also automatically add the cost of new brake pads, tape and inner tubes to the price.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Lot's Knife's Avatar
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    Oops. Never mind.
    Last edited by Lot's Knife; 10-09-07 at 06:07 PM. Reason: I'm an idiot.

  20. #20
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    If it's your size and in decent condition, I think that Miyata would make a superb commuter. It's very much like the Univega Sportour (made by Miyata) that I'll be riding 14 miles to home in just a few minutes. Probably more road-worthy than you need for a 3-mile commute. One commuter-relevant shortcoming of many bikes from that era is weak, non-aero brakes, but that one looks like it has aeros already. Those 36-spoke, 27" rims are bulletproof, and there are plenty of good commuter tires still available to fit them.

  21. #21
    The Brutally Handsome Sizzle-Chest's Avatar
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    stick with the miyata and customize it as you get more into riding. save the amount you will have to spend on a new bike or even a new used and buy things like fenders and a rack. miyatas are very nice bikes. my primary ride is a miyata touring bike and i love it.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  22. #22
    Senior Member madfiNch's Avatar
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    That bike looks awesome. Go ride it and see if it fits you well! measure from the ground up to your crotch and then subtract an inch. That's roughly what standover height you should be looking for.
    But only buy it if it feels right!! You can't fix a bike that's too big.

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