Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International
I have a 1984 Nishiki International with 700x32 tires. With padded bars and 2 gel seats it is very comfortable. Kawriverrat, you say the International has a "better" ride. I will assume that means comfortable. I don't know if it is the spindly frame or 30 year old steel, but my International is very flexy, and very comfortable. Also with the 32 tires I can only inflatethem to 85psi or the tires balloon out and rub the fork and frame. That too, contributes to a cushy ride as compared to the 23s I had run at 100psi for a couple of years. Then there is the geometry. The steel front fork of the International has moderate trail, but quite a bit by "straight-peg" modern standards. This, too, ads to ride flex. I understand that that sometime in the 1970's Nishiki shortened the International's wheelbase to make it more of a road bike and less of a tourer. The older, longer wheelbase would impart a less twitchy ride, and if the frame was as spindly as mine, it should be even more flexy. Your Fuji 1.5 Cross has an aluminum frame with little or no flex, and a straight carbon fork up front. Again minimal flex. But as far as a "better" ride, that is subjective and subject to the task at hand. Think cars. On a race track, less flex is desirable for control. You need some suspension to help keep the wheels planted, but generally less flex = more control. But driving off-road requires lots of suspension travel and compliance, and yet, a certain firmness is still desired so the car doesn't wallow. As I get older, I have come to favor more flex and comfort. My other Nishiki, a 1997 Blazer MTB turned commuter is also steel, but fatter-tubed with more rigidity. I run 26x1.75 tires at a firm 65psi, and have a gel seat with springs. I can perceive less flex in the ride, and a slightly more twitchy ride than the International, and even with the blazer's meatier road tires, It is more "disturbed" by bumps than the International.
Your Fuji 1.5 Cross is like a new VW Golf GTi, light-weight with firm strut suspension all around. The International is like an older 1960's sports car with softer A-arm suspension up front and slightly worn leaf springs in the back.
I looooove mine!