Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Speialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 01 Bianchi Campione, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount
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Currently have seven Nishikis in the collection. Two Ariels and one Cascade MTB. Nishiki was a very good brand back in the day, but when Darby bought them they went downhill in a hurry including their wierd marketing practices.
The Alien was always the top of the line MTB model when it was in the line up. When it wasn't, the Pinacle was the number one MTB. Sometimes there was more than one Alien model. To the best of my knowledge ALL the Alien models had raised chainstay.
The Ariel was always an upper level MTB in the Nishiki line-up, but never #1. It varied from #2 to as low as #4, but was always one of the better and pricier models. As a benchmark, in the late 80's an Ariel sold for around the same $$$ as a GF Hoo Koo E Koo after discounting. Not all Ariels were elevated chain stay although some Nishiki collectors think so.
In 89, the first elevated chainstay marketed by Nishiki was a steel frame, with round tubing and labeled as Alien. In 1990, the aluminum square tubing ( or rectangular) came out and that is the well known, Alien collectors covet. However, the steel frame from 1989, continued on to become the Backroads and the Ariel models. So the later Ariel and other steel framed, elevated chainstay Nishikis actually have the same frame as the first Alien. BTW, Nishiki was not the first to market the elevated chainstay, but they were one of the more popular brands to do so.
As far as buying an Alien goes, be careful. They are notorius for having cracked headtubes that make the frame an instant collector item that should not be ridden, certainly not on
difficult single track. Ironically, the less expensive Ariel and Backroads, made of steel do not have this problem.
Both the Alien and the Ariel frames have 1 1/8 head tubes and can accomodate sus forks, but be careful about using a fork with a lot of travel as these frames were designed during the age of 40 to 70 mm travel.
I've been told the initial steel Alien has a 1" headset, but I can neither confirm or deny this.
Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator
Last edited by roccobike; 10-28-12 at 09:34 AM.