Kabuki Hilltopper T15 road/touring bike...
...I'm doing the Natchez Trace Parkway in June and was wondering if anybody had any feedback on the above bike. Built in '71, very solid and mechanically sound. Heres my question: do you think weighing this bike down with 15- 20 lbs worth of gear is too much? I'm not planning on changing out the tires( they're new, just not as wide as touring tires) and at the most we're only going to make about 325 out of the possible 450 miles of the trip. Should I change out to touring tires or just keep the ones already on? And also, does anybody have any experience with these bikes? I'm paying $315 for it( racks already on both ends) Extremely smooth riding bike, but is this too much to pay?
It sounds like an excellent bike for your purposes. Don't worry in the slightest about giving it 20 lbs of load -- bikes of that era are if anything more versatile than the ones built today. If you were doing a hillier route you might want to change the crank rings or freewheel to give you a lower granny gear, but the Natchez Trace Parkway is likely to be fine for the stock gearing -- especially with the not-so-heavy load you contemplate.
Great choice, terrific price -- go for it!