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Old 09-16-09, 11:00 PM   #1
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1970's Nishiki Single Speed

I'm looking for a vintage road bike to take to school and I stumbled upon this 1970's Nishiki Single Speed on craigslist. I do not know much about bikes, but I had been riding my dad's old Fuji road bike until it was stolen out of our garage and know that I want another classic/vintage style bicycle.

What I'm wondering is what I should look for when I go to inspect the bike tomorrow. What are some things that I should definitely check out? Are there any deal breakers that I should be sure to look for? It would also be nice to know what you guys think this bike is worth so I can possibly negotiate a better price with the seller.


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Old 09-16-09, 11:16 PM   #2
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They did a hack job of making it a fixed gear. If it was my bike, the first thing I would do, is strip it down to the bare frame and start from scratch. Your going to want to repack you bottom bracket with fresh grease and replace the crank with one that has no chain guard and only one sprocket. Most people would go with the smaller of the 2 chain rings. Probably a 39 or so...Next remove the gear cluster(freewheel) and use a fixed gear like an 18, it's up to you to decide if you want to coast or not, If you need to coast without pedaling, get a BMX style ratcheting sprocket. I personally can't stand front reflectors, so I would remove them. I also hate auxiliary brake safety levers. That cheap vinyl seat has got to go, you may not like a Brooks Leather B-17 but if you tried one you just might grow to love it!
It might be alot of fun to convert this bike back to a 12 speed. Just get a rear derailleur, front derailleur and some down tubes shifters, add some links back to the chain and your all set.
This bike is a gem in the rough...don't forget to repack both hubs and headset with fresh grease. I love the white lithium kind, also Phil Wood waterproof is great! I would say that bike is worth $65.00 dollars in it's present condition, if it was mint, it could go for $170 to $215 , the frame is fully lugged and very nice.
Good Luck

Last edited by king koeller; 09-17-09 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 09-16-09, 11:29 PM   #3
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wow, that's a lot of modifications to be made...I do consider myself a tinkerer/DIYer, but the extent of my bike modification experience is changing flat tires on BMX bikes.

I would like to have the bike be a single speed, but I would like to be able to coast, so I do not want it to be a fixie. How much would parts run me to set the bike up like this? How much would I be paying to have a bike shop set it up for me? (I would like to do it myself, but I am a little unsure if I would be able to make all the necessary mods).

Also, I my college sits right on the coast and I see a lot of bikes succumbing to rust. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening to my bike?
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Old 09-17-09, 01:15 AM   #4
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Just by looking at it, the bike looks to be a low end model. However, Nishiki's were made well in general so it should provide a good ride. As of now, it looks to have the poor man's single speed, not fixie, so you can coast on that but not shift. Therefore, you don't need to spend any money to turn it into a single speed since that's what it is! You can add gears to it but it may be too much work if you're starting school soon and don't really need it.

If you don't want the bike to rust, make you protect it against rain or puddles, which would accumulate water in the frame and rust. The paint should protect the outside. If you're really paranoid, you can use Frame Saver (spray protectant) but I don't think this bike is worth doing that. Again, since this is a low end bike, don't spend too much on it, make sure it fits, make sure nothing is broken/overly worn/ bent and just ride.
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Old 09-17-09, 07:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by king koeller View Post
They did a hack job of making it a fixed gear.
That's an insult to us hacks everywhere. Seriously, op, king's comments about price are right (though I'd go lower for the sub-hack mechanical work, on the assumption you'll have to overhaul the whole thing. I could do that "conversion" job in under fifteen minutes, and I'm not that fast).

I personally, though, wouldn't trust much about anyone who tried to sell a "conversion" like this for more than fifty bucks. It either smacks of profiteering or cluelessness, I'd need to meet the seller to ascertain which.
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Old 09-17-09, 08:12 AM   #6
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I would want the derailleurs and chain links back before i would give him $50.
That's a low end bike - don't get excited.

And as far as rust in your area. Just like a car - wax all the painted and steel bits, lube all the moving parts. A little bit of routine maintenance will go a long way.
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Old 09-17-09, 08:25 AM   #7
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Low end bike that is pretty messed up. Not worth dealing with it IMHO. You will end up putting quite a bit of money into it, and yet still just have a bottom end bike when you are done with it.
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