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1970s Azuki Japanese Road Bike

Old 05-19-15, 04:36 PM
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1970s Azuki Japanese Road Bike

Hello all. I've been lurking for some time now trying to get up to speed on various aspects of bicycles and other associated things. Lots of great information here!

I have come to the conclusion that while I would love to jump onto Bikesdirect and blow a wad of cash, my needs are quite basic and wallet quite empty. I am mainly looking to commute around a college campus with a few hills here and there. From what I can gather in other threads, an old road bike gotten on the cheap is the usual advice and I think I agree. I am handy with tools, and I have a reasonably complete set of them.

I found this old Azuki which kind of looks interesting:

Do you think it's worth offering the guy $20 or so to have a fixer upper, or will I just end up spending big bucks on replacement parts and riding a pile of regret? I really appreciate the input.
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Old 05-19-15, 05:04 PM
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that's a very small bicycle for a small person. if it fits you, look into a full overhaul for the bike to get the most out of it. it will likely need a lot of work and a few new parts like a chain, maybe a freewheel, and tires. there are some inexpensive brake pads for sale on ebay made by kool-stop that i like, called skyway tuff pads.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:10 PM
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Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the front wheel is alloy and the rear is steel, suggesting the front wheel was replaced at some point. That, plus the fact that the front wheel clearly isn't sitting centered in the fork (in picture 2), makes me think front end collision at some point, and a bent up fork.
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Old 05-20-15, 05:28 AM
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That bicycle is entry level and not really worth spending a "wad of cash" on. You can do so much better and for not a great deal more money.

If you are going to spruce up an old road bicycle, start with something worthy of the effort and, eventually, capable of delivering decent ride quality. The Azuki will never offer good ride quality, in my opinion.

So, learn a bit about Vintage Bicycle Quality and take that information, coupled with information pertaining to How to Find Vintage Bicycles, and you will be much better prepared to make a "good deal" call in the field when presented with an opportunity to purchase a bicycle at a good price.
"98% of the bikes I buy are projects".
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Old 05-20-15, 08:02 AM
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Its small- how tall are you? Make sure you are looking for bikes that will fit.
It needs a lot. New tires- $30, tubes(probably)- $15, brake pads- $12.

Probably new cabling and housing is needed- $20 for brake and shift. That saddle is most likely bad even if its in good shape- $20.
The headset, hubs, and bottom bracket will need to be fully serviced since based on the condition that hasn’t happened in years(decades?). That $6 in grease and a few hours of cleaning and packing.

The wheels look like they don’t match. If you don’t care, cool, but if they wobble you should take them in to be trued at a shop- $0 to $20.

That would most likely get it to riding condition(once the drop bar is repositioned properly).

The seatpost and handlebars are most likely steel. Replacing them isnt necessary, but would cut maybe a pound of weight, if that’s something you also want to tackle.

Its probably $100+ and some sweat equity before the bike is in good condition to ride well and reliably.
If you were to buy the bike, I would suggest just tearing it completely down and cleaning everything since you will already need to take apart half of it for servicing. Just take a lot of pictures so you know what goes where and how.

It could be a good learning bike, if you enjoy the process of fixing it.

Know what sized you need first.
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Old 05-20-15, 10:04 AM
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I would say no it is just in too rough of shape to make sense even if you got it for free. It will likely need $100+ in parts if you do all the work yourself and in the end you will have a heavy ugly bike with bad paint that likely doesn't fit and may have a bent frame fork. This is the kind of project you could easily end up spending a countless hours and a couple of hundred dollars on and still not have much of a a bike.
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Old 05-20-15, 10:21 AM
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It's an interesting bike. But, looks pretty clapped out. Make sure wheels spin true, gears shift, seat & stem aren't stuck. You could easily sink $100 - $200 to get it in shape. And, that's if you do all the work yourself. I would give $20 for that. No more than $35. Good luck. Have fun.
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Old 05-20-15, 12:28 PM
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the Azuki badge belonged to Kawamura (Nishiki & American Eagle).

equipment mix resembles that of a Nishiki Kokusai.

if bicycle represents the Azuki version of the Nishiki Kokusai frame would be of plain gauge cro-mo tubing. might be worth a check for a tubing sticker...

size looks like 21" nominal. these were done on a 19 1/2"/21"/23"/25" size regime measuring center to top. might be ok for someone 5' 8". unless the rider were long legged the 23" would likely be too large.

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Old 05-20-15, 02:18 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

To answer someone's question, I'm 5'8". I do realize that size is very important, but I don't yet have a good eye for judging size just by looking at a bike. Those bikes that I have been somewhat interested in that did not list size, I have been asking what size they are. Of course, I can only acquire what I can find on the market, but have been open to anything in the 16" to 19" range for mountain bikes and a hair over that for road bikes.

I'm sure most of you can size up a bike at a glance.

I believe I will pass on this one, even on the cheap. I've reevaluated my needs, and they require a bike that works relatively well as is. I am fine with servicing and improving, but need to be riding before that happens.
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