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Is this rideable?

Old 05-28-17, 08:10 AM
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Is this rideable?

My neighbor gave me this bike. It needs the usual attention to get it to rideable condition, grease bearings, new tires/tubes, etc. I'm wondering if it is worth the effort. I'll do it if it will ride good.
Sorry. You can't tell from the picture. It's a Nishiki Sports Special.
Last summer I found a old J.C. Higgins bike at a yard sale and thought I'd fix it. I spent time and money on it. When I was done it rode like Fred Flintstone's car. I don't want to go through that again.

Is this bike worth saving? Would it be a good rail-trail bike? Would it be ok for a 50 mile ride on the Katy Trail?
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Old 05-28-17, 09:21 AM
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This will ride like Wilma's car.

Low end, not worthy of a 50 mile ride unless you are under 21 and don't know better.
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Old 05-28-17, 09:22 AM
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It's a $30 bike no matter how much you fix it up.
It looks fine for casual rides.
I wouldn't want to ride it 50 miles, but it could be done, especially if there are no hills.
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Old 05-28-17, 12:19 PM
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Thanks. I don't need another educational experience.
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Old 05-28-17, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
This will ride like Wilma's car.

Low end, not worthy of a 50 mile ride unless you are under 21 and don't know better.
and for those who don't know, a perfect example of WHY people don't like stem shifters. guilt by association.

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Old 05-28-17, 04:16 PM
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Old 05-29-17, 07:26 PM
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You could ride it 50 miles on the Katy Trail especially the part near St. Louis. It's got plenty of gears for the mostly flat trail and fat enough tires for the hard packed crushed limestone.

However it's still far from ideal. Probably the best economical bike for the Katy Trail is a hybrid - preferably one without any suspension.
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Old 05-29-17, 10:00 PM
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I finally had a chance to get it up on the stand and found out it has a bent rear rim. It's probably going in the trash next week.
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Old 05-29-17, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I finally had a chance to get it up on the stand and found out it has a bent rear rim. It's probably going in the trash next week.
I wouldn't go that far. Donating would be a good idea here. There might be a bike co-op in your area that would take it. That or goodwill might be able to turn a coupe bucks on it.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:36 AM
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Of course it's rideable. Stop being a bike snob. Straighten out the wheel, put some new tires on it & take it to the co op or Goodwill. That might be a dream come true bike for a lonely kid somewhere. It's much too nice for the trash bin.
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Old 05-30-17, 06:24 AM
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I like the fenders.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I finally had a chance to get it up on the stand and found out it has a bent rear rim. It's probably going in the trash next week.




...back when I were a wee lad, we'd 'ave loved that bike.
My dad used to make me ride around the neighborhood on a converted wheelchair. But we was 'appy in those days.
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Old 05-30-17, 06:06 PM
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Yeah, that'd make a totally great casual cruiser bike for someone.

I'd grab something like that off the curb in a heartbeat. Agreed, Co-op or Goodwill.
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Old 05-30-17, 06:56 PM
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I'll put the rear wheel on the truing stand and see if I can straighten it out before I trash it. Maybe it just has some loose spokes.

It is a pretty cool bike. Ever seen shifter knobs like that?
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Old 05-30-17, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post


...back when I were a wee lad, we'd 'ave loved that bike.
My dad used to make me ride around the neighborhood on a converted wheelchair. But we was 'appy in those days.
Do they let you post silly pics here? This ain't P&R. Someone could get the wrong idea.
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Old 05-30-17, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Do they let you post silly pics here? This ain't P&R. Someone could get the wrong idea.
...everyone's a critic. I have a couple of bikes from that era with shorty fenders. They were considered very cool BITD, even though they didn't work very well as fenders.
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Old 05-30-17, 09:43 PM
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Its got a broken spoke on the drive side. If I replace it and true the wheel what's the prognosis? Is it likely to pop more spokes?
Also, it has 27 x 1-1/4, 90 psi gum wall tires. Will replacements be a problem to find? They're not some kind of old-time obsolete tire, are they?
The bike looks like its had some use. There's a worn spot in the paint where a cable rubbed. That tells me it's seen some miles.
Need more pics?
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Old 05-30-17, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Its got a broken spoke on the drive side. If I replace it and true the wheel what's the prognosis? Is it likely to pop more spokes?
Also, it has 27 x 1-1/4, 90 psi gum wall tires. Will replacements be a problem to find? They're not some kind of old-time obsolete tire, are they?
The bike looks like its had some use. There's a worn spot in the paint where a cable rubbed. That tells me it's seen some miles.
Need more pics?
...the future of the wheel depends a lot on how well it was evenly and properly tensioned initially, and how good a job you do on it now, in the reconditioning process. I'm ricing plenty of wheels that date from about that era, which I carefully and lovingly retensioned, stress relieved, and trued without replacing the spokes. It might need just the spoke replaced and tensioned to match the others, and you're good to go.

That's a standard tyre size, and replacements are readily available. The cheapest decent tyres you can get locally here are probably the ones sold by Perfomance. But there are some pretty good tyres in that size available on the internet for sale, that are slightly better and possibly more expensive. If you want something like that, there's a thread on 27" tyres here on BF you can find with Google.

That style of bike is popular with college girls and the Lovely Bicycle / Cycle Chic set.

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Old 05-31-17, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Need more pics?
Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Ever seen shifter knobs like that?
Need more pix of those shifter knob thingys!
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Old 05-31-17, 06:48 AM
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Replace the spoke and tension it up. Good enough is good enough, and 70s 36-spoke 27 x 1 1/4 wheels are surprisingly forgiving and adaptable. This is not now nor was it ever a high performance bike, but repaired and fitted with useable tires it would make a great casual, beater, errand kind of bike.

In the mid-70s when I was a wee tad, we would sneer at these bikes in our adolescent poseur faux-cognoscenti way (I know, French AND Italian in the same comment, but eh, who cares?). The shifters, in particular, are very pretend-muscle-car shifters of the sort we would expect to see on a Sears kid's bike with ape hanger bars and a banana seat and the big flat slick rear tire. But I am sure these will work forever, so there.

If you do choose to repair the wheel and get better tires, I would suggest running no more than 70 psi. Those rims probably pre-date the hook bead seats of modern rims, and more than 70 psi frequently will lead to blowouts. For that matter, you will want wire bead tires. Find some Kendas on sale cheap, and maybe even consider going with 27 x 1 3/8 like these and make it a comfy around-town bike suitable for fun or casual rides.
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Old 05-31-17, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
Replace the spoke and tension it up. Good enough is good enough, and 70s 36-spoke 27 x 1 1/4 wheels are surprisingly forgiving and adaptable. This is not now nor was it ever a high performance bike, but repaired and fitted with useable tires it would make a great casual, beater, errand kind of bike.

In the mid-70s when I was a wee tad, we would sneer at these bikes in our adolescent poseur faux-cognoscenti way (I know, French AND Italian in the same comment, but eh, who cares?). The shifters, in particular, are very pretend-muscle-car shifters of the sort we would expect to see on a Sears kid's bike with ape hanger bars and a banana seat and the big flat slick rear tire. But I am sure these will work forever, so there.

If you do choose to repair the wheel and get better tires, I would suggest running no more than 70 psi. Those rims probably pre-date the hook bead seats of modern rims, and more than 70 psi frequently will lead to blowouts. For that matter, you will want wire bead tires. Find some Kendas on sale cheap, and maybe even consider going with 27 x 1 3/8 like these and make it a comfy around-town bike suitable for fun or casual rides.
I will second the notion of 1 3/8 tires @ 75 PSI for a forgiving ride. It's the only thing that make my gas-pipe special tolerable over rough pavement.

Just to clarify your statement of "no more than 70 PSI on non-hooked rims". A better statement might be "no more than 70's PSI on non-wire bead tires". You can (and I have for a lot of miles) run much higher pressures on straight-walled rims. The wire beaded tires are key. Basically, just don't run non-wire beaded tires on straight-walled rims and you'll be fine -- you just need to make sure everything seats properly as you inflate. Cheap Kenda tires can be a pain to seat. Panaracer Paselas are a dream. This statement of "general wizdom" is out there and it's just not accurate and can lead to confusion for folks just getting into this. Sorry, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.
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Old 05-31-17, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Of course it's rideable. Stop being a bike snob. Straighten out the wheel, put some new tires on it & take it to the co op or Goodwill. That might be a dream come true bike for a lonely kid somewhere. It's much too nice for the trash bin.
+1000. While it's probably not anybody's first pick for a 50-mile ride, this is a genuinely great choice for a college student to ride and keep on campus, or a commuter to keep locked at the train station, or pretty much anybody to use for shopping/commuting trips under 5 miles or so. A Nishiki is a solid, well-built bike; it's also a great bike to learn your mechanical skills on (which it sounds like you're ready to do). If it were me, I'd replace that spoke, true the wheels, put a new set of 27 x 1 1/4s from Performance or Nashbar on it, and either A) ride it, B) sell it on Craigslist for $85-140, depending on your market, or C) give it to a co-op. I'd take those shortie fenders off and sell them separately.
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Old 05-31-17, 03:46 PM
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P.S. this is way better than an old J.C. Higgins.
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Old 05-31-17, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Do they let you post silly pics here? This ain't P&R. Someone could get the wrong idea.
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Old 06-01-17, 11:09 AM
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Dig them crazy shifters.
I got the broken spoke off and put a drop of oil on all the nipples. I'm also going to review my Jobst Prost book in anticipation of tensioning the wheel. Wish me luck.
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