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1972 Vista Esquire

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1972 Vista Esquire

Old 01-30-18, 11:30 PM
  #1  
tdsherman325
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1972 Vista Esquire

I was given this in exchange for a 40 of Olde English in the parking lot of my neighborhood Allsup's:



This is after removing the handlebars+stem that were one there which just...



Yeah. You can't really see it in the picture, but the stem is cracked where it was bent back in order to accept those handlebars. They went in the garbage.

Vista is a bit of a rabbit hole - from what I can gather, N.I.D.A. was the National Independent Dealers Association, formed by a coalition of small bicycle sellers as a sort of a 'screw you' to Schwinn after they restricted bicycles sales to their approved shops in the late 60's. Early on, the bikes were Schwinn clones built by Columbia and somewhere in the mid 70's they switched to more standard Japanese/Taiwanese built bicycles. Disraeli Gears has a few ads from the earlier Columbia built years:
Boys Life 1968 - Vista
Gold Key Comics 1969 - Vista
Gold Key Comics 1972 - Vista

The frame caught my eye as it's very similar to the GT "Triple Triangle" design while predating it by a decade. It also has Ashtabula-style forks:



So it's definitely odd enough to give a second chance at life.

Some immediate issues:
  • Those are 559mm BSD wheels while the correct size should be 630mm BSD.
  • Being a Columbia, I'll need to get a hold of a .833" handlebar stem and a set of 1 1/8" to 1" headset adapters
  • The derailleurs/shifters are trashed.
  • No brakes.
  • General decay.

Additionally, it has the later Columbia kickstand without all of the parts:



Don't know where I'm going to find those.

We'll see what we can do with it.

Last edited by tdsherman325; 02-12-18 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Forgot a picture; updated measurements
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Old 02-13-18, 04:43 PM
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While the frame's at the powder coaters' I figured I'd see what if anything was salvageable. I managed to rescue the chainring, crank & fork crown cover:



The spoke protector is off of a set of 630mm rims I'm working on. Unfortunately, the pedals, BB, headset, and front derailleur were beyond salvation.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:22 PM
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What's the story with the brake lever hood clamped to the fork?

Cool bike. Looks like nice massive tire clearance. Plan?
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Old 02-13-18, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
What's the story with the brake lever hood clamped to the fork?

Cool bike. Looks like nice massive tire clearance. Plan?
I have no idea what the story behind that hood is and I can't envision a purpose for it. Dude was a little weird.

The tire clearance is a bit excessive - even 27 x 1 1/4" (630mm BSD) require pretty long reach brakes. I haven't quite decided on wheels/tires but it's going to be either those or 700C rims with 29'er cruiser tires if they'll fit. I'll make some actual measurements when I get the frame back.

The frame's getting a "copper vein" powder coat. As for the rest of it I'm planning on Huret dérailleurs (I've got a spare duopar rear), touring gears, chrome fenders, north road style handlebars, and a Brooks saddle. Maybe a rack. I haven't figured out pedals yet - there's not a lot of options available in 1/2" for the ashtabula crank.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tdsherman325 View Post
I haven't figured out pedals yet - there's not a lot of options available in 1/2" for the ashtabula crank.
VP Components has a lot of nice platform pedals with a 1/2" spindle. Including silver/polished ones.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:35 PM
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-----

Chainwheel set looks to be Takagi.

Regarding the 1/2" pedal subject, had you considered converting the bottom bracket to cotterless with one of those adaptor sets?

Pedals which are on there appear to be Union 40U.

-----
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Old 02-13-18, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

Chainwheel set looks to be Takagi.

Regarding the 1/2" pedal subject, had you considered converting the bottom bracket to cotterless with one of those adaptor sets?

Pedals which are on there appear to be Union 40U.

-----
It's stamped "THREE ARROWS" which, from a cursory google search, does appear to be Takagi. They seem to be common on Columbia-built bikes.

I woudn't convert a one-piece crank. I have plenty of bikes with various three piece cranks and while they're much more versatile, ashtabula style cranks are far less trouble to deal with. Gotta enjoy the simplicity for what it is.
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Old 02-14-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
What's the story with the brake lever hood clamped to the fork?
-----

Perhaps owner wished to make foot pegs for freestyle or lowrider coasting only to discover they could not locate another brake lever body.

---

The selection for a replacement bar will pretty much be limited to one with a 25.4mm centre as it would be almost impossible to find an .833 stem with a clamp of any other dimension.

-----

Last edited by juvela; 02-14-18 at 09:47 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 02-14-18, 07:49 AM
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Beer for bike, I like it,
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Old 02-28-18, 08:49 AM
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Finally got the frame back from the powder coater - it came out pretty nice! Got the crank, headset, forks and handlebars installed:



I used Wheels Manufacturing headset reducers in order to install a standard 1" headset. The handlebar stem is a Wald #4.

I immediately ran into my first problem: the dropouts. They're a bit goofy:



The "L" shape makes it so the Huret I had planned to go on there will not fit; the horizontal part of the slot is too short and the mounting claw overlaps the vertical section. In fact, nothing I have will fit it. I may see if I can modify a spare hanger plate to fit.

Got a set of 630mm alloy rims with quick releases at a garage sale. I'll see if they clean up nice.

Last edited by tdsherman325; 02-28-18 at 08:49 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-21-18, 07:59 PM
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Update

Finally got some wheels:



They're a pair of Araya chrome rims with Sunshine hubs. Nothing fancy, but roughly period appropriate and in good shape.

I also used an early SunTour GT for the rear derailleur. The Huret Duopar will have to wait for another project.



I also managed to get my hands on a NOS SunTour Spirt:



Which should be interesting. I'll have to get a good picture, but I happened to have a matching set of vintage SunTour stem shifters.

Saddle's on the way, though I still have to find a seat post. Just gotta sort out pedals and brakes. We're getting there!
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Old 05-09-18, 07:23 AM
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Assembled and rideable! There's still some tweaking to do, but overall I'm happy with how it came out.

A few notes:
- The chain is really long. I had to buy two and splice them together to get enough links.
- I ended up having to drill out the badge and head tube so I could use standard rivets.
- I'm not sure I like the Conti Ultra Sport tires. They're almost too grippy and make the steering feel weird.
- The brakes are Weinmann 750's and they suck. Part of that's the lack of braze-ons on the frame, so the cables are fully housed, but they should still be better than this. I need to experiment with them some more to figure out what I can improve.
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Old 05-09-18, 05:30 PM
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Unless your tire was previously sliding around, I can't see how a grippier tire could make the steering feel weird. I suspect that the headset bearings are adjusted on the tight side, especially since the Conti tires have a nice, round profile with no central rib.
A narrower tire will require higher pressure to support weight and cornering forces.
The steering should be absolutely free-moving with the wheel lifted off of the ground, no resistance or notchy action should be noted.

The bike looks great and reminds me of a good Schwinn Varsity.
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