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Besides aesthetics, is a steel Colnago really better than a steel Nishiki?

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Besides aesthetics, is a steel Colnago really better than a steel Nishiki?

Old 04-09-18, 09:03 PM
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Besides aesthetics, is a steel Colnago really better than a steel Nishiki?

I parked my road bike next to a Colnago the other day. Got campy Chorus and everything but I am not impressed. Is the Colnago more about pedigree? My bike got lugs, shifts properly, and has a sticker that reads "handmade in Japan" on the frame with nearly all the components made in Japan.
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Old 04-09-18, 09:16 PM
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Depends on the Colnago and the Nishiki. And it depends on what you use the bike for.

I have an early 70s Nishiki Olympic, a cheapie at the time. I use it for kicking around. It is a better bike for that purpose than a Colnago. It would not be better than a Colnago for racing or training.
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Old 04-09-18, 09:26 PM
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Apples and oranges.
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Old 04-09-18, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Apples and oranges.
Generally I agree, but I also agree with @Aubergine that the specific bikes and your uses of said bike are the heart of the matter.

That said, my vintage are Euro so truly I am biased. (edit = the Carabela is Mexican and leaving the herd this summer.)

Last edited by Wildwood; 04-09-18 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 04-09-18, 10:24 PM
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Yes.

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Old 04-09-18, 10:25 PM
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That's like saying is a car made by Honda better than a car made by GM. Are you talking about a Corvette versus a Fit or an NSX versus a Spark? Nishiki made some fine handmade bikes (some even rumored to have been sourced from Colnago). Colnago has primarily stuck with high end bikes but they have sold some lower end bikes (e.g. Colnago Sport) that are probably not as well made and with cheaper components than the high end Nishikis.
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Old 04-09-18, 10:30 PM
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Are there prizes for the winning Opinion ??
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Old 04-09-18, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
That's like saying is a car made by Honda better than a car made by GM.
More accurately, like comparing a Datsun 260Z with, say- a Ferrari 308. Both are excellent GT cars, but one is a lot faster, hogs way more gas, and far more expensive to repair & insure.
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Old 04-09-18, 11:05 PM
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I think it's really about the memories in the bike.

I have both Nishiki and Campagnolo.

A handmade custom bike with all Campagnolo Record gruppo, and there are so many memories I've ridden into that bike. The biggest when I let it go, and then years later got it back, you can come home again.

I also have a Nishiki Professional, all Nuovo Record gruppo on a Japanese frame, a vintage racing bike and it has really only one memory. An autumn ride, caught in the rain without fenders, mud, leaves and twigs, pumping really hard to get back before the torrent chasing me catches me, and then it hit me, those black and white pictures, those hard hard men, coated in the same mud, road debris but always finishing, a moment of understanding.

Another older Nishiki Professional with a chromed frame, SunTour components, it's waiting for my hip to calm down, to take me miles and show me things, to add memories.

These are all tools, devices, different purposes built into their design, time capsules, and yet in each the opportunity is what you bring to the ride, it's not about comparisons to me, it's about the moments you experience and the memories as you step off the wired life and slow down to the speed of a bike.
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Old 04-10-18, 01:01 AM
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Eh, I'm sure there are some Nishikis that are 'better' than some Colnagos. Maybe quite a few.

Although I've never heard of low-end Colnagos of any sort, there have been quite a few high-end Nishikis over the years. And you have to consider components; that's half the bike. In the mid-1980's, the Japanese component manufacturers were kicking Campy's ass to hell and back. SIS vs Synchro? Fughedaboutit! For awhile Campy was a bad joke, until it wasn't any more.

You have to ride it to decide for yourself.
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Old 04-10-18, 02:30 AM
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Yes.
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Old 04-10-18, 04:10 AM
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I say a blind "taste" test (painted black) is in order. Both identically sized and grouped.
Result: 50% chance of getting it right.

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Old 04-10-18, 04:38 AM
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I’m going with Nishalgo. Or maybe Colshiki?
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Old 04-10-18, 04:53 AM
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Both use brass brazed frames, so yeah... pretty similar if you really think about it. Schwinn Paramounts OTOH were silver brazed, so a different - and in my view - much higher quality frame than either of the other two. Despite Colnago's mystique on forums like this, their frames werent particularily better than anyone elses.
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Old 04-10-18, 05:30 AM
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Hmm, @Obeast, one can look at your question two ways. Perhaps it's about brand loyalty - all the Nishiki owners will say one thing ("Of course not!") and all the Colnago owners will say something else ("Of course!"). Or perhaps it is a query for enlightenment about what the differences really are, what matters on the road, what can be felt. Disclaimer up front, I've owned neither. But I've seen enough of both and I remember when Nishiki was a seemingly hot item in the marketplace back then.

Of course it depends on the particular model. If the components have been upgraded then it also depends on the wisdom (or cost benefit) of the upgrades. Of course it depends on the rider's intent and style. My lower/medium-end bike are very good. They are reliable, solid machines, reasonably efficient, comfortable for all-day riding. They handle my 35mile round-trip commute (road-bike-ish, not urban) with pizzazz. I've ridden them on 75mile day rides, climbed a few mountains. I could be happy with them if I were not allowed to own anything else.

The higher-end bikes (the Masi, Grandis, Tommasini, Motobecane, Gazelle, even the PFN10, and I need to try better wheels on the Centurion) feel different. Lighter wheels and tires and a few pounds less weight overall make them seemingly jump when I tell them to go. They corner more quickly with less instruction by the rider, and the Masi follows an astoundingly accurate line through every corner when I just think about turning. They seem to roll with less effort - some here would say it isn't real, that it is all perceived road feel, but I know what cadence and gears I run over the same commute day after day so I trust my perception.

Now, there are downsides to the uber-bikes for some usage. Sew-up tires for commuting? I love the feel, but I am grateful every time (like yesterday) I make it back home again without a flat. I won't put fenders or a rack on any of them, so some errands aren't on the docket. I hate getting caught in the rain. And for bumps, well I do worry about the wheels a little.

Does any of that matter? Not really. I rode for decades before moving to the upper-end stuff, and always told myself it was fine. If the bike doesn't jump when I say go, that's okay. I'm not racing anyone, not chasing Strava or personal best or anything. The faster bikes probably don't cut my commute time by much; that's more a question of the day's traffic and the wind and my energy level. I just like the feeling of flying faster.

So is the <fill-in-the-blank> bike better? Yeah. Does it matter? Well, yeah, sort of. Is it all about brand? No.
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Old 04-10-18, 05:46 AM
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Can't comment about the Nishiki.

But back in the early 80's I found a 1978 Colnago Super. I thought it was the coolest thing on 2 Wheels. But riding it wasn't exactly "awe inspiring".
My Neighbour offered me his Trek TX900 at a great price so I jumped on it.
Sold the Colnago 2 Weeks later. The Trek was a better Bike in everyway.
I feel the same about schwinn paramounts as I do about Colnago's.
All Bling and no Schwing.
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Old 04-10-18, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
I feel the same about schwinn paramounts as I do about Colnago's.
All Bling and no Schwing.
Have you owned or ridden a Paramount?
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Old 04-10-18, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Have you owned or ridden a Paramount?
Yes.
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Old 04-10-18, 06:11 AM
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@Obeast, pictures or it didn't happen. C&V is more about appreciating the various bikes that we save, resurrect or update, than proclaiming one is better than another. We have our brand, or discipline preferences here, but aside from some ribbing and snark at times, pretty much everything Classic and Vintage will be appreciated.

Your Nishiki is probably a nice bicycle, everything functions as it was intended, or even wanted. The Nishiki I have seen were first rate bikes. But, they aren't Colnagos, Masis, Paramounts, etc. You pays your money, and you takes your chances, build what you like and enjoy. Personally, I look for somewhat arcane Italianate road bikes, Tommasini and Medici fit the need and desire (and the prices were right, free and/or inexpensive.) If the Nishiki and its craftsmanship suit you, good for you and the bike.

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Old 04-10-18, 06:48 AM
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It's more about pedigree & weight than anything else. Italian bicycle manufacturers were producing and delivering 20 pound steel machines to the US since the 60's. Most Japanese steel bicycles couldn't even come close to matching that weight. Until at least the 80's. Then, if you could even find a lightweight Japanese bike it was still going to weigh around 21 or 22 lbs. The Italians were the champions of lightweight racing design for decades.
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Old 04-10-18, 06:52 AM
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hahahha winner

Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I’m going with Nishalgo. Or maybe Colshiki?
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Old 04-10-18, 07:15 AM
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depends...
on what you use what bike for I would not take a Colnago generally (unknown weight, tubing and geometry touring) Nor would I take a Nishiki to the track (unknown weight , tubing and geometry Touring)...

Hand made is great! For example a 1972 Paramount could have been made made by a Lady can't recall her name at the moment. Japanese KAWAMURA made Nishikis are also awesome so too are so are MIKI and
Kawaguchi.


Originally Posted by Obeast View Post
I parked my road bike next to a Colnago the other day. Got campy Chorus and everything but I am not impressed. Is the Colnago more about pedigree? My bike got lugs, shifts properly, and has a sticker that reads "handmade in Japan" on the frame with nearly all the components made in Japan.
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Old 04-10-18, 08:42 AM
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P1060644.JPG

P1060817.JPG

There were arcane Nishiki's. Here are two the black and red an early 80s Nishiki Professional with all Campagnolo Nuovo Record gruppo, 3TTT stem and handlebar, the silver and blue an early 70s Nishiki Professional/Katakura-Silk with all Suntour components, upgraded to Cyclone derailleurs and a 34T freewheel which my knees appreciate.

Both quite different in their ride, which is really the point. One a race bike, goes with every bit of energy you put into it, the other more a GT (to borrow from cars) is very easy to make the miles pass.

To a certain extent the what of a bikes composition matters, but once you get past that point, it's more about the choices made in how the bike is constructed and for what purpose it was made.

There is also what I call the 90% rule, past a certain point you're in the land of diminishing returns. You can spend a lot, but get much smaller improvements, e.g., see Formula -1 tens of millions spent to get a .01 second of improvement. But if it's your sense of beauty in play, personal to each person, then the money spent is well worth it as there's nothing better than walking into your garage just to look and smile, take something off the wall and be touched as you clean it. That's a real value too.

Thus, comparisons of an X to a Y to a Z doesn't really answer much to me, rather it is did you enjoy the ride? If you did then the rest matters only in degrees of picking the right bike for that days ride.
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Old 04-10-18, 08:48 AM
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Nishiki sells some fine rice. Can Colnago make the same claim?
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Old 04-10-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
Can't comment about the Nishiki.

But back in the early 80's I found a 1978 Colnago Super. I thought it was the coolest thing on 2 Wheels. But riding it wasn't exactly "awe inspiring".
My Neighbour offered me his Trek TX900 at a great price so I jumped on it.
Sold the Colnago 2 Weeks later. The Trek was a better Bike in everyway.
I feel the same about schwinn paramounts as I do about Colnago's.
All Bling and no Schwing.
Funny - of all the Italian-style steel racy framed bikes I have, my 1978 Trek 930 is my favorite to ride. The lugwork is not quite as nice as the Colnago, Masi, or SBDU, but the ride is tops.
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