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Miyata 1000 Univega Specialissima compared

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Miyata 1000 Univega Specialissima compared

Old 08-24-19, 09:57 AM
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Miyata 1000 Univega Specialissima compared

I've seen quite a lot of debate and speculation about how similar the Miyata 1000 and the Univega Specialissima are. We all know Miyata built the frames for both bikes and they were intended for virtually the same purpose. The two bikes were built up with slightly different components (though not all that different) but when you get down to the heart of the bicycle, how do they compare? I recently got a 1984 Specialissima frameset in the same size as my '84 1000, so I decided to find out. First, the geometry. The geometry is exactly the same--same angles, same wheelbase, etc. I did find a few differences in the details. Here is a photo showing the lug windows and the fork crown on the Univega:


The lug windows on the Univega are diamond shaped and the crown has no markings.

In the next two photos, you can see the M-shaped lug windows and the branded fork crown on the Miyata:


The lugs and the fork crowns appear to be identical other than these obvious cosmetic differences.
(continued)
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Old 08-24-19, 10:05 AM
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Here is the most obvious difference I found. On the Univega, the seat stay braze-ons for the rack are drilled into the tubes. (I apologize for the blurry photo.)


The rack mounts on the Miyata are tabs, brazed to the tops of the seat stays.


The cable stops on the right chain stay are different as well. Here's the Univega:


And here's the Miyata:


(continued)
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Old 08-24-19, 10:24 AM
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The chainstay bridge on the Univega has a threaded braze-on:


While on the Miyata, the bridge has a hole drilled through:


Finally, The seat stay tips on the Univega have flat faces:


The Miyata's seat stay tips have concave faces:


That's it. While it's possible the differences in fittings like the rack mounts, etc., are due to Univega providing their own specifications, I think it's at least as likely that these represent routine changes made during production. It would be interesting to hear from other owners of both makes, especially for '84s and '85s.

The serial number for the Miyata is M412XXX, while the Univega is M344XXX. I have no idea what the daily/monthly/annual production was, so I can't tell how much time elapsed between the two frames.

My conclusion is that (for 1984 at least) the frames are for all practical purposes identical. I would love to hear other opinions.
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Old 08-24-19, 11:47 AM
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Great "apples to apples" comparison!

Especially because models and specs and components were changing so rapidly at this time.

Not that I think it *really* matters at this level- but I wonder if there were tubing thickness differences as well as the other minor appointments.

The Miyatas were specced with XT- that's the top of Shimano's range, and I believe the Univegas Superbe tech- and although it was the top of Suntour's range- it was not the best choice. But you see they were both applying top of the line technology to their top of the line touring bikes- the same... but different.
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Old 08-24-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Not that I think it *really* matters at this level- but I wonder if there were tubing thickness differences as well as the other minor appointments.
My guess is they were using the same tubing but there's really no way to tell without test methods that are way more sophisticated than I can undertake.
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Old 08-24-19, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by WGD View Post
I've seen quite a lot of debate and speculation about how similar the Miyata 1000 and the Univega Specialissima are. We all know Miyata built the frames for both bikes and they were intended for virtually the same purpose. The two bikes were built up with slightly different components (though not all that different) but when you get down to the heart of the bicycle, how do they compare? I recently got a 1984 Specialissima frameset in the same size as my '84 1000, so I decided to find out. First, the geometry. The geometry is exactly the same--same angles, same wheelbase, etc. I did find a few differences in the details. Here is a photo showing the lug windows and the fork crown on the Univega:


The lug windows on the Univega are diamond shaped and the crown has no markings.

In the next two photos, you can see the M-shaped lug windows and the branded fork crown on the Miyata:


The lugs and the fork crowns appear to be identical other than these obvious cosmetic differences.
(continued)
I'm wondering how the 2 paint finishes compare on the 2 bikes. I've heard Miyatas paint jobs were the best.
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Old 08-24-19, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I'm wondering how the 2 paint finishes compare on the 2 bikes. I've heard Miyatas paint jobs were the best.
The Univega has a few more nicks but the paint is still pretty good on both. Considering they're both 35 years old, they look great. I can't see any obvious difference in the quality of the paint jobs.
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Old 08-24-19, 05:23 PM
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Nice job WGD. Interesting differences in the cosmetics. It seems likely to me that Miyata wanted to keep a difference to the two, as IMO, the Miyata is much nicer visually. So, I also wonder about any difference, if any, in the tubing between the two.
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Old 08-24-19, 10:29 PM
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Very cool rundown.

I like the univega's rack attachment setup more than the Miyata's tabs.
And the univega's chainstay bridge is better due to the threaded fender mount.
But the miyata's chainstay cable stop and spoon stay caps are nicer.
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Old 08-25-19, 12:28 PM
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Nice comparison. I do like the Miyata lug cutouts better. Very cool. As you conclude though, they are essentially the same frame. The '83 models IIRC were even more similar WRT frame details, and the Miyata of that year was Suntour equipped.
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Old 08-25-19, 12:42 PM
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Have you ridden both ? Any differences there are what really matters
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Old 08-25-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
Have you ridden both ? Any differences there are what really matters
Not yet. The Univega is just a frame at this point and will remain that way until probably next summer. I have a fairly major move coming up and I'm afraid the domestic authorities would freak out if another whole bike appeared. I plan to build it nearly identical to the Miyata, except I will probably use new rims. I have a pair of original Suntour 36/40, 110mm/126mm sealed bearing hubs though. I am thinking about different handlebars (maybe mustache) but I haven't really decided. But just about everything else (except for a Brooks B-17) will be original stock Miyata--deer-head derailleurs, etc.
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Old 08-25-19, 06:06 PM
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Beautiful people ride univega 👯
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Old 08-27-19, 05:50 PM
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I prefer the hole drilled through the chain stay bridge as it allows a bolt and nut configuration. The threaded fender mount hole on the Univega is spiffy, however I have had the bolt back out of one several times. Had to thread lock it to keep in place. Just a preference that make little difference unless the bolt become rusted in the frame.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:34 PM
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RE: seat-stay braze-ons

I have the exact same burgundy specialissima from '84, as well as a steel gray specialissima from '83.
The one from '83 has tabs brazed on the seat-stays for racks, exactly the same as your miyata.

Generally, the univegas tended to be specced ever so slightly ahead of the curve from the miyatas, especially regarding componentry and frame features.

Did you note any differences in the number of bottle-cage mounts or the styles of threaded mid-fork mount? My '84 specialissima has a brazed-on standoff included in the threaded mid-fork mount.
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Old 08-28-19, 11:55 AM
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Very cool comparison @WGD, very cool that you have both and from the same year.

I have two touring bikes from 1987 : a Nishiki Cresta GT and a Trek 520 that I want to do a ride comparison on when I get the 520 refurbed but they are different manufacturers so I will be looking at ride and feel more than construction.
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Old 08-29-19, 10:42 AM
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Two years ago I looked at a 1980 Miyata Gran Touring and it had diamond-shaped lug cutouts and a smooth fork crown (like your Univega). I have photos but am not able to post yet (newbie). Maybe the same lugs were used into the mid-80s? (BTW: tubing on a 1980 Miyata Gran Touring was Tange Champion)
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Old 08-30-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by panzerwagon View Post
RE: seat-stay braze-ons

I have the exact same burgundy specialissima from '84, as well as a steel gray specialissima from '83.
The one from '83 has tabs brazed on the seat-stays for racks, exactly the same as your miyata.

Generally, the univegas tended to be specced ever so slightly ahead of the curve from the miyatas, especially regarding componentry and frame features.

Did you note any differences in the number of bottle-cage mounts or the styles of threaded mid-fork mount? My '84 specialissima has a brazed-on standoff included in the threaded mid-fork mount.
Interesting that your '83 Univega has tabs.

As for the bottle cage braze-ons: same number and same positions. When I was eyeballing them, it looked like the mounts under the down tube were slightly lower on the Univega. But when I measured them, they were the same distance from the BB shell.

I did spot one more difference while I was looking at this stuff:




I initially thought the fork crowns were identical (except for the cast-in Miyata branding). They are actually quite different. As you can see, the Univega has a much longer tang on the inside, with nice looking circular cutouts. Slight advantage to the Univega on this point. Also, the fender mounting hole goes all the way through on the Univega. The Miyata has the hole only on the front.

Last edited by WGD; 09-07-19 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 09-02-19, 03:42 PM
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^^^ That is a Viva Touring, not a Specialissima. It's a much cheaper bike. Not a bad bike, just a cheaper one.
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Old 09-02-19, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
^^^ That is a Viva Touring, not a Specialissima. It's a much cheaper bike. Not a bad bike, just a cheaper one.
D'oh! Sorry, too many tabs. This Specialissima.

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Old 09-02-19, 07:55 PM
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In between the Viva Touring and the Specialissma was the Gran Tourismo. If you were to put the Univegas in comparison to the Miyatas, the 1000 was to the Specialisma, the Miyata 610 compares to the Gran Tourismo, and the Miyata 210 to the Viva Touring. Roughly. Actually, my late production '83 ('84 model year) Gran Tourismo has features that the same year Miyata 610 didn't have, like the mid-fork braze ons for the panniers, and the rear rack mount was hidden on the inside of the seat stay, not sticking out behind it.


as-bought '84 Univega Gran Tourismo

It has since been fitted-out my way -- with SunTour barcons, a better seatpost, a Fujita Belt brown leather saddle, VO Facette fenders, new cables, tires, bar wrap, brake pads, a 13-26 six-speed SunTour Winner Ultra freewheel, USB rechargeable LED lights, Blackburn rear rack...

I'm also thinking about using my hoarded set of vintage Phil Wood hubs to build a bomb-proof wheelset...
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Old 09-02-19, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
D'oh! Sorry, too many tabs. This Specialissima.
Oh, that can happen.

For sure that's a real Specialissima. '82 I think. Looks like a garage queen. Nice.
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Old 09-03-19, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
For sure that's a real Specialissima. '82 I think. Looks like a garage queen. Nice.
Do you think it could handle a 650b conversion?
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Old 09-03-19, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Do you think it could handle a 650b conversion?
I don't think so. A while back I made a post about doing a possible 650b on my 1982 Miyata 1000 but the conclusion was that unless you had some kind of adapter or remove and lower the cantilever braze-ons,it can't be done.
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Old 09-03-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Do you think it could handle a 650b conversion?
Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
I don't think so. A while back I made a post about doing a possible 650b on my 1982 Miyata 1000 but the conclusion was that unless you had some kind of adapter or remove and lower the cantilever braze-ons,it can't be done.
Yeah, the canti posts are a problem. It could be done by grinding them off and then brazing on new ones, or using long reach CP or something. That would be more trouble than it's worth IMO. YMMV It is possible.

A better option would be to keep eyes peeled for the previous year Univega Specialissima. Those had Gran Compe centerpulls instead of cantis through 1981. The Miyata 1000 had cantilevers from the start, more or less. 1979?
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