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First “new” bike in a long time

Old 06-07-20, 09:53 AM
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First “new” bike in a long time

Just picked up this Nishiki Seral off Craigslist yesterday. My 20-something son has been bugging me for another bike since he’s long outgrown the tiny Trek 614 I fixed up for him years ago. I paid $250 - not a steal or anything, but a very fair price I think. The seller was a bike guy and knew what he had. He actually had two of these, which were identical. Amazingly, the other one was in even nicer shape but was already sold before I could get over there.

Based on TMar’s database, it’s an ‘83. Hardly any wear on the brake tracks and chainrings, so I think it didn’t get ridden much at all in the past. Really neat old loaded tourer. Lots of braze-ons compared to most other bikes of that era. I spent the morning ordering up all the stuff from eBay I need to make it right.

So here’s my questions for the panel:

1. I can’t find any old catalog scans for Nishikis on the web, and I’m wondering where did the Seral fell in the Nishiki hierarchy? Surely this was their top-of-the-line tourer, but I remember Nishiki also had a model called the Cresta. Was that higher up the line, or from a different era?

2. I’d like to eventually convert it over to 700C using the nice sealed-bearing SunTour hubs it came with, but the rear is 40H and apparently my favorite Sun CR18 rims are no longer available in that drilling. The only thing I see is Velocity’s Dyad which ain’t gonna look right on a vintage bike. Anybody know any other alternatives?

3. What color bar tape? Tan? Black? Throw some color on there?

Thanks gang!

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Old 06-07-20, 11:31 AM
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Man, what a beauty!! Hard to believe the other was in even better shape. I say tan on the bar tape
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Old 06-07-20, 11:42 AM
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Tan or brown tape for me and btw its my size too dad.
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Old 06-07-20, 11:52 AM
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Looks nice with black tape, plus it doesn't show the dirt and discoloration like other colors. Personally, I would wrap it over the existing tape for more cushioning. BTW, $250 gets you an old department store bike in my neck of the woods right now. Not that all are selling at those crazy prices, but enough are!
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Old 06-07-20, 12:01 PM
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Nice find! That's a serious touring bike.
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Old 06-07-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kermie View Post
Man, what a beauty!! Hard to believe the other was in even better shape. I say tan on the bar tape
I was heartsick when I called and the first one was gone, but then again I got this one for $100 less, so I’m good with the way things turned out. I’ve been looking a long time, and this is my first Craigslist purchase. Normally around here decent bikes on there are either huge, tiny, or wildly overpriced.
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Old 06-07-20, 01:57 PM
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I have a Riviera GT which is one step down from the Cresta - I don't know about the Seral.
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Old 06-07-20, 02:16 PM
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Nice bike. I like Nishikis of the late 1970s into the 1980s, and I love road touring bikes in general. The half-step-plus-granny gearing (I use 1.5-step-plus-granny on my mountain bike) and the SunTour VGT rear derailleur round out the appeal for me.

How about a brown Brooks Team Pro saddle and matching bar tape?
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Old 06-07-20, 03:48 PM
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Looks like a step up from the 1982/83 Nishiki Cresta I have. The mid-fork braze-ons and extra braze-ons on the fork ends would be welcome additions on my bike.

FWIW, I used Velocity Dyad rims on my build, 40 hole rear, 36 hole front. While not C&V, they have been very reliable and are well suited for touring applications.

1982 Nishiki Cresta
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Old 06-07-20, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Nice bike. I like Nishikis of the late 1970s into the 1980s, and I love road touring bikes in general. The half-step-plus-granny gearing (I use 1.5-step-plus-granny on my mountain bike) and the SunTour VGT rear derailleur round out the appeal for me.

How about a brown Brooks Team Pro saddle and matching bar tape?
I’ve got half-step + granny on a couple of my own bikes and love it, but since this is for my son, I’ll probably swap out the 45T middle for a 40. I’m also a Brooks guy (B17s all around) but the Selle Royal saddle on there looks pretty comfy, so we’ll see how it works for him.
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Old 06-07-20, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Saguaro View Post
Looks like a step up from the 1982/83 Nishiki Cresta I have. The mid-fork braze-ons and extra braze-ons on the fork ends would be welcome additions on my bike.

FWIW, I used Velocity Dyad rims on my build, 40 hole rear, 36 hole front. While not C&V, they have been very reliable and are well suited for touring applications.

1982 Nishiki Cresta
Wow, pretty bike!

For the short term I’ll just deal with the 27” wheels it came with and put some Paselas on there. I just wish somebody would make a quality 27” tire wider than 1.25. There’s all kinda clearance on this bike for wider tires and fenders.

I guess the Dyads are the only 40h silver rim option these days. They look nice on your Cresta. I just always loved the CR18s cause they’re cheap and the triple-box cross-section is strong as all get out. I know they made them in 40h because I used to have one, but I gave it to a friend. Doh!
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Old 06-07-20, 05:34 PM
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SuperLJ-

Beautiful bike, excellent price. Definitely black tape simply from the viewpoint of maintenance. Maybe check with WGB about rear 40H rims as he is currently building a set of 40/36H wheels for a long trip.
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Old 06-07-20, 05:45 PM
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Neat! I've been watching that local listing for a couple weeks and I'm glad it found a good home. I bought a Cresta GT several months ago. Be sure to add your info to the Nishiki Database thread.
Nishiki Serial Number Database

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Old 06-07-20, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bertinjim View Post
SuperLJ-

Beautiful bike, excellent price. Definitely black tape simply from the viewpoint of maintenance. Maybe check with WGB about rear 40H rims as he is currently building a set of 40/36H wheels for a long trip.
Thanks Jim!

I was thinking black too, but my wife (the family’s style maven) is in the tan or taupe camp. Probably just ask my son since it’s his bike.

It finally quit raining long enough that I was able to finish sealing my deck today, so tomorrow I get to spend the whole day working on the new bike.

Who is WGB?
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Old 06-07-20, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Neat! I've been watching that local listing for a couple weeks and I'm glad it found a good home. I bought a Cresta GT several months ago. Be sure to add your info to the Nishiki Database thread.
Nishiki Serial Number Database
Thanks for pointing this out - will do!
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Old 06-07-20, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
Wow, pretty bike!

For the short term I’ll just deal with the 27” wheels it came with and put some Paselas on there. I just wish somebody would make a quality 27” tire wider than 1.25. There’s all kinda clearance on this bike for wider tires and fenders.

I guess the Dyads are the only 40h silver rim option these days. They look nice on your Cresta. I just always loved the CR18s cause they’re cheap and the triple-box cross-section is strong as all get out. I know they made them in 40h because I used to have one, but I gave it to a friend. Doh!

If I recall, Swift Tire made sand canyon’s, I think they were 27 x 1 3/8. They looked like a nice tire. If they made them in a 700 I’d have bought a couple.
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Old 06-07-20, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Wharf Rat View Post
If I recall, Swift Tire made sand canyon’s, I think they were 27 x 1 3/8. They looked like a nice tire. If they made them in a 700 I’d have bought a couple.
Thanks. I’ve seen those, but unfortunately the the rims on this bike are straight-sided (no hook) so I’d need something with a wire bead. Looks like those only come in folding. Bummer!
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Old 06-07-20, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
Wow, pretty bike!

For the short term I’ll just deal with the 27” wheels it came with and put some Paselas on there. I just wish somebody would make a quality 27” tire wider than 1.25. There’s all kinda clearance on this bike for wider tires and fenders.

I guess the Dyads are the only 40h silver rim option these days. They look nice on your Cresta. I just always loved the CR18s cause they’re cheap and the triple-box cross-section is strong as all get out. I know they made them in 40h because I used to have one, but I gave it to a friend. Doh!
Thanks for the compliment!

The Dyads were not my first choice. My first choice were Mavic A719’s in silver. I wanted a box shaped, silver, 40 h rim with eyelets, but they were only available in black at the time. Still, no regrets with the Dyads. They are one of the lighter touring rim options along with the CR-18’s.

Changing from the original 27” wheels to 700c opens up lots of tire options as I’m sure you’re well aware. Currently running 32c Compass Stampede Pass Extralights on the Cresta and couldn’t be happier.

Really nice looking bike you got there! I’d go brown saddle and bar tape, maybe Brooks B17 with matching tape.

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Old 06-08-20, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Saguaro View Post
Thanks for the compliment!

The Dyads were not my first choice. My first choice were Mavic A719’s in silver. I wanted a box shaped, silver, 40 h rim with eyelets, but they were only available in black at the time. Still, no regrets with the Dyads. They are one of the lighter touring rim options along with the CR-18’s.

Changing from the original 27” wheels to 700c opens up lots of tire options as I’m sure you’re well aware. Currently running 32c Compass Stampede Pass Extralights on the Cresta and couldn’t be happier.

Really nice looking bike you got there! I’d go brown saddle and bar tape, maybe Brooks B17 with matching tape.
Probably just be easier to try to find a nice NOS 36h SunTour rear hub and go from there.

A B17 with matching tape would definitely look nice on there, but the price for those two items would come close to what I paid for the bike. I think I’ll just see how my son gets along with the saddle that’s on there for now.
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Old 06-08-20, 06:58 AM
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The Velocity Atlas looks like it’s made in 40.

They’re beefy- I’ve got a 36 hole set...

Do a bit of looking/reading- it seems to me I’ve read that with modern butted spokes and modern rims and whatever else has come up in the past 30+ years- you may not need a 40 spoke wheel if a modern 36 spoke wheel is as strong or stronger.

FWIW- I said I didn’t care about wheel weight when I had the Atlas wheels built; at the time I was running a set of Super Champion Modele 58 40 spoke front and rear... then I got the Atlas wheels... I appreciate lighter wheels now.
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Old 06-08-20, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
The Velocity Atlas looks like it’s made in 40.

They’re beefy- I’ve got a 36 hole set...

Do a bit of looking/reading- it seems to me I’ve read that with modern butted spokes and modern rims and whatever else has come up in the past 30+ years- you may not need a 40 spoke wheel if a modern 36 spoke wheel is as strong or stronger.

FWIW- I said I didn’t care about wheel weight when I had the Atlas wheels built; at the time I was running a set of Super Champion Modele 58 40 spoke front and rear... then I got the Atlas wheels... I appreciate lighter wheels now.
GB -

I couldn’t agree more. I was just hoping to use the existing 40h SunTour hub because it’s really nice quality, and I’m notoriously cheap.

Years ago when I was building my Heron loaded tourer, the guy who built my wheels said exactly what you did regarding modern rims, spokes, and spoke count. I trust him implicitly, and he talked me into 36 front and rear. (I gave him the 40h CR18 rim I had planned to use as partial payment for the labor, dang it!)

After thousands and thousands of miles, sometimes loaded with 40+ pounds of gear, they’ve never given me a minute of trouble. Some of that might be due to using a 135mm Phil hub and a six-speed freewheel, resulting in a rear wheel with almost no dish.
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Old 06-08-20, 11:32 AM
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Asking where this bicycle sits in the hierarchy is like asking where a Miyata 1000 sits in their hierarchy. Neither firm provided a strict hierarchy, instead grouping the bicycles by intended purpose. The only way to place them in the overall hierarchy is by price but even that is somewhat misleading, as the touring model prices are driven up by factory included accessories such as bottles, cages and the rear rack, which were were not part of a road bicycle package.

While the serial number is from 1983, this could be a 1984 model, as it is also a very good match for that year's catalogue. The MSRP in 1984 was $474.95. Nishiki's other grand touring model that year was the Cresta, at $359,95 US. The Seral was a intelligently spec'd grand touring model that kept the price just under the magic $500 barrier. At the time, many cyclists considered this to be the dividing line between a mid-range and high end grand touring bicycle.

While the Seral may not have some of the features of higher end models, they did luck out by specifyng the SunTour Cyclone GT derailleur. At the time, the Cyclone GT was considered on the light side for grand touring and many manufacturers chose to spec ATB derailleurs, with SunTour's sophisticated. dual parallelogram Mountech being a favourite and considered far more suitable for grand touring. Ironically, few MounTechs survived much beyond a year due to poor seals for the 2nd parallelogram.
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Old 06-08-20, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Asking where this bicycle sits in the hierarchy is like asking where a Miyata 1000 sits in their hierarchy. Neither firm provided a strict hierarchy, instead grouping the bicycles by intended purpose. The only way to place them in the overall hierarchy is by price but even that is somewhat misleading, as the touring model prices are driven up by factory included accessories such as bottles, cages and the rear rack, which were were not part of a road bicycle package.

While the serial number is from 1983, this could be a 1984 model, as it is also a very good match for that year's catalogue. The MSRP in 1984 was $474.95. Nishiki's other grand touring model that year was the Cresta, at $359,95 US. The Seral was a intelligently spec'd grand touring model that kept the price just under the magic $500 barrier. At the time, many cyclists considered this to be the dividing line between a mid-range and high end grand touring bicycle.

While the Seral may not have some of the features of higher end models, they did luck out by specifyng the SunTour Cyclone GT derailleur. At the time, the Cyclone GT was considered on the light side for grand touring and many manufacturers chose to spec ATB derailleurs, with SunTour's sophisticated. dual parallelogram Mountech being a favourite and considered far more suitable for grand touring. Ironically, few MounTechs survived much beyond a year due to poor seals for the 2nd parallelogram.
Thanks so much for the great info TMar. I was hoping you’d chime in!
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