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Nishiki Cresta vs Cresta GT

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Nishiki Cresta vs Cresta GT

Old 10-15-21, 08:36 AM
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Nishiki Cresta vs Cresta GT

I'm considering the purchase of a Nishiki Cresta as a touring bike rebuild/winter project. I've seen some articles that say the Cresta GT is a bike worth restoring for multiple day tours. Is the Cresta (sans GT) comparable. Ultimately, I would like a bike that I can ride for the entire length of the Erie Canal. I would hotel/motel so I don't expect to carry that much weight. I appreciate any insights on the suitability of the Cresta and the GT. Thanks!
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Old 10-15-21, 08:44 AM
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Either will be acceptable for your intended use.

However, most (all?) of these bikes are older and some modern technology that greatly increases durability may not have been used on the bike when manufactured. Specifically, a rear wheel with a 'freehub' (freewheel mechanism built into the rear hub) rather than the older and less robust separate 'freewheel' mechanism. If this is the case for the bike you're looking at, consider upgrading the rear wheel to a freehub type hub for durability.
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Old 10-15-21, 09:03 AM
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My main concern with the Cresta for this purpose is it's use of the old 27" tyre standard. If you need to replace a tyre en route, local bicycle shops may not them in stock. If you do decide on the Cresta, order a couple of folding 27" spare tyres and carry them on the trip.
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Old 10-15-21, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson
Either will be acceptable for your intended use.

However, most (all?) of these bikes are older and some modern technology that greatly increases durability may not have been used on the bike when manufactured. Specifically, a rear wheel with a 'freehub' (freewheel mechanism built into the rear hub) rather than the older and less robust separate 'freewheel' mechanism. If this is the case for the bike you're looking at, consider upgrading the rear wheel to a freehub type hub for durability.
I'll take issue with the above statement. I have thousands and thousand of miles on my C&V "freewheels" and I don't think this is an issue. I wouldn't hesitate to tour on a freewheel and wouldn't bother to pack a space one. I do agree with T-Mar that a 27" tire may be more difficult to find as a replacement en route than a 700c.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
My main concern with the Cresta for this purpose is it's use of the old 27" tyre standard. If you need to replace a tyre en route, local bicycle shops may not them in stock. If you do decide on the Cresta, order a couple of folding 27" spare tyres and carry them on the trip.
I have put 700c wheels on a Cresta. The brake posts are not too far off. You can even use the original diacompe shorty cantilevers that came on the bike. I did this for a while, but the owner complained of poor braking performance so we upgraded him to Shimano SLR cantis, BR-AT50.

Originally Posted by OTS
I'll take issue with the above statement. I have thousands and thousand of miles on my C&V "freewheels" and I don't think this is an issue. I wouldn't hesitate to tour on a freewheel and wouldn't bother to pack a space one. I do agree with T-Mar that a 27" tire may be more difficult to find as a replacement en route than a 700c.
The issue isn't the freewheel itself. The issue is removing it if (when) a spoke breaks, and also the propensity to break axles with this type of setup. My friend with the Cresta had a broken axle almost immediately, so we spread the frame and put in a wheel with a cassette hub, and he commuted on it, trouble free, for 3 years before the bike was totaled by a massachusetts driver.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson
The issue isn't the freewheel itself. The issue is removing it if (when) a spoke breaks, and also the propensity to break axles with this type of setup. My friend with the Cresta had a broken axle almost immediately, so we spread the frame and put in a wheel with a cassette hub, and he commuted on it, trouble free, for 3 years before the bike was totaled by a massachusetts driver.
This has been a non-issue for me. No broken axles and I have put most/plenty of my miles on bikes with freewheels.YMMV
There are plenty of 80's touring bike still being ridden on tour with freewheels.
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Old 10-15-21, 12:09 PM
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I feel like the consensus on freewheels with touring bikes is that they more than likely will be fine (they were toured on for decades, hell, take a look at the rough stuff fellowship book/Instagram account, nobody beat on those old bikes like them!).

But objectively free hubs ARE stronger and easier to work with. So if you’ve got the time, money and know how and it’s simple enough of a change for you- go for it. If not then ride the freewheel forever as it will likely not break, and if/when it does you can deal with it then, it’ll be a pain in the ass when it happens but you’ll get over it. But If you’re afraid that the potential break could also put you in physical danger, that’s between you and your mind to sort out.

Im going through this consideration myself for my 86 Voyageur as we speak.

Last edited by polymorphself; 01-24-24 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 10-15-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson
Either will be acceptable for your intended use.

However, most (all?) of these bikes are older and some modern technology that greatly increases durability may not have been used on the bike when manufactured. Specifically, a rear wheel with a 'freehub' (freewheel mechanism built into the rear hub) rather than the older and less robust separate 'freewheel' mechanism. If this is the case for the bike you're looking at, consider upgrading the rear wheel to a freehub type hub for durability.
I have never had a freewheel fail and have never had one that I couldn't get working well unless it was frozen.

Never taken one apart either, flush, rinse, repeat with Marvel Mystery oil, relube with 20-50 and ride, ride, ride.

I don't think there is a MORE robust component in all of cycling, especially SunTour.
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Old 10-15-21, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OTS
I'll take issue with the above statement. I have thousands and thousand of miles on my C&V "freewheels" and I don't think this is an issue. I wouldn't hesitate to tour on a freewheel and wouldn't bother to pack a space one. I do agree with T-Mar that a 27" tire may be more difficult to find as a replacement en route than a 700c.
I could not agree more.
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Old 10-15-21, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself
I feel like the consensus on freewheels with touring bikes is that they more than likely will be fine (they were toured on for decades, hell, take a look at the rough stuff fellowship book/Instagram account, nobody beat on those old bikes like them!).

But objectively free hubs ARE stronger and easier to work with. So if you’ve got the time, money and know how and it’s simple enough of a change for you- go for it. If not then ride the freewheel forever as it will likely not break, and if/when it does you can deal with it then, it’ll be a pain in the ass when it happens but you’ll get over it. But If you’re afraid that the potential brake could also put you in physical danger, that’s between you and your mind to sort out.

Im going through this consideration myself for my 86 Voyageur as we speak.
^this
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Old 10-15-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
My main concern with the Cresta for this purpose is it's use of the old 27" tyre standard. If you need to replace a tyre en route, local bicycle shops may not them in stock. If you do decide on the Cresta, order a couple of folding 27" spare tyres and carry them on the trip.
BITD the arguement was reversed. 700c tires could only be found in "quality" bike shops, whereas you could find 27" tires most anywhere. That's why you find so many vintage touring bikes with 27" wheels.

For worldwide "expedition" touring many prefer 26" wheels. I'm told that worldwide that size is more common no matter what continent/country you're on.
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Old 10-15-21, 01:43 PM
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It isn't the freewheel itself that is likely to fail - as mentioned above, the freewheel is a proven part. The problems are the longer length of unsuspended axle that will be more prone to bending and breaking, esp. with more than 6 cogs, although I veery quickly bent the axle ont he last 6 speed FW bike I rode. Also, freewheels can be much more difficult to remove than a cassette if you need to replace a spoke, or in some cases access the bearings.
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Old 10-15-21, 02:06 PM
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I think this thread has veered off of the OP's original question. The ask: is a Nishiki Cresta or Cresta GT suitable for an Erie Canal credit card (hotel, no camping) trip?

My answer:
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Old 10-15-21, 03:57 PM
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OP, welcome. I bought a Cresta GT because that's what showed up when I was looking but would just as readily have bought a Cresta. I'm sure either would do fine for the riding you describe.

I got caught in deepest France in '74 on a bike with 27s when all the small town shops had only 700C. Had to take a train to the nearest big city (Nancy) to find the right size tire. The risk is real so you mitigate by packing a spare, just in case.
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Old 10-15-21, 04:38 PM
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If you go with a freewheel (suspending my opinion on freewheel vs. cassette to stay on topic), Bikeforums member @jonwvara produces a roadside freewheel removal tool you may want for your trip: https://www.redclovercomponents.com/...wheel_Key.html
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Old 10-15-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
BITD the arguement was reversed. 700c tires could only be found in "quality" bike shops, whereas you could find 27" tires most anywhere. That's why you find so many vintage touring bikes with 27" wheels....
That all depends on how far back in time you're talking about and what geographic region. During the era when the Cresta was a current model, both tyre sizes were widely available in the USA. In Canada, I don't think there has ever been an era where 700C compatible tyres wouldn't have been readily available in just about any bicycle shop.
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Old 01-24-24, 11:20 AM
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I know this an older post, but I have had both a Nishiki 1983 Cresta and a 1985 Cresta GT. The only difference I could find between the two frames is 1) the Cresta GT had braze-ons on the front forks; and 2) both had downtube shifters but the 1983 had the top-mount Suntour aero on the downtube while the 1985 had the traditional posts on the sides of the downtube (I converted both to bar-end). The frames are essentiallly the same with mild variation on the rear brake cable hanger. Both had 27" wheels. I cold-spread the 1985 rear dropouts to 130mm and laced a 700 wheel to a Phil hub but still use a 7-speed freewheel to this day. If something were to happen to that wheel, I would switch to a free-hub for the good reasons noted above.
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Old 01-24-24, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cjharrison
I know this an older post, but I have had both a Nishiki 1983 Cresta and a 1985 Cresta GT. The only difference I could find between the two frames is 1) the Cresta GT had braze-ons on the front forks; and 2) both had downtube shifters but the 1983 had the top-mount Suntour aero on the downtube while the 1985 had the traditional posts on the sides of the downtube (I converted both to bar-end). The frames are essentiallly the same with mild variation on the rear brake cable hanger. Both had 27" wheels. I cold-spread the 1985 rear dropouts to 130mm and laced a 700 wheel to a Phil hub but still use a 7-speed freewheel to this day. If something were to happen to that wheel, I would switch to a free-hub for the good reasons noted above.
Can't zombie a 3 year old thread and not give us photos of your bikes.

EDIT: Ah, I see, not enough posts to post photos yet. That and zombie threads do tend to go hand in hand
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Old 01-25-24, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cjharrison
I know this an older post, but I have had both a Nishiki 1983 Cresta and a 1985 Cresta GT. The only difference I could find between the two frames is 1) the Cresta GT had braze-ons on the front forks; and 2) both had downtube shifters but the 1983 had the top-mount Suntour aero on the downtube while the 1985 had the traditional posts on the sides of the downtube (I converted both to bar-end). The frames are essentiallly the same with mild variation on the rear brake cable hanger. Both had 27" wheels. I cold-spread the 1985 rear dropouts to 130mm and laced a 700 wheel to a Phil hub but still use a 7-speed freewheel to this day. If something were to happen to that wheel, I would switch to a free-hub for the good reasons noted above.
I also have a Cresta and a Cresta GT, both are in the rehab stage. I acquired the Cresta first, cold set the frame to 130mm, swapped the 27s for 700s and upped it to 10spd. Then the Cresta GT fell in my lap and I stopped progress in the Cresta because the GT had cantilever brakes which I think will yield better stopping power.
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Old 04-12-24, 07:48 PM
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I have a 1984 Cresta which I built up as a gravel bike restomode. Its a blast to ride on the road and off. 2x10 with 12-32 and 46/30. I also have a 1985 Cresta GT which I acquired will building the '84. Now I'm in the process of building it as a gravel bike for my son and find it a major improvement over the Cresta. Lighter frame, more mounting points for stuff and, the big plus, will handle 700X40 and 700X45 tires. Both bikes have very good original paint, a testament to Nishiki quality
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