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Eureka! Nishiki GRAN TOUR 15

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Eureka! Nishiki GRAN TOUR 15

Old 04-08-24, 10:10 PM
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Eureka! Nishiki GRAN TOUR 15


(Please excuse the mess. It's Monday.)



I have been searching for a nice tourer for a good long while...About 8 years now. Certainly, there have been opportunities that I passed on that would've been fine. But nothing that really met all of the requirements:
  1. Room for ~38mm tires and fenders
  2. As many braze-ons and eyelets as possible
  3. ~57cm top tube (so many tourers are looooong for their size)
  4. High quality tubing
  5. Non-canti brakes if 27" to avoid possible incompatibility w/ 700c conversion
  6. Standard threading/diameters all around (no french, please)
  7. Vertical dropouts

That last one, vertical dropouts, was the hardest. The bike is a tourer and it will wear fenders, but horizontal dropouts + attaining a perfect fender line is not the easiest. I've seen people use springs and other doohickeys to get the fender close to the tire but then able to shift when removing the wheel...probably not the most difficult thing to set up but I was hoping to avoid all that.







Anyways, after moving to the Bay Area I knew there would be a bevy of high quality vintage frames all around. Just a matter of keeping a watchful, if passive, eye. At first, only the Bay area was under consideration via Craigslist, but after realizing how many people only use Facebook Marketplace I gave in to trawling endlessly through Facebook's terribly organized website. Lo' and behold, did something pop up around Sacramento, not far from where I work once a week.

The Nishiki Gran Tour 15 is not easy to find online. Most mentions are its slightly newer iteration, the Ultra Gran Tour. Seeminly identical, and luckily in the 1981 Nishiki Catalog (truly a dearth of catalogs compared to some other brands).

The Ultra Tour 15 is "state of the art" in touring bicycles, with featherweight chrome moly double butted tubing and carefully selected touring componentry. It is not only luxurious but also affordable.
Featherweight, eh? Well, it does sport aluminum parts dang near everywhere. Even an SR Royal stem, but not the drilled variety. Probably smart for a tourer. And lifting it, it does feel light. After stripping it down I definitely plan to get it weighed, some weights I've seen for other Nishiki tours are fairly high, up to 7.5 pounds for frame and fork.











My favorite qualities? Well, as said before, the vertical dropouts are choice. As well as the non-canti brake calipers, and the huge tire-fender clearance, I've seen others run this model with 37mm tires plenty of room to spare for fenders. The Ukai 27" rims are cool, too. Nice aluminum box sections in fairly good true, but they'll need some attention and possibly a couple spokes replaced. The chrome plating is pretty sweet, too.

Plans for the future...keep it as close to stock as possible for a good while. Just a good full overhaul, and probably replacing the tires with Paselas even if the guy who sold it said the tires are new. Probably handlebars, too. And, after enjoying the bike for a year or two, if it indeed IS 'the one', an oxalic acid dunk, spreading the frame to 130mm, building a custom wheelset with proper box section rims and a dynamo front hub. Changing the gearing to 48-34 in the front and 12-32 in the rear, 9 speed And that's...it. It shouldn't require anything else to be replaced, and it'll look damn near identical to its stock setup, just with better gearing and wheels. Haven't made a decision on the paint. It's pretty rough in some spots.

More pics below. I'll do a proper photoshoot after taking the overhaul. Might take a month or two.









Last edited by Piff; 04-08-24 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-09-24, 01:12 AM
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That looks like a very nice frame! Double eyelets are a definite bonus when using racks. What frame angles and fork offset?
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Old 04-09-24, 07:17 AM
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Sweet good find! Paint detail on forks is nice
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Old 04-09-24, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie
That looks like a very nice frame! Double eyelets are a definite bonus when using racks. What frame angles and fork offset?
I haven't pulled out the straight edge and ruler quite yet, but it's got a fair amount of offset. I'm guessing the trail is somewhere in the 40s? And I have no idea the frame angles, I plan to ask the frame builder when the alignment is checked out. Everything seems okay, but I don't mind spending a bit of cash to get it all ship shape.

Regarding eyelets, depending on if I really like the frame my plan in the future is to also add mid-fork eyelets, centerpull posts, seatstay rack attachment points, more bottle bosses...etc. Repaint in the same colorway, too. There's a set of decals on ebay I've got my eye on...

Originally Posted by Velosophy
Sweet good find! Paint detail on forks is nice
Thanks! I was stoked to find it, even if the paint is a bit rough in places. The detailing also caught my eye, on the fork ends, the lug cutous, and the bottle bosses too. Plus, Nishiki getting the seatpost and cranks filled in to match the frame decals. The lugs aren't thinned/filed at all, but seems to be good brazing all around. Another interesting detail is that the dork disc passed the magnet test-- it's aluminum!

Last edited by Piff; 04-09-24 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 04-09-24, 02:58 PM
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Very nice. Does it really need an oxalic bath? I am not even seeing any rust.
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Old 04-09-24, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff
Another interesting detail is that the dork disc passed the magnet test-- it's aluminum!
There are different levels of dorkiness?
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Old 04-09-24, 03:07 PM
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I like the semi vertical dropouts that are in alignment with seat tube makes for some really nice clean lines,
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Old 04-09-24, 04:06 PM
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Good looking bike. Bikes that came stock with 27 inch wheels and center pull brakes with reasonable reach tend to have good clearance for tires and fenders. I have a 70s era Raleigh Gran Sport and Motobecane Grand Record; both can take tires with reasonable volume and fenders but neither has vertical drop outs.
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Old 04-09-24, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
Very nice. Does it really need an oxalic bath? I am not even seeing any rust.
Some of the drain holes (or are they holes for brazing for the gas to escape?) have slight evidence of rust, but everything looks really minor. I haven't pulled the seatpost yet or the stem or bottom bracket, but I do have high hopes to see a clean frame. If it does become a keeper, though, I will do an oxalic bath because of the slight rust and for my own edification; never done it before.


Originally Posted by non-fixie
There are different levels of dorkiness?
I'm pretty far gone by my own measuring. Dorkiness levels ascending:

Using a dork disc because it came on a bike >>> Buying a dork disc to put on a race bike >>> Finding it curious that a disc is aluminum >>> Being excited that a disc is aluminum and thinking of ways to fit it onto a freehub.


Originally Posted by bikemig
Good looking bike. Bikes that came stock with 27 inch wheels and center pull brakes with reasonable reach tend to have good clearance for tires and fenders. I have a 70s era Raleigh Gran Sport and Motobecane Grand Record; both can take tires with reasonable volume and fenders but neither has vertical drop outs.
I definitely have been looking closely at both of those models!! Haven't found one in the right size, condition, and location. Plus, I really wanted to have double fender/rack eyelets at the dropouts.

Last edited by Piff; 04-09-24 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:38 PM
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Okay, for the life of me I cannot figure out how to remove this shifter clamp. Suntour LD-1600, if I'm not mistaken. https://www.velobase.com/ViewCompone...a162d&Enum=104

Any advice?




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Old 04-19-24, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff
Okay, for the life of me I cannot figure out how to remove this shifter clamp. Suntour LD-1600, if I'm not mistaken. https://www.velobase.com/ViewCompone...a162d&Enum=104

Any advice?

SunTour went crazy for “endless clamps” back then. It works kind of like a brake lever clamp, where there’s a small block that’s drawn tight by a nut on one side. I see a hex- stick a wrench on it and see if it turns counter-clockwise.
These clamps tend to be sticky- after backing it off a turn or two, tap it lightly to get it loose from the frame. To get it off the frame, you’ll need to back it almost all the way off and then disengage the block from the straps of the clamp.
Reassembly is the opposite, and keeping the ends of the straps engaged with the block while tightening everything is a trick. I’d make sure the threads are good, clean, and lubed before trying to reassemble everything.
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Old 04-19-24, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills
SunTour went crazy for “endless clamps” back then. It works kind of like a brake lever clamp, where there’s a small block that’s drawn tight by a nut on one side. I see a hex- stick a wrench on it and see if it turns counter-clockwise.
These clamps tend to be sticky- after backing it off a turn or two, tap it lightly to get it loose from the frame. To get it off the frame, you’ll need to back it almost all the way off and then disengage the block from the straps of the clamp.
Reassembly is the opposite, and keeping the ends of the straps engaged with the block while tightening everything is a trick. I’d make sure the threads are good, clean, and lubed before trying to reassemble everything.
Thank you! I got the shifters off and then stared at the clamp at a loss of where to start. Indeed, about making sure everything is clean and lubed before reassembly. The shifters+clamp are nice and light, but it's aluminum all the way through and quite soft.

They're very nice shifters, incidentally. Smooth, non-slip construction, lightweight, what's not to like!
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Old 04-21-24, 06:11 AM
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I vote for not painting. I would not give it an OA bath, either--it seems pointless in this case.

Touring bikes are supposed to look well-used. You're good.
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Old 04-21-24, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
I vote for not painting. I would not give it an OA bath, either--it seems pointless in this case.

Touring bikes are supposed to look well-used. You're good.
I only would give it a repaint if I did things like add canti or centerpull mounts, mid fork and seatstay eyelets, that sorta thing. Once I get the clamp off and polish it I'll post some better pictures, there's a fair amount of patina. Which is good, I plan on touring, commuting, and taking it on dirt regularly.

There is some rust weep from a couple drain holes, and a little at the top of the seat tube, but most everywherr else is clean. I just would prefer to do a soak if I plan to keep it forever. Can't hurt, and I'd like to do it once to learn.
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Old 05-10-24, 10:36 AM
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Some weeks, some developments physically and conceptually.

The bike is still in pieces, however we are marching closer to the finish line. Recently parts include:
  • SON 28 'klassik' dyno hub picked up at a swap meet, along with front/rear lights.
  • Deore XT 130mm 7 speed hyperglide hub from my local bike co-op, to be turned into a 126mm hub. The hub dimensions are very similar to 126mm 7 speed hubs, so dish should be fine.
  • JIS roller bearing headset via Cycles Toussaint
  • Soma Porteur Deluxe rack, black, from craigslist. Planning on cutting off the outer rails to turn it into a poor man's Pass & Stow 3 rail. I'll report back how it goes.
  • Ortlieb sport packer plus panniers (small front panniers, essentially), along with the Ultimate 6 plus. Again, craigslist.
  • Tubus mid-fork eyelets for the Soma rack
  • Nitto 25.4mm to 26.0mm shims, also from the co-op. Couldn't believe they had a pair, and that it was complete.


Now, conceptually! I have recently decided to pivot away from this being a sport-tourer with an emphasis on weight-weenieism to more of a townie/commuter with touring capability. No more drop bars, bring on the North Roads, or the many modern variants. Reason being is that my better half and I only have room for 3 bikes. I decided it made more sense to have a more significant difference between my two bikes' riding styles/capabilities. My Raleigh is tons of fun on the road, but luckily my partner is showing a larger and larger interest in biking! Especially dirt trails, plus she even has talked about wanting to try touring. So, it only makes sense for me to make the Nishiki more of a hybrid/touring thinga-ding. I'm guessing the full build will run to 30 pounds, maybe more.


For those who have read this far, I'm hoping for some help with handlebar choice. I'm planning on using a 110mm Tallux with swept back bars. The front end geometry is below. I haven't had a chance to set up a low-middle trail bike with swept back style handlebars. Long stem? Short stem? How far fore or aft should the handlebar grips be relative to the steering axis? There are hugely different swept back bars these days, with some like the Bosco Bars extending close to 5 inches further back compared to classic models like the north roads. I'm leaning towards the grips being basically in line with the steering axis...is my intuition correct? Another thing to remember is that there will be close to 1.5 pounds sitting on the front end at all times with the Soma rack.








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Old 05-10-24, 03:04 PM
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I think long rides require multiple hand positions so try maximizing in that regard. My Soma Oxfords reach way back, are pretty wide, and also reach forward of the stem for aero efforts. The bars come back far so I can use a long stem.
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