Archive for the ‘Bikes I own’ tag
The Nishiki is a great city bike. The upright position is so comfortable (the height of the handlebars really contributes to this) that I ride it instead of my Guerciotti or Ebisu on errands around town.
I use it for trips to the Post Office, the Coffee Roastery, the Good Earth, the Scoop, Gestalt Haus, Fat Angel, and (especially) the hardware store. I’ve carried four cans of paint (two one-gallon cans and two one-quart cans) by using the front basket and then hanging one of the gallon cans around the handlebar grip. I’ve also carried 10 eight-foot strips of redwood lathe.
What I’ve added: a front basket, a kickstand, a bell, new tires, an extra long seat post (so I could get the seat up high enough to make the smallish frame fit better), and a halogen flashlight that I wedge in the basket for night riding.
What I’d like to add in the future: fenders, a bigger basket, mounted head and taillights, maybe an internal gear hub, and ultimately a full conversion to the 650B wheel size so I can use wider tires.
Long overdue, here is the official introduction to the companion to my Guerciotti. Heavily influenced by the designed of French cyclotouring machines of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, I commissioned this 59cm bike from Jitensha Studio in Berkeley.
I told Hiroshi, the proprietor, I wanted a versatile bike for light touring and brevets; I wanted the option of carrying 10-20 lbs. upfront on low-riding front racks; and, I wanted the frame based around the 650B wheel size (and 38mm tire width).
The build included both new and vintage parts including a SON front generator hub powering the headlight, integrated front and rear racks (including detachable low-rider pannier racks) and Honjo fenders, Brooks Team Pro TI saddle, Simplex retrofriction downtube shifters, TA cyclotouriste cranks, and Shimano Ultegra derailers. A Berthoud decaleur is used with the front handlebar bag, which was custom ordered from the Guu-Watanabe in Tokyo. I believe I was their first customer from outside Japan (more on that story here).
Now that I’ve been riding the bike for some time there are inevitably small tweaks I would consider: slightly more geometric trail so it handles better unloaded thereby making it more of an all-around bike (this would require a new fork), indexed shifters (to go with the 8-speed Shimano cassette) or a 6-speed freewheel (to go with the current Simplex shifters), and maybe some slight changes to the gear ratios (currently 47×34 front and 13-27 rear). I’m also eagerly awaiting a true 38mm wide tire from Grand Bois as a replacement for the Panaracer Col de la Via which actually measure 2mm less than 38mm.
Here’s my early 80’s Guerciotti (59 cm). I bought this as a junior in high school when I was into the idea of bike racing. Top riders in the Tour de France rode bikes like this. It’s still a wonderful bike and I use it for most many of my Friday excursions. It’s been modified from it’s original condition in the following ways: I’ve put wider, more comfortable tires on clincher rims (sew-ups originally), re-tapped the handlebars with hemp-twine and three coats of shellac, added a Brooks saddle, and attached a front rack. She’s relatively light, fast, and can hold extra clothes, food, a camera, or whatever in the old TA bag.