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Touring Bike Build...Beginnings
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/16/2011 20:11:07 MST Print View

Just got a new bike to play with...

I just started stripping it and planning the build, will post more as it progresses (shouldn't take too long).

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/16/2011 20:32:12 MST Print View

How much stuff do you already have for it? 'Cause I got stuff. As I continue to lighten my 'life' load, I'm always looking for good homes for my very usable stuff. I got bike seats, I might have a carbon fiber bottle cage, other stuff too. Need/want any of it for your new project?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/16/2011 21:07:18 MST Print View

Thanks for the offer Douglas, very give out quite a bit of stuff around here.

I'm not sure I need too much for it. I want to run 1x7 speed, so I'll be looking for a single speed crankset (or something I can modify) in a 175 length, square taper. Unfortunately, the stock cranks have welded chainrings...I can get them off the arms, but i can't separate the rings. I'll see if I can find a single chainring that fits the bolt pattern. It'll also need a seatpost...that was ruined. I'm guessing it's a 26.2, the old standard. Cheap enough if I buy a generic one though.

Without getting too fancy, that should do it for this bike...I have a set of bars/levers and other odds and ends that should work.

On the note of spare bike parts though, if you have stuff that you don't use and can't sell, I can always use it for students. I just received about two dozen bikes from the police department in varying condition that are all being fixed up to give out to students/community members in need. So spare parts of any sort usually get gobbled up quickly. I could even provide a tax write off/donation receipt for you if that's something you're interested in.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
nishiki on 02/17/2011 10:27:13 MST Print View

I love those old Nishikis. I just built up my touring bike for this summer, trying to do it on a budget like you. If you pack lightly, you'll find that you don't need all the fancy stuff that real "touring" bikes have.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/17/2011 11:39:18 MST Print View

Hi Craig,

I don't know anything about this particular bike--I lost track of Nishiki after the '70s when they were a pretty big player in the "10-speed" market. (So were the French!) No matter, it looks like a robust platform for a project.

Based on your photos I'm going to guess you're possibly a decade off as to the age--it looks like a mountain bike from the '80s (except perhaps for the sloping top tube and twist shifters). If you're converting to a single-ring crank you'll need a way to align it with the rear cluster (do I understand it's a seven-speed freewheel? or is it a freehub?) Is the bottom bracket an old style tapered friction-fit cotterless or a newer splined type; loose bearings with fixed crankside ring or sealed cartridge? The type will affect your drivetrain options.

My body wouldn't accommodate those bars on a 200-mile day, I'd need drops and a different stem. it goes without saying whatever you can do to cut weight and rolling resistance and decrease wind resistance will help a lot.

Have fun, and keep us posted!



Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/17/2011 11:49:11 MST Print View

Building it up for a tour probably means replacing the spokes and rebuilding the wheels is a good idea. At that time the rear wheel can be dished and the proper spacing/cog combination can be used to get the chainline where it needs to be. Personally I like gears on a long-distance bike but I also love the simplicity of my various single speeds.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/17/2011 12:52:33 MST Print View

I'll be swapping out a lot. No way will I stick with flat bars; I have some shallow, somewhat flared cyclocross drops that are going on it.

As for single speed up front, I've ditched that idea...I'll stick with 3x7 (it's a 7 speed rear freehub).

I don't think I'll need to worry about the wheels Sam. They're 32 spoke 3X, which in my experience have always been plenty durable. I don't plan on ever loading more than an additional 25 pounds (we're UL, right?), so I'll be going with a rear rack, 4 gallon bucket panniers, and a small backpack. Don't feel I need fenders or all the other typical touring stuff for what I'm doing.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/17/2011 13:21:32 MST Print View

Lookin' forward to hearing more about the build. I love refurbishing old bikes.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/18/2011 04:22:19 MST Print View

"Based on your photos I'm going to guess you're possibly a decade off as to the age--it looks like a mountain bike from the '80s (except perhaps for the sloping top tube and twist shifters)."


And the sloping seat.

Funnily enough, my wife has a cro-mo Giant Innova that's about 15 years old and has hardly ever been ridden - I was using it as a back-up to my expensive Cannondale flat bar commuter and discovered that I preferred the Giant. It wasn't any slower and just rode really well. If I could find a 17 inch one I'd probably swap over.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/18/2011 08:39:26 MST Print View

Yup, I'm off, definitely an 80s bike. I'm getting my decades mixed up. I was already riding large diameter aluminum and 1 1/8" threadless MTBs in the mid nineties, this bike is 1" threaded headset...definitely older.

Amazing it's in such good shape for 20+ years old, just a few scratches on the frame. A testament to how many bikes get purchased and never ridden...sad to see so many resources and so much energy going into new stuff when there's so much already out there for the taking.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/18/2011 10:57:09 MST Print View

Keep your eye out for a 3 speed rear hub.
Then you'll be able to hump the hills with a load.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 02/18/2011 13:40:31 MST Print View

Sturmey Archer 3 speeds are pretty easy to come by. If you get one and it doesn't work perfectly right off, open it up and put a couple drops of Kerosene in it and let that swish around a bit. I've been told by the mechanics at my fave LBS that this will often fix any lingering problems these old hubs have.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Trouble. on 02/28/2011 20:56:15 MST Print View

The other side of building old bikes...compatibility issues.
All of which could be solved in one second with a stack of money, but I don't want to go that route. So I'll be slowing down until I can scrounge the parts.

Main issues so far:
*Needing a good set of cantilever brakes- the ones on the bike were trash. I could use V brakes but would need to buy pulleys ("problem solvers") to take up slack as I'm using road levers.
*Upon removal, I found the bottom bracket is garbage. It's a 68. I might try using a 73 that I have with a 2.5mm shim.
*I was going to use some cyclocross road levers (brake only), combined with clamp-on down tube shifters. The down tube shifters I found don't fit the diameter of the frame. So now I have to tweak them or go with an old 8 speed set of levers I have...but I didn't want to have indexed shifting (I've found friction to be simpler/more reliable for beater bikes).

Edited by xnomanx on 02/28/2011 20:57:16 MST.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
old bikes on 03/01/2011 10:42:29 MST Print View

I hear you on that. My main touring rig is an '84 cannondale, and it was in BAD shape when I recieved it. Horrible paint, bad headset, bad brakes, tires, tubes, you name it, it was bad. Luckily I got the bike for $30, so after all the things I've put into it, Im only at like $300 total invested, and its a really nice bike now. Perfect for lightweight touring. The polished aluminum looks unique too.
aluminum cdalebike side view

Edited by skyzo on 03/01/2011 10:43:55 MST.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Re: Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 03/02/2011 08:28:45 MST Print View

Hmmm. Not sure about this kerosene technique for restoring Sturmey hubs.
Common wear parts are the clutch and pawls, sometimes cones. Those usually lose metal through misadjustment, lack of oil, and normal wear.

Edited by ThinAir on 03/02/2011 08:31:33 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Touring Bike Build...Beginnings on 03/02/2011 10:31:42 MST Print View

This is making me feel guilty for buying myself a new carbon road bike for Christmas.

John Elbare
(jelbare) - MLife

Locale: Florida
I like it! on 03/29/2011 12:13:19 MDT Print View

Craig -- Nice project. I am now rebuilding a 1995 Trek 8000 as a touring bike. I looked around for an older hardtail mountain bike with no suspension, and I guess you did the same. Yours is quite a bit older, I think.

Mine's also a 3/7 set-up, and I am stocking with it. I am replacing some of the original Shimano components. I can still find a lot of them on eBay. Your bike still has a threaded headset. Are you going threadless? Your crank looks OK from the photos. How is the bottom bracket? I am replacing mine just so I don't have a problem with it later.

Here's cheap, solid, recycled bikes!

Charlie Murphy
(baltocharlie) - F

Locale: MAryland
touring bike on 04/01/2011 10:42:49 MDT Print View

I love fixing old bikes. As an everyday bike commuter I have a bunch of old 80 steel tourers. My personal favorite style. I also commuted many years on an old Gary Fisher mnt bike. I'm guessing your bike is an early 90's or very late 80's....just a guess though.
A couple points you may have already figured out. If you go to drops then the bike should be a little big for you. Top tubes on mnt bikes are often shorter than road/touring bikes with drops. Your body position will go from upright to a more prostrate angle thus the need for a longer TT. Some folks put on a longer stems to compensate. This will affect your steering. Another option is to use butterfly bars. They offer multiple hand position but you can't really get into the drop position. Very comfortable option though.
Also I would stick with triple up front. Most tourers(myself included) feel they never have enough low gears for the biggest hills. My current gearing: front 52-48-28 and rear: 12-34. It can almost climb anything when loaded when I'm not spent.
Brakes/shifters: Since you are going to drops try barcons in friction mode. I love old Suntour style($25-40 on ebay) as they are indestructible. This is important when touring. Brakes are very strange. If memory serves, brake levers for drops don't always work with mnt bike style cantis. I try to keep each style within it's own style. I was able to use road levers on mustache bars but kept the original sidepull brakes.
Good luck, Charlie

Terry Kelly
(tkelly255) - F

Locale: Southern Maryland
How is the tour bike build going? on 08/02/2011 08:07:38 MDT Print View

Craig do you have any updates on how your build is going? I am considering doing a similiar project and you be interested in hearing how yours is progressing.

Craig Savage
(tremelo) - F

Locale: San Jacinto Mountains
road levers, brakes & gears on 08/21/2011 13:10:06 MDT Print View


^2-speed, drop bar MTB with DiaCompe & Paul Vs

My cross has campy, no issues with Paul cantis. have fun!