1972 Nishiki Professional Randonneur Conversion: 58cm - Unrestored - Chrome Lugs - Drillium - Cyclone GT - Mafac - Prior - Belt - Simplex - VO
This gorgeous Nishiki Pro is my personal bicycle. I am sad to see it go, but I did more staring at it than riding it as I prefer fatter tires on Portland's rough roads. It was among the final years they were built in the Katakura factory. It started life as a road racing bike, and has been converted to a 700c randonneur of sorts. It currently has 700x35c tires and you could maybe fit 38's, or if you add fenders probably 32's. It's VO rack and decaleur carry a handlebar bag for storage, and has an accessory mount for a headlamp. I used both Japanese randonneuse bikes from Toei as inspiration with the build. It's an eye grabber with its flamboyant green paint, pointy chrome lugs, delicate biplane fork crown on slender fork legs (with Silk decal!), playful downtube graphics, and classy genuine leather bar tape. The finish & decals are 100% original! Frame/fork tubes were nickel plated before painting, ensuring a long life without rusting.
Its ride characteristics are predictable and stable with surprisingly easy turn in and nimble handling. It handles like a low trail bike (though it's probably closer to mid trail). It holds a straight line with ease, rides with no hands like a champ, and rounds corners in a predictable arc. On descents, it's almost too uneventful! It requires an unusually low amount of micro steering inputs to keep it on it's path whether straight or curved, and adjusts line mid curve well. It planes well, especially at higher cadence. In short, it's a magical ride that's pretty unique compared to the hundreds of bikes I've ridden!
I chose its eclectic mix of components with a goal of keeping classic styling without confinement to a certain nationality, discipline, or era. There are a handful of 100% original to this bike parts, including the Suntour barcons, Fujita Belt saddle, oh so rare Karasawa umbrella clip, and Primus pump. The original Suntour V-GT derailleurs were upgraded to Cyclone Mark-II GT. The French are boldly represented by the polished and drilled Mafac Course half hood levers & Racer centerpull brakes lyotard pedals, as well as rare 1940's Prior hubs! There's a Campy post & some hardware for the Italians, and retro-inspired modern parts like Soma polished rims, Rene Herse tires, LEH leather bar tape, and Grand Cru Drillium crank/rack/cage. There's even some British stuff, Gilles Berthoud handlebar bag & GB randonneur handlebars!
- Top tube: 58cm
- Seat tube: 57cm c-c, 58cm c-t
- Head tube: 140mm
- Head angle: 73 degrees
- Seat angle: 72 degrees
Original paint, chrome, and decals, unrestored. The frame is straight and rides like a dream. It was built by a pro mechanic less than 100 miles ago with some even newer parts. Fully tuned & ready to ride. Consumables were upgraded 20 miles ago, cables/housing/pads/tires/tape are as new. Components are almost all near mint or nearly new. The frame has one VERY shallow ding on the top tube driveside, likely from a handlebar. It's less than 1mm deep and barely perceptible. Paint is glossy and deep and looks spectacular, especially considering its 50 years old. There are a number of chips and scratches in the paint, the worst of which are on the back of the driveside fork leg. The tubes and fork legs (but not lugs) were nickel plated, and thus the chips show smooth shiny plating underneath instead of rust. There is a bit of corrosion around the seat binder bolt, chips on bb shell edges, fork crown chrome, original headset. Sure it's not perfect, but it is WAY too nice to even consider restoring it anytime soon. It would be right at home in a bike show for frankenbikes with patina.
- Frame number: KC22060
- Wheelset: Soma rims on 1940's Prior hubs, Simplex skewers (Hubs built from NOS, 100mi since build)
- Handlebar bag: Gilles Berthoud GB25 (Near mint)
- Drivetrain: Suntour Cyclone GT long cage, Cyclone MKII FD, Suntour Barcons (all EXC to near mint)
- Brakes: Mafac Racer Centerpull w/ full Rene Herse hardware kit (brakes near mint, hardware kit less than 100mi)
- Brake levers: Mafac Course 121 drillium half hood, blades have been polished (near mint or better, new repop hoods)
- Crankset: Velo Orange Grand Cru Drillium: 170mm x 48/34t (less than 100mi, almost perfect)
- Freewheel: Regina G.S. 5 speed, 14-28t (exc used shape)
- Seatpost: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 2-bolt (Exc used shape)
- Saddle: Fujita Belt leather saddle (leather is supple and not cracking, though there's some corner wear. Rails have some rust I haven't attempted removing)
- Front rack: Velo Orange Constructeur
- Bottle Cage: Velo Orange Grand Cru
- Frame pump: Primus w/ Karasawa umbrella clip
- Handlebars: GB randonneur w/ LEH Cycling leather handlebar tape (bar near mint, tape less than 20 miles)
- Stem: Nitto Technomic
- Tires: Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass Extralight 700c x 35mm (less than 20 miles, as new)
- Pedals: Lyotard 420D (pedals are as mint as they come, except scrapes on dust caps)