Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nishiki Sebring – A Resurrection

When the new, plush offices of Cycling Dynamics were finally occupied, the move came with a nice, albeit neglected surprise: A bicycle.  And not just any bicycle, but a steel bike.  A 1983 Nishiki Sebring to be exact.  So, not being one to miss an opportunity, I began to think about getting the bike back on the road.  And, I thought.  And, I thought a little more.  And, before I knew it, three-months had gone by.  See, whist the new building was being remodeled, the Nishiki fell to the bottom of the “To-Do” list, as electrical plumbing, flooring, appliances, cabinetry, and paint were at the forefront of available resources.  Moving truly is an adventure.

So, whilst in the full-grip of DIY bliss, there it sat.  And it sat.  And, finally, its day had come.  And even though it was not my style (the Sebring’s are more of a hybrid frame), it was still an old, lugged-steel frame, therefore, by all laws of Heaven and Earth, it was cool.  It just remained unknown how much of the bike could be saved, and how much had to be trashed.  Turns out, it was not too much of the latter, and joyously, a whole bunch of the former.

The bones of the bike looked good, and though its life of being left outside in a coastal environment had overall negative effects, I was surprised that corrosion on the Chromoly 4130 frame and components was not much, much worse.  One good thing about bikes from that era was they were built tough, and this particular Sebring was no exception.  The Suntour gruppo was still in working order (Hah! Try that on today’s components!), the bar, stem, post, brakes, wheels, and yes, even the chain were all still in good working order, plus the wheels, one steel, one aluminum, were still true and stout.  Even the 52-42 rings and the 14-28 cassette (six-cogs out back) were still in great shape.  Everything just needed some love and a good cleaning.  So, I cleaned up what I could, and then, it was time for surgery. 

Enter Bicycle Discovery of Fountain Valley, California.

Upon arrival in my new part of town, I had done an emergency bike shop tour of all of the bicycle shops in the area to get a bead on things and to sort out who’s who.  Through the grapevine, I kept hearing about one particular shop’s reputation for knowledge, service, and reasonable cost, and it was the fine folks at Bicycle Discovery I kept hearing about.  Turns out, people were right about them.  The staff’s knowledge base of all-things-bike was quite deep, and that includes older bikes of all construct, especially steel.  When presented with my patient, they immediately assessed the bike, ran-down what it needed, what it did not need, and gave me a darn good quote on the overall job.  Particulars agreed upon, I left the bike in capable hands, and two days later it was done and ready for pick up.  For two Ben Franklin’s, the Discovery Crew cleaned up the whole bike, rebuilt the bottom bracket, the hubs, serviced headset bearings, put on new tires, tubes, new shifter cables, brake pads, bar tape, and gave it an overall tune-up.  “Mr. Bustamante, meet Mr. Nishiki.” 

No doubts as to its identity.  Nice lugs, too.
The stock 52-42 crankset and derailleur.  Still going strong.

Stock rear derailleur and 14-28 cassette.

No STI shifters here.

Lugs & Steel. Beautiful!

The icing on the cake: A way-too-cool head badge.

Now that the Sebring has been back in my possession, the best way to describe my time on it to date is thus: I have been riding the shit out of it, and it is one of the smoothest rides I can recall while astride a road bike.  Yeah, the narrow bars, top-mount/drops brake lever combo, flat pedals, big seat, and vastly different geometry from my regular Trek 2.3 made for an interesting initial experience, however, I really like this bike!  Sure the fork has a funky rake to it, and the funny colored frame is the same concept as an early 80’s racing motorcycle (straight path from the head tube to the swing arm, or in this case, the rear wheel), and in the frame triangle, where an engine would hang on a motorcycle, I put a carbon cage for some bling.  I also added front and rear lights, adjusted the Brooks’ styled seat height/fore-aft, and that was all it took to make it mine.  Did I mention it has one of the coolest head badges I have ever seen?  Well, it does.  Hey, it's classic, road steel, so one truly cannot go wrong.  And, the price was right!
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the results of my rebuild.  It is exactly the experience I was seeking in a second road bike – Something I could just get on, no shoes, no kit, and ride for the sake of riding, just like I did when I was a kid. 

Oh, and when you stop in at Bicycle Discovery, and highly I recommend you do, tell Richard or Darryl (my other brother Darryl) I sent you. 

Those two lads know their classic bikes, very well.

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