Nishiki Sport

It looks like it is slowly getting colder outside and so I thought I’d need a project to work on for the colder and darker days. Also, since you can barely get along in life with two bikes, a third one would be nice.

I wanted to find a cheap but decent old bike and then put some work into restoring it and then use it as a town bike or to commute to work when back in Germany. On craigslist, I found an old Nishiki Sport from 1980 for $70. It was in pretty good condition and even came with some nail polish that the seller had bought to fix some of the chips on the frame with but never did. I thought I couldn’t really go wrong for that price and just bought it.

Here are some pictures of it:

Now begins the fun part of restoring and fixing it.

First of all, it has 27” wheels and modern bikes have 700c wheels which are almost but not exactly the same size. Their diameter is 8mm less. You can still get new tires for 27” at an okay price but the rims are also made of steel which leads to a shitty brake performance and the bike really doesn’t brake great right now.

27” to 700c conversion is frequently discussed and done on the internet. In general, all that needs to be done is that the brake pads get adjusted 4mm down. If that’s possible, they don’t even need to be changed. It looks like mine should barely make that. Therefore, I want to give it a try before buying new brakes.

The next problem, however, is that just buying new complete wheels with hubs won’t fix the issue. The fork and frame of old bikes are more narrow than current typical bikes (100mm in the front and 130mm in the back). This bike has 90ish in the front and 120ish in the back.

It seems very hard and not worthwhile to get wheels that come with hubs in the right size. Therefore, this means that I’ll have to build my own wheels. I thought about keeping the current wheels as a spare and just building up new separate wheels. However, it’s also not very easy to find decently priced hubs that would fit. Therefore, I decided to go with building new wheels using the old hubs.

That means that I should take a closer look at the current bearings. I thought you couldn’t replace something like that but it actually sounded quite easy. I opened up the hubs, took out the bearings and cleaned everything as good as I could. What I found was a lot of dirt and this here:

Apparently, one of the balls either disappeared or got eaten. This all explained why I had a hard time rotating the axle before opening the hub. Therefore, I read up on bearing replacement and cone adjustment. It was indicated that the bearing retainers that I found can just be replaced with more balls which is what I’m trying to do now. I just ordered a couple of balls and grease off of Amazon and as soon as they arrive, I’ll see how well it works out.

If it’s going well, I’ll buy the rest of the parts necessary for the wheels and then start rebuilding them.