|My first foray into vintage steel|
According to the late great seer of old bicycles -Sheldon Brown- the Azuki was the "House brand of Louisville Cycle & Hobby, Louisville, Kentucky" According to wikipedia the Azuki line came from Japanese manufacturer Kawamura which was approached by West Coast Cycle Supply Company (WCC) to create two lines of bicycles and they asked the Kawamura workers to come up with names for the lines which resulted in them choosing Nishiki for WCC's primary, nationwide line of bikes (after Saga Nishiki and the gold Nishiki thread often woven into wedding kimonos) — and Azuki for the secondary bicycle line (after the sweetened, red Azuki bean), using the chrysanthemum as the Azuki logo.
Anyway I just wanted a cheap bike I could turn into a single speed and the Azuki is what I stumbled across. It was, as I now know, a pretty run of the mill low end bike boom 10 speed. It sported:a big ol pie plate rear wheel
The only other bike I have worked on with such rinky dink cable arrangements was the Sears Free Spirit- not a ringing endorsement. I only planned to run a single brake cable so I wasn't too concerned. You'll notice, in the completed bike shots, that when I ran the rear brake cable I used zip ties - classy, didn't occur to me that running a front brake would have been much cleaner. I may have been concerned that grabbing a handful of front brake could result in an endo.
Looking back its somewhat of a miracle I actually got this bike built into something useable. I got it stripped down and, before I found my love for patina, sanded down the frame and rattle canned a new paint job. First a coat of primer in my makeshift garage paint "booth"
This was also my first use of the Shimano PD M324 pedal which gives a classic pedal look with a platform on one side while offering the option of clipless SPD useage on the other side. I still use this pedal type today on my Handsome Devil, they are very handy; 80% of the time I just jump on the bike in regular clothes and normal shoes and go platform, but the other 20% I slip on bike specific gear including Keen commuter sandals and clip in to do serious cyclist stuff (yeah right).
I ended up commuting on this bike for about 8 months and got pretty strong from having to go single speed up a 6% grade on my way home but eventually I decided, or maybe that was my knees talking, that gears weren't such a bad idea. Still it was fun and I even gave some thought to swapping the "fat" 27x1 1/4 tires for some "skinny" 27x1 tires and riding this bike on the annual Seattle to Portland (STP) 200 mile ride (over 2 days). I eventually sobered up but I did give it serious consideration -LOL. I realize that in addition to being my first 10 speed rebuild this was also the first old steel bike I sold on craigslist.
I also see from these shots that I wasn't very patient when it came time to document my final build as you will see that I only did half the bar wrap and only got the rear fender on before I had to take some snaps.