Monday, June 19, 2017

Parts bike or folly? - 1984 Nishiki Cascade MTB

I was looking in the CL bike parts section for 26" tires when I stumbled across a listing for a Nishiki Cascade mountain bike for $11 with the note that the wheels were probably worth $10.  The two things that caught my immediate attention where the Bullmoose  bars and the SunTour thumb shifters.  New Bullmoose bars from VO or Nitto can go for $80-$150.

The listing was pretty close and I figured so long as the bars weren't stuck it was worth it, as it turned out the bike was being sold by a nice old gentleman who had a cool set up; a detached garage with a wood-stove, a passel of Mountain bikes to work on,  and the faint whiff of cigar smoke.  Basically  the neighborhood grandpa who tinkers on bikes.  I think I know what I want to be when I grow up.

help me I've rusted and I can't get out of this seat tube!

Its good that I was only after parts because this bike has some issues:

  • exhibit A is the stuck seat-post
  • exhibit B is the rough shape of the paint; thin spots, worn spots, black over spray on the gray paint. the only frame I have had that was rougher was the curb find Raleigh GP
  • exhibit C - rust, not full blown but alot of parts are going to need a rust bath. and 
  • exhibit D is the canti brakes in pieces in a baggie only one spring when there should be 4 etc.  
Again its good I only want the cockpit.....

And then I spotted the lovely biplane fork and I started to get stupid ideas, this bike is not lugged, its an early tig welded frame but that fork is so cool.  When I was looking for information on the Miyata Trail runner from the previous post I stumbled across the excellent blog of Big Dummy Daddy (note he rides a Surly Big Dummy and he's a Dad) who had rebuilt a Miyata Ridge Runner and as a teen owned the exact year and model Trail runner that I had acquired.  Since he grew up riding MTB in the late 80s he is a wealth of info on them.  When the internet failed to come up with much info, I reached out to him about the 84 Nishiki and he didn't disappoint.  He pointed me to a great thread on Bike forums about Nishiki serial numbers.  Thanks BDD!

That info helped me figure out that this frame was built by Giant in March of 1984, I was a Sophomore at Oregon State University at that time with no idea I would become a bike nerd.

Worse case scenario the seat post stays stuck and the frame needs to go the great scrap yard in the sky, there are still bits that make this bike worth the price of admission.  The aforementioned SunTour thumbies and nice dia-compe levers and the Bullmoose  bars that will need a rust bath.

A Sugino GT triple crank with normal chain rings in case I don't like the biopace oval rings on the Miyata and pedals I like better than the ones on the Miyata, I need to see if they are serviceable.

SunTour front and rear derailleurs that at first glance appear to just need a good cleaning and servicing.

There is also a nicely crafted SunTour seat clamp quick release.  And lastly a wheel-set that appears mismatched but serviceable and might recoup my costs by themselves.  We'll see how it plays out, I am hoping I can deal with the seat post and pass this frame along to someone who will appreciate it and get it back on the road, I like to think of those biplane forks swooping down the roads and trails again.

The next few weeks should be interesting from a bike perspective:

  • Tonight hopefully riding to a baseball game Mariners vs Tigers at Safeco field
  • Saturday riding with all three of my siblings, I have ridden with all of them individually as an adult but I'm not sure I ever rode with them all at once as a kid and we haven't had a group ride as adults so it should be fun on the nice flat Centennial trail in Spokane, WA.
  • And in the second week of July I will be house sitting at my old house with access to a garage and a bench vise and I have dreams and intent to do alot of bike work and maybe free up some space around the apartment.  

With any luck there will be plenty to blog about in the coming weeks,  Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. By the way, you are on your way to being that guy in the neighborhood tinkering on bikes. Just get your yell practiced about kids on your lawn and you are there!!

    1. Actually Jim I am the nutcase with an apartment full of bikes right now lol -happy that I don't have a lawn to mow/weed/water or shout at kids to get off and also sad I don't have a garage or out building for my BAS (bike acquisition syndrome) habit.

  2. Too bad we live on opposite sides of the country! I'm with you in spirit and I will toast your love of the 1980's mountain bike with a local IPA.

    PS. I have a lead on a 21" step through Peugeot. Fingers crossed.

    1. Thanks Annie and I will raise a glass towards VT, Good luck with the Peugeot!