MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MIKADO CADENCE - INTRO

FINDING THE MIKADO

BUILDING THE MIKADO

RIDING THE MIKADO

BICYCLES OF CANADA

 

  

BUILDING THE MIKADO CADENCE

The day I bought the bicycle, my wife and I were out bike hunting in the Ranger.  Shortly after trucking the bicycle back to my oldest daughter's place, I gave it a pretty thorough going over.  Needless to say, I was anxious to give the bicycle a try.

The Mikado is one of those bicycles that really needed nothing "as found".  This nice old bicycle had already been checked over, and thoroughly tuned, at the bike shop, before being placed on display.  Other than a careful inspection on my part, before being test ridden, I did nothing to the bicycle.    I should add, that I never ride a bicycle, without a very careful inspection first.  On more than one occasion, failure to check a bicycle over has led to disaster.

With the inspection out of the way, I removed the fabric straps from the pedals, slipped the necessary "fit the bike to me now" tools into my pocket, and set off down the street.  Remember, I was going for my test ride at my daughter's place in Winnipeg, and this test ride would be a double adventure as I explored new ground.

The Cadence is a pretty nice bicycle, reasonably well made and nicely componented.  But nothing really stood out when the bicycle's ride became the issue.  The paint has stood the test of time very well.  This suggested that, either the bicycle was stored in a friendly environment or the original paint was quality stuff.  I suspect good storage, coupled with very little use, were the reasons for this bicycle's very clean "as found" condition.

The Mikado has all the right stuff, good components, forged drops but no mention anywhere of tubing material.  My guess would be that the bicycle is chrome moly but there is no way simple way to tell.  A full Shimano 600 grouppo, in marvellous condition, wears itself well on this attractive pinkish old road bike.

In fact, the grouppo is probably the most impressive aspect of the "Cadence".  The 600 components are all but unmarked, showing no evidence of crash, drop or even "lay down" damage.  Even the Maillard pedals show very little scuffing on the ends, areas that traditionally get their fair share of mistreatment.  Another area that usually suffers, the rear derailleur, is also in all but perfect unblemished condition.

Judging from the condition of the crank ring teeth and the complete absence of leather strap rub marks on the cranks, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Mikado saw little use.  The little use theory is further supported by the hardly worn original issue brake pads.  The handle bar tape does show use, in the fact that it is slightly unravelled.  But it is not worn.  This suggests that the original installation was inadequate.  The person wrapping the bars had not do a good job, to begin with.  Keep in mind that only Sekine wrapped handlebars at the factory.  The Mikado's bars would have been wrapped, by the mechanic or his trainee, at the bike shop where the Mikado was sold.

The Mikado's 52/42 ring combination drives a six speed freewheel, sporting a medium spread 14-24 cog set.  This combination suits me perfectly, for most applications.  The transmission is friction shift and works just as one might expect the Shimano 600 tranny to work - perfectly.  These derailleurs are easy to adjust and even easier to become accustomed to using.  Of all the vintage component grouppos that have come and gone, the vintage Shimano 600 series has got to be one of the nicest looking and most user friendly.  This is even more true of the Shimano 600 Arabesque series that is becoming increasingly sought after as a collector's item.

About the most worn and detracting aspect of the bicycle were the deteriorated brake lever hoods.  These items rarely survive times passage well.  There are some hoods that do weather the temporal storm, such as the contoured Modolo hoods that were very popular for quite some time.  But the Shimano hoods sets were not of Modolo quality when it came to material make-up.

Sealed bearing, low flange alloy hubs are laced to later model Weinmann alloy rims with eyelets.  This Weinmann rim set is about the newest that I have seen.  Virtually every other set of Weinmann rims have the Weinmann name pantographed into the surface.  The rims on the Mikado present a decal, in place of the lovely old pantograph.  I guess this was one way to reduce manufacturing costs.  And such cost cutting practices become increasingly evident, as the vintage of these old road bicycles decreases.  The pantographing on frame sets all but disappeared.  Component pantographing turned to laser etching.  Head badges are no more.  And the vintage appeal slips slowly away..  Just the way I see it, of course.

The Mikado's control center is a bit unusual.  The Belleri steering stem and handle bar set is the first I have ever seen.  Does this suggest rarity?  Probably not, but a rare find for me, none-the-less. The control center proved comfortable enough but, once again, did not stand out as anything special.

The one thing about the controls that leaves me questioning one aspect of the Mikado's history.  Suntour shifters?  Why would Suntour shifters be fitted to an, otherwise full Shimano 600 grouppo?  This is and forever will be a mystery.  Perhaps one of the shifter friction adjusters had been left loose and vibrated off.  Though this seems unlikely, it is the only reason I can think of to change the shifter set.

NEXT - RIDING THE MIKADO CADENCE

 

 

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