MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MIYATA 1000 GT - INTRO

FINDING THE MIYATA 1000

BUILDING THE MIYATA 1000

RIDING THE MIYATA 1000 GT

 

BICYCLES OF JAPAN

 

BUILDING THE MIYATA 1000 GRAND TOURING

With Yard Sailing out of the way for the day, the Miyata, a couple of lesser finds, and I made our way home to The Old Shed.  I was very interested in having a better look at the Miyata, and clamped it up in the work stand, once my other Yard Sale acquisitions were stored away.  With the time to look closely, I was impressed with just about every aspect of the bicycle.  The cleanness of construction suggested craftsmanship, with one minor, and inexcusable, exception.  The top tube decal was crooked.  Other than that, the rest of the Miyata's frame set was the picture of perfection, or close to it.  The finish of the paint was velvety smooth and seemed to offer a sheen, as opposed to a shine.  I liked the effect, but wished that the bicycle were a bit brighter.  Still, the rich dark silver/grey did offer a classy appeal, that one would find hard to deny.

The more I looked, the more impressed I became and I decided to give myself a treat.  Though not particularly interested in Asian bicycles at the time, I had learned how to recognize quality.  I decided to rebuild the bike for myself.  I wanted to see how this old legendary bicycle, from the far east, stacked up against what I was used to riding.

The Miyata's frame set is very clean.  Whoever built this frame set, knew what he or she was doing, even though they blew it with the top tube decal.  The semi-long lugs are blended, without flaw, into the quality tubes.  The drops, which are forged units, front and back, flow perfectly and without interruption into the stays and fork blades.  The tube set, both the frame and forks, are Miyata's own chrome molybdenum double butted steel.  The 1000's art work stands out well, and though quite plain, fits into the picture, rather than draw attention away form the bicycle.  Sometimes, simple or plain is best and it does work on the Miyata.

Complimenting the choice of color and art, is a variety of little frame details.  Details which push the structure a cut above most other vintage road bicycles.  The concave seat stay tops were perfectly fitted.  Window cut-outs in the lugs.  Pantographed fork crown.  Little things that  not only address the intended purpose of the bicycle but do so in an aesthetically pleasing way.  But the thing that warrants attention, in my mind is the quality of workmanship.  Not a single flaw, could I find.  Not even a slightly too sharp edge on a lug.  Not a single oops with the file.  Nary a single casting mark anywhere.  Nothing!  Just a smooth flowing of tubes into lugs and drops.  Perfectly executed. Except the stupid decal!

And, this lovely frame set fit me like a glove.  The ride was very stable, yet remained responsive at all times.  That said, I never did load the bicycle up and test its touring potential properly.  But what I did see and feel, I liked.  The Miyata 1000 Grand Touring frame set is a gem.  I would love to get my hands on its competitive sibling - a similar vintage Miyata Pro.

Once you get past the impressive frame set, the components step up to the plate, and bat another home run.  The Stag's head Shimano transmission leads the way for the all quality grouppo.  This gorgeous old transmission worked flawlessly.  Unfortunately, the rear derailleur had a nasty gouge that did not impact function, but certainly detracted from appearance.  I should add that it took only a short while to locate a suitable derailleur, from a fellow bicycle collector who I have on-line traded with, from time to time.  I should also  add, that I never did get a chance to install that derailleur.

I cannot remember what crank set delivered power to the rings  I do remember it worked just great, all three rings driving a wide spread, six speed cog set, for a great range over eighteen gears.

One of the features that stands out in my mind, is the Miyata's brake system.  The Yoke was about the nicest that I have seen on any bicycle, including my Apollo Gran Touriste, another very nice touring road bike.  The Miyata's pulley equipped yokes even had quick releases built into them,  impressive and effective little units.  One would be hard pressed to find a more efficient and user friendly system in the Miyata's day.

The Dia-Comp cantilever assemblies worked very well and required minimal effort at the lever.  The levers, however, were not memorably comfortable for me.  Other than that, the controls worked just the way they should, offering no negative impacts to ride feel or quality.  As mentioned, I found the brake yoke pulleys to be a cut above what one would normally expect to see.  Perhaps this pulley arrangement is a major contributing factor to the ease with which the brakes can be activated.

I went completely through the Miyata.  The bicycle was stripped to the ground, carefully cleaned and inspected prior to assembly.  Anything that was worn, or substandard in any way, was replaced or repaired, as required with one exception.  The beautiful Stag's head rear derailleur was badly scuffed and I never did replace it even though I did manage to find a near mint one later on.  Other than that nothing, from a functional stand point, really needed to be replaced.  I did swap out the poor saddle that came with the bike for a honey coloured Brooks B17 - Special.  The tires were old and I changed them out also.  And the tire thing did cause me a minor dilemma...

Apparently, the Miyata 1000 was one of the few bicycle issued with radial tires.  By the time I learned of this feature, I had already installed a new set of Specialized Kevlar impregnated skins.  None-the-less, I did make a quick trip to the Old Shed to have a better look at the tires I had removed from the bike.  The tires were pretty much shot, having rotted over the years.  Though hardly worn, the side walls revealed a host of cracks when pressurized.  I did consider remounting the tire set, just to get a feel for the radials but never did so.  For all I know, the tires might still be hiding in The Old Shed today.

That about covered the Miyata rebuild.  I did install my own clip-in pedal set to go with my riding shoes.  I always run these pedals now since they are so user friendly even though mine are getting to be quite worn and need to be replaced also.  Finally, cushioned handlebar tape wrapped the bars with hopes of offering maximum protection to my Carpal Tunnel ridden wrists.

NEXT - RIDING THE MIYATA 1000 GT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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