Major Modification Advice



LeonJr.

Member
Jul 9, 2023
17
6
3
I have a 1970s vintage 27" Nishiki Sport
I want to equip it for my style of riding, which is road (occasionally smooth, more often damaged asphalt), sidewalk (concrete) and packed gravel (encountered on a 40 mile ride).

Here is what I think, after some exploring and reading and shopping:

1. Change the tires. I would like to change to tubeless road/gravel. This seems difficult to find for the 27".
2. Change the brake system from caliper to disk. Like the tires, finding the wheels has been a challenge.
3. Change the cassette to 10, 11, or 12. Once again, the wheels have been the issue. The most I have found is 8.

If I switch to disk, will this allow me to play with the size, like maybe going for the 700cc? Would even a downsize to 26" be possible?

I am 62. I have been out of the buying game for a lot of years. I am only now seeing the sticker shock of new quality rigs. 5-figures!?! I got back on to daily riding in 2009 or so. Then one winter I put it away for the winter and never pulled it out again. I almost gave it away. Instead, I gave away a Nishiki MTB. I did this, because I did some quick research and realized that the MTB was going to be an issue for my type of riding. I am planning to get in shape for a century ride by this time next year. I did a 40-mile ride. I was starting then to get in shape for a century ride with the local Major Taylor chapter. But then came the hiatus.

So, I wait with my pencil and pad to take notes on brands, options, tools, etc.

During my teenage years, I rode everywhere. I was not even interested in a car, because I had my steed. I even harbored aspirations of trying out for the Olympics. Oh well....

I await your input.
 
Disk brake conversions doesn't look reassuring. Just get another more modern bike.

There are lots of quality new bikes only a fraction of that 5 figure. A 5-figure bike would be the equivalent of a Lamborghini if we're talking about cars if you get what I mean... That is if you're looking for quality models, there's plenty to choose for only a fraction of that price.

There's already plenty of very good quality disk bike options in the $2,000 to $3,000 range from popular brands. Something that is going to be absolutely reliable and joy to ride in weekly centuries or even more. And I tell, any road bike more expensive than that is only going to be marginally faster and reliable. Which means the more expensive a bike gets from 3,000 bucks, the less bang for the buck you'll get.

And Ironically, the 5 figures road bike may even be more fragile (less rugged) as they would usually be typically designed purely for racing. They'd be significantly less in weight but consider the fact, to get to such low weight, some compromises in ruggedness and durability would have to be made and not uncommon for these pure bred race bikes to impose a weight limit for its rider because heavier riders using the bike may even void the bike's warranty if the rider is well over the weight limit!

IF you're looking for used bikes, you may even get more bang for the buck... But I would advice against getting a used carbon bike unless you're getting the bike from someone you know personally, a friend, a relative. Someone who doesn't harbor any grudge nor malice towards you!
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeonJr.
Disk brake conversions doesn't look reassuring. Just get another more modern bike.

There are lots of quality new bikes only a fraction of that 5 figure. A 5-figure bike would be the equivalent of a Lamborghini if we're talking about cars if you get what I mean... That is if you're looking for quality models, there's plenty to choose for only a fraction of that price.

There's already plenty of very good quality disk bike options in the $2,000 to $3,000 range from popular brands. Something that is going to be absolutely reliable and joy to ride in weekly centuries or even more. And I tell, any road bike more expensive than that is only going to be marginally faster and reliable. Which means the more expensive a bike gets from 3,000 bucks, the less bang for the buck you'll get.

And Ironically, the 5 figures road bike may even be more fragile (less rugged) as they would usually be typically designed purely for racing. They'd be significantly less in weight but consider the fact, to get to such low weight, some compromises in ruggedness and durability would have to be made and not uncommon for these pure bred race bikes to impose a weight limit for its rider because heavier riders using the bike may even void the bike's warranty if the rider is well over the weight limit!

IF you're looking for used bikes, you may even get more bang for the buck... But I would advice against getting a used carbon bike unless you're getting the bike from someone you know personally, a friend, a relative. Someone who doesn't harbor any grudge nor malice towards you!
Thank you. I am not able to do anything more than mid 3 figures. This is why I want to go with modification. Maybe disc brakes will not be included.

The only reason I mentioned the 5 figures is that it was such a case of sticker shock - even the numbers you cited. I see the value of the rigs, with the new lighter weight materials and the modern features. I am just not in that market yet.

I mean, I saw a review of a bike that described its $1500+ price as affordable. I feel like Rip Van Winkle!
 
Last edited:
20230712_192601.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: cobbwheels
Thank you. I am not able to do anything more than mid 3 figures. This is why I want to go with modification. Maybe disc brakes will not be included.

The only reason I mentioned the 5 figures is that it was such a case of sticker shock - even the numbers you cited. I see the value of the rigs, with the new lighter weight materials and the modern features. I am just not in that market yet.

I mean, I saw a review of a bike that described its $1500+ price as affordable. I feel like Rip Van Winkle!

I see your bike now, nice! Reminded of the 90's MTBs except with a dropbar.

Now given your budget and the upgrades you're planning, you might actually end up spending in the mid 3 figures.

But with that budget, you might also get a nice used bike with all the upgrades you want to have and more.
 
Thank you. I am still in the "R&D" phase. At this point, it may be more feasible to switch to 700c (to give myself the benefit of widest tire choice), upgrade the calipers to dual-pull long-reach with better quality shoes and pads. I have an 11-speed cassette on order, and I think I am going to go with a Bucklos wheelset.
 
I have seen a lot of new bikes in the mid three figures, but they are less than the asking that I see on the occasional Nishiki of the same vintage. This is why I will not buy one of these. The Nishiki is light enough for me. I forgot its weight. My frame is 40 to 50 years old, with no integrity issues. Why replace it with something that is likely heavier and of less quality?
 
When I rode before, I did it blindly. I did not realize the amount of support there is on the web, so I am now proceeding intelligently. The best teacher is experience. The best experience is someone else's experience.

So, any input is welcome.

Here are more equipment issues:
GPS - phone or freestanding
Lighting - brands & models
Beetoosen Sport shoes for $40. Good buy? Good brand?
Tire/Tube/Wheels - Brands? Models? Remember, total rebuild of mid-3 figures, so affordable, but not cheap.

I guess what I am looking for is what brands to avoid, and what deals to leap upon. I am proceeding slowly, with a plan to be back on the road no later than Labor Day. This is painful for me, because I am ready to go YESTERDAY. I want to make sure the finished product encourages and empowers me to push to the next level. For example, there is a local Major Taylor Cycling Club chapter that does a number of shorter rides and a century every September. I think I mentioned already that just before I put it down for the winter that never ended (for me), I did a 40 mile charity ride in four hours. I was then working on bringing my pace up to 15 mph. Oh well, I guess I will have to see where I am and rebuild.
 
I have seen a lot of new bikes in the mid three figures, but they are less than the asking that I see on the occasional Nishiki of the same vintage. This is why I will not buy one of these. The Nishiki is light enough for me. I forgot its weight. My frame is 40 to 50 years old, with no integrity issues. Why replace it with something that is likely heavier and of less quality?

This is why I advised you to look at used bikes, not new. You probably won't find a nice brand new road or gravel bike in the mid three figures range.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeonJr.
I have a 1970s vintage 27" Nishiki Sport
I want to equip it for my style of riding, which is road (occasionally smooth, more often damaged asphalt), sidewalk (concrete) and packed gravel (encountered on a 40 mile ride).

Here is what I think, after some exploring and reading and shopping:

1. Change the tires. I would like to change to tubeless road/gravel. This seems difficult to find for the 27".
2. Change the brake system from caliper to disk. Like the tires, finding the wheels has been a challenge.
3. Change the cassette to 10, 11, or 12. Once again, the wheels have been the issue. The most I have found is 8.

If I switch to disk, will this allow me to play with the size, like maybe going for the 700cc? Would even a downsize to 26" be possible?

I am 62. I have been out of the buying game for a lot of years. I am only now seeing the sticker shock of new quality rigs. 5-figures!?! I got back on to daily riding in 2009 or so. Then one winter I put it away for the winter and never pulled it out again. I almost gave it away. Instead, I gave away a Nishiki MTB. I did this, because I did some quick research and realized that the MTB was going to be an issue for my type of riding. I am planning to get in shape for a century ride by this time next year. I did a 40-mile ride. I was starting then to get in shape for a century ride with the local Major Taylor chapter. But then came the hiatus.

So, I wait with my pencil and pad to take notes on brands, options, tools, etc.

During my teenage years, I rode everywhere. I was not even interested in a car, because I had my steed. I even harbored aspirations of trying out for the Olympics. Oh well....

I await your input.
I have some experience updating older steel frame bikes. I just finished with an old Japanese Sekai late 60's
Wheels: I switched to 700cc but had to get long reach calipers: TEKTRO long reach. I could not figure how to install disks since there were no mounting lugs in the steel frame. I looked for adapters but I couldn't find any way to do it.
Rear Derailleur: Your frame may need an adapter to handle the newer RD's. Most older steel frames do not have a built-in RD hanger. Several companies make a hanger that slips into the rear dropouts
Cassette: You will have to probably re-space the rear fork to accommodate 9 speed or more. The newer wheel hubs are wider. It's a pain to re-space but you can do it. Sheldon Brown has a detailed tutorial on how to do it and keep the frame aligned.
Shifters: you will need new shifters compatible with your number of speeds OR you could just use the original friction shifters but I opted for St's. Bought SENSAH very inexpensive and haven't had any issues ( it's been about 1 year)
Cables: you'll need new brake and shifter cables
Chain: with new RD your probably need new chain
Front Derailleur: I opted to go with a single chain ring and eliminate the FD.
Very important is to keep compatibility in mind: speeds, RD, cassettes, shifter, FD
As you can see, is a lot of work (and$) and unless you enjoy doing it, you may be better off getting a newer bike on Bay or local bike shop. For me it was fun since I have all the tools and have lots of time.
I like the old lugged steel frames
 
As best I have been able to determine, the Nishiki Sport has an aluminum frame. Does this change any of your recommendations?

I ordered a VG Sports 11-speed cassette. Should I ditch it for a Shimano?

I ordered an 11-speed chain

I have decided to go with the long-reach caliper option. I need not reinvent the wheel (pun intended). I think the YouTube channel you mentioned is "Storm the Castle". He also did a tutorial on changing from 27s to 700c. This is where I saw the long-reach caliper option.

I want to stick with the dual cog on the crankset, especially if I do not go with the 11-speed cassette.

I may go to 8 or 9 on the cassette. "Storm the Castle" did a tutorial on upgrading the cassette which could require stretching the fork. I think he said this is ill-advised on aluminum frames. So, if beyond 9 will require a stretch, I would rather stay in the safe zone.

Since I am not sure about the cassette size, I am holding off on the derailleurs and crankset and the wheelset. Another benefit of installing a smaller cassette is that I will have more choices and economy on the wheelsets.

I will stay with my current brake levers if I can.

I think that is all.



Since I am not sure
 
As best I have been able to determine, the Nishiki Sport has an aluminum frame. Does this change any of your recommendations?

I ordered a VG Sports 11-speed cassette. Should I ditch it for a Shimano?

I ordered an 11-speed chain

I have decided to go with the long-reach caliper option. I need not reinvent the wheel (pun intended). I think the YouTube channel you mentioned is "Storm the Castle". He also did a tutorial on changing from 27s to 700c. This is where I saw the long-reach caliper option.

I want to stick with the dual cog on the crankset, especially if I do not go with the 11-speed cassette.

I may go to 8 or 9 on the cassette. "Storm the Castle" did a tutorial on upgrading the cassette which could require stretching the fork. I think he said this is ill-advised on aluminum frames. So, if beyond 9 will require a stretch, I would rather stay in the safe zone.

Since I am not sure about the cassette size, I am holding off on the derailleurs and crankset and the wheelset. Another benefit of installing a smaller cassette is that I will have more choices and economy on the wheelsets.

I will stay with my current brake levers if I can.

I think that is all.

Since I am not sure

Stay away from VG sports. Their cassette tend to have poor choice of cog gaps and doesn't shift well. Their chains wear out (stretch out) too quickly and I think the cassette too.

I know because I still have a VG sports cassette on my bike. I could not afford to correct my mistake by buying another cassette so I modified the cassette myself. I altered the spacing between the sprockets by inserting thin spacers to restore smooth shifting (I had to drill out the rivet holding the cogs together). I dealt with the cassette's fast wear by shifting as often as necessary and not being lazy about it to distribute the wear on as many cogs as possible. Although there are no visible signs of wear on the drivetrain, the evidence is apparent by the skipping of the chain if you push the pedal hard enough.

I think between the hub length is the same for 9 and 11 speed cassette. At least when I bought my 9 speed MTB hub, it was mean for both 9 and 11 speed. Although I'm using it for 9 speed cassette, most users of the product use it with 11 speed cassette. Although I'm entirely sure about this because I'm using MTB hub for my road/gravel bike. It didn't any frame bending mod because the hubs fit perfectly in the frame and fork.
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You were right about the cost of update/upgrade approaching a more modern quality used bike.

Here are the rigs I am considering (as long as they last):
Trek 1400 @$350
Cannondale R800 SI (CAAD 5) @$375
Specialized @475
 
  • Like
Reactions: cobbwheels
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You were right about the cost of update/upgrade approaching a more modern quality used bike.

Here are the rigs I am considering (as long as they last):
Trek 1400 @$350
Cannondale R800 SI (CAAD 5) @$375
Specialized @475

I'm only familiar with the CAAD. Many riders who swear by it. Specialized Allez I've heard some. Make sure you're getting metal bike, not carbon fiber if used.

Carbon fiber while strong dealing with any riding conditions you throw at it, CF is relatively fragile against mistreatment or clumsiness. If someone accidentally let their carbon bike fall to the ground or drop a tool on it, it will necessitate a trip to a CF specialist to inspect the frame for hidden cracks or damage. Any kind of crash would likely result to frame replacement even if there is no visible damage would certainly require a visit to a specialist. But if you're not clumsy with your bikes, CF can last very long.

If you really want something that will last a long time with you, go for steel bikes. Steel bikes last really long. For one thing, they are easy and cheap to repair. You can bend them back in shape. Something ill-advised to do on aluminum and certainly not possible on CF.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeonJr.
Hiland is a brand sold on Amazon.com.

I just checked. The specs are not good. You won't be able to upgrade parts of this bike cheaply.

The rear hub in particular is 7-speed and this is likely to be freewheel. It is not cost-effective to upgrade this later on to 9 or 11 speed freehub.

You're still way better off if you bought a used bike already with 9 or 11 speed rear freehub:D
 
I figured as much. I wanted to make sure I was not passing up a lower price, high quality brand.
 

Similar threads