failing like never before

23Jan/103

Miyata 914 – Acquisition and Review

About how I acquired a Miyata 914

For the past three months, while  on my way to class, I've been walking past a wheel-less bike chained to a bike rack underneath an overhang. The bike's distinctive bright green saddle was pretty much the only speck of color amidst a sea of dirty Huffys, so it was hard to miss. One day, I happened to catch a closer glimpse of the green-saddled bike and was surprised to notice that it was a Miyata (I have a soft spot for Miyatas, since I already own one), and closer inspection revealed it to be a Miyata 914. I spent several minutes examining the Miyata and noticed that aside from the thick layer of dust and grime that coated it and the lack of wheels, it was in surprisingly good condition. I started to wonder if the owner of the Miyata had graduated and forgotten his bike, or had simply abandoned it after the wheels were stolen. On the off chance that the latter was true, and hoping that the Miyata's owner still walked the same route to class, I left a note asking the owner to contact me if he had any wish of selling.

My note was gone the next day, and I received an e-mail from the Miyata's owner by the end of the week, saying that he was considering selling his bike and would I make an offer? Betting that any man who puts a kick-stand on a semi-pro bike (the atrocity!) and leaves it outside for three months, probably doesn't realize the worth of a good, splined, triple-butted Miyata CrMo steel frame, I offered him a low-ball offer of $50; high enough to tempt him into selling, but still low enough to make it a bargain buy. We eventually settled on $75, which was higher then I would have liked, but still pretty decent. I've been told that the Miyata 914 has the same frame as the top-of-the-line Miyata Team, but with slightly inferior components, and I saw a NOS 1990 Miyata Team selling for $600 on ebay, which makes the $65 I paid seem like daylight robbery. I think given the condition of the Miyata that I purchased, it could have fetched close to $200 on craigslist.

My initial suspicions about the owner were confirmed when I met him: he did not appear to be a cyclist and didn't realize the full worth of the Miyata 914. Strangely enough, he was several inches shorter then me (I'd put him around 5 foot 7 inches), which would have meant that ridding the 60 cm Miyata must have been extremely awkward for him.

As soon as money and bike exchanged hands, I raced home, threw some newspaper down and set up my bike stand in the middle of the living room (thank God my roommates weren't home...). I started with just cleaning the bike off first, and as soon as the dirt started to fall away, I began to realize that the 914 was actually in better condition then I had thought; the paint was only scratched in a few places, and the chainrings looked brand new.

Other parts of a Miyata 914

These are the parts that I had to replace/provide:

  • 2 wheels (Mavics, with a Sachs freewheel) - $20 at a yard sale
  • 2 Serfas Secas 25mm tires - $22 each
  • 1 tube - $4
  • generic  REI bar tape - $9

So total cost of the bike: $120. Not bad for a semi-pro race bike.

Components:

  • CrMo Splined Triple-Butted (STB) steel frame
  • CrMo STB fork
  • Shimano RX100 groupset
  • 7 - speed indexed shifters
  • Aero brake levers
  • Bianchi Selle Italia Turbo saddle
  • Mavic rims
  • Sachs freewheel and sprockets (8 speed, 12 -24)
  • Serfas Secas 25mm tires
  • Double chainring, Shimano Hyperglide (53, 42)
  • Internal rear-brake cable
  • 100% kick-ass...

Pictures of a Miyata 914

About a Miyata 914

After many hours of cleaning and repairs, the 914 was finally ready for a test run.

Since acquiring the Miyata 914, I've put about 70 miles on it, so I've gotten a pretty good feel for it. I don't have too much experience with riding different kinds of road bikes, but the Miyata does seem to have a slightly softer ride then aluminium framed bikes.  I think the steel frame really does absorb shocks a little better then aluminium frames. That being said, it still feels very light and responsive, and it accelerates very easily. I didn't have any trouble with standing up in the pedals while charging uphill, or cornering. The 914 is clearly a bike make for racing, as it lacks any frivolous eyelets for attaching racks or fenders, and it forces the rider into a more aggressive riding position. Also something to note, is that the tire clearance allowed by the frame, fork, and brakes is quite minimal. I'm currently ridding on 25mm tires, and it looks like there is maybe two millimeters separating the fork and the tire, so its definitely a good thing I didn't decide to buy 28mm tires.

I've kept the original rx100 groupset on the bike and the components have performed perfectly. The huge 53 and 42 tooth chainrings was a bit of a shock for me and took some time getting used to, but they work fine and shifting between chainrings hasn't been a problem. Since the chainrings are so large, I was able to get up to some pretty impressive speeds on slight descents while still pedaling at a very easy and comfortable cadence. On a whim, I tried to see how fast I could get up to on a nice clear straight-away, and was astounded when my speedometer hit 35 MPH while I was still only on my second smallest sprocket.

I have almost no experience with downtube shifters, so its been a bit scary learning how to shift quickly with them, but the shifters and derailleurs have also not caused any trouble. Once I adjusted the derailleurs, shifting action was quick and precise. The brakes aren't really the best I've had, but they stop well enough and worked without squealing or slipping in the rain. I'm a little surprised by how narrow the handlebars are, but I imagine the intention is to force the rider to keep their arms closer together to reduce air resistance.

Its not really a complaint, more of a confused observation, but while putting my front wheel on, I had to spread the fork ends out to accommodate the width of the hub. I was a little surprised by this since the wheels appear to be of a perfectly normal height and width, and they worked fine with my Miyata Alumicross. I haven't measured the hub width or the distance between the fork ends, so I'm not sure if I should be blaming Miyata or Mavic.

I love my 914, its lighter then a fart and fast as hell, and has the look of a classic racing bike. Were it not for the fact that God appears to have confused sunny southern California with dreary England, and sent rain to Los Angeles, I would be riding my Miyata 914 every single day.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. i have a nine 14 myself. it has a shimano 105 7-speed groupset. it’s been fun as hell and very reliable (four years of casual jaunts). the only problem i’ve had is letting the old mavic radial rear wheel go unserviced. one torque-ey stomp on the drive side pedal from a stop and the rear wheel threw a spoke. by the time i realized something was wrong the wheel was pizza’d. it’s all tight and true now though. enjoy your sweet bike!

  2. You are 5’7″ and it’s a 60cm frame????too big by far. You would be better off on a 54cm frame.

  3. I bought one today for 50 bucks. It has the green bianci saddle. Why? Is this something that came w the bike originally? Yours and mine are the only ones I\’ve ever seen.


Leave a comment


Security Code:

Trackbacks are disabled.