failing like never before


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.


Miyata Alumicross

I got a 1989 Miyata Alumicross earlier this summer and have managed to put a few hundred miles on it so far. We bought it from the previous owner for $200 who apparently had the bike sitting in storage for almost the past two decades, so its in surprisngly good condition despite its age. Almost all of the components on the bike are original, except for the saddle, bar tape, and toe clips (all of which I replaced myself).

Here's a description of the bike:

  • 58cm, weighing approx. 24 lbs.
  • Aluminum main tubes, APA-bonded 3-lug construction
  • Suntour XCD-6000 deraileurs
  • Suntour Accushift Bar Con shifters (front shifter is friction, rear is index/friction)
  • Suntour cantilever brakes
  • Suntour XCD-6000 CW-XD00 cycloid triple crankset (48, 38, 28)
  • CrMo fork
  • Wolber GTx 700C rims
  • IRC cross-country 35mm tires
  • Suntour 6-speed freewheel (13, 15, 17, 20, 24, 28)
  • Sansin sealed hub
  • air-bottle basement (braze-on for CO2 cartridge)
  • Interior back-brake cable thru top tube
  • Steel pedals with strapless toe clips
  • SR Sakae custom Modolo patent (Anatomic bend) handlebars

The Alumicross was apparently Miyata's top "cross" bike at the time of its production. I'm not quite sure if Miyata designed the Alumicross with cyclocross specifically in mind, or if its just a hybrid type bike. Nevertheless, its a good ride, and is light and speedy despite its thicker tires and heavier then normal frame, while still being well suited for cyclocross rides. Its also a good bike for riding around town and doing some recreational riding, and I suspect that it would do quite well at loaded touring since it seems to have all the threaded holes for attaching additional racks and panniers. The low gear gearing and wide gear ratios makes the Alumicross great for long, steep hill climbs while carrying lots of additional weight, but they also mean that the Alumicross is ill suited for high-speed road races.


Weekly Biking

Numbers from my bike computer for this past week of riding to class.

Distance Traveled: 9.313 miles

Average Speed: 13.5 MPH

Max Speed: 31.5 MPH

Time Traveled: 41 minutes and 22 seconds

So pretty average stats.

I want a real road bike. I'm not saying my bike is bad (beause its not, I like my antique KHS), I just want a bike that doesn't weigh 32 pounds and have a knocking headset. Sometimes when I have some extra time between classes I like to check out the bikes locked up at a nearby bike rack. Generally, the only bikes I see are antique Schwinn road bikes, shiny Huffy mountain bikes with crap-tastic components, and a few home-made fixies (some of them quite nice) that seem to be all the rage these days. But every now and then I'll see a good road bike thats worth admiring: a Trek 1000 or 1.2,  Giant OCR3, Jamis Ventura Sport, or a Fuji Newest 2.0. On a few occasions, I might see something really expensive, like a full carbon fiber Fuji, or a fancy Scattante racing bike. And seeing a nice road bike just makes me want to get a road bike even more. Unfortunately, I'm not winning to fork over the several hundreds of dollars that I would need to make such a purchase. Still, I like to dream.

Anyways, back to studying. At least my head doesn't feel like its going to explode, like it did last night.

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Wrong Way

I just got stopped by a bike cop because I was riding my bike going the wrong way on a one-way street. A very long, straight, double-lane, one-way street. The same one-way street that a lot of cars go the wrong way on.


Oh well...

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Weekly Biking

I've had this sticky-note with my biking stats for the previous week sitting on my desk for a while now, so here it is:

Distance: 9.634 miles
Average Speed: 13.4 MPH
Max Speed: 28.8 MPH
Elapsed Time: 43 minutes and 10 seconds


Current Biking Events

Over the weekend I managed somehow to lose the cable that I use for locking my bike up. I could have sworn that I brought my bike, cable, and padlock into the room before it started to rain again, but for some reason I just cannot find my cable. So of course, I haven't been riding my bike lately since I can't afford to leave it unlocked outside of my classroom. And since one of my roommates leaves his shiny new Trek 1.7FX in the room at all times, all my other roommates have been getting a little annoyed by the presence of two bikes in the living room, which was never that large to begin with. Today, I decided to just borrow one of roommates cables, and use it until my cable decides to show its ugly mug. So today was the first time I have ridden my bike in several days. But on to something a little more exciting...

Almost two weeks ago, I got out of class and it was pouring rain (unusual weather for lovely Southern California, even in Winter). The padded seat on my bike was soggy with absorbed water and my cheap Wal-mart brakes were squeaking like mad canaries. I wasn't on my bike for even a minute before I realized that one of my toe-clips felt a little loose, and a closer examination revealed that one of the screws holding the toe-clip to the pedal was missing. Figuring that it wasn't too huge of a deal, as long as I kept excessive force off of that clip, I remounted my bike and continued on my way. About two minutes later, the second and last remaining screw on that toe-clip fell off along with the little metal bracket. Even better, the straps that went with the toe clip were rotting through and the metal buckle for adjusting the straps were rusted completely solid, which meant there was no way for me remove the straps and clip from the pedal without some pliers or a pair of scissors. Apparently the fates were against me on that day. And so, I pushed my bike all the way back to my room, in the pouring rain, with one of toe clips flapping around and dragging against the ground.

I ordered some strapless toe-clips from Amazon (my roommate was ordering a few things, and needed a few extra dollars to get free shipping) a few days after my toe-clips debacle. Full toe-clips are nice for riding longer distances without stopping, but I've found that they're a pain in the butt to get in and out of while riding through town. I figured that some strapless toe-clips would give me a little more power then riding with just platforms, while allowing me to avoid some of the annoyances of full toe-clips.

The strapless toe-clips arrived last night, and I've spent a few minutes in them already. They seem fairly effective at allowing me to put a little more power in, and they're fairly easy to get in and out of. I'll write a little more about them once I've given them some more street time.


Weekly Biking

More biking states for the past week. Not exactly my best numbers.

Distance Traveled: 15.427 Miles

Max Speed: 28.3 MPH

Average Speed: 12.6 MPH

Time Traveled: 1 hour and thirteen minutes


Weekly Biking

Distance Traveled: 6.475 Miles

Max Speed: 29.2 MPH

Average Speed: 12.7 MPH

Time Traveled: thirty minutes

I walked to class twice last week, and Monday was MLK day, so I didn't bike very much.

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