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.

9Sep/0923

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.