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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Proximate Drea's Little Sister's fancy black Nishiki 

Ooh, it's a Landau:

Hm. That's a pretty tiny picture. But what you're looking at is a Nishiki Landau, a bike that must date from sometime in the mid-1980s (the surest sign being the midrange (V-GT) Suntour drivetrain), but it shows some notable details for such an old bike, the most interesting of which is vertical dropouts for the rear wheel. Even my early-90s Pinarello doesn't have that. Why vertical dropouts? A bit easier to insert the wheel, and it holds the rear wheel more securely. The trick is that they require more precision in frame-making, as you can't use adjustment screws to "fix" any rear triangle misalignments.

This bike uses 700C wheels and the aforementioned dropouts. That means that Mike Latondresse's Landau fixie must be a bit older, what with its 27" wheels and horizontal dropouts. Both bikes show nice detail touches like gold highlight paint outlines around the lugs.

These were "Norco design" Nishikis. "My" Landau has a made in Japan sticker, which in this era is a good sign (Taiwanese bikes could and can be very good, but by then nobody was making bad bikes in Japan: it was too expensive). I think I have related some of this odd brand's history previously: was apparently once an independent maker, then got bought by Norco (I have a late-80s Nishiki Rockhound from an era in which you could buy the same bicycle as a Norco, a Nishiki, or a Fiori), and then was apparently sold into the Derby group (according to Sheldon). It lives on in parts of Europe presumably still part of the Raleigh (nee Derby) group. Interestingly, their US office is in Kent, WA only a few hours South of me.

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