Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ancient Miyata Fest - 912 and Team

Cruising eBay as I'm prone to do, searching for stuff I don't have the money or space for, came across two cool old Miyata bikes up for auction. Both in my frame size to boot.  Sweet.  Will I be bidding on these?  Of course not - but fun to look - and sure beats watching television.

Miyata?  Who cares you say.  Well, I do - since these are time travel machines for me.  During my shop days of the early '80s, we sold and assembled many Miyata models.  This was the age of lugged steel, toe straps, 6 speed freewheels, and quill stems.  Japan was the powerhouse of affordable, nice bikes at the time.  And out of all the bikes from Japan, and from the selection we carried, Miyata was always my favorite.  Especially their upper end road bikes - the 912, Pro, and Team.  Anytime I scored a customer assembly for one of these models, a little extra attention went into the build.

I remember one shop customer during that era.  Very friendly, short stocky guy, with a Romanian or Russian accent.  Older guy, well to 19 year old me anyway, seemed older.  Dude rode though, a lot.  He'd stop by the shop and chat with us, while we spun wrenches with the garage door open out to the parking lot.  During the early '80s in suburban New Jersey, didn't see many adults riding a race bike, complete with bike shorts, out on the street.  I always got a kick when he stopped by, like having a euro pro visit.   He rode a orange Miyata 912.

Joanne, one of our sales people, also rode a orange 912.  One day, another mechanic and I were goofing around, which turned into playful wrestling, which turned into Joanne's 912 flying in the garage door rail of the shop - denting the top tube.  Ouch.  We offered to buy her a new frame, she declined - though wasn't exactly happy.  Minor cosmetic dent, though I felt terrible about it.  My very empty wallet was relieved however.

Alas, I never owned one of these bikes, so still have a thing for old Miyata road bikes.  Call me weird.  I did score a new Miyata mountain bike in '84, but that's a different story.  

Back to the road trip...

Very orange 1981 Miyata 912 as spotted on eBay.  Only the modern saddle and water bottle cage spoiling the old school goodness.  Those cables could also use a trimming.  Nitpicks easily resolved.

Miyata head badge beams from the past.  Note the Shimano 600 shifters.  That be downtube and pre-index shifting.  Friction it be, yes indeed.

Shimano 600 derailleur with 6 speed freewheel.  Clear spoke protector still in place, amazing time specimen - really clean.

More old school 600 goodness.  Steel fork with clearance to run fatter tires.  Nice.

Fantastic condition.  Time warp, it's 1981, 912 in work stand, I just taped the 'bars.  Now time for a stromboli at Guy's Pizza...

Page from the Miyata catalog.  912 cringing with reflectors and spoke protector, usually removed within minutes of purchase.

Also spotted on eBay, a clean '86 Miyata Team.  The Team was Miyata's most expensive offering, the full race deal.  The '81 era Team went for $1250 or so, big bucks to me.  At the shop, the Miyata Team and a Raleigh Professional hung near the cash register, mostly to amaze folks shopping for bikes in a lower price range - much lower.  We sold very few of these bikes, but when one went out, a pretty big deal.  Huge score to assemble one of these as the replacement.

Clean example of '86 race technology.  Spare sew up included.

Dig the old school Campy Record.  Appears to be in great shape.  Still not as clean as the one I spotted awhile back, that one with Dura-Ace. Both in that cool blue however.

I'd get a grin out of having either one of these bikes hanging in the garage.  Especially the 912, even if the "lower" model of the range.  During my bike shop era, thought I'd be a poser on the Team, the 912 a bit more subdued.  The Pro model actually being the perfect middle ground.

I can't justify it, nor afford at the moment, otherwise I'd place a bid on that sweet orange 912.  I hope the new owner enjoys it, wherever it may land.


  1. My fixed gear used to have that 600 gruppo. Unfortunately all that's left (through my own stupidity) is the brakes and headset.

  2. Lots of bike gear seems to flow in and out of our lives. Some of it you wish you saved. I'm in the same boat.