Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Takumashi -- Sturdy, reliable city bike

On a visit to the "Bike Man" in Carmichael, I found this Nishiki Citisport waiting in the driveway. The price was more than fair, and it became the third bike in the stable. Here's Takumashi ("Sturdy") fitted with the Basil Kavan II canvas-and-leather panniers.

Since this photo was taken, I replaced the riser bars with North Roads from Pyramid and made my own grips and chain stay guard from hemp twine and shellac... More on those additions later.

Here's Takumashi from the rear, still sporting the Basil Kavan IIs.

The Citisport offers a very stable feeling ride. He's a bit heavier than the other bikes and so not as quick. Also, the 26-inch wheels and quasi-MTB tires make for a bit more road gripping and less agility. All in all, though, he's more than quick enough for commuting or utility riding.

Takumashi was the bike I took to Peak Adventures' bicycle maintenance class, so he got a thorough tune-up in the process. Now the only drawbacks to a perfect ride are the squeaky mattress-style saddle and a bit of a hum from the full fenders.

Finally, I should mention that this was the bike I picked for today's ride in steady rain and winds that gusted up to 50 mph. That little bit of extra weight came in very handy, as Takumashi handled the wet streets, puddles and slick leaves with ease.


  1. Nice. I'm guessing those sweet panniers cost more than your bikes combined!

    Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Pretty close, Matt. I got a great deal on them through Amazon. They had been $275 when I first looked, but I got them for about half of that.

    They strap on to the rear rack with old-fashioned leather straps and buckles. I sent an email to Basil asking for advice on how to hide/secure the excess strap and received a very courteous and helpful reply. I love those guys.

  3. Hey, that bike looks great with the Basil panniers, nice job!

    Out of curiosity, why do you point the North Roads up like that? I find them most comfortable pointing toward me and even a bit down.

  4. Filigree, I misled you. The pic shows Takusmashi before I switched out the handlebars. The ones pictured are fairly wide risers. Ive since put on the north roads and twine grips. Pics to come!

  5. Sorry to necro a very old blogpost, but I recently bought this same model (and color) bike off craigslist, and am both fascinated by its apparent rarity and intrigued by your world traveler theme, which I want to use as inspiration for my own. Would love to chat with you about the bike once I get my hands on it and see what its like.

  6. Welcome, Ackaroth! I'd love to chat Citisports too. I've done a bit to mine since this post, so I'll have to update you on its latest appearance.

    I like it even more than I used to and it is a bike that draws compliments nearly every time I'm on it.

  7. Nice! I just bought a Citisport at a local thrift store for, get this, $28! other than a needing some tlc from sitting in what looks to be in a garage for 20 years, its super clean.

  8. I also have one. I bought at a trift store for $25 2 years ago. I was in decent shape but missing tins. I was going to flip it but took a liking to it.The dates on hubs indicate 1985 production. Being an english 3 speed fan I made several modifications to mine. I installed alloy Northroad bars, modified fenders and chainguard from a Raleigh Sports to fit and painted them silver with white tail and S/A reflector on rear fender. Brooks B66 and Pletsher Rack. I wanted the vintage look. Use it for rides at NJ shore. I did about 250 miles last year looking forward to this season. This is one of several bikes I own. My oldest and favorite is a 51 Ralegh Sports