Thursday, September 6, 2012

Miyata 512, Vintage 1988

A co-worker that wanted to return to cycling asked me to restore his old ride, a vintage 1988 Miyata 512 entry level tri-bike. It had been hanging in his garage for a couple of decades collecting dust on top of the original road grime.  We agreed in advance that due to the bike's age the following parts would be replaced; brake pads, bar tape, tires, tubes, rim strips, cables, chain, and chain stay guard. He said that he would later add the necessary accessories like pump, seat bag, patch kit, spare tube, rear blinky, water bottles cage, and water bottle.

Upon receipt of the bike, my initial inspection did not reveal any problems beyond the expected tire rot, decades of dirt, and oil on components turned to yellowish varnish. Also, it was obvious the bike did not get much use before being put into storage. There was no substantial wear on the bar tape, cogs, chain wheels, or brake pads.  So it was on to stripping the bike down so I could inspect the frame both inside and out while the greasy components soaked in Citra Solv. 

One of the concerns I always have with steel frames is internal rust especially in the bottom bracket and fork crown. These are areas where water that enters from around the headset and seat post tends to settle creating sometimes creating a serious corrosion problem. Luckily there was only a bit of rust in these areas and it was easily removed. To help resist future problems I applied JP Weigle's Frame Saver to the inside of both frame and fork. 

Another bit of very good news, it the alignment of both the frame (shown in picture above) and fork dropouts was as close to perfect as can be.  

The frame was near flawless with no dings or scratches. The only problem was a seat tube decal that was loose and torn in places. My concern was how to dissolve the decal's adhesive without damaging the frame's paint. After testing the Citra Solv on the paint over spray inside the bottom bracket I determine is was safe to use. To hold the Citra Solv in place a soaked a rag in it and wrapped in around the decal for about 30 minutes. After that it was just a matter of peeling the remains of the decal off and scrubbing off the more stubborn bits of adhesive. After the frame was good and clean, I finished it with Pedro's Bike Lust leaving it at least as shiny as new.

One of the more interesting challenges was cleaning the brake level hoods that were covered in ground-in greasy dirty. After a bit of trial and error I found my shop hand cleaner, Orange Goop, did a great job restoring them to bright white with no residue.

The first and only real surprise was found on my truing stand. The rear wheel had a significant flat spot requiring the rim be replaced.  The above video, providing you look closely, shows the problem.


Normally, I would recommend rebuilding both wheels with more robust rims like something from Velocity, my favorite manufacturer of alloy rims. However, the bike's owner wanted to keep the cost down so I selected a low cost Sun Ringle CR-18 700c silver rim and 36 straight gauge stainless spokes.  The CR-18 is slightly wider at 22.5mm, but is a good cosmetic match for the original.  The build was standard 3-cross.

Observations and Tips

The re-assembly, installation of the new parts, and final adjustments when smoothly. In the process I had a few observations.

The Miyata 512 internally routes its rear brake cable housing through the top tube. This is pretty cool and gives it a slightly cleaner look.  Also, remember Shimano Biopace chain rings?  This bike has them!

TIP - Consider using an old-school bar wrap especially on vintage bikes. This method starts an over lapping wrap near the stem and finishes at the bar end with the plug holding tape end in place. This provides a cleaner classic look since it eliminates the need for vinyl tape.

TIP - Using a bit of Loctite Blue on the brake caliber mounting bolt threads is cheap insurance. 

TIP - Don't forget pedals have bearings and especially with older bikes they should be serviced by thorough cleaning, re-lube, and careful reassembly.

TIP - Thoroughly clean and lube the quick release skewers. I have found a silicone dry lube spray does the job. Some people say oil or grease is better, but I have found these are dirt magnets. Take care to wipe off any excess lube.

TIP - Don't forget to lube the moving parts of components with a well placed small amount of silicone dry lube. Use a rag to limit over spray especially when lubricating the brake caliper pivot points.  


I have no relationship what-so-ever with any manufacturer of any products I mention in this blog.