It’s Spring in Edmonton and the bikes are multiplying in the Tuckamoredew household. This latest arrival was the result of an uncharacteristically instant decision on my part. Normally, I delay and loudly agonize over any bike related purchase until my wife tells me to buy it or be quiet. While most of my purchases come via Kijiji classified ads, this time it was from Pinkbike. I usually only check Pinkbike for parts and not complete bikes, particularly not road bikes. Any road bikes listed are usually quite new and are typically at least $1000. This is well outside (think astronomical distances) my budget for casual bike purchases. However, on impulse I checked and spotted this nice vintage road bike listed for $75.00. After a quick flurry of electronic communication with the seller I had agreed to buy the bike and pick it up early the following morning. The seller was a second year university student who had bought the bike to covert to fixed gear but decided instead to stick with his trials mountain bike. This was fine with me as this bike is in such good and original condition that it would be a shame to fixify it.
What did I get for $75.00? Quite a decent mid 80s road bike with nice components:
- Tange Mangaloy double butted tubing
- 700c Araya alloy rims (schraeder drilled) with Suzue 36-spoke cartridge bearing hubs
- Sugino Super Maxy triple crankset with drilled chainrings
- Suntour ratcheting downtube shifters
- Suntour ARX derailleurs
- Dia-Compe side-pull brakes with drilled levers.
It was the drilled chainrings and cartridge bearing hubs that caught my attention in the sellers ad. They are pretty much identical to the components on my much loved ’83 Nishiki Continental. At the very least, I thought, I would be able to use this bike for spare parts for Nishiki-san. As it turns out, the bike is in excellent shape and except for the decrepit tires it’s in good riding condition. I haven’t taken it for a long ride yet because of the shabby tires but the short neighbourhood jaunts I have taken have shown it to ride light, very smooth and fast. It handles nimbly and stops quickly. It is, unfortunately, perhaps a tad small for me. Not so small that I won’t ride for a while before making up my mind if I’m keeping it.
Norco, based in British Columbia, is currently the ubiquitous Canadian brand with bikes for all ages, of many types, at a range of prices. Although they’ve been around since 1964 there’s not a lot of information online about their early days. They seem to have been involved with a number of Japanese manufacturers before they ever marketed bikes under their own brand: my ’83 Nishiki Continental has a decal that reads “Designed by Norco”. This Magnum GT is likely from only a year or two later and definitely has similarities to the Continental. Norco acquired the Japanese bike company Sekai in 1983 and later phased out the brand in favour of their own. I have found pictures online of several Sekai Magnum GT bikes and they are unsurprisingly nearly identical to this Norco bike. The GT apparently stands for Grand Touring and some of the bikes seem to support this. This one however isn’t a convincing touring bike except for the triple crankset. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it so far and I’m looking forward to getting some new tires on it so I can rack up a few kilometers. This may be my best bike score to date. I do wish it was a little bigger, though.