Got a new toy on the way:
This is a Bianchi Grizzly, ca. 1988/1987. The Grizz is a classic fully rigid MTB and was at the top of Bianchi's line. There were a couple of variants of the Grizz (Super G, Team G) that were a little nicer than the base version, but that aside, this was about as good as it got during the golden era of rigid mountain bikes.
This golden era ran from the late 80's into the early 90's. Prior to this, the mountain bike was just getting sorted out, for instance, angles tended to be slacker. Following this era, front (then rear) suspension started appearing and the brightest minds in the industry started working on this, relegating fully rigid bikes to the midrange. Plus, lugs started going out of fashion as well - this bike is fully lugged, even the fork has a vestige of a crown, you can see little in this picture:
The celeste handlebars are a nicely excessive touch. The Deore derailleur is classic silver and surprisingly pristine as are the biopace rings. Silver rims are nicely retro and double rear eyelets will fit with my plan for this as a city bike:
Japan in general has tons of bikes, but even by Japanese standards, Esaka, our little corner of Osaka, is pretty incredible on the bike front. Here is a very typical street scene in our neighborhood:
Every nook and cranny is stuffed w/bicycles:
Even the seemingly innocuous park across the road from our place, pictured from our seven floor verandah, covers the Esaka Park Bicycle Catacombs:
Here are a couple shots of the entrance to the catacombs:
Another shot of the north chamber that hints at the enormity of these catacombs:
Then there is the south chamber of the Esaka Park Bicycle Catacombs:
So the plan is to get the Grizz decked out as a city bike and join the fun here in Esaka. A road bike really would be way overkill - most of the bike traffic moves along at about 10 mph:
As we can see, spandex/drop bars are not the way to go in the Esaka bike culture:
So my plan for the Grizz is a utilitarian city bike. Here is what I'm thinking:
Stage 1: The existing saddle looks spent and the aftermarket seatpost is something I'd like to replace. For the saddle, I'm thinking a nice white Selle San Marcos Rolls:
Of course, the only thing that goes better with Bianchi celeste than white is more celeste, so I'll be pleased if I can track down a good condition old Bianchi saddle like this, although I'm not going to hold my breath:
Notice that I'm not considering a Brooks for this bike. This is for two reasons. The first is that the value of a Brooks really comes into play for longer rides, where they stay comfy all day long. The second is that this Bianchi is going to be an all-weather utility bike. And so while a Brooks can serve well in that environment, it takes some special effort for waterproofing, remembering a saddle cover, and so forth. However, for this bike, I'm going for maximal ease of use and as wonderful as leather saddles are, they do require some overhead.
The saddle and seatpost are really the only mods I feel I must do just to get this minimally serviceable.
Stage 2: Centerline tires and Berthoud Stainless Steel fenders. Berthoud stainless are both bomb-proof and classy, most other offerings suffer in one of those regards.
Stage 3: Nitto front campee rack with removable lowrider brackets are the best heavy duty front rack if you've got cantilever brakes for mounting:
Stage 4: Dynohub wheelset. If I'm going to make a front wheel, I probably can't get a match rim to existing rims, so I may as well make a whole new wheelset.
The new dynohub Velo Orange is importing is not a game changer, sorry, but it is a pig at 700 grams. Schmidt is still tops for 2011 although Shimano is breathing down their neck with the DH-3N80. The Sondelux, at a mere 390 grams, is looking good - I had a Son28 that I purchased around the year 2000, rode ten years on it, then sold it for as much as I paid for it:
For the rear hub, a Paul Components Jono hub will do:
I'd like to lace these hubs to a set of Sun Rhyno Lite XL rims.
Lastly, this bike could finally be the reason to get some of those wonderful White Industries city pedals: