Japanese Vista Elite with Shimano 600 Arabesque


I won this bike on an online auction.  I am not a fan of swapping out drop bars for any other style of bars, so I went with the stem that someone had put on it but added new bars, new brake levers (nice ergonomic Tektros) and because no one should have to reach the down tube to shift (especially on tall bikes), I installed these new Dia Compe bar end shifters.








If you should want a vintage road bike to ride with more stability, I highly suggest going with the wider handlebars that are available today.  Back in the ’70s, they put the same narrow bars on any bike, be it a 48cm or a 63.

Someone else had already made the switch from 27″ to 700C wheels.  The rear wheel shown below has a 9-speed free hub on it.  The Shimano 600 rear derailleur can’t reach that far, so I swapped out the whole wheel for one with a beautiful Araya rim and Suntour Sprint hub with a Suntour 6-Speed freewheel.

It is difficult to decide what to do with bikes that come to the shop in such a non-original way.  It usually means I’m going to spend lots of money turning it back into what it was meant to be.  No exception here.  I bought the bike for less than $20.  The obvious money-making answer would be to part it out on Ebay.  But then there’s a frame with nothing on it–and they don’t get built up too often.  Too expensive.  Luckily, I had some wiggle room on investment, so I splurged.


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