Ten years ago a friend, Bryan, found me a stash of bikes in a sinkhole dump in Huntingdon Furnance PA. Most of them were pretty junky, one was an OK late 70’s or early 80’s Takara road bike. Ruined 27″ wheels, cheapo bolt on derailleurs, bent fork and bolt-on stem shifters. The frame was nifty, lugged 4130 CroMo tubes painted red and white and with horizontal dropouts allowing it to be converted to fixed easily. I ripped of the shifters & derailleurs, bought a new fork and fixed 700c wheel-set at a swap meet. I used old 110mm RSX 170 cranks and Nitto Mustache bars to finish it off.
I used it as a commuter to and from ASI. That lugged frame rode so softly I loved it. My hands never stopped hurting on that mustache bar, even after months of giving it a chance to prove itself. Running fixed turned out to be a bad idea, at least on this frame. The Takara had a very low bottom bracket, and I was hitting the ground on the inside of corners, on curbs, passed out DG’s and so on. One very dramatically painful hit while corning at about 18 MPH, was the last straw for this set up.
I put on flat bars, an ASC freewheel and a 1″ threaded Surly cross fork. For front brakes I used an old rusty set of Avid Arch Rival V brakes and on the back I used an old pretty “long reach” Dura Ace caliper. I loved it this way for commuting and once in a while for riding the gravel roads in Rothrock SF.
In Aug 2007 I moved to DC to work at the University of Maryland at College Park. Instead of living in the expensive sprawling crime ridden bland hell of College Park, Greenbelt or Laurel, I live in DC. The Takara became my College Park Metro stop to campus commuter. I got to use it for about three weeks until I had to leave for a week. I locked it up well, using the Metro stop locking racks and my own lock. My mistake was to use a $25 combo cable lock. I cut a similar lock using linesmans pliers when I forgot the combo. Well I assume somebody saw my Takara, liked it and took it with little effort or trouble.