I am doing a little research on Miyata bikes, for one, because little is available on the web, and another reason is that Wendy is looking for a used touring frame and one came available at a LBS.
Apparently, Miyata is a Japanese bike company that produced lugged steel frame bikes with Shimano or Suntour parts and were sold in the US from the 70s – early 90s, after which point the company couldn’t afford to export to the US. Before the mid-80s their bikes were given numbers (e.g. 710) and after the mid-80s the company switched to letters (e.g. seven-ten), so this is one way to date your Miyata! The number in the tens and ones digits refers to the number of gears (e.g. 710 was a 10 speed).
A fellow cyclist and blogger notes:
“[Miyatas] don’t have the racing heritage of De Rosa or Bianchi, or the rumpled style of Raleigh, or the eccentricity of Bridgestone. They’re simply very unpretentious, well-built and well-equipped bikes” (blog).
Wikipedia tells us that early Miyata frames were not that different from rifle barrels:
“The steel tubes used for the new Miyata bicycle were manufactured with the same technique as the piping used for guns. It was bored out lengthwise using a round steel rod. The entire bicycle, except the tires, was built from scratch at the gun factory” (wiki)
They also pioneered triple butted tubing, says Sheldon Brown’s website.
Of interest for touring, Miyata 610 and 1000 were better and best, respectively.
“Mid 1980’s 610’s have triple-butted splined Chromoly frame tubing, very unusual quality tubing and construction for this price level. This bike is slightly lighter in weight than Trek 520/720 touring bikes, but of similar quality.
Miyata 1000 was considered the finest, lightest off-the-peg touring bike of its time, with splined, triple-butted Chromo tubing. Some report the 610 to be stiffer than the 1000–probably a bit better for loaded touring. 1997 model had a mix of Shimano 600 and Deore XT parts (600 DT shifters, XT derailleurs). Miyata 1000 is still considered one of the finest stock touring frames ever” (wiki).
I am looking forward to taking the LBS Miyata six-ten for a spin this weekend and will post a review of sorts.