velospace is about bikes and the people who ride them marketplace photos random forums

Nishiki Alien Retro-Direct

Bike tags: Fixed gear | Single speed | Track bike | Road bike | Mountain bike | more tags >>
Bike photo
Click to view other photos

1990's Nishiki Alien, Tange Prestige tubing, 22" Seat Tube, 24" Top Tube. Richard Cunningham Design.

Cruiser, Tall & White

Original, Shimano 105

36h Specialized Sealed Hub, Araya 7x rim, Schwalbe Fat Frank

48h Walmart BMX garbage hub, laced 5x Crow's Foot DS (14g cross spokes 13g radial), Radial NDS (14g) to vintage Sun Rhyno rim, Schwalbe Fat Frank


Crappy Velo Orange Leather Saddle, One that I had

Boring, Extra Long


Mafac/ACS collabo, AKA 'Mafaciacs', Same

52 x 44 pedaling forward (wheelie gear), 52 x 18 pedaling backwards (cruising gear)

Fatty Tires

Retro Direct: Try it, you'll like it! If you don't go crazy hooking the drivetrain up that is.

If someone really wants this bike, PM me, because I am trying to sell it right now.

People who friended this bike VintagebikePhil, vqstaphbeard, Albert Kernberg, van, CrashTest, reticentremedy, juicemankilla, Mu_Empire, chku, ravelax, FAT TIRE RIDER, campystamp, joaobola, moik, gunther


what a "sick nice" bike!! :) Been thinking about something like this also, must be confusing to ride when your not used to!

when you want to go fast you pedal backwards? and to climb you pedal forwards??

thanks for the comment!

The pedaling is easy enough to get used to, but I really have a difficult time with a smooth pedal stroke going backward, which makes high cadence virtually impossible. Backward pedaling also works entirely different leg muscles than you would expect. The forward gear is more for low speed wheelie riding than anything else.

The retro direct drivetrain is an old design, predating both internal hub transmissions and derailer gears if I remember correctly.

A wise bicycle sage once told me 'todays bike mechanics are boring, 100 years ago bike mechanics were building way cooler stuff in the back of their shops, like airplanes.'

Do you prefer the lower gear

Do you prefer the lower gear with the forward pedal? If not, is there enough clearance to swap the freewheel order (aside from it being welded) or put the tensioner on top and reverse the chain?

Such a trip

Riding one of these is such a trip. It will definitely put a smile on your face.


that's the craziest (good crazy) thing i've seen in awhile. trying to wrap my head around it, can you coast at all? is the 44t cog just sandwiched between freewheel and hub?

44t is also a freewheel

The bike has 2 single speed freewheels, one is a 44t and the other is an 18t. When you pedal, one is always freewheeling and the other is driving. When you coast, they are both freewheeling, and if you try to roll the bike backwards, they oppose one another and protest your actions. Wiki retro direct, they explain it better, and I will get a better close up picture of the drivetrain on here.

FYI the 44t freewheel came off one of those god awful 'autobike' things that shifts for you, except on the autobike it was the chainring.


i went on the wiki page (and a few other ones) and there are a few variations on it, all of which i found thoroughly confusing. some more closeups would be great, how did you get two freewheels on one hub? (bear with me..) and why such a humongous (44t?) cog, can't imagine you can get anywhere with a gear that low

Super, super cool!! I've

Super, super cool!! I've always loved these frames. What do you think about the fat franks?

I love Fat Frank tires so much that it is silly

Fat Franks are my go-to city tire now. The ones on this bike are recycled from my Schwinn 4x4 and probably have 5,000 miles on them. I also have used the Big Apple tires (Fat Frank & Big Apple use the same casing) and ridden the Super Moto (same shape as big apple but kevlar bead and lighter casing) and they are also excellent.

My bottom line is that I almost never get flats, the giant rubber makes for a cushy ride at 30-40 psi, and that these tires are alot faster than they look (especially the Super Moto).

oh leg

your builds never fail to impress and amuse. respek


I build them mostly to amuse myself and challenge my brain. I have a backlog of 4 or 5 more to post, and hopefully will have my swing bike (scratch build from steel purchased at the steel store and broken frames I've cut up) up and running here in the next few months. If you're ever in rainy P-Town and have a second to chill hit me up Mr. Fumingator, I'll give you a tour of the lab.

Just remembered

I had a dream not too long ago that I rode a retrodrive bike. I imagine it's about as interesting as I think it is. I'll certainly take you up on your offer if I find myself in the area.

super cool

i've always wanted a retro direct. they seem super neat.

where there's a will....

Haegan, you can (and probably should) build one out of any clunky old steel bike, preferably one with a freewheel threaded rear hub that is made out of steel. If you have access to a welder or brazing equipment, that can really help out.

Seriously though if you want to make one I am game to give you any advice I can.

velospace | About | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | contact | blog | status | site map | ©