|The VeloBase History of Nishiki
Nishiki was a brand of bicycles designed, specified, marketed and distributed by West Coast Cycle in the United States, initially manufactured by Kawamura Cyles in Kobe, Japan and subsequently by Giant of Taiwan. The bicycles were first marketed under the American Eagle brand beginning in 1965 and later under the Nishiki brand until 2001.
Throughout the U.S. bike boom of the 1970s and into the 1980s, Nishiki and West Coast Cycle competed with domestic companies including Schwinn, Huffy, and Murray; European companies including Raleigh, Peugeot and Motobecane — as well as other nascent Japanese brands including Miyata, Fuji, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Univega, Lotus and Centurion
— itself a line of Japanese-manufactured bicycles that were specified,
distributed and marketed by Western States Imports (WSI), a U.S. company
similar to West Coast Cycle. Japanese-manufactured bikes succeeded in
the U.S. market until currency fluctuations in the late 1980s made them less competitive, leading companies to source bicycles from Taiwan.
Nishiki got off to a good start in the U.S. market, but made the error
of selling some models to department stores, creating bad feeling
against the line among independent bicycle dealers. Nishiki lost a great
many dealers as a result of this.
Later, the Nishiki brand became a division of Derby, along with Raleigh and Univega. The Nishiki and Univega names were retired in 2001 so that Derby could concentrate on its Raleigh brand.