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  1. #1
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    Help identify Kabuki Bridgeston...Submariner?

    I need help with alittle more info on this bike. There's not much literature out there I've found. I've already read sheldonbrowns take on these bikes but that didn't really tell me much. I believe the SMD on the top tube is for Submariner, but i'm not 100% sure. I would also like to know the year of the bike. The serial number on the bottom of the bottom bracket reads: L783479 and the Kabuki headbadge has the number: 6557 stamped on it. There is also a number on the back of the pedal stems of 77 just under the work Japan. The bike has stickers indicating its stainless steel frame with Hi Tensile fork. The brakes are Dia-Compe, the rear derailer says Suntour Tluxe, the front derailer says Compe-V and the wheels say Araya, the tires are 27 1 1/4.

    I'm in the process of restoring/cleaning the bike up, replacing cables, tires & tubes and the handlebar tape. The frame has some paint chips on it, but the decals are in pretty good shape and overall the bike will clean up nice. I have heard there's something of a cult-following on these bikes. I'm wanting to eventually sell it, but not sure what it's worth (or where to start the price at).

    Any help would be appreciated. Hopefully this link to pics of the bike works:

    http://s754.photobucket.com/albums/x...%20Bridgestone

  2. #2
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    AFAIK the Kabuki was never a high end model but they do seem to have a cult following as you say. Two of my friends have owned Kabukis, one wrecked his frame attempting to remove a stuck seatpost...

    Your bike looks to be in pretty nice shape. With a cleanup and new tires I'd try for $200, maybe you'll get lucky and someone will really want it. But be prepared to take more like $125. If it didn't say Kabuki on the side I'd say you'd be looking at about $100 for a bike like this.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  3. #3
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    cool, thank you for the info. The seat also says Kabuki on it, so I know it's original. I'm gonna post pics once I'm done with it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member KOBE's Avatar
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    Be careful with the seat post. It is a quill type that is undone by the nut on top. They are very hard to replace.

  5. #5
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Arrgh! My login timed out and I lost the entire message that I typed! I will do my best to recreate it.

    First of all, I'm a Kabuki fan. I've owned two and unfortunately had to sell both. The older was a 1975 and a sort of lavender color paint. Beautiful bike in near mint condition. Sold it to a guy for $250.00 and I had paid $65.00 along with maybe $20.00 invested in new bar tape and lube, cables, etc.

    The newer one was a 1979 and I believe yours is as well. The older one had chromolly or hi-ten forks, don't remember. The newer one, however, had stainless steel forks. Said so on the sticker on the downtube. Technart was the term Bridgestone used for the SS tubing. The sticker said main triangle and forks were Technart. You could tell they were SS, sounded different when you pinged them.

    You might have learned this already, but the way the frames were made was by casting molten aluminum around the joints of the main tubes. The ends of the SS tubes were flared to prevent them from pulling out. Some thought they might be threaded, but someone broke a frame apart and found flared ends with cork in them to prevent the aluminum from flowing inside the tubes. Unique concept. The seatpost was somewhat unique although it had been used previously on other bicycles. It is a quill post with expander wedge. Lube it up well and make sure you don't overtighten it. As stated above, they are hard to come by. They can be fashioned out of long stems, but that is a pain and you don't want to have to do that if you don't have to. Both of mine were fine.

    Not that I recommend it, but the Sub is a perfect candidate for conversion. It has zero braze-ons and doesn't have an integral RD hanger. So it can be stripped clean, especially if you wish to go brakeless.

    If you haven't already, grease the hubs, bb and replace all of the cables as soon as possible. And then enjoy!

  6. #6
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    BTW, I'll look for my pics and post them as soon as I can. I also had an advertisement for the Sub. The bike was originally marketed for riders on the coast where salt air can wreak havok on unprotected frames. Seemed like a decent concept but I don't think the bike was super popular because you don't see too many up for sale. The original owner of the '75 used to work for C. Itoh, the parent company of Bridgestone and he said he bought it new for around $400.00 which he said was discounted off of the retail price because he was an employee.

  7. #7
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    1979 Submariner Pics

    3nb3ma3o45O05Q45P3abl35e995583bd710ab.jpg3n33mf3oa5Y65O65W4abl813bc4df98dc1d0a.jpg3kf3m43ob5Y45V65U0ablc757671e1b911f8d.jpg


    This is the '79, which I think is the same year as the OP's. 12 speeds on this one, my '75 was 10. Had one of those beautiful golden-colored freewheels, the two largest cogs were skiptooth. Very unique. The 12 speed had a "typical" 6 speed freewheel.

  8. #8
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    Mine has the sticker on the forks that says Hi Tensile, and they are chrome tipped. It is also only a 10 speed. It also has that TechArt sticker on the frame just under the seat. I did find that info on the tubing and the lugs. I'm kind of new to the bicycling world of repairs and this seemed like neat, unique design to me too. I did read about the seat post before I bought the bike, so I knew to remove the seat first, then remove the stem post by taking the bolt loose. Several of the components say Japan with a 77 stamped underneath. This is on the back of the pedal stems and I also found it hidden on the underside of one of the front brake levers. I'm wondering if that is any indication of the year? I have new tires on the way, and tubes as well. Also putting black cork handlebar tape on and replacing two of the cables that are too rusted to move. Otherwise, not much more money to put into this bike. I'm going to leave it as orginal as possible and see what it brings me. I really won't be too disappointed if it doesn't sell, as this looks like a pretty neat bike to hang on to.

  9. #9
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Yours doesn't look much like my Submariner, but it may be the pictures. I stripped it of components years ago and it's been a ss. Gorgeous bike, that stainless steel looks like nothing else. Paid $100-$125. I'd sell it for alot more now.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
    ...The newer one, however, had stainless steel forks. Said so on the sticker on the downtube. Technart was the term Bridgestone used for the SS tubing. The sticker said main triangle and forks were Technart. You could tell they were SS, sounded different when you pinged them...
    Technart had nothing to do with the stainless steel tubing. It referred to the process of casting the lugs around the tubes. Even the entry level models with carbon steel and hi-tensile tubes had Technart frames. If the sticker said the forks were Technart, it simply meant that the crown was cast around the forks and has no bearing on the fork blade material. Personally, I've never seen a Submariner with stainless steel forks (or stays). Even the literature I have on the Submariner-12 indicates the fork as "Technart Single Tube, Hi-Tensile C.P. ends." I suggest you test your forks with a magnet.

    Quote Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
    This is the '79, which I think is the same year as the OP's. 12 speeds on this one, my '75 was 10. Had one of those beautiful golden-colored freewheels, the two largest cogs were skiptooth. Very unique. The 12 speed had a "typical" 6 speed freewheel.
    This bicycle is not the same as the OP's. Besides 6 cogs versus 5, the brakes are sidepull versus the center-pull on the OP's. Your pics are poor but I don't think the crankeset is the same either.


    As for the year of the OP's bicycle, the crankset is Aug 1977, which is late enough in the year that the bicycle itself is probably a 1978 model. However, the stem, which is well above it's insertion mark, looks like there may be an 80 marked on it. This may be a date code, but could also be the extension length. Regardless, the stem is at an unsafe height and should be lowered to the insertion mark, prior to sale. If not lowered and the stem pops out on the new owner, the OP could be held liable.

  11. #11
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    my reply-more info on the kabuki

    I've added a few more photos to this link: http://s754.photobucket.com/albums/x...20Bridgestone/

    some close ups of the fork stickers and the handlebar stem, which shows the 80 as the height mark (and yes, will def lower them). Also a close up of the back of the crank set. TMAR, sooooo glad you pitched in on this, i've read alot of your postings in alot of different bike forms on the internet. You seem very knowlegeable and was hoping you'd comment on this bike. It's cleaning up nicely. I also removed an aftermarket (and rather cheap) odometer as well as a silly bell that's found on alot of the coaster bikes (put that on my little girls bike instead). Hopefully you'll take a look at the finished product and tell me what you think then too.

  12. #12
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    I think the pic your looking at has the reflector blocking part of the brakes, as they are center pull and not side pull, but i'm not sure if that makes a difference or not...?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by amyfischer View Post
    I think the pic your looking at has the reflector blocking part of the brakes, as they are center pull and not side pull, but i'm not sure if that makes a difference or not...?
    From a chronological viewpoint, most lighweight bicycles models used center-pull brakes in the 1970s, transitioning to sidepull models in the very late 1970s or early 1980s. Your Submariner definitely has center-pull while TugaDude's has sidepull brakes, indicating his is almost certainly newer than yours.

    BTW, I messed up the crankset date code. It's actually July 1977, though that makes little difference in the model year. I think that 80 is the stem length. The date code would normally have a month indicator associated with it. Per chance, is there a recessed circle near the bottom of the stem, with a two digit number and a letter in it? There should also be double letter date codes on the backof the SunTour derailleurs.

    I've got a theory on the serial number format, but collecting data on Bridgestone has been frustrating and I have insufficient data to have a good degree of confidence in my theory. The date codes from your bicycle will be a big aid in the process. TIA.

  14. #14
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    I hate to keep posting the link, but this site doesn't let me upload photos for some reason. Recheck this, as I took pics of what i'm describing to you.

    http://s754.photobucket.com/albums/x...20Bridgestone/

    The bottom of the handlebar stem has a circle with the number 77 in it and in the same circle is a number 1, or the letter l...? just under the 77. The rear derailer has a circle stamped on it with the letters TH in it. The front derailer has the numbers 4532 on it, as well as the letters: Sl. I hope this is what your needing. Anything I can do to help update research on these bikes, I will gladly do.

    Once I get the bike reassembled, I will also get you a definate weight and exact measurements.

  15. #15
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    No problem, the photo hosting approach is actually better, as it offers improved resolution. FYI, the rear derailleur is August 1977, the front derailleur is September 1976 and the stem is September 1977 (it's an I, not a 1). With the exception of the front derailleur, that's a pretty good grouping, from July to September 1977. The parts are representative of a Submariner from the period, so there's no reason to suspect them as being non-OEM. The parts would make the bicycle itself no older than September 1977. My current thinking, based on the serial number, puts it closer to the end of 1977. Either way, I'm quite confident that it is a 1978 model built in late 1977.

  16. #16
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    I stand corrected. It is obviously older than '79. T-Mar is right as usual, it was late last night and I missed the brakes and the cogs. My '79 did, indeed have sidepulls and the '75 had Dia-Compe centerpulls.
    Last edited by TugaDude; 01-10-12 at 08:14 PM.

  17. #17
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    TugaDude, I'd really appreciate another set of data for the serial number analysis. So, if you wouldn't mind, could you post or PM the serial number and codes off the major components from your Submariner. TIA.

  18. #18
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    TugaDude, I'd really appreciate another set of data for the serial number analysis. So, if you wouldn't mind, could you post or PM the serial number and codes off the major components from your Submariner. TIA.
    I would in a heartbeat, but both Subs are sold. In the future I will begin documenting serial numbers and codes from major components on all of my bikes, but these two slipped past. I found the photos of the '75 and the advertising copy. I'll post later.

  19. #19
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Kabuki Advertising Copy


  20. #20
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    '75 Submariner

    kabuki 001.jpg

    For now this is the only pic I can attach. The other files are too big. You'll notice the Schwinn bottle cage that I added due to the fact that there are no braze-on bottle holder mounts.

  21. #21
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    T-Mar, I have been thinking about it and I'm pretty sure that the decal on the '79 Submariner indicated that the main tubes and the forks were stainless. I can't remember the exact verbiage, but I think it was indicated that they were stainless steel, not that they were Technart.

    If you look at the pic above, the label above the clamp on my '75 said stainless steel. This one had hi-ten forks, I'm sure. The newer one was definitely different.

  22. #22
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Found another pic

    This decal just adds to the mystery, sort of. It says Technart at the top, frame and forks below that and stainless steel at the bottom. So it is open to interpretation.KabukiSchwinn 003.jpg

  23. #23
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    That appears to be your 1979 Sumariner? The literature I have designated these as Submariner-12. If you still have a good photo of the top tube, it should say Sumariner-12 on it, as opposed to SMD in the slightly older version (like the OP's) and nothing on the mid-1970s version. Subtle misleading of the consumer was not uncommon in the day. Some of it may have been inientional but I suspect there was also some poor translation. Regardless, my reference material for all three versions states hi-tensile forks. I also suspect that, had the forks been stainless steel, they would have left them unpainted, like the three main tybes.

    BTW, thank-you for posting the advertisement, though I already have it, along with several others that cover about a 10 year span. Offhand, I recall only one, circa 1975, that features the Submariner, though it is not specifically indicated as such. I'll try to get some scans up, later to-day, after I get back from work.
    Last edited by T-Mar; 01-11-12 at 08:12 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Yes it does

    KabukiSchwinn 001.jpg

    You can't see it on this pic, but another one clearly shows a 12 after Submariner on the top tube. Also, the Bridgestone on the downtube is in block letters, not script.

  25. #25
    Junior Member amyfischer's Avatar
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    So, does the location and script of the decals help indicate the model and years of these bikes?

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