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  1. #1
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    Panosonic question

    My nephew just bought a used Panasonic for 100 bucks.I assume it is from the early eighties. The first thing I told him to do was take the kickstand off since the bike weighs about 30 pounds. Is this bike any good? I think it has shimano with downtube shifters. Is it worth keeping? Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Yes, the Panasonic was a pretty good bike in it's day. It was under-appreciated. The Panasonic was made in Japan with all quality Japanese components.

    The frames were lugged steel. I think some of the better models even had chromoly butted tubing - since the Japanese had their own tube manufacturing method, you won't find the Reynolds tubing decals, though. This was one of the reasons Japanese bikes were under-appreciated; that and the fact that in the 1980's Japan had the lingering image of "Made-in-Japan = Junk" from the 1950's, 60's, and early 70's. Of course, by the 1980's, the Japanese were producing very good quality products at reasonable prices.

    The Panasonic ten/twelve speeds were only imported to the USA for about five (?) years.

    Most Panasonics I have seen had steel rims and steel handlebars. The best thing you can do to lighten the weight is to replace the wheels with aluminum rim wheels. Keep your eyes open for other 1980's bikes with 27" Araya wheels. They aren't difficult to find. Keep your eyes open at thrift stores, garage sales, Police Bike Auctions, or go to the local dump and ask the supervisor where the bike pile is (seriously).

    You can also replace the handlebar and stem with aluminum. There are many good sources, but Schwinn Continentals had nice alumimum stems and handlebars despite the fact that the frames were gas pipes.
    Last edited by mike; 05-25-03 at 07:32 PM.
    Mike

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    Most Panasonics did use steel rims, seat post, handlebars and chain rings, but those also used the cheapest steel frames and were not double butted tubing thus the frame weighed a lot and could very well be a glorified gas pipe frame. There were some Panasonics that did use double butted and their best used triple butted Ishawata tubing that brought the weight of these frame down to only 4 pounds which rival a lot of highend steel frames today!

    I would venture to say that if your Panasonic weighs 30 pounds then you bought one of the lesser grade Panasonics. Check to see if there is still a frame decal on the bike, if so that will tell you and us more about it.

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    Thanks for the help. I will check out the frame details more closely.It does seem to be a quality bike,my nephew has ridden it for hundreds of miles without a problem,and it does have shimano.How can you tell if its double butted?

  5. #5
    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    Too bad your not a little closer to Jim Thorpe, rompus. Otherwise I'd just bring along an old (but decent) 27" araya/shimano wheelset when I head out there next month.


    go to the local dump and ask the supervisor where the bike pile is (seriously).
    *smacks himself in the forehead* Holy cow... I cant beleive I never thought of this with all of the dumpster-diving and thrift store scavenging I do.

    Of course the local dump is a huge incenerator here in dayton, which may present a problem....
    Lord Bowler: Uh oh. You hit the sheriff
    Brisco County Jr.: Yeah, but I did not hit the deputy.

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    Senior Member smelly's Avatar
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    I had an old Panasonic few years back. The frame was so heavy...
    1998 Speicalized HardRock FS

  7. #7
    FOG
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    My Schwinn Le Tour II was made by Panasonic. It is on the heavy side, but very well made.

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    My Schwinn Le Tour II was made by Panasonic. It is on the heavy side, but very well made.
    I think the Le Tour was an excellent bike - especially in it's day and very much worth the money )Weren't they around $130 new?)
    Mike

  9. #9
    SLJ 6/8/65-5/2/07 Walter's Avatar
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    Panasonic at one point imported a wide range of bikes and their top of the liners were very respectable. Shimano 600 or SunTour Cyclone and about 22#. This was good stuff back in the day and still rides quite well.

    Panasonic also made the LeTours for Schwinn as mentioned above and the LeTour evolved into a respectable lightweight itself. During the late 1970s as a kid I "worked" in a Schwinn shop in North Miami Beach and lusted after a full chrome Super LeTour 12.2. I still stop to take an extra look on the rare occasions when I see one today.

    The point of this ramble I guess is that a Panasonic could be a quite nice lightweight or a good riding but heavy bike boom special depending on its place in the lineup. Don't dismiss them out of hand.
    “Life is not one damned thing after another. Life is one damned thing over and over.”
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    I spoke to my nephew and the sticker on the bike says it is chro-mo double butted,I figure new wheels and handlebars and a stem as mentioned above could get it down to 24 pounds,not too bad.I did ride the thing and was impressed at how well it shifted and felt very solid.

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    Could be Rompus you have a mid line bike there and someone took off much of the original components and misplaced them. Your right though about the 24 pound thing, if you replaced the rims with modern lighter rims, took off the kickstand, and what ever else that might weigh it down you could very well drop it to the 24 pound range. But then again how much do you really want to spend on a bike like that? It may not be worth the money. If the rims are AL and 36 hole, which I am almost sure they are, then you could have an LBS relace them with DT competition (double butted) spokes for about $20 per wheel and you could drop some rotating weight that way since the original spokes were straight guage heavy stuff from Japan that was heavier than DT straight guage stuff.

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by froze
    [B]CoBut then again how much do you really want to spend on a bike like that? It may not be worth the money.

    Well that is my issue, I would love to set the kid up on a nice bike. I have seen older used cannondales for 200 to 500 bucks. He bought this bike without talking to me first. The poor kid used this bike in a junior time trial and got smoked by kids on tricked out bikes. I will say this, he doesn't care what anyone thinks,he just went out and did his best,most kids would have been embarassed.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    You don't have to spend a lot of money to upgrade the bike.

    Just keep your eyes open for good used aluminum parts from an '80's vintage twelve speed.

    I would not go through the trouble of relacing new rims. Just swap out the whole wheels.

    If you can't replace the handlebars, stem, and wheels for $25.00 total, then you aren't looking hard enough.

    You live in Pennslyvania. There are tons of good old bikes in Pennslyvania to cannabalize for parts.
    Mike

  14. #14
    Senior Member Beats Walking's Avatar
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    OK, I'm stumped here,

    I just bought a 12-speed Schwinn Le Tour from a thrift store for $20. It's white with blue decals, and the badge says " Schwinn Chicago" on it, along with the the numbers "1326" stamped next to it. The brakes are Diacampo and the derailluers are French-made Sachs. Down tube shifters and 27" rims. Brakes and both wheels are quick release.

    I originally thought this was an 80's Japanese bike, but now I'm not so sure. Any idea how old it is?

    Also, the rear wheel is bent and the spokes corroded. (The front wheel is pristine- weird, huh?) Can I use a 700c wheel set and just adjust the brakepads, or should I just get another 27" rear?

    If it's a classic, I'd like to restore it as a project. If it's a run-of-the-mill Schwinn I'd still like to restore it, but I'd just use it as a beater bike to see if I like the whole racing thing. (I'm a relaxed bike commuter)

    Thanks for the help!
    Pedal To The Metal! Or something like that...

  15. #15
    FOG
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    Originally posted by mike
    I think the Le Tour was an excellent bike - especially in it's day and very much worth the money )Weren't they around $130 new?)
    I seem to remember just shy of $300 out the door in 1978, including rack, generator, headlight, kickstand and pannier bags. It was a little on the pricey side, and I probably could have gotten a better deal on a less well known brand, like Trek was at the time.

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