Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: 30 16' 29.80"N 97 44' 25.30"W
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Billy, IMHO the Submariner gets a bad rap from people who have never owned one.
Is it a classic? No, and it never will be. Do not keep it as an investment. It was entry-level, quirky and Japanese before being Japanese was considered a positive attribute by most people. But, it was well (if oddly) made, decently equipped and holds up over time.
Think of it as an entry-level light touring bike and you will be much happier than if you try to see it as racer wanna-be. It's definitely not a light weight, but if you compare it to things like the Koga-Miyata Randonneur (39.6 lbs. for $2100) with similar geometry along with racks and fenders it starts to make more sense.
Mine is older and may be differently spec'ed from yours, but with the original 48/36 crankset, 650A wheels and 12 1/2 inches of bottom bracket clearance (!) it is not only a smooth comfortable commuter, but a blast on dirt or gravel roads and non-technical single-track.
The only mods I've made are alloy rims, a newer SunTour Vx derailer in place of the SunTour Honour unit the previous owner put into the spokes, SunTour bar-end shifters and 45cm randonneur bend Nittos in place of the original 40cm bars. I usually keep both the racks on, but leave the full fenders off most of the time. What that's given me is a fun bike for the days when I want gears but am headed someplace I wouldn't want to take the Paramount.
Ride it, enjoy it and don't worry about what other people think of it. Just don't drop a lot of cash into it 'cause you'll never get it back.