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  1. #1
    Zin
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    Kabuki bikes ? ?

    Anyone ever heard of Kabuki bikes?
    What is the history of them?
    What is your opinion of them?

    I have searched the internet and found very little information.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Interesting question...

    I owned a Kabuki SuperLight and my brother owned a Kabuki SuperSpeed back in the 70's.

    Mid-level bikes produced by Bridgestone(Japan).

    Sheldon Brown puts them in the "70's boom" area of bikes. He says this at his website- "The Kabuki line used some unusual construction techniques, specifically, they had a system of sticking the frame tubes into a special mold and forming cast aluminum "lugs" in place around the ends of the tubes. The most notable of this line was the "Submariner" which used un-painted stainless steel tubing, and was marketed in seacoast areas for its rust-resistance. Because the cast aluminum lugs were not flexible like steel lugs, these bikes didn't use a conventional seat-post binder. Instead, they used a seatpost with an expander wedge like that of a handlebar stem...you had to remove the saddle from the seatpost to adjust the height, then re-install the saddle! Even sillier, many of these frames had what looked like a conventional seatpost bolt mounted in a projection of the rigid lug, simply to provide a place to mount a cable stop for the center-pull caliper brake!"

    Personally, my Kabuki was my first "good" bike and also, I rode the wheels off the thing and loved every minute of it!!

    Very few seemed to survive as I don't see many around... that said, I did find one on Ebay awhile back and I've seen some decals and dealer signs for Kabuki on Ebay as well.

    I spoke to a woman in Ma. last month that has one in pristine condition and LOVES the way it rides.

    Other than that the only other thing I can mention is some cool ads Here

    Here

    and a scan of a review...

    Here

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Zin
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    Thanks Istanbul_Tea for the information and the links.
    I too saw the stuff on ebay.
    I have found one of these Kabuki bikes at a local thrift store. Its a 10 speed with flat bars instead of drop bars.
    I had thoughts of buying it and selling it on ebay, but I don't think I'll do that now.

    If anyone wants a Kabuki, PM me and we can make arrangements. I'll go over and get it for you.

  4. #4
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    Like I_Tea, my first real bike (one that wasn't from Western Auto or Sears) was a Kabuki. Powder blue. I thought I was in heaven. I had saved the money to buy it, but when I went to get it my parents paid for it. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I guess they seen how much riding I did and knew I'd make good use of a new bike. Plus, they were just good parents! I rode it daily until I went off to college and bought a el'chepo to take with me. I think my brother pretty much wrecked the Kabuki in the years that followed.

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    I bought a stainless steel/ aluminum Kabuki frame on ebay. The rear triangle wasn't stainless and the bottom bracket cracked after awhile. Probably wasn't worth messing with.

  6. #6
    Junior Member 4130phile's Avatar
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    I use to have a Shogun 400 bicycle that rode very much like a Kabuki. Both are Japanese and you can get both for cheap nowadays. Well worth it too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Istanbul_Tea
    Interesting question...

    I owned a Kabuki SuperLight and my brother owned a Kabuki SuperSpeed back in the 70's.

    Mid-level bikes produced by Bridgestone(Japan).
    They also turned out alot of bottom of the barrel junk.

  8. #8
    Zin
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    The one I found at the thrift store looked to have seen better days. I was going to make it into my commuter bike. Instead, I found a Raleigh Mustang ATB at another thrift store for under $23.00US.

    I had never heard of KABUKI bikes before so was quite interested. Thanks

  9. #9
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    Kabuki bikes

    My ex-husband and I bought two Kabuki Bicycles back in 1980. At the time, It was THE top-of-the-line bicycle to have like Schwinn in the 70's and Cannondale in the 90s. They cost about $400 each back in the day.
    They were lightweight and sturdy and never let us down when we rode nearly every day back then.
    Long trips were a breeze.
    I've been thinking about dusting mine off and getting a tune-up and riding again. I have no reservations about putting it back on the road.
    They were great bikes!

  10. #10
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    They were definitely unique in, as noted, the very large "lugs" that they used to attach the frame tubing into. Nice, well made bikes with good Japanese parts. There was a local distributor in New Haven, Ct., for many years. Seemed to be around from about 1969 through about 1980. The seat post wedge thing was a real pain if you had to raise the seat. However, I find it a bit strange to see high end road bikes with an integrated aero carbo seat post that you have to cut to size. I still prefer to have a seat post that can move up and down, via bolt or quick release.

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    They were a cheap early Bridgestone. They were light, later ones were better, a little. I was around then, roaming the earth's surface on a bike, S. Brown & others have had their view of them. For Me and friends, they were good bikes to have around and ride while the glue on the sew-ups on our Raleighs dried.
    The '75 .. 77 models with the Al. bonded lugged frame cost around hundred +

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    Personally, I wouldn't call them cheap. They were a typical Japanese brand for the period and produced a full range, right up to a Dura-Ace equipped model.

    Though bonded could technically refer to any method of frame assembly, in the bicycle industry it is generally reserved for processes involving glues and I'm not aware of Kabuki or Bridgestone offering such a model.

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    This thread is classic and vintage!

  14. #14
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    Both a neighbor and another friend had orange ones, '75-77s. They were plainly lugged, resembling those of many Panasonics, the steel ones which included most.
    They felt "light" at the time, that is.. that they were sub-30 pounders. One model was called a Sub Mariner with Stainless Steel tubes which explains why the manufacturer chose to bond the frames and to use aluminum lugs. Later on the models more resembled Bridgestones. One guy spent one thirty. I don' know.. I just remember and road 'em. Scads of imfo. both in these archives and the net. ....hence the awareness factor. The DuraACE & other models were WAY later.

  15. #15
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    THat's what I'm talikin' about, good one ! See the fine lugwork ?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by old and new View Post
    Both a neighbor and another friend had orange ones, '75-77s. They were plainly lugged, resembling those of many Panasonics, the steel ones which included most.
    They felt "light" at the time, that is.. that they were sub-30 pounders. One model was called a Sub Mariner with Stainless Steel tubes which explains why the manufacturer chose to bond the frames and to use aluminum lugs. Later on the models more resembled Bridgestones. One guy spent one thirty. I don' know.. I just remember and road 'em. Scads of imfo. both in these archives and the net. ....hence the awareness factor. The DuraACE & other models were WAY later.
    The Submariner was never bonded in the sense used within the bicycle industry. The ends of the tubes were flared and plugged, then the lugs cast around them. There was no glue involved. The all aluminum model of this construction was called the Super Light. I can appreciate why people would have thought they were bonded, but they weren't.

    As for the Dura-Ace equipped model, it was definitely around during the time you mention. I still have literature showing it was available in 1974. The three high end Kabuki models all had names prefaced by Diamond to signify their stature within the line. To give an idea of the level of these models, the Diamond Track was special order only and made in a special department at Bridgestone. The reigning Pro Spint World Champion, Robert Van Lancker rode a Bridgestone badged version in 1974 and 1975 for Bridgestone UK.

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