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Old 06-18-08, 10:08 AM   #1
Sixty Fiver
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It's Kuwahara / Apollo Appreciation day...

After doing a good deal of reading I am of the thought that these beautifully made bikes are far more common in Canada than they are in the US and many people are surprised to find that this very old company built more than BMX bikes and outsourced for many companies including Schwinn.

It was not until the late eighties that Kuwahara branded their bikes with just their name as prior to that we had Apollo road bikes and dual branded Apollo / Kuwahara mountain bikes.

I see lots of these at our shop:

A friend rides a 1987 touring model that is built on an Ishiwata triple butted frame and two of the regulars ride the same model and year of mountain bike... both are exquisite and were originally equipped with Suntour / Sansin high flange cartridge bearing hubs with 36 / 4 cross spoke lacings.

Another fellow just built up a 1985 Apollo Kuwahara Cascade that has to be one of the prettiest bikes I have ever seen and their looks only seem to get better as time goes by as their paint finishes are exemplary.

Kuwahara also supplied road bikes to the Canadian Olympic teams.

My Cascade was built in 1987 and was the crown jewel in their line as it was a full on expedition / touring model with braze ons for everything, was built on a quad butted and lugged Ishiwata frame, and the parts spec was as good as it got. My friend told me he wanted to buy one in '88 but could not afford the $900.00 price tag

I have converted mine into a fixed gear / drop bar tourer and just finished building up the new back wheel with a double stepped fixed hub... I will have to change the front hub to a matching high flange model with a similar 4 cross pattern at some point. The bike could be restored to original as I have all the original parts including the chain stay mounted spoke holder but love the way the bike is set up.

This morning...


On the commute...


One more... before the new wheel went on.


So... who else has some Kuwahara Apollo ?
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Old 06-18-08, 10:38 AM   #2
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I don't have any good pictures, but for about a year, an Apollo Prestige XL was my first fixed conversion. Now she's kicking around built up for a friend as a SS
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Old 06-18-08, 10:39 AM   #3
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Here are some pics of my Apollo Triathlon.
One of my favorites from my vintage collection.



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Old 06-18-08, 10:45 AM   #4
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Ricoh - That is a beautiful bike and the pics are great... I love the Kuwahara headsets.

More...
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Old 06-18-08, 11:19 AM   #5
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Kawahara also made Soma bikes. I have a Prestige of unknown manufacture date but it has the same Kawahara headset mentioned above, Suntour components (including barend shifters) and all in all is a solid older bike. I believe it has Champion No. 5 tubing. tom

Last edited by Tom Fritts; 06-18-08 at 04:44 PM. Reason: re-edit name of manufacture
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Old 06-18-08, 01:38 PM   #6
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Here's my 1981 Apollo Gran Sport, built up as fixed, but soon to become town/light porteur once I get all the parts together:

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Old 06-18-08, 09:07 PM   #7
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gran sport

i need to get my sweeetie here before the day is over, Single Speed/Fixed, Suze flip flop hub, original shimano 600 cranks, front hub campy tipo, every thing else DA well except chaninring, (Superbe Pro) Pedals from a spin bike, B17 honey. A lovely bike to ride, Tange champion #5.









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Old 06-18-08, 11:31 PM   #8
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Is the chain painted?
The laminated cards in the front wheel must get some stares!
They would out here.
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Old 06-19-08, 07:18 AM   #9
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Is the chain painted?
The laminated cards in the front wheel must get some stares!
They would out here.
Stupid question of the day....why are there cards in the spokes?
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Old 06-19-08, 08:56 AM   #10
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My girlfriends latest ride:

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Old 06-19-08, 09:22 AM   #11
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Your gf must be a very happy girl...

I also love seeing the Deely Cycles stickers on all these old bikes...they must have sold thousands of them.
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Old 06-19-08, 10:29 AM   #12
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Even my Saskatchewan Apollo has a Deeley sticker!
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Old 06-19-08, 12:11 PM   #13
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apollo

ricohman the chain came that colour it is a Z chain on the box it said red (?) works well with the bike tho!
The spoke cards are something that was tradionally awarded someone riding a fixed gear/SS in an alleycat race or a pokercard run. I think it has evolved to just displaying some 'spoke card art' and/or as a decorative item although some purists might see it as a bit pretentious if one has not won or participated in a race.
hey anthony V's bike looks fabulous, i love that chainguard, is that the one from Hornby?
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Old 06-20-08, 10:10 AM   #14
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...The spoke cards are something that was tradionally awarded someone riding a fixed gear/SS in an alleycat race or a pokercard run. I think it has evolved to just displaying some 'spoke card art' and/or as a decorative item although some purists might see it as a bit pretentious if one has not won or participated in a race.
...........
Thanks for the education.
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Old 06-20-08, 11:35 AM   #15
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re: spokecards...
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrors View Post
a bit pretentious if one has not won or participated in a race.
...BINGO! Kinda like riding with your race number still on from your last MTB race.
Back on topic...why not include Takara in the thread?
Any other known brands from Kuwahara?
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Old 06-20-08, 12:32 PM   #16
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The spoke cards are something that was tradionally awarded someone riding a fixed gear/SS in an alleycat race or a pokercard run.
Never heard of this.
Maybe its because I'm from the prairies.
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Old 06-21-08, 06:44 PM   #17
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OK, this was lucky, I ran across a Kuwahara today and was just coming to look for more information. If you all will forgive the threadjack, where can I find pictures of late 80s Kuwaharas so I can figure out what this bike is and whether I should offer to buy it?

It is a step through frame, rather like a mixte in that there are three stays coming off the rear wheel, but the top tube itself is not doubled (unless I am wrong about mixtes?). I don't know if the frame is aluminum or steel, but it isn't lugged and has the kind of visible welds I associate with aluminum. Flat bars, triple chainring and 7-cog cassette; looks like mountain bike gearing in that the chainrings are not very big. Full fenders, rack, and springy saddle. Front fork has a nice curve to it. It's definitely a tourer, but I don't know whether it's a good one!

Edited to add - cantilever brakes, with the brake cables running through an interesting little pulley system. 26" wheels, I think, at an eyeball. Can't believe I noticed all that and didn't look for a model name or check the serial number. OR take a picture with the camera on my new phone! D'oh. ADD moment. Which is also why I am editing. And again to say it's index shifting, apparently - they click, but the shifters (thumb shifters) are not numbered. That may or may not narrow it down.

The owner is the same person I bought the Raleigh Twenty from. She says she believes she has had that bike for about 20 years. So that is why I am asking about late 80s - could be early 90s though too.

Help?

Thanks!

Last edited by Buglady; 06-21-08 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Attention Deficit Disorder.
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Old 06-22-08, 01:57 PM   #18
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I just got back from Victoria, BC and saw a young guy with a gray metallic Apollo he had fitted with interesting flipped bars and reversed brake levers, fat CX rubber. Looked like a nice bike...maybe Antipodes knows him or the bike.
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Old 06-22-08, 02:25 PM   #19
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My girlfriends latest ride:

I like the chain guard.
Is it a factory piece?
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Old 07-22-08, 09:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Fritts View Post
Kawahara also made Soma bikes. ....
I'm finally getting some info on my Soma Competition. Appears to have a Kuwahara frame. The headset is the same as the one pictured on the Apollo Triathlon. They share a lot of parts. The stem and bars are the same, ditto with the complete Shimano 600 group. Mine came via roccobike with a black B-17, and Dura Ace cable guides. The rims were Araya alloys, which I've swapped for a much lighter set of Ukai's on Shimano RSX hubs. The chrome forks and stays are the same, and the dropouts say Kuwaraha on them.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:09 PM   #21
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1986 Kuwahara Mixte that was donated to the shop... the bike is stunning.





And it is staying in the family.

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Old 07-22-08, 09:11 PM   #22
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And a better garage door pic of my Kuwahara Cascade... this garage is where the new Mixte will be living.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 07-22-08, 10:02 PM   #23
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Trade you a Miyata Sport Ten mixte for the Kuwie...
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Old 07-22-08, 10:10 PM   #24
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Buglady - I would never trade my Kuwie (but would let you tale it for a spin this weekend) and the Mixte is a tiny thing that is going to live with my little sister.

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Old 07-22-08, 10:28 PM   #25
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I meant the mixte . I would never come between a man and his touring bike (or a woman and hers, needless to say)!

How tiny is the mixte? Should you prepare for an East Hill raiding party?
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