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Old 03-02-09, 01:04 PM   #1
Prudy
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Japan Afficianados: What lights your fire?

I know the Italians, French, Dutch, etc. get a lot of play on this forum, as they should -

I'm really curious to hear which vintage or classic Japanese makers/models you guys and gals think are the best or most intriguing.

Let's see some pics and hear some testimony!
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Old 03-02-09, 01:13 PM   #2
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I strongly prefer Japanese cranks to the stupid Campagnolo NR cranks. The Campy cranks always seem to suffer stress cracks.

I have never seen a SR/Shimano/Sugino crank crack. I know it happens to all cranks but the NR cranks are really pathetic.

I also strongly prefer the Cyclone to the NR. I'd rather pay 50$ for a NOS Suntour than get a beat to snot NR part.

Quite honestly I prefer all Japanese parts to Italian made parts. I think the Japanese parts are made of great quality with little to be ashamed of.

Heck I even prefer the Shimano 600 Campy copy cranks to the actual Campy cranks. They are lighter stiffer and finished just as good or better. Its a damn shame I sold them on ebay. Stupid me!
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Old 03-02-09, 01:23 PM   #3
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The Japanese stuff gets its fair share of play on here too man- miyata, univega, fuji, panasonic, nishiki, bridgestone, centurion, lotus, etc.

I'm 'intrigued' by all those.. and not much of anything of the others now that I think about it.

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Old 03-02-09, 01:29 PM   #4
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Love my Nishiki.

But the problem with the bike? It isn't worth much. I know this. Yet still I want to tinker and play. Adjust, clean, disassemble and put back together. The bike is MAYBE worth a $150 around my parts, but Ive put more into it by the time you factor in labour and parts.

I don't care. Still love that bike. Plus, if it had French/Italian components, I think I'd have ended up spending way more, which might have curtailed on the fun a bit. Maybe.

So, I'm gonna throw into the whole "love the Japanese bikes/components" camp.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:30 PM   #5
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Ok, good point - I'm not trying to cause any ill feelings or create a disparity if there isn't one - I just thought it would be nice to have a thread that featured the Asian-made classics.

Mostly I just want to see some pics of some beautiful Japanese bikes and hear what makes them special...
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Old 03-02-09, 01:36 PM   #6
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of course there are the NJS track bikes that are big hits now-a-days. 3Rensho, Yamaguchi, Nagasawa...

I really like Yamaguchi bikes. not really vintage but I plan on getting a custom Yamaguchi road bike made someday.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:44 PM   #7
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I think the Japanese made (and still make) a lot of great stuff. I don't have a lot of experience with it though, other than Sugino cranks, and occasional Cyclone derailler or brakes and Gran Compe brakes. I did buy a long cage Shimano Crane rear on ebay recently to try out...

I do love the Suntour freewheels, never a problem.
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Old 03-02-09, 01:44 PM   #8
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I've got a 1984 Fuji del Rey that is a very sweet riding bike.

I'd like to add a Lotus to the stable one day...
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Old 03-02-09, 01:59 PM   #9
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I have a nice early 80s celeste bianchi track bike with mostly campagnolo and cinelli pista parts on it...I stopped riding it to keep it nice, and I find the track drops not too comfortable on longer rides. I feel I should keep it as-is, and not muck with the parts to suit my riding needs.
I also have a 1976 fuji track bike, with a mix of shimano, suntour, and nitto parts, some new some old, bullhorn bars, it's my go-to commuter bike now. It's a great vintage bike but I'm not afraid to use it, plus I have it set up for real world riding.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:05 PM   #10
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I, along with a lot of other enthusiasts, love Fuji Americas. Below is a pic of my 1980 model in the condition I received it. Not a very good pic, but it is a very low mileage bike, still had original chain with lots of life left.

Why is this a cool bike? First, lets understand the Japanese bicycle industry. The imports into the U.S. started in force in the early 70's. At first, it was a mixed bag, some of the bikes were pretty good, but there were plenty of gaspipe, stamped dropout type bikes.

However, if the Japanese are anything, they are ambitious quick studies and they aimed to make world class bikes. By 1980, they were offering very high quality bikes - that's not to say they had abandoned the low end, but they had really closed the loop on the higher end. However, they didn't have snob appeal.

On my Fuji America, the finish is flawless - perfect paint/chrome, long pointed, filed, cutout lugs, etc. The Cyclone derailleurs are famous for their light weight, reliability, and smooth shifting. The Sunshine hubs for their smoothness and durability, the Suntour freewheel for its smooth shifting.

It was one of the early bikes to have 700c wheels and the Sugino Mighty Tour crank is sought after by collectors today. It cdame with classic touches like toe clip leathers. Suntour wrote the book on bar end shifters, there is still active commerce in these things to this day.

Despite being 29 years old, in no way do I consider this bike obsolete. Sure, it isn't state of the art, but it is reliable, smooth, and good looking. My sister wants to go touring this summer, and this is probably the bike I'll ride.

And still, just like when these bikes were new, they remain somewhat overlooked, so one can get high quality vintage for a lot less than euro stuff, although that seems to be changing w/some of the more prominent brands.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:06 PM   #11
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80's japanese road bikes are my favorite, not hard to track down unless you want a specific year/model/colorway.

Fujis and Miyatas from that era are quality for the money. I'd love to add a Nishiki to the stable but haven't tracked the right one down yet.

My dream is a japanese-built track bike with crazy graphics, a San Rensho or Bridgestone or something. For now I'll enjoy my weird Kuwahara Single Speed and the custom Street Touring Miyata I'm building for my brother.

I doubt I'll ever go italian or french high-end unless I get it for a steal.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
I strongly prefer Japanese cranks to the stupid Campagnolo NR cranks. The Campy cranks always seem to suffer stress cracks.

I have never seen a SR/Shimano/Sugino crank crack. I know it happens to all cranks but the NR cranks are really pathetic.
I snapped a Sugino Mighty Compe crank at the pedal eye during an out-of-saddle climb. (Ouch)


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Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
I also strongly prefer the Cyclone to the NR. I'd rather pay 50$ for a NOS Suntour than get a beat to snot NR part.
I have both, and they both work, and I concur that the SunTour is the better-designed of the two, but the Campagnolo is the more durable.

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Quite honestly I prefer all Japanese parts to Italian made parts. I think the Japanese parts are made of great quality with little to be ashamed of.
Every manufacturer has made good and bad stuff. I'll take SRAM chains, KoolStop pads, and DT spokes over their Japanese counterparts any time.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:24 PM   #13
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The Japanese-made bikes in my stable are as follows:

1980s Univega Competizione, powdercoated orange and set up as a single speed:


1972 Fuji Finest, probably the best finished/constructed frameset of any I've had. This pic is as I received it, but I've rehabbed it over the winter w/ mostly the same parts as shown:


1977 Fuji America, a winter find and due for a rehab:


I also have a Fuji S12-S that was a winter build (i.e., photos yet to come) and a Sekai 2500 frameset hanging in the basement that'll get built up at some point.

Neal

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Old 03-02-09, 02:31 PM   #14
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Japanese framemakers are second to none. Just marvel at the craftsmanship on a 3Rensho, Kalavinka or Nagasawa...

and i absolutely adore my Zunow

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Old 03-02-09, 03:11 PM   #15
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I dont have anything remotely rare, but I do love my Nishiki! (Fixed gear, don't tar and feather me!)

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Old 03-02-09, 03:22 PM   #16
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I bought a beautiful 3rensho...and sadly, it is too small.



Bad picture, I know.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:23 PM   #17
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But the problem with the bike? It isn't worth much.
This is not a problem. In fact, this is one of many nice features of a Japanese bike.

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Old 03-02-09, 03:32 PM   #18
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Dang, what size is that 3Rensho???

I would be interested in taking it off your hands
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Old 03-02-09, 03:39 PM   #19
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^ Seconds

The differences between Japanese and Italian bikes is similar to the differences the two countries have in the cars that they produce. The Italians will cost more, look prettier, pull more women, and have a better reputation for high end racing. Japanese use more r&d to produce an almost comparable product at less per-unit cost that will not have the same perceived value but that performs well enough to make it a driver's race and is more likely to survive the whole race.

I am a Japanese fan but I think that has mainly to do with the fact that I lived there 10 years and am used to the reliability.

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Old 03-02-09, 03:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
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My dream is a japanese-built track bike with crazy graphics. . .
And I immediately thought of Zunnow (see above).
Japan Afficianados: What lights your fire?

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Old 03-02-09, 03:47 PM   #21
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It's a 51cm, and I'm holding it for a potential buyer.

If only it was a few cm larger...oh well.

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Dang, what size is that 3Rensho???

I would be interested in taking it off your hands
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Old 03-02-09, 03:56 PM   #22
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This is my only Japanese ride - a 1930s Marubishu roadster.
I got it a while ago and it's still waiting for new tires and grease (too many other bikes waiting in line for service).
I know nothing about it.
I can't find any information about it.
I do like it though.
I like it a lot.




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Old 03-02-09, 03:57 PM   #23
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A Zunow is definitely on the top of my most wanted bikes list.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:58 PM   #24
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This is not a problem. In fact, this is one of many nice features of a Japanese bike.
+1 and for the many readily available brands you won't have to search for 24 months until you find a nice properly sized used one.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:15 PM   #25
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Japanese framemakers are second to none. Just marvel at the craftsmanship on a 3Rensho, Kalavinka or Nagasawa...

and i absolutely adore my Zunow

Those are the only Japanese bikes to own as this one is mine.








http://s149.photobucket.com/albums/s...e/Zunow%20Z-1/

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