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Old 07-09-09, 08:33 PM   #1
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Echelon/Cherubim? Mystery Japanese bike

I just acquired a fantastic Japanese mystery bike. The seller said that friends of his in California owned DIN bicycle importers in the 70s and gave him the frameset in about 1975. He said that they were considering frames for resale and were going to sell them under the label "Echelon." I bought it for the components alone. However, the frame seems to me to be from the late 70s?

A little CR list research indicates that DIN importers did indeed import bikes and sell them under the label, "Echelon." Supposedly, they bought them from Cherubim. Supposedly, Yoshi Konno was a builder at Cherubim in the late 70s?

So, what do you think? I have no doubt that it was an "Echelon." But, anybody out there have any corroborating or contradictory evidence that this was built by Cherubim? Any clue what year? Any chance that it was built by Yoshi himself?

Over the top bb cable guides, brazed-on top tube guides, clamp on DT shifters, braze-on bottle holders, nutted brakes; this frame is right on the cusp of 70s/80s?

The seller was the original owner, and transitioned components over to the framset, so they aren't likely to be much help in dating it. But, I've listed them below anyway.


Photos were taken quickly this morning on the way to work. Didn't even wipe off the cobwebs.





















More photos in the link below.

http://picasaweb.google.com/smith.el...eat=directlink

56/55 cm frame (ctc). 69 mm bb width?

Low flange Campy record hubs w/Fiamme red label tubular rims, straight skewers

No date, 165 Record cranks (NR chainring).

Phil Wood cartridge bb (per seller)

NR front derailleur (pre-cpsc)

NR rear derailleur (72)

NR road pedals

Dia Compe Gran Compe brakeset

SR (Sakae Ringyo, not Super Record) fluted seatpost

Cinelli Unicanitor plastic saddle

Old logo Cinelli 1A stem and old logo Giro d'Italia bars


Hope to take her for a spin tomorrow and find out if she fits (I usually ride 57/58)....

Thanks for any light that you can shed!
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Last edited by bibliobob; 07-09-09 at 11:15 PM. Reason: imbedded more photos
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Old 07-09-09, 09:25 PM   #2
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1st, you've GOT to give us some better pics: clear close-ups of the details we like.(OOPs, I didn't see the link, so you've read my mind already)
2nd, I'm half remembering hearsay, but I thought the connection between Yoshi Konno and Cherubim was through one of Yoshi's relations: a nephew(?) who went to work there after serving some apprentice time at 3Rensho...I'm sure it's a beautifully made frame, regardless. Sure looks like a nice seat cluster.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:35 PM   #3
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1st, you've GOT to give us some better pics: clear close-ups of the details we like.(OOPs, I didn't see the link, so you've read my mind already)
2nd, I'm half remembering hearsay, but I thought the connection between Yoshi Konno and Cherubim was through one of Yoshi's relations: a nephew(?) who went to work there after serving some apprentice time at 3Rensho...I'm sure it's a beautifully made frame, regardless. Sure looks like a nice seat cluster.
Close, according to CR website it is Yoshi's brother who started Cherubim. Cherubim was at this years NAHMBS and had some beautiful bikes like this track:

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Old 07-09-09, 09:52 PM   #4
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Ah, with the help of Yellow Jersey's site, I now "remember": Cherubim is indeed the shop of Hitoshi Konno, Yoshi's older brother, and Yoshi did work there until 1974, and in 1975 opened his own "branch" of Cherubim and was building the Cyclone that became (in 1976) the 3Rensho bike and around then his branch operation changed names, too. Yoshi's son also worked for Cherubim (under his Uncle Hitoshi) but during *later years*, and the shop is still producing (Keirin frames, at least). If this frame in question was produced at one of the Cherubim shops before '76 there would be at best a 50% chance of it coming out of Yoshi's, but as to who actually built it...mystery...after '76 then undoubtedly Hitoshi's shop and one of his builders. (that's how I read it, anyway )
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Old 07-09-09, 11:18 PM   #5
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Ah, with the help of Yellow Jersey's site, I now "remember": Cherubim is indeed the shop of Hitoshi Konno, Yoshi's older brother, and Yoshi did work there until 1974, and in 1975 opened his own "branch" of Cherubim and was building the Cyclone that became (in 1976) the 3Rensho bike and around then his branch operation changed names, too. Yoshi's son also worked for Cherubim (under his Uncle Hitoshi) but during *later years*, and the shop is still producing (Keirin frames, at least). If this frame in question was produced at one of the Cherubim shops before '76 there would be at best a 50% chance of it coming out of Yoshi's, but as to who actually built it...mystery...after '76 then undoubtedly Hitoshi's shop and one of his builders. (that's how I read it, anyway )

That's great information! Exactly what I was hoping for.

Now, does anyone have a guess on the year based on frame features?

I found a dead link to a 70s Cherubim catalog, and can't find any photos of any 70s Cherubim bikes.
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Old 07-10-09, 09:16 AM   #6
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I forgot to add that it has Shimano SF dropouts (front and rear), and no serial number. The owner seemed to think that it was a "demo" frameset that DIN received for consideration. Judging by a few nicks in the paint, it appears to be fully chromed underneath the paint.

The fork crown looks just like the top photo on the CR page.

Thanks again for any dating or frame detail info. that anyone can provide.
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Old 07-10-09, 11:01 AM   #7
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Sadly, I'm no good with dating frame parts, but I'd bet the headlugs might point you in the right direction. I think I've seen those dropouts before, too, but I can't recall on what. They might have been on that Vista Silver Shadow I had, which I think was from about 1978.

Every once in a while there is a date stamp or even grease pen marks on the steerer tube, so perhaps when you check out the headset bearings you might find something.

Cheers!
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Old 11-24-09, 11:17 AM   #8
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I just acquired a frame like this from CL in San Francisco. Here are some links:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2838.JPG

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2842.JPG

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2846.JPG

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2847.JPG

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2845.JPG

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2844.JPG

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-3d2x-zFyw...0/IMG_2840.JPG

It is only really lacking wheels, but as the bike comes together we'll see.
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Old 11-24-09, 12:25 PM   #9
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wow that lugwork sure has the nice crisp look that Yoshi Konno was famous for...I wonder if it's just a family trait.
I saw this bike on CL but it was snapped up in minutes (the really low price was just one reason, and the ad had just one crappy cell-phone pic), so you either got a fantastic deal or you bought it from the guy who did.
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Old 11-24-09, 05:46 PM   #10
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Pretty good deal IMO. My wife saw the frame and box of parts and laughed at the "junk" I buy. I was thinking of having it painted until I saw it up close, very nice looking and clean. The main ECHELON decal has gotten gritty, so I am leaving all of that alone. I am thinking of replacing the Suntour Sprint RD and SR crank, making it all Shimano 600. It has minor rust issues, but it feels real light, and looks fast!
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Old 11-25-09, 06:24 AM   #11
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Nice to see another one out there. Yours definitely appears to be the same model as mine (sport touring), and it's good to know that it was called Odyssey. Thanks for sharing the info. and photos. Between the nice lugwork and the nicely cutout top tube guides, they really are fairly distinctive bikes. Let me know if you find out any more info., and I'll do the same.

Good looking bike, and you're definitely correct to leave the decal and paint alone. Enjoy!
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Old 12-02-09, 04:25 PM   #12
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Echelon Odyssey

Here is an "Echelon Odyssey" I bought through craigslist here in Seattle last July:




As you can see, it has "Ishiwata 022" labels and a sticker from "The Missing Link" bike co-op of Berkeley, California.

It came with Shimano 600 components (including a triple crankset - useful, considering the steep hills around here) dated to 1984 - I changed the stem, handlebars, shift and brake levers to give a more upright riding posture, in spite of which it's the fastest and lightest bike I have ever owned!
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Old 12-04-09, 03:18 PM   #13
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Thanks for the steel ID Hubbub. So with Ishiwata 022 it places these frames in the mid 80's? I always find the "odd man out", Bibliobob has Nuovo Record, yours has a full Shimano 600 and mine has Suntour Sprint
I figured I would assemble it as I got it and ride it. Later, if I just can't leave well enough alone, I can pick up 600 F&R derailleurs to match the DT shifters and a 600 crank.

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Old 12-05-09, 09:57 AM   #14
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Shimano SF dropouts have been available since the introduction of Dura-Ace in 1973 ans lasted well into the 1980s. They were used on many mid and high end models, so they are not much help. Knowing the seat post diameter may help in identifying the tubeset.
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Old 12-08-09, 06:34 AM   #15
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Shimano SF dropouts have been available since the introduction of Dura-Ace in 1973 ans lasted well into the 1980s. They were used on many mid and high end models, so they are not much help. Knowing the seat post diameter may help in identifying the tubeset.
Good point. The seat post that came with mine is 26.8 (haven't measured with calipers).

Anyone else different?

Great info. on the tubing, btw. Thanks!
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Old 12-08-09, 07:10 AM   #16
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26.8mm for a post could be any of the Tange CrMo tubesets from #1 down to #5 and including Infinity and 900, though the bicycle appears too old for the latter two tubesets, . None of the older Ishiwata tubesets would normally have used that post size. The closest would have been Ishiwata 024 which would typically use a 27.0 or 27.2mm post. Sometimes, if you remove the fork, you may find a manufacturer's logo and date code stamped on the steerer tube.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:50 PM   #17
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26.8 seat post here, too .

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Old 04-30-11, 10:14 AM   #18
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Checked out CL this morning and was fascinated by a foggy picture of a bike hanging from the ceiling from hooks. I think it was the under-tube water bottle bracket that caught my eye. "1970's bike - $1000 bike when new!" well maybe - but I was thinking there was no Dawes Echelon that cost that kind of money!

Turned out to be a Echelon Odyssey from the original owner.
Never heard of Echelon before - but I bought it just because it was such an exceptional looking frame and a hope that I might ID it someday, and I find it here!

Neat "mid-range" componentry too: Cinelli bars/stem, Ideale Diagonale saddle, Universal 77 brakes, Specialized hubs (?), Module-E rims, Suntour BL derailleurs, Sugino GT crank & Rino shifters. 022 Ishiwata tubes

Gave her a bath and took some photos:

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Old 04-30-11, 01:03 PM   #19
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Beauty! I'd be all over that if it were my size. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-29-11, 06:09 AM   #20
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Echelon / Cherubim CONFIRMED!
I finally contacted Cherubim with questions and photos of my Echelon. Got a quick and enthusiastic response from Cherubim:

"Hi Chuck,
I've looked at your bike and I'm absolutely sure that it was built by us.
I'm not sure how many of these are built, but Cherubim's former chief builder Hitoshi Konno built the several models for Echelon for the couple of years.
Your bike have luge sets and fork crown of our own, so there is no doubt about it.
Keigo Hirota"

I really appreciate a builder that will recognize an old bike.

More photos of my Echelon Odyssey here:
http://chuck.kichline.com/bikes/Echelon

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Old 07-29-11, 08:54 AM   #21
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Bibliobob, I am in love with your bike. Beautiful lugwork and beautiful paint! AND it's my size...
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Old 07-29-11, 08:59 AM   #22
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Chuck, thanks much for solving the mystery once and for all!

Devin, thanks much for the kind words. High praise, given your taste and collection. If I still had it, I'd be eager to work something out. As it is, I sold the frameset to a friend locally. It was beautiful and I'd have loved to keep it if it were my size. I have a very nice sticker of Serpico that I was going to put on the head tube!
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Old 07-29-11, 09:48 AM   #23
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Oh, thanks a lot! My "grail" list just got longer. Those frames are abso-frigging-lutely GORGEOUS!!

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Old 07-29-11, 09:58 AM   #24
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Hey Chuck,

Any chance that they'd confirm WHEN they were built?
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Old 07-29-11, 10:33 AM   #25
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Darn. Oh well, I think I'll bring in pics of this bike to try to match the colour when I get my Raleigh Pro frame repainted, it's such a beautiful blue.
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