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Old 11-09-09, 09:43 AM   #1
Tundra_Man 
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My First Vintage Commute

On Friday UPS delivered my latest toy: an '81 (I think) Panasonic Sport. I spent Friday night assembling everything and Saturday morning doing some tweaking. Outside of a few small spins around the neighborhood to make sure everything was working, I didn't have a chance to ride it this weekend.

This morning I rode it the 10.5 miles to work. I am impressed with how smooth and fast it rides. I easily caught up with a coworker who also commutes, and made him work hard to keep up with me! Usually it's the other way around. He told me I need retro tennis shoes to match the bike.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my joy and my first dive into the vintage world. I know it was one of Panasonic's entry level bike and certainly not rare or fancy, but I love it nonetheless. I'm even beginning to suspect there might be some merit to the whole "steel is real" mantra.
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Old 11-09-09, 10:07 AM   #2
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Sounds excellent!

Unfortunately, I have a sad Panasonic Sport tale to tell...
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Old 11-09-09, 10:10 AM   #3
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Rock on!

Had you been commuting on something else previously?

Got pics of the new Panasonic? Pics are always nice

I'm kicking myself for not taking the bike to work today...I simply needed a car today..go figure, on the nicest day yet this month
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Old 11-09-09, 10:21 AM   #4
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Congrats on vintage buy, but be aware that it can be habit-forming.. I have a nice silver Sport 500 that's at the low end of the line, but still quite nice. As has been said here before, Panasonic didn't make any bad bikes!
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Old 11-09-09, 10:38 AM   #5
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I've been commuting the past few years on my Giant mountain bike. So the commute itself wasn't a new thing, but the mount was certainly different! I'm looking forward to having this Panasonic as a 2nd commuter so I can have a backup to ride when one needs maintenance. Right now it looks like the Giant will be the winter/bad weather bike and the Panasonic will be the summer/nice day bike.

I don't have any pics I've taken myself, but here are the pics used in the eBay auction from which I purchased the bike. I notice that the seller has a nicer driveway than mine.
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File Type: jpg Panasonic-RightSide.jpg (84.7 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg Panasonic-LeftSide.jpg (81.7 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Panasonic-Chainring.jpg (91.7 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg Panasonic-Derailuer.jpg (73.0 KB, 27 views)
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Old 11-09-09, 10:50 AM   #6
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Beautiful, love the color. That was just what I needed for strength & inspiration, like Popeye with his spinach, or Towelie with his, well whatever.

I like that color more and more the more I look at it.
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Old 11-09-09, 10:53 AM   #7
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Cool color. Plus you've got mounts to hold a rack and fenders...perfect for commuting.

I recently helped my brother upgrade a Huffy with the same Shimano drivetrain. We swapped the Shimano derailleurs out for Suntour Vx derailleurs and replaced the plastic shimano shifters with suntour stem mount shifters. And put some cheapo aero levers in place of the old turkey wings. Cost us less than 50 bux worth of parts and it made an appreciable difference.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CravenMoarhead View Post
Cool color. Plus you've got mounts to hold a rack and fenders...perfect for commuting.

I recently helped my brother upgrade a Huffy with the same Shimano drivetrain. We swapped the Shimano derailleurs out for Suntour Vx derailleurs and replaced the plastic shimano shifters with suntour stem mount shifters. And put some cheapo aero levers in place of the old turkey wings. Cost us less than 50 bux worth of parts and it made an appreciable difference.
My mountain bike has fenders and I'm planning on that being my bad weather bike, so I probably won't put fenders on this one. I would like a rear rack, however. I've got the mounts on the rear drop out for a rack, but there's no braze-ons for a rack on the seat stays. I'd want to use my panniers on the rack, so the seat-tube mounted style rack that I've seen probably wouldn't work for me. Anyone have any ideas?

The current derailleur works surprisingly well. Much better than I was anticipating. I'll probably leave that as-is, at least for the time being.

I did remove the suicide brake levers when I was adjusting everything. The brakes wanted to hang up a bit when they were attached, so I just took them off. I've thought about putting on some of those aero levers, but I'll probably have to wait until next month as I've about used up my allowance money for November.
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Old 11-09-09, 12:19 PM   #9
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Really your brake levers and Derailleurs are just fine, new levers are simply an upgrade you could do if you wanted to add a new bauble. Plus if you get a different bike down the line you can always move those upgraded parts over.


You can use rubber coated P-Clamps to attach the rack to the seat stays. It works almost as well as braze-ons.

Velo Orange sells them for A dollar a clamp which is quite expensive in my opinion
http://www.velo-orange.com/pforfeat.html

and your Local Hardware store (and possibly the Big Box ones too) sell them as "cushioned Metal Loop Straps" or "rubberized P-Clamps" for like 59cents a pair.

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Old 11-09-09, 12:34 PM   #10
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Good idea on the cushioned p-clamps. I'd thought about p-clamps but didn't know they came in cushioned versions. I'll have to scope out the hardware store across the street. Thanks!
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Old 11-09-09, 02:33 PM   #11
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if you can't find them cushioned, they make a can of stuff that you can dip a metal part in and it will coat it in that rubber stuff.

you could just get the regular clamps and coat them if you had to.
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Old 11-09-09, 03:03 PM   #12
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I've found those P-Clamps at big box stores. Lowes anyway.
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Old 11-17-09, 10:05 AM   #13
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As I rode into work this morning, I crossed the 80 mile mark. I am just loving this ride! Makes me wonder how nice the "fancy" Panasonics are.

There is just a certain vibe about riding this old piece of steel that can't be explained. On paper my Felt is a much better bike in every way, shape and form. However, it just doesn't have the personality that this old Panasonic sport has. And that's saying quite a bit because I love my Felt.

Is it possible to cheat on your wife with a bicycle?
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Old 11-17-09, 10:17 AM   #14
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Very nice; glad you're enjoying the bike. All the Panasonics I've seen have been solid, well-made bikes, just like the Miyatas, Univegas and Nishikis. The Japanese just seemed to be ahead of the other manufacturers on the quality-control curve, as Detroit found out in a big way.
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Old 11-17-09, 11:09 AM   #15
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Is it possible to cheat on your wife with a bicycle?

depends...what's the Headtube diameter?
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Old 11-17-09, 11:17 AM   #16
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Very nice; glad you're enjoying the bike. All the Panasonics I've seen have been solid, well-made bikes, just like the Miyatas, Univegas and Nishikis. The Japanese just seemed to be ahead of the other manufacturers on the quality-control curve, as Detroit found out in a big way.
Were they ever! We were accutely aware of this in the late 70's and early 80's when I worked as a mechanic in bike shops. The truth is that I didn't care much for the way most Fujis rode, but they -- and other Japanese bikes -- were my favorite to work on, other than the super-high-end bikes from any country, which hardly count.

I have a Panasonic mixte I pulled out of the dump which appears to be in very good condition. Eventually, I'll get around to fixing and selling it.
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Old 11-17-09, 11:24 AM   #17
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I know what yer sayin; once i got my sisters Panasonic Sport rolling i was really enjoying riding it around the parking lot. I'd buy one in my size if i got the chance.
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