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  1. #1
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    1980 Sekine RM-40

    This bike originally came to me six years ago with a lot of surface rust, dead tires, broken spokes etc. after sitting outside for many years.
    It was given to me by a co-worker and sat in the office for a few days before I got it tuned enough for a short ride to a bus station where I could transport it home... Other co-workers looked at it and asked my friend "How long have you hated him?"

    Learning more about this bike brought me to these fourms and T-Mar was very helpful in providing the model number of the bike and some history of the company.
    I fixed it up enough to ride and outfitted it as a beater/commuter bike... I originally posted a thread in the Commuting forum describing that project and there's some photos there of it's original condition and some various commuter builds: Vintage/Road/Commuter/Beater Project

    I believe I am only the second, possibly third owner of this bike and have definitely got more use out of it than the previous owners.
    The wheels did not have the traditional Sekine pie-plate and where British of origin, so I assume they where not original but pretty much everything else on it was.

    After about 2000km to 3000km of hauling me and lots of gear and groceries around for a few years I decided to temporarily retire it and fix some issues that had developed - since the bike was at the low end of Sekine's 1980 product line I don't think it was intended to take the abuse it received.
    The bottom bracket was massively worn out, and the stem was frozen in the steering tube. The fork was in really rough shape in general and I never managed to get all of the stem out of it so I put the work on hold until I could find a replacement. The chromed steel chain guard got pretty messed up when a car ran me off the road and I discovered a huge rock hiding in the tall grass that managed to mangle it and bend the crank shaft slightly. Thankfully the cogs survived with no damage and a lot of grease in the BB kept it running for a few more years. It seized a bit a now and again, but rebuilding it always got it serviceable again, but did the bearings no real favours.
    Finally I found a donor fork on a grey Grand Prix with a lot of rust on the frame but a nearly perfect fork. I stripped the paint off, hand polished the steel to blend it with the chromed tips and clear coated it. It took forever and I will *never* do that again!
    I stripped all the parts down, cleaned, polished and re-lubed everything on it. The stem is an SR from the same time period, brakes are Chang-Star clones of Weinman center-pulls that came with the bike, I could have replaced them with real Weinmans but they work fine so I just made them shiny instead.
    Basic Shimano deraileurs, stem shifters, and Takag cranks swaged onto triple-arrow cogs are all original as well.

    The rear brake cable stop and the downtube cable stop have been replaced with NOS parts, the bottom bracket is a brand new Shimano sealed unit, and the freewheel is a brand new SunRace unit.
    Obviously the Tektro levers and the pedals are modern component mods. Please ignore the seat, it's just one I had sitting around - I have a white Regal clone on order but it won't be here for another month but I think it will finish the build nicely.

    I'll take some more detailed photos in a bit, but I wanted to show it off while it was still clean and freshly waxed.
    Let me know what you think of my build, this was partially a practice bike for when something more high-end comes along.



    Oddly enough, it weighs in at only 28lbs in this fairly stripped down build. My 1990 Triple-butted Miyata weighs nearly the same with a rack and fenders on it.
    The chrome rims kind of speak to the multi-culturalism of Canada - front is made in England, rear is a '79 French ~Ridigida~ laced to a '78 (also French) hub that fit a Japanese freewheel just fine. I had to swap out the original (when it came to me) British wheel due to it using a system of sprockets that are no longer available.
    At some point, I may rebuild the wheels onto 27" Velocity rims but I've not decided if this bike is worth that kind of expense.

    Ideally I'd like a bike with a Shimano 600 Arabesque grouping or fully Campy, but I'm on the fence if this frame would actually be worth it. Other mods I've considered are replacing the shifters with clamp-on down tube's, just to reduce the busyness of the cabling up front.
    The term "polishing a turd" did cross my mind several times while restoring this bike. I love it, but do I love it that much?
    Last edited by Novakane; 08-11-12 at 01:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    As promised, some additional shots from a slightly better camera. Sorry, I'm not much of a photographer...

    I sanded down some manufacturing errors in the alloy brakes... I'm positive they now look better than when they left the Chang-Star factory:
    Sekine_FB.jpg

    The deraileurs cleaned up quite nicely:
    Sekine_RD.jpgSekine_FD.jpg

    Sekine liked their ornate decals, and these are in fairly decent shape which is why I've left the faded original paint on the bike... This was definitely made in Canada.
    Sekine_ST.jpgSekine_Decal.jpg

    I'll add some photos of the headtube with the badge on once the paint dries... It barely had any left on it after 32 years so I stripped it, repainted and clear coated it.
    Last edited by Novakane; 08-02-12 at 09:20 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Essthreetee's Avatar
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    Very cool.

    There is a Sekine listed in CL here for $100. I was thinking about checking it out and trying to get it for less....

  4. #4
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essthreetee View Post
    Very cool.

    There is a Sekine listed in CL here for $100. I was thinking about checking it out and trying to get it for less....
    Thanks!

    Sekine's are very nice bikes, and originally well built. In good condition, $100 is a good deal depending on the model and year (post '73 and pre '83, with chromed fork tips are a sign of the better ones, as a general rule).
    If you search the forums here you will find some more info on the models and the manufacturer, and there are a couple of websites describing more about their history in Canada... Outside of the years I mentioned they would be 100% imported Japanese and things get a little more complicated in that case.
    My particular bike would be considered bottom of the line and one of the last ones actually made in the Manitoba plant, but it's still a decent bike IMHO, and rare to find now which makes it kind of special. Most of the Sekines floating around are actually of better quality than this one, some even came with Campy or high-end Shimano groupings. I've seen some better ones on CL in my area for a little over $200 and would easily spring that kind of cash for one if it fit me.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novakane View Post
    with chromed fork tips are a sign of the better ones, as a general rule
    I've got a pretty low end model with chromed fork tips. I've heard the general rule with Sekines is that the lower end model have the diamond shaped headbadge with a small rhinestone, while the mid to higher end models have the figure 8 headbadge.

    SekineGemHeadBadgeHalf.jpg

    SekineMedialleBlackHeadBadgeHalf2.jpg
    WANTED: 1" threaded steel touring fork (w/ canti bosses and fender + rack mounts). Strong preference for a lugged crown. Not sure of exact size, but it's for a 58cm frame.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by not_me View Post
    I've got a pretty low end model with chromed fork tips. I've heard the general rule with Sekines is that the lower end model have the diamond shaped headbadge with a small rhinestone, while the mid to higher end models have the figure 8 headbadge.

    SekineGemHeadBadgeHalf.jpg

    SekineMedialleBlackHeadBadgeHalf2.jpg
    This is true. I actually meant better than my RM-40 model, but the badge distinction is a more pertinent indicator.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    So almost-all-original was fun, but...

    Trying a full restore on this bike was a test run. It was fun, I learned a bunch of stuff about cleaning and polishing old various metals, all good.
    However... It's going to be needing some upgrades so I can actually ride it. My Miyata has spoiled me a little bit and I notice certain things that never used to bother me on this bike now.

    In this near original configuration (bars are alloy, original where steel but I no longer have those...) it weighs in at 28lbs just as a basic minimal bike.

    26lbs.jpg
    I'm still getting the hang of trying to photograph a bicycle without it screwing up the focus on the camera. I seriously need to get a tripod... Anyway...

    First up for change - I ordered some brand new alloy 27" wheels. I like stopping and puddles / rain happens.
    I just got a call from the LBS saying they are in. I hope they will knock a few pounds off the overall weight and greatly improve my braking.

    To that effect, the next upgrade I'm already preparing is replacing the C-Star brakes with actual Wienmanns. I have a small stack of them so I'm playing mix-and-match on the hardware to combine the shiniest bits.
    The too-long steel seat post will be replaced by a shorter alloy one. Finally, I'm thinking of replacing the functional-but-cheap Shimano RS with something more smooth shifting, but period correct... So Shimano 600 or SunTour. I'll keep all of the original bits because I'm sure when a nicer frame comes along I'll be definitely wanting to swap them out to a new frame.

    The last time I had actual new wheels on a bike was when it was a new-from-the-store bicycle... So I guess it's been a couple of decades.
    I'm kind of giddy over it.
    Last edited by Novakane; 08-11-12 at 01:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sauze's Avatar
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    You've probably discovered this thread already but if not, it's got a bunch of great Sekine info / photos. I have a soft spot for the brand because here in Winnipeg you'll see them all the time (due to being manufactured in Manitoba for a while) I know there was a member here who was compiling all the Sekine info he could find into some sort of info package. I'll see if I can find that ...

    EDIT: Found it ! It's called The Sekine Project.

    Side note , if anyone ever comes across a 58ish CM high end Sekine (SHX) give me a shout. I'd love to give one a try.

  9. #9
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    Nice restoration. If you're still intending to upgrade the parts, I've got a bunch of Shimano parts that I salvaged from a Sekine that had a damaged frame. Shimano 500 (or 600?) derailleurs, Tourney center-pull brakes, crankset...send me a PM if you're interested and I'll dig out the parts from the basement (I'm local to you).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info and comments

    I replaced the chrome wheels with alloy ones. They where supposed to come with solid axles on both wheels so I wouldn't need to resize the frame, however for some reason they ordered/sent the rear one with QR. I decided it wasn't worth waiting another week for a replacement so I simply cold-set the rear triangle a few millimetres per side and proceeded with what I received. I'm not sure I'm digging the look of the flat alloy (they won't shine up at all, I tried) but I'm sure the brakes will wear a nice smooth surface onto the sides with time and make them shine a bit more. Regardless, they knock a couple pounds off the weight of the bike and improve it's handling.

    Sekine_New_Wheels.jpg

    I also replaced the faux-Weinmann CS brakes with REAL Swiss Weinmann 610/750's (Raleigh branded):

    Sekine_New_Brakes.jpg

    These two changes (the wheels and brakes) provide lots of stopping power now and the handling is much better.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Just an update... The seriously ridiculous 12" steel seat post has been replaced with something more appropriate and light alloy. I've been trying to keep this build clean but I had to use some pipe clamps to get a much needed bottle holder on the downtube. Regardless, it's down to 26lbs. Funny thing (to me) is the advertised weight of this bike was 26lbs and I had to replace the bars, seat-tube and wheels with alloy parts just to get it down to that weight. Absolutely no way it was less than 30lbs originally.

    I just ordered NOS SunTour Cyclone downtube shifters (clamp on, naturally) and a Cyclone rear dérailleur. I plan to use an old SunTour SL front with it to round out the group because I can't really see a difference between it and the Cyclone. Now I just need to find a reasonable priced alloy crankset and I should be good for chucking some weight and getting better shifts.
    My goal isn't so much a weight-weenie build but to get a group set of light parts that I like and use them until a better frame comes along. All upgraded parts are going into a box to be stored for that day and this bike will become heavy again. I may just end up turning it into a SS beater, but for now I'm having some fun doing a retro-upgrade and learning exactly what difference in weight and performance changing each part out makes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Essthreetee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leecycle View Post
    Nice restoration. If you're still intending to upgrade the parts, I've got a bunch of Shimano parts that I salvaged from a Sekine that had a damaged frame. Shimano 500 (or 600?) derailleurs, Tourney center-pull brakes, crankset...send me a PM if you're interested and I'll dig out the parts from the basement (I'm local to you).

    If you are willing to sell them to me, I just got one and am trying to fix it up. I need the center pull brakes, a seat post, and a front derailleur if possible. I can't pm, but my email is essthreetee@me.com. Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essthreetee View Post
    If you are willing to sell them to me, I just got one and am trying to fix it up. I need the center pull brakes, a seat post, and a front derailleur if possible. I can't pm, but my email is essthreetee@me.com. Thanks
    I did mention to leecycle that you where interested, btw.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    <3 SunTour Cyclone

    I decided what I wanted to do with this bike was upgrade to the "mid-to-high-range-best" from what would be available in 1980 / fit my budget / used as many parts as possible that I already have on hand.
    From what people have told me on the forum, and my recent experience with a VT-Luxe, I was thinking SunTour was the way to go, although I was also considering a Shimano 600 cause the Arabesque is pretty sexy.
    However, I had a SunTour SL front dérailleur already and managed to find NOS Cyclone shifters, and a gently used Cyclone rear dérailleur for reasonable prices, and really I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

    SekineSunToured.jpg

    I have a set of Sugino Maxy cranks from the '70s that will be going on once I get the 2nd pedal out... They are/where really jammed in there, but I got the NDS one off, so there's hope, but I needed to buy a bigger pedal wrench to accomplish it.
    I also finally got the stem out of the fork for this bike (after three years of trying), so I might paint it and put it back on the Sekine and return the current fork to the Grand Prix.

    Here's what I replaced today (on the right), beside what it's been replaced with (on the left):

    GroupingUpgrade.jpg

    I had a moment of panic after my Cyclone arrived today and I discovered my SunTour adapter claw was too big to fit it!
    I solved it relatively quickly by using a rotary tool and grinding down the offending side so it had clearance to fit, and all was well:

    SekineCycloneRDR.jpg

    It truly does shift very smoothly now, and all the lightweight parts on it have so far knocked several pounds off the original weight.
    I've always enjoyed riding this bicycle, but the new performance enhancements make it just that much more of a sweet ride.

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