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  1. #1
    Senior Member rdlange's Avatar
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    Bridgestone Kabuki Super Speed 12..?

    So I got this Kabuki bike. Looks nice, didn't pay much. 27" wheels, Suntour parts. Odd center nut seat post. It fits good. Not too heavy... Can someone please tell me about it? Thanks.
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    The Suoer Speed was Kabuki's bottom of the line, adult lighweight model. Yours appears to be from the very late 1970s to very early 1980s, though I should be able to identify the exact year from the serial number. It's a hi-tensile steel frame manufactured by Bridgestone using their Technart process in which tubes with flared and plugged ends have alumnum lugs cast around them. This technology allowed Bridgestone to fabricate frames from any material (aluminum, hi-tensile steel, CrMo steel and/or stainless steel) using only one process. However, it also necessitated the use of the expander seat post, as the cinch bolt ears on the die cast seat lugs turned out to be too brittle. The frames are very distinctive with bulky, square collared lugs that have faux spear points molded into them. The process was used primarily on entry and mid-range models.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    Replace the chain; it's not long for this world.

    (Thanks for the historical background, T-Mar, that's the first I've heard of Technart)
    ● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1972 Peugeot UE-18 Mixte ● 1982 Motobecane Jubile Sport ● 1983 Nishiki Landau ● 1984 Peugeot PH10LE ● 1984 Bianchi Limited ● 1985 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Trek 600 ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1985 Raleigh Elkhorn ● 1986 Univega Nuovo Sport ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ● And a Bike to Be Named Later ●

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
    ....Thanks for the historical background, T-Mar, that's the first I've heard of Technart
    The strange part is that they built bicycles with this process before having a name for it. The technology goes back to at least 1974 but they didn't start using the Technart name in their literature until some time in the late 1970s. Previous to that, they were generally called die cast frames, due to the die cast lugs. Maybe that's why you haven't heard of it?

    Technically, even if a frames was built with the process, it might or might not be a Technart frame, depending on when it was built. The OP's bicycle is definitely a Technart era frame.
    Last edited by T-Mar; 09-09-13 at 11:26 AM.

  5. #5
    KFC
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    Interesting. I am trying to date a Kubuki 12 speed that a friend of mine recently acquired. It has literaly never been ridden. I could not find any way to date it from the serial number, so I have resorted to dating the bicycle by dating its components. All of the Sun Tour parts have a "W" as the first (or only) marking. I believe that indicates that they were made in 1980. The problem is that the bike has a plastic pully wheel for the front derailieur and plastic end covers on the shifters. I was under the impression that plastic was not often seen on bikes of the 1980 vintage. Is is possible that the bike was made with older Sun Tour stock? It has the unusual quill style seat post, 27 inch wheels, side pull brakes and stem mount shifters. Its quite a nice bike - rode it 60 miles this weekend and it performed flawlessly. Is there any what to narrow down its date with the serial numbers?

  6. #6
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    There isn't much out there for Kabuki serial numbers. If you are confident that the components are original, then that is your best indication of age.
    1984 Miyata 310, 1989 Club Fuji, 1986 Schwinn Sierra, 2011 Jamis Quest

  7. #7
    Wood David Newton's Avatar
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    The first bike I experienced with this frame construction was the CITOH in 1973 or 74.
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/

  8. #8
    Senior Member browngw's Avatar
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    A while ago a friend offered me "an old supercycle 10 speed" I had no idea what to expect but free is free. He called yesterday to say he could drop it off but that it was final and I couldn't give it back!
    My friend Drew used to be a Canadian Tire Store owner in the 70's and this one had been scratched by his assembler so he would not sell it and bought it himself as a loaner, kids bike, shed filler and it sat for forty years. Some of the plated parts and the rims are rusty but the frame and most parts are alloy. I've ridden it on its original "The Special IRC Tyre"s and it feels good and is my size 23". Paint and vinyl type decals are very good. It sports Suntour Power Shifters V-GT Luxe RD Sr Silver CW and BS crested cranks. The decals proclaim it an Olympic Special dating it at 1976. (Montreal).

    It came equipped with a working Primus frame pump. A Made in Japan sticker is on the frame near the BB. Remnants of the $199.99 price sticker is still on the stem. According to Drew it was the most expensive bike carried that year.

    It appears to be built by Bridgestone for CTC and is very similar to the Kubaki Superlight.

    If anyone knows what the large lugs on the seat and chainstays are I would love to know. Fender and rack lugs already exist on the dropouts. Are those crazy seatposts still available?
    We are what we reflect. We are the changes that we bring to this world. Ride often. -Geo.-

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
    The first bike I experienced with this frame construction was the CITOH in 1973 or 74.
    C. Itoh bikes were also made by Bridgestone. I have a stainless tubed C. Itoh.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by browngw View Post
    A while ago a friend offered me "an old supercycle 10 speed" I had no idea what to expect but free is free. He called yesterday to say he could drop it off but that it was final and I couldn't give it back!
    My friend Drew used to be a Canadian Tire Store owner in the 70's and this one had been scratched by his assembler so he would not sell it and bought it himself as a loaner, kids bike, shed filler and it sat for forty years. Some of the plated parts and the rims are rusty but the frame and most parts are alloy. I've ridden it on its original "The Special IRC Tyre"s and it feels good and is my size 23". Paint and vinyl type decals are very good. It sports Suntour Power Shifters V-GT Luxe RD Sr Silver CW and BS crested cranks. The decals proclaim it an Olympic Special dating it at 1976. (Montreal).

    It came equipped with a working Primus frame pump. A Made in Japan sticker is on the frame near the BB. Remnants of the $199.99 price sticker is still on the stem. According to Drew it was the most expensive bike carried that year.

    It appears to be built by Bridgestone for CTC and is very similar to the Kubaki Superlight.

    If anyone knows what the large lugs on the seat and chainstays are I would love to know. Fender and rack lugs already exist on the dropouts. Are those crazy seatposts still available?
    That bike is too cool. I am envious. For some odd reason I happen to really dig anything Itoh and Kabuki. I have four right now!!!

  11. #11
    KFC
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    Thank you. This bike has horizontal drop outs typical of bikes of the 1980's and earlier vintage, but it has no slack adjusters (wheel centering adjusters). Given the overall apperant quality of the bicycle, I find it odd that it would not come with them. Has an anyone ever seen slack adjusters for these bikes?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    What is a slack adjuster?

  13. #13
    Senior Member browngw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    What is a slack adjuster?
    I never heard it called that, but I think its one of these. Shimano SF dropout shown.
    DSCF0982 (1024x683) (2).jpg
    We are what we reflect. We are the changes that we bring to this world. Ride often. -Geo.-

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Not with stamped dropouts and a derailer claw!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    They're not high quality bicycles, but the unique frame construction makes them interesting. That's why I hold on to my Kabuki Submariner.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    They're not high quality bicycles, but the unique frame construction makes them interesting. That's why I hold on to my Kabuki Submariner.
    I agree. My first ten-speed was a Kabuki, very similar to browngw's Supercycle. I sold it, but years later, when I ran across a Kabuki Super Speed in a junk shop for $15, I bought it and fixed it up.
    1984 Miyata 310, 1989 Club Fuji, 1986 Schwinn Sierra, 2011 Jamis Quest

  17. #17
    KFC
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    Yea - that it. I donlt kow where I got the name. This picture shows the type that is threaded onto the back of the dropout housing, but there are some that can be retro fitted. They seem to fin in the dropout and restrict the distance the axle can move to the rear.

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    I was in the bike business starting in 1974 and sold Kabuki (and CITOH) bikes in the mid-1970's through 1978. The OP's version is probably a late 70's version, dated primarily because it's a 12speed bike rather than a 10 speed. The Japanese manufacturers were just beginning to introduce 12 speed versions of their bikes in around 1978. The bike is a basic, entry level bike, but like all the Japanese bikes of that era, was quite good for its intended market. The die-cast frames were heavy, but very durable. The rims, handlebars, etc. were probably steel so all-in-all, the bikes were heavy. The seat post with its expander plug was heavy as well. I think it was around 1978 when Bridgestone (maker of Kabuki labeled bikes) introduced a more conventional, lugged cro-moly frame touring bike - also a great bike for its intended market. From that point forward, they made better and better bikes - lighter bikes - better components, etc. Until they left the US market in 1994 (I was still selling them), I think they made one of the most consistent, broad product lines available.

  19. #19
    KFC
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    Thank you! This is both interesting and useful. I will try to get a picture or two to post (the bike belongs to a friend of mine). Its quite a nice bike - certainly heavy when compared to today's carbon frames, but not bad in comparison to todays steel frames. It is no heaver (maybe even lighter) than my Trek 520. The Suntour components on this bike are 'probably' of the 1980 vintage. My only complaint is that you have to manually center the rear wheel whenever it is installed. Because you can not always get it in exactly the same place, it requires the brakes to be re-adjusted everytime the rear wheel is reinstalled. An other interesting point is that the rear defailuer cage is 'open', making it easy to clean the jockey wheels.

  20. #20
    KFC
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    O.K. This is embarrassing. The Kabuki Super Speed 12 I have been writing about is really a Kabuki Skyway 12. Not sure if that changes anything, but I wantedterecordto be straight. Does anybody know how the Skyway stacked up in the Kabuki line?

  21. #21
    KFC
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    image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg

    I finally got a few pic of the Kabuki Skyway, that I had erroneously referred to as a Super Speed. I don't think this bike has ever been ridden

  22. #22
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    The Seat tube label on the Super-Light reads: Bridgestone Kubuki Prestige Bicycle Distributed by C.Itoh.
    Also....the statements about having to remove the seat to adjust the post is a myth...I have never had to remove the seat...I've just used the proper sized wrench. While it isn't a quick release you have the advantage that you are not as likely to "loose" your seat.

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