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Thread: Kabuki Mixte

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    Kabuki Mixte

    Hello, all. I recently went to a bike co-op and found a Kabuki Mixte (unsure about other specifics) in really great shape that looks like it's from the late 70s or 80s. It's $120. It will need fenders and probably a nicer saddle eventually. I hadn't heard of Kabuki before I saw that bike. I needed something really light that could easily get on and off bus bike racks, and it fulfills that need. I'll be using the bike for commuting (4 miles each way with hills) and leisure riding--I won't be running any races soon or doing anything all that athletic.

    They're holding the bike for me up to a week while they tune it, and then I have 10 days to make a final decision. The volunteer at the co-op said he personally thought it was a nice bike, above entry-level, but said it would probably only go for $250 if it were being sold in a bike shop new today.

    I just want to know if this is a good bike, at least for what I need it for, or if it's a piece of junk and if I should look for something better.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    What is the frame pedigree? (Alternatively, what is the seat post diameter, which in turn will tell us the tubing wall thickness?) Also, what sorts of components does it have? Kabuki was one of many bike boom marques from Japan. I am guessing you have found a fairly basic model, which may fit your needs pretty well, assuming it is light enough for you to lift as needed.
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    Senior Member Velocivixen's Avatar
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    I have 2 Mixtes & from what I've researched, most brands that offered Mixtes did not sell them as their highest end models. Not to say they're bad, but Mixte frames typically weren't outfitted with the highest end components of the time. For commuting, and general purpose riding they're fine bikes and, at least my two, are light.

    @Heliocoptors - could you take some photos of the drive side of the bike & post? Tell us derailleurs, shift levers, brakes, rims/hubs, whether the bike is lugged or not, wheel size (27" likely, but may be 700c), handlebars drop or straight. This will help us understand.
    Last edited by Velocivixen; 07-09-14 at 11:47 AM. Reason: asked a question to OP

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    Kabukis were made by Bridgestone and were produced from mid 70s to mid 80s. They are good quality basic bikes depending on the model. They made a full range from 21 lb steel framed road bikes to 35 pound cheaper bikes. The market is not kind to them as far as resale values but if you just want good basic transportation you can't go wrong. They have good interchangability with standard parts. They take cartridge bottom brackets and most older suntour, shimano derailleurs.

    The biggest difference between their better offerings and low-end were the frames. the better ones have the frametubes set in a mold and the lugs are diecast around them. These use a quill seatpost so you have to take the seat off the post to adjust the height. They are beatiful frames and durable. The cheaper ones have normal lugged/brazed frames and are heavier.

    I don't think you can go wrong for $120. as long as it needs nothing to be ready to ride.

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    Thank you for the information, everyone!

    Unfortunately, I don't have a way to get to the co-op to take a picture as my car broke down (the reason I am purchasing a new bike). I would estimate the seat post would be about 1.5" in diameter or maybe smaller, or whatever the standard size would be for a decent road bike. It has drop bars, 10 or 12 speeds, and 27" wheels. Everything else you asked I'm either not sure of or don't know what it means. I can't remember if the shift leavers were plastic or metal, but I think they were plastic. I don't think there was a speck of rust on it, and I think the rims were aluminum...? The steel ones are pock-marked, right? Besides, he might replace the wheels for me, anyway.

    I was looking at two other bikes at the co-op, but the volunteer really seemed to think the Kabuki was the better of the three. One was a Nishiki and the other was a Panasonic.

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    Senior Member Velocivixen's Avatar
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    How the bike fits you is really important. The distance from the seat tube to where you'll be grabbing the handlebars is important because you don't want to be too stretched out or to scrunched up either. When sitting on the seat you want to be able to have your knee slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. So that means that if the bike is smaller you'll have to have a lot of the seat post showing to get your saddle high enough. Not a problem, but want to make sure the current seat post is long enough to let you get it set up well. Also, aesthetically some people don't like too much
    seat post showing.

    Did you test ride any of the 3? Definitely test ride, shift gears, go around the block or around some turns at least. Keep us posted.

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    Velocivixen, I test rode all three, but the other two were diamond frames, which I wasn't crazy about. They all fit me well; the Kabuki's seat needed to be raised about 2 inches from the lowest place, so no big deal. I'll be able to test ride it again before I purchase.

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    As stated above Kubakis were made by Bridgestone. Bridgestone also made some bikes for Sporting Goods Stores(Canadian Tire) in the 70's. I have a 76 SuperCycle Excalibur also known as a Kubaki Superlight. It has a bonded Alloy Frame and is a decent all round bike. I like it well enough thatI'm currently restoring it for my collection.
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    It would be highly unlikely that the Kabuki mixte is anything but a high tensile frame. Probably chrome rims too, and a funky quill seat post, with no binder bolt. Overhauled and tuned $120 is cheap, but personally I would look out for a more exciting and responsive mixte to ride.
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    I wouldn't recommend a Kabuki to anyone. I have a Bridgestone Kabuki Submariner. It gets a lot of attention because of the shiny stainless steel tubes, but it's an over weight piece of crap despite the fact that it's a stripped down single speed with lightweight replacement parts. I rarely ride it. Potential buyers lose interest once they lift it.



    Hold out for a better mixte, like a Peugeot or Raleigh Super Course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    I wouldn't recommend a Kabuki to anyone. I have a Bridgestone Kabuki Submariner. It gets a lot of attention because of the shiny stainless steel tubes, but it's an over weight piece of crap despite the fact that it's a stripped down single speed with lightweight replacement parts. I rarely ride it. Potential buyers lose interest once they lift it.



    Hold out for a better mixte, like a Peugeot or Raleigh Super Course.
    The one at the co-op was ultra-light. It was one of the lightest bikes I've encountered. Perhaps it was a better model? Sadly I can't "hold out" too long. I need to get to work and I can only bum rides for so long before no one likes me anymore. So far I've heard mixed things about Kabuki so I'm still unsure. I'm still keeping a vigilant eye on Craigslist, but so far the Kabuki looks like my best bet on my budget.

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    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    I had 1 several years ago...high tensile and cast lugs........well made with great paint.......
    kabuki2.jpg kabuki7.jpg
    Thumpic....

    Green is the new "CHEAP"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
    I had 1 several years ago...high tensile and cast lugs........well made with great paint.......
    kabuki2.jpg kabuki7.jpg
    YES! That's the one! But in dark red, and I can't tell in your photo if that bike has the split bar, or whatever those fancy mixte frame bars are called, but the one at the co-op did--two parallel bars with the seat post in between. High-tensile sounds like a good thing I guess? I don't know exactly what that means. Sounds like you liked it...

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    High tensile is considered low strength tubing, consequently thicker heavier gauge tubes are needed than the higher quality chromoly or manganese moly tubes to achieve adequate stiffness. Also, high tensile tubes are generally straight gauge, versus, butted tubing, which is thinner in the middle and thicker at the ends.

    The benefit is lower cost for the manufacturer, the penalty is heavier frame and less responsive ride.
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    @ Heliocoptors- you have some good advice as posted. I will say that you have posted your information & questions on a forum where many are so knowledgeable & can give you extremely detailed information, that as a "newby" can begin to get overwhelming. I'm not suggesting that you are overwhelmed. As a newish rider who needs transportation quick, I think that getting too detailed information can lead to "analysis paralysis" & lead to indecision. I am only speaking from my own experience. I am extremely detail oriented but I know, as one who is new to all the relevant bike information, I had to learn to take my new learning a in small "doses" otherwise I simply would agonize over decisions. This would lead to indecision, and perhaps the bike in question would have already sold.

    I understand, from what you've shared, that you need reliable transportation quick & are on a budget, so I understand that you want to "do it right the first time" & get something to meet your needs. I guess what I'm suggesting is to not get too caught up in various aspects of, for example, one type of steel tubing vs another, etc. Just get some basic information - enough to make a reasonable decision. For the more advanced rider/collector/connoisseur then the fine details do matter.

    I dont want want my comments to dissuade you from learning more about bicycles if that's your interest, but would like to encourage you to go with confidence and buy your bike. You may, down the line, decide on a different bike but that doesn't necessarily mean that you made a "bad" decision or bought the "wrong" bike - tastes & needs evolve.

    Best of luck & happy riding. Hope you've budgeted for things like a lock, rack/fenders (if that's your preference), lights and any other things which might make your commute enjoyable.

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    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    For the price, it sounds like a solid deal, especially freshly tuned up and ready to ride. If it feels light to you, then good enough, eh? If it really is Hi-Ten steel, then its probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 lbs, which would be lighter than a generic cheap mountain bike, and a much nicer ride.
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    Thanks again for the advice, everyone!
    @Velocivixen, I appreciate all of the information you have provided. I would eventually like to be a true bicycle fanatic, so it's all very helpful. Luckily I have locks and lights from my current bike and all it will need is fenders and possibly a rack. I will probably go ahead with the Kabuki unless when I get there to pick it up there is something I couldn't possibly ignore.

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