Old 11-15-15, 12:27 AM
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Location: Boulder County, CO
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Bikes: '92 22" Cannondale M2000, '92 Cannondale R1000 Tandem, another modern Canndondale tandem, Two Holy Grail '86 Cannondale ST800s 27" (68.5cm) Touring bike w/Superbe Pro components and Phil Wood hubs. A bunch of other 27" ST frames & bikes.

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Originally Posted by Mainah View Post
I've seen several folks on this sub mention that Japanese steel frames are often well built, but tend to have a "sterile" or "dead" ride quality to them. I'm curious to know if this is a widely held view, and if so, what is the explanation? Frame tubing? Geometry? I recently overhauled an '81 Lotus Odysssey (Tange Champion 2 tubing), which has a classic sport touring geometry, and I can't say I notice much of a substantive difference in ride quality between it and a Trek 610 (531 tubing) that I used to ride -- both ride great. (However, I unfortunately had to let go of the Trek a few years ago during a move, so I can't do a side-by-side comparison.) Thoughts?

You can't begin to compare the craftsmanship, skill or finish of 70s or early 80s Japanese frame building or kit to anything. It was a world apart in the skill level, tolerances, and quality control that even Klein, Cannondale, GT (Morgul-Bismark), YETI, or any other US framebuilder could never even get close to matching. Grant Peterson is absolutely right about that but of fact. Regarding peak-Japan kit. The days of getting hand polished components or frames built in facilities backed by 0% loans will never be seen again. Taiwan has better quality control because of technological advances but the reality is that the average Centurion selling on Craigslist is a better built bike than a Waterford or any other U.S. made boutique frame.

There is so much disingenuous BS in cycling with many companies and builders fighting in a predatory fashion for a piec of the same small slice of pie. It's a Rivendell or Mercian, not both for most. Unlike car collectors bike folks seem to hav more constrained budgets. However, you talk to those free of agenda and that have had Plain Jane Japanese steel racing lightweights and they'll tell you they were some of the best bios they've ever owned (for a given tube set or comparable tubeset/size.

Does vintage Japanese have the same cache as Italian steel, no, but that nothin' to do with the bikes and everything to do with branding and unsubstantiated bias. The 19 year old brazing in Italy for big head badges had nothing on the master builders in Japan during that era.

Last edited by mtnbke; 11-15-15 at 12:31 AM.
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