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Old 08-23-19, 10:59 AM
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JaccoW
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Bikes: Batavus Randonneur GL, Gazelle Orange Excellent, Gazelle Super Licht, Gazelle Grand Tourist, Gazelle Lausanne, Gazelle Tandem, Koga-Miyata SilverAce, Koga-Miyata WorldTraveller

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History of the SilverAce model and its sister models

Since I've been scouring Marktplaats (local eBay/Craigslist) for the last few weeks I dug into the fine details of the different models.
Koga actually has a very nice publicly available list of scanned brochures all the way back to their beginnings in 1976. That's not to say they are perfect, the 1987-1991 brochures lack the added technical details that some earlier and later brochures had, but it has been fascinating and a lot of fun going through them.

As such I thought I would share a short history of Koga-Miyata's forray into Dutch commuter bikes.

History:
The company started building racing models in 1974 and added a touring model (GentsTouring) in 1976.

In 1982 they introduced their first Dutch commuter bikes in the form of the SilverAce AL (Aluminum) and SilverAce ST (Stainless steel), both with Sturmey Archer 3-speed drum brakes.
Both were fairly lightweigh bikes at the time at 16.8kg (37lbs) and 17.2kg (38lbs). For comparison, many contemporary bikes were easily 5-6kg (11lbs) heavier.

Lugged steel Hi-Manganese might not sound like much but it certainly was no gaspipe tubing. Most were double butted and fairly expensive at the time at Hfl. 1145,-. That is about 950 or $1050.

By 1984 they switched over to Hardtlite FM-2 (double butted) Chromoly frames with Hi-Manga HM-2 forks and replaced the SilverAce name with RoadAce. There was some brief experimentation with Shimano 3-speeds and Karasawa drum/belt brakes but mostly they stayed with Sturmey Archer.

Unfortunately, Sturmey Archer wasn't really pushing the best designs between 1990-2000, leading up to its near bankruptcy and eventual sale to SunRace.
Between 1989 Koga-Miyata switched to Sachs as a supplier for their 3-speed drum brakes and later 5-speed models. The bikes are now made out of Hardtlite FM-3 tubing, probably double butted, but it might be fancier than that as evidenced by 1991's FM-3, Splined, Triple Butted (STB) model. Then again, that might just be a typo.

By the time 1994 rolls around everything is Shimano 7-speeds and the RoadAce name gets dropped for the classic SilverAce model.
Another interesting addition at the time is the introduction of the RoadTourer model. It is essentially a 7-speed IGH with Shimano STX cantilever brakes, as is fashionable at the time, but still a fully enclosed chaincase. It manages to drop a full kg (2 lbs) of weight and is probably great for people in more mountainous terrain, except the bike comes with a 44x21T or 33x16T drivetrain leading to ~33-88 gear inches. I guess that's decent.

With more gears, more options and even some automatic 3-speed hubs (!), weight starts creeping up and even though they switched over to their fanciest (splined triple butted) Hardtlite FM-1 frames in 1996 they still were no match for the early aluminum alloy frames.
1997 sees the introduction of the 7005 alloy double butted LiteAce model which drops a good 1.8kg (3.9lbs) (17.8kg vs. 16kg) of the weight for the exact same type of bike.

Not even the addition of the unfortunately chosen Sachs Elan 12-speed hub could save the model name as it too was redesigned as an aluminum alloy frame. The hub had a history of breaking and at 3.4kg (7.5lbs) it was a fairly heavy addition to a bike that saved a bit of weight over its chromoly predecessor meaning it was now even heavier than it ever was before.

With the removal of the 12-speed hub from the lineup in 2000 also came the end of the SilverAce name... until its reintroduction in 2004.
Koga kept using the name until 2013 after which only the LiteAce continued next to several other models.

Interestingly enough they kept the Hi-Manga unicrown fork for a very long time. Well into the time where most bikes had aluminum frames they used the Hi-Manga fork. In fact it wasn't until 2005 that all city bikes either had aluminum suspension front forks or 'Wide Bone aluminum' forks.

Models:
Comparison:

Just for fun, here is a comparison of material choice per model and a weight comparison throughout the years.
Note the dramatic drop in weight once aluminum comes into play.




Last edited by JaccoW; 03-22-20 at 02:02 PM. Reason: added title to post
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