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Panasonic ATB value?

Old 01-03-18, 02:13 PM
  #1  
rustymetal
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Panasonic ATB value?

I was browsing my local CL ads last night and spotted a 22" framed Panasonic ATB listed for $250. The seller emailed me the following pics. He's about an hour from me.

I got to searching a bit online and found one that sold recently on eBay (https://tinyurl.com/yak6t8ka), that sold for $375 in no where near the shape mine is in, or the one on CL for that matter.

What is so special about these? It has me thinking maybe its time to sell the one I've got?
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Old 01-03-18, 08:51 PM
  #2  
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I don't know if I'd call that a lower end model, those were only sold for a few years, I don't think they offered more than one ATB in the first two years. The ATB came as a full chromoly frameset, alloy everything, with 15 speeds. It rivaled anything else available at dealers back then.

Panasonic has always had a special following, and those ATB's always bring top dollar. The one on eBay looks pretty rough, regardless of what the seller pocketed from the sale, someone out there still shelled out $375 for it. I've been watching these for some time and I've seen several of these sell for upwards of $500 over the past four or five years. The last one I saw on CL was listed at $400, by the time I found the ad and got an email off to the seller, it had already been sold.
If I recall correctly, this model sold for $499 when new, that was big money for 1985.
While no doubt there were pricier models out back then but from past experience the collectability of most bikes like this is driven by what most people remember or what they wanted to own at t a time when they maybe couldn't afford it. Back in 1985, I can personally remember what was on the showroom floor, having bought a top of the line Schwinn that year, the Panasonic was a viable option but at a higher cost than the High Sierra which I paid $360 for with a rear rack and Cat Eye computer.
The same dealer had Schwinn, Panasonic, Motobecane, Raleigh, Fuji, and Cannondale.
The Cannondale bikes were aluminum, and double the cost, not even an option or of any interest to someone looking for dual purpose ride. Moto and Fuji has nothing to compete and Raleigh was being sold by Huffy and were using an odd size 650B wheel back then.
That put Schwinn and Panasonic at the top of the list.
Having bought the Schwinn, which was made by Giant at that time, and dealing with several issues I soon wished I had bought the Panasonic.
I think a lot of buyers were thinking the same way, but the cost difference sold other models. For me, the cost difference back then was a weeks pay.

Would I pay $375 or more for a Panasonic ATB, not likely, but I'm not looking either. In hindsight, I certainly would have waited and bought the ATB vs the Schwinn. When it came to mountain bikes back then, there wasn't much difference between top and bottom of the line models back then other than frame material. Overall weight for all were within a pound at or around 30 lbs.

I do know a few buddies who went back and bought used ATB's some paying far more than they would have when the bike was new. One buddy has over 30 mountain bikes in his man cave, one of every model Schwinn and Raleigh sold, he's got more than a grand in a few of them between buying the bike and restoring it or putting back to 100% original condition. They sit there right next to his collection of vintage dirt bikes, none of which will likely ever see the light of day again. What it boils down to is that there's a big difference in what something is worth and what a collector will pay. Nostalgia can be a powerful driving force.
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Old 01-03-18, 11:21 PM
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Apparently Panasonic didn't see the need to give their only mtb any better components.

The Cimarron was in the brochure but none of the local dealers ever saw one. The High Sierra was top of the line and most dealers chose to only offer one bike in each price bracket the Cimarron was priced above a few alloy frame models so they pushed those instead.

If it came down to the only difference between a Cimarron and the High Sierra being the derailleurs and bars, I don't think many would have made the jump price wise. Like I mentioned before, they all listed at the same weight give or take a pound. The biggest weight savings was probably the skinwall tires over gumwall Cheng Shins on the upper models.
We're also talking about an era where most mountain bikes had bull moose bars, the chromoly bars and alloy SR stem on the Panasonic was a big step up.
Personally, I'd rather have had Suntour gear changers which is why I opted back then for the Schwinn, which came with Suntour Cyclone MKII, the lower end models had Suntour AR and AG derailleurs.
The Cimarron if I recall correctly had a fillet brazed frame like the old Varsity road bikes. Not the more modern tig welded frame as used on the the other models.
I currently own an 1984 Mesa Runner, 1985 Sierra and High Sierra, plus a 1986 Cimarron, a 1987 High Sierra, and a 1982 King Sting. I bought the '85 and '87 High Sierra bikes new, the Cimarron and Mesa Runner were owned by family members since new, and the King Sting was given to me a few years ago.
The 1985 Sierra was bought off eBay from a local seller for $175 in fair condition.

I'd be willing to bet that Panasonic bikes were made in fewer numbers than most any other major brand back then, ad this to the fact that they were rarely the primary brand being sold at most dealers, the number of surviving examples is likely a fraction of most other brands.
Dealers here pushed the Panasonic bikes as a premium brand, and they were priced accordingly.
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Old 01-04-18, 01:52 AM
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First off, this is my first post here, I've been a reader here for years but never bothered to sign up.
Its posts like this that really get me thinking. On one hand someone sees a bike as low end or entry level, and on the other end, others see it as a holy grail.
As someone who grew up in the north east, Panasonic was it, top of the heap, sure there was Schwinn, Ross, Raleigh, and all the others but anyone could have one. Panasonic dealers were few and farther between, when you found one, like mentioned above, they were rarely a stand alone franchise. They did always seem to be paired up with Schwinn dealers, but the larger dealers had just about everything. The usual big dealer always seemed to have all but one brand, regardless of what it was. The smaller dealers had one to three brands to choose from, and rarely was it Panasonic. Their bikes were always classy looking, well equipped, although they did jump on the Shimano band wagon earlier than most.
I bought my first Panasonic, a DX2000 road bike new in 1980, I rode it till I was in my 40's. Having moved to a more rural area I started looking at the older diamond framed cruisers and mtb's. Having tried suspension bikes, i knew I wanted a solid frame and fork. By the time I was thinking mtb, friction shift was gone, and all sorts of plastic or fiber components were showing up. As a larger man, I knew that wasn't for me. I started looking around at older mountain bikes, mainly those that looked like modified road bikes. My first was a Schwinn King Sting, which although was well built, rode like a tank. My next was a minty clean High Sierra, made in Taiwan by Giant for Schwinn, this wasn't a bad bike but I admit I bought it because it was one of the later models to still use Suntour. This was pretty much top of the line at the local dealer, Panasonic was gone, Giant, Univega, and Lotus had popped up as secondary brands, and none had anything close to the Schwinns at that point. Ross bikes were pretty much still all made from gas pipe and over 40 lbs, the French Mtb's weren't anything to even consider, at least not for me, and Raleigh bikes were no longer made by Raleigh and dealers were dropping the brand left and right.

The first two used High Sierra models I bought had frame issues, one lost its black chrome finish and rusted from the inside out, to the point where I made an issue of it with Schwinn and got a new frame, the other cracked at the chain stays where they meet the BB.

I bought a used Mesa Runner, a bit older but in mint shape, most likely never ridden. This became my favorite for a long time. It was as light as the High Sierra with older friction shifters and calipers vs. cantilever brakes. Wanting to experience something different, (I can't own just one of two of anything), I went looking for what Panasonic had back then, which was the ATB, a model offered only for a couple years. It was equipped much the same as the Schwinn's, but with Shimano derailleurs. The shifters were nearly dead on knock offs of the Suntour models, and the long cage derailleur looked to be a GT version of either the 600 or Altus models.
Finding one was a big issue, every time one popped up for sale I'd either miss it or it went for more than it cost new.
I finally gave in and bought one, much like the one above on eBay, it was two hours away, and I could save the shipping and go get it.
I made the drive three days after the sale ended. When I got there, the bike was filthy, but complete. It was all original and likely had been sitting for at least 20 years at that time. The grease in everything was hard as stone. it was so bad the freewheel wouldn't spin and the rear wheel wouldn't roll without weight on it. The tires were original and still had all their nipples on the tread.
With the $50 in fuel in my truck, plus the two hour drive each way, plus the $150 auction price, I still think I did alright.
Once I got the bike home I tore it down for a full going over.
The seat post and stem were hopelessly frozen and had to be cut out, both wheels needed truing, I soon found that nearly all the spoke nipples were frozen so a quick truing turned into a complete respoking job. The freewheel was like new but needed cleaning out, I soaked it in gas for a week before taking it apart.
The chain was trash, it wasn't worth the effort to free up so I grabbed a new one online for $20. The tubes were good, just flat, I liked the original tires and although old they worked fine. They looked to be the same as those on the bike above.
The respoke cost me around $135, (I bought all DT stainless spokes, and since no local dealers kept spokes, I ended up buying a box of 100 of each size I needed at $45 per box times three). The original water bottle screws were surface rusted so I hunted down new stainless screws, a new water bottle bracket, and a vintage Blackburn MTB rack, plus I sprung for a kickstand since the bike never had one. Another $30 or so. The headset turned out to have a cracked lower race, not being able to find a match, a new old stock headset was the only answer, the original was unbranded, so I opted for a similar looking period correct Tange headset for $65 plus $12 shipping off eBay.
The BB was a matter of some new grease, the crankset was mint, and the saddle was fine for my purposes. The new seat post cost me $50 off eBay, try finding a clean used SR micro adjust seat post in 26.6mm to match the original when you want one. It took buying another bike, although smaller, not my size to harvest the seat post from for another $200. I stuck a plain seat and post on the smaller bike with plans to relist it for sale.

All said and done, my 1985 Panasonic ATB cost me just shy of $500, but the 21" frame parts bike is what bailed me out, as it sold locally for $400 on CL. I listed it high with the thoughts that someone would bargain the price down but some kid showed up and handed me cash.
So in the end I made out, if I hadn't found the parts bike to flip, I'd have had over $700 in this bike, instead I'm just under $300.
Was it worth it, sure, its one of my favorite bikes overall, its got a more relaxed geometry not found in any other bike at that time, it rides and handles better all around than any of my Schwinns do. Its not as maneuverable as the Schwinn in close quarters or trails but its an easier ride. It softens the rough stuff out better. Its also lighter by a few pounds but not on paper. Somehow the larger frame Panasonic weighs in less than the same size Schwinn which was listed at 29 lbs. But since we know they list only the weight for the smallest frame models, there's no way of telling what either is supposed to weigh. My ATB weighs in at 34 lbs, my High Sierra, with a rear rack and gel saddle at 39.5 lbs. The Panasonic is a better looking bike in my opinion, I like the wider rims, they call them Ukai 26x1.75 rims but they look more like 2" with huge spoke dimples. They resemble old dirt bike rims in a way.
The finish is and decals have lasted better than the Schwinn's too. As I get older, I ride less and less, but I still enjoy having all my bikes, especially those that I went though so much trouble to add to my fleet here.

Would I spend $375 on a bike like the one on eBay, I don't know. If it were the only one I could find out there, I guess i'd have to. I don't think I'd have gone that far back when I bought mine but in the end, I put far more into it. Keep in mind too that pictures on eBay have come along way, one can tell looking at that bike in the ad that its not had much care, so how much it would take to make it 100% could be far more than what I put into mine, and prices haven't gone down any when it comes to parts. Especially tires. If I knew the bike was 100%, and had the chance to inspect it or ride it first hand before buying it, as in a local CL deal, I'd be more apt to spend more for it.
If the bike is clean, as the one in the pics above looks to be, I'd be all over it if I was still buying bikes. However, as time goes on you realize you can't take it with you and I'm slowly selling off bikes I've owned for decades.
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Old 01-04-18, 07:56 AM
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There are definitely "micro-markets" where bike prices are totally different. For example, I have bought quite a few bikes in the Florida Keys. In the Keys, cruiser style bikes are KING, and go for 5X what they would bring here. Meanwhile, road/racing/touring bikes are nearly worthless, selling for a small fraction of what they would bring here. Rust is a challenge for sure. A local flipper in the Keys couldn't wait to unload his road bikes to me. Next time I go to the Keys I need to bring him a couple of cruisers to trade.
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Old 01-04-18, 08:07 AM
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As others have mentioned in passing, these old 1980's era ATB's weigh a ton. Manufacturers hadn't yet figured out that they didn't need to overbuild the frames so much. ATB's got significantly lighter into the 1990's.

I'm not convinced it's worthwhile to spend hundreds of dollars on buying and fixing up a 30+ lb tank, other than for nostalgia, especially when a brand new $99 Walmart ATB would completely blow the doors off of it on any kind of a ride. I myself don't see the advantage of owning something like that, but YMMV.
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Old 01-04-18, 09:15 AM
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The 80's Panasonic, Trek, Univega, Specialized, etc.. early MTB are very nice bikes. I would put slick treads on one and take off on a long tour in a second, but would not consider doing that on ANY walmart bike. They are sometimes beautifully built frames with very nice parts by Suntour and Shimano, like Dearhead or Mountech stuff. I get what you mean by how technology moves on, but really to say a vintage 1985 Bridgestone MB1 doesn't stack up to a walmart mongoose is like saying a 1985 Bridgstone RB1 doesn't stack up to one of those crappy GMC "roadbikes" you see around.
On the original question, I think two things are going on here. We want them because they ARE really nice, beautiful, simple bikes that ride great, and some of these prices are over inflated. If I wanted that Panasonic, I'd consider up to about 200.00. I only rated a 5 speed Hunter 26" wheel cruiser in 85, but I mountain biked with a guy who had a Stumpjumper. If I saw a bike like that pop up on CL I'd have to want it!
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Old 01-04-18, 01:58 PM
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I went round and round with a near new Walmart bike for a buddy of mine, the thing was so misaligned and cheaply built it was basically impossible to get all gears to work or to get it to ride straight without pulling to one side or the other. The seat stays were mis-welded, the dropouts were welded into the frame at different positions making it impossible to get the wheel straight in the rear triangle.

The difference in quality between even the least of the bike shop brands and those found in Walmart is astounding.

The fit and finish on those Panasonic bikes and most other Asian built bikes at that time was excellent.
I'd venture to guess that the cheapest department store bike from the 80's was far better than what we see being sold in Walmart these days.
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Old 01-04-18, 03:56 PM
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From what I've been seeing, its not so much the brand but the age and size of these older mountain bikes and cruisers. You can't touch anything with a frame larger than 21" around here for less then $300, most go for nearly double that.
Steel frames, solid forks, and big handlebars and stems all seem to attract big money. The smaller frame models are cheap, under $150.
Over the years I've often ended up buying two bikes to make one, I'd buy a not so nice larger frame then buy a cheap smaller frame model and swap everything over. Then dump the tiny frame for what ever I can get.
I see the same thing with road bikes, the big frames sell fast, and are hard to find, small frames don't bring the money because there are so many of them.
The 'vintage' age is increasing though, newer bikes, into the 90's have become more sellable recently, but the big money is in the early to mid 80's models with Schwinn, Panasonic, Raleigh, Trek, and older Diamond Back and GT models bringing the best money. Right now it seems Panasonic, GT, and Schwinn from the mid 80's are untouchable unless your willing to put out $300 plus on what will likely still be a project bike.
I've been wanting a clean Panasonic ATB for years, I couldn't afford one when they were new, (nearly twice the price of most others), and there were no big dealers around here. The one dealer that had them closed up around the time the ATB came out, I think they only had one or two to sell that whole year.
Like was mentioned above, most dealers stocked only one bike in each price range, often likely driven by what they made the most money on I suppose. Back 1985 I started looking at maybe getting a new mtb to run a few hard pack trails they had laid out through the state forests here, I had an older Paramount that had been converted to wider tires but the lighter wheels weren't liking off pavement use. After breaking a couple of hubs, a handful of axles, and dozens of spokes. I went looking.
The choices that year were basically Schwinn, Panasonic, Trek, Diamond Back, and Mongoose, and you had Cannondale but in an alloy frame. I checked out four or five local dealers, most sold the same brands, but with different combinations of brands. Most had either Trek, Schwinn, or Diamond Back as their main brand. Keep in mind I was already an adult rider, over six foot three, and over 290 lbs. Every dealer right away said to forget aluminum, they all said they had had frame issues with even lighter riders and to stay away.
The rest of the inventory would be by price range, they would stock a few of the more BMX like frame bikes in the Mongoose and Diamond Back lines, then the mid range of the Schwinn line, then either a Trek or Panasonic in the higher end models. They all put Panasonic on a pedestal above the rest. They were priced higher, looked better, and unlike most other brands back then, still had good dealer support.

The ATB was one of two models in 1985, the first year for Panasonic getting into the mountain bike craze. They had the ATB, and a Pro ATB, with the only difference being 15 speeds on the ATB, and 18 speeds on the Pro. They both used a sling shot stem and chromoly bars, but the Pro's were painted black. The wheels were identical. The only advantage the Deore line up had was the 6 speed freewheel vs. 5 speeds on the ATB. The crankset was the same, as was the saddle, seat post, and tires. The Pro came with Biopace chain rings, the ATB had unmarked round Shimano alloy rings. From five foot away, you couldn't tell them apart. The cranks looked identical, just one had Shimano 600 on it. The two bikes weighed in at almost identical weights.
As someone who looked at and researched these models back then, I can say that every dealer kept several of the ATB models in stock, back then I was never able to locate or put my hands on a Pro model, most dealers chose not to keep two models so close in specs but with a big difference in price. If I remember right, the ATB was right around $500, and the Pro was just over $800.
This was a big jump over the Schwinn models, a comparable High Sierra could be had for a hundred bucks less than the ATB, and the lesser models were even more affordable and very competitive weight wise. The fact that the Schwinn models also came with Suntour vs. Shimano that year was a big factor in my decision to buy the High Sierra.
In hind sight, I wish I had bought the Panasonic, it was likely the better bike that fit me better, but the difference in price made me compromise.
I think a lot of guys think the same way. I bought several Panasonic road bikes over the years, including two brand new back then, they proved to be some of my favorite rides while other, often much higher end models got set aside or sold.
If I had seen the ATB above for sale in my area, regardless of mechanical condition, so long as the frame was straight and the original paint in decent shape, as the pictures seem to show, I'd have jumped all over it.

Also, if your shopping by frame size, be aware that there's a big difference in rider fit between brands and frame styles. That Panasonic ATB in the pics above is a huge bike, most likely with a stand over height of over 34". The higher placement of the crank for ground clearance makes a 22" frame feel more like a 25" road bike frame when it comes to fit. This is even more relevant with some more modern frame designs.
I recently bought a mid 90's Raleigh Talon in a 21" frame that was nearly too big for even me. But it had another 3" or so of ground clearance compared to the ATB or my Schwinn High Sierra.
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Old 01-04-18, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

I had a claim a few months ago for "item not as described." So I called eBay and asked what in particular was not as described. They had no idea. Of course, I was out postage both ways.

Sold the same item later and got glowing feedback... You need a thick skin and a cast iron stomach to put up with all the crap on eBay anymore.
This is why I won't sell whole bikes on Ebay. Just not worth it for me at least.
I have had this happen with other items. I like the characters that try to buy a perfect item from you, and then try to turn it for stupid money. They get upset when it isn't perfect (And I have accurately described the item) so they can't make the silly money they can amazingly get. I try to block them but you don't now who the goofies are. Unfortunately there is no goofy alert on Epay.
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Old 01-04-18, 10:51 PM
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With the current ebay rules totally favoring the buyer and often thieves these days, I wouldn't even consider listing a bike on there. Its CL or local papers or nothing. I've done well that way so far. Besides, I would figure the bike would be worth the most in this area anyhow. Bikes in other areas all seem to sell for so little.

If I did do eBay, it would be in pieces, with lots of pics.
The problem is that the bikes most profitable to part out are the nicest examples, no one wants worn out or abused parts. Most mountain bikes didn't get the best treatment, simply do to the nature of their design. Most were the big boy version of a BMX bike to their owners back then who had just out grown their 20" bikes.
Personally, I never could ride a 20" bike, at over 6', it was like trying to haul and elephant in a Radio Flyer wagon. All that pedaling and those tiny wheels just didn't cut it for me.
However, their collectability and reasons seem to draw similar or the same buyers.

I've got a friend who buys everything and anything made by GT, he's got over a 100 bikes, he even put on an addition to his garage to store and display them. It all goes back to him not being able to afford one as a kid, now he has the cash and wants them all. Price is rarely an object if he feels he needs it for the collection. He went from one of each model to one of each model from every year, to one of every size, color and model from every year. Without a doubt, collectors like him are not alone. Those who follow a particular brand will value that brand and certain models above all the rest no matter what. Its more about nostalgia than quality or collectability.

I agree that Panasonic was always the 'better' brand, but not usually the 'best' brand they sold. It was however a pricey label compared to most back then. I also feel that bikes that were too high end often don't get the following that some run of the mill bikes get simply due to brand recognition.
If it weren't for the internet, and considering where I grew up, I wouldn't have ever known about brands such as Botechia, Colnago, Litespeed, and such, they just weren't sold at the local dealers here and weren't seen on the streets. The best we saw in general, when it came to high end anything was maybe the occasional Paramount or Raleigh Pro. The less common imports never made it to the suburbs. We had tons of Peugeot, Raleigh, Schwinn, Ross, Motobecane, Rollfast, and Columbia bikes, with the occasional Panasonic, Gitane, Puch, or Shogun making its way into town via someone who either moved here or bought their bike far away. There was no internet, no collectors, and no eBay. If you were in an area where a brand wasn't common, those brands today are far less relevant to you and excite little interest in the average guy. I grew up in the 70's, the bike boom was in full swing and there were many brands but any one dealer could only offer so many brands. Most kept only one or two plus a cheap brand from which they bought their small kids bikes, beach cruisers, and specialty bikes from. The dealer closest to me sold Raliegh, Ross, Motobecane, Shogun, Columbia, Rollfast, and Peugeot. They kept several hundred bikes in stock, most of which were road bikes. There was little overlap in models in a price range. In other words, if you had $150 to spend on a road bike, then you were likely to leave with a Peugeot, if you had a bit more, then maybe you moved up to a Shogun or lower end Moby. I don't recall ever having to choose between say a PX10 and a Raleigh Pro, they never seemed to put competing models side by side. I'm sure it simplified the buyer's choice.
The same continued into the mountain bike era of the mid 80's. With only one dealer really picking up on the mountain bikes early on, it was a choice between Schwinn, Panasonic, or maybe Diamond Back or even Trek. Trek wasn't pushed when it came to mtb's, it was Schwinn, then Diamond Back, then Panasonic, and then if you had big money to spend, there was Cannondale. I don't know anyone who bought one though. For me, Schwinn was the best deal, they were the most conventional, came with the right parts, and didn't weigh a ton. We all liked the Panasonic bikes but they were a big jump in price. In those days, we had no clue that the Schwinn bikes were made by Giant, I suppose if we knew this, we wouldn't have bought them. Giant as a brand was years from making an appearance in shops under their own name, and they didn't have the reputation brands like Schwinn had. For those of us who didn't want the Schwinn models, it was usually off to another dealer for the next up the ladder cost wise, which most likely was Raleigh. For me, I avoided Raleigh and a few Schwinn models then due to their odd tire sizes. I still have a Raleigh Elkhorn with bull moose bars vegetating in my shed outback that's in need of 650b mtb tires that have all but vanished from production. A few Schwinn models used this size as well. The best I was ever able to find was a brick pattern tire from India in that size. The original rubber is rotted off the rims.

I considered building a set of 700C wheels for it but I do prefer to keep things as original as I can.

Back to the original question I posted on value, I've watched several of these ATB's sell for over $300 in varied levels of condition. The one pictured above that popped up on CL the other day is by far the cleanest I've seen yet. The one on eBay in CT looked complete but not especially well taken care of, and most likely well used.
What I see in the pics I posted above from the CL ad is a bike that's very clean, the crankset is clean and not all caked up with grease, its not scratched or road rashed, the pedals appear intact, the tires appear to be original, and in near new condition tread wise with some ozone damage to the sidewalls. The wheels look clean with minimal brake wear, and the paint and decals have survived the past 33 years quite well. I don't see any rusty bits, the chain looks clean, the chrome appears to be in great shape with no rusty corners or signs of road rash.
The saddle doesn't look original but its hard to say what it left the dealer with as I rarely settle for the OEM saddles on any of my bikes with the exception of a few British bikes I own with Brooks leather saddles.
Even if that bike needed every last bearing replaced and every cable replaced, it still wouldn't likely end up costing as much as the one that sold on ebay. Cables and bearings just aren't that expensive.
I found a copy of the 1985 catalog online, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B33...g4Y1JJMnM/view

I agree, there wasn't much difference between the two models, and its likely why dealers didn't stock the pro.
They weighed in the same if your familiar with both derailleur groups, you would realize how little difference other than the scripted model name there was between the two groups. They both used the same wheelsets, with only a hub change from Suzue to Suntour on the pro. having serviced both, there's little difference. Neither was a true sealed bearing hub.
And personally, I always felt that the older 5 speed Shimano gear changers worked better than the early 6 speeds. The first generation of HG chain was noisy and often had tracking issues. It wasn't uncommon for manufacturers back then to opt for a non Shimano chain on these early bikes to avoid the issues. Every one I've seen so far used generic chains from day one, I've yet to see one with original HG chain.
The early KMC or Z chain shifted and flowed much nicer.
Personally, to me it would have been a huge improvement if Panasonic had used all Suntour components but by that time Suntour was on its last leg and I'm sure Shimano was pushing hard and making deals to gain market share.
I often thought about converting my current ATB to Suntour. I even bought a complete Mountech group and set of XC shifters for it but never used them. The bike came with all Shimano when new but I could never bring myself to remove original parts as long as they were still working so the Suntour parts just sat in a drawer.
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Old 01-05-18, 05:56 AM
  #12  
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For comparison I have a 1988 Panasonic Mountain Cat 6500 that is not in as good of shape, cosmetically, as yours. It's all Deore and I paid $175 for it in late 2016 in Philadelphia.
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Old 01-05-18, 09:58 AM
  #13  
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I can't say I've ever seen one of the later MC models, by that time the local dealer was gone and we had zero access around here to Panasonic bikes. If I remember right, the 1986 model year was the last year we had a real Schwinn or Panasonic dealer. The owner retired, sold the store to his mechanic, who lost the place in 6 month. Over the years all the bike shops have gone away. The nearest is an hour away and they're not a stand alone bike shop.

From the pics I've seen the Mountain Cat was just a continuation of the ATB, the frame looks similar with just new colors. One thing that did go away were those huge Ukai rims. The only thing I've seen such a wide wheel on elsewhere was on an industrial trike at work.

I agree, there's not much advantage in the real world in having either 600 or Deore gear changers vs. the lesser models, the weight savings was negligible and on bikes like these, it made little difference.
As years went on, index shifting was the standard but personally, I never much cared for it. Friction shift was never 'off just a bit'. If your derailleur got bumped with index shifting or the cables stretched, your shifts were thrown off, on friction shift systems, you just adjusted each gear as needed.

The one thing that always got me was how rare Panasonic dealers seemed to be back then, they seemed to pair mostly with Schwinn for some reason and dealers rarely stocked high numbers of their bikes. It makes me think one of two things, either they didn't keep up with demand and the bikes were hard to get, or they were expensive with a low profit margin.
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Old 02-21-19, 12:04 PM
  #14  
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Little late, but the 86 ATB Pro was suntour xc.
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Old 02-21-19, 12:35 PM
  #15  
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Tried to post the catalog specs... didn't work. When I am deemed worthy of posting pics I'll post the one I have.

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Old 07-05-20, 02:38 PM
  #16  
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Smaller frame for 21"Panasonic ATB?

I have an old Panasonic ATB, and I've had it for years. I would like to set it up for someone smaller, but the frame is way too big. I need about a 15 or 16 inch frame. It seems like the components are pretty good, seeing as they have lasted 30+ years. Could I find an old ATB frame and reuse most of it?? I've tried ebay and just general searches, but they were a bust. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:54 PM
  #17  
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Great bike as for price If everything is good on a test ride IE it is ready to ride and only needs a simple service full tune, grease and bearings $250 isn't out of line in the current market nicer hard frame MTB and ATB's are going up in value. If it's your size and you like I would say try and buy it for $200.
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Old 11-16-20, 04:20 AM
  #18  
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Is Panasonic still making bikes?
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Old 11-16-20, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by meeshoo View Post
Is Panasonic still making bikes?
2020 Panasonic bikes in the U.S.
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Old 04-28-21, 11:56 PM
  #20  
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Sorry!

Sorry, this is not polite to do, but I need to have at least 10 posts to submit photos to a posting on this forum. My posting here is not helpful. My apologies.
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Old 04-29-21, 02:59 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by bfrasersmith View Post
Sorry, this is not polite to do, but I need to have at least 10 posts to submit photos to a posting on this forum. My posting here is not helpful. My apologies.
Your photo's are here: https://www.bikeforums.net/g/user/538466

Open up a new thread with your appropriate questions or whatever it is you want to do. If you mention that you have photos in a gallery album, members will know where to look and somebody may even load the pictures to the thread on your behalf.
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