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My 1988 Panasonic DX-5000

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My 1988 Panasonic DX-5000

Old 11-28-16, 08:36 AM
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My 1988 Panasonic DX-5000

Here’s the coming-out post for my new old bike: 1988 Panasonic DX-5000
Onyx black, serial 7K02319 (Nov. 1987 build) Size 58
Seat tube 57cm c-c; Top tube 56cm c-c; 99.5cm wheelbase (same geometry Team America)
22.5# sans pedals and frame pump (I was expecting a tad less)
PanasonicDX5000

Frame: Tange Prestige Cr-Mo DB tubes, lostwax seat lug, forged ends and sealed BB
Fork/Headset: Tange Cr-Mo blades, C-2 crown, forged ends and Shimano 600 Ultegra sealed HS
Crankset: Shimano 600 Ultegra Biopace 52/42T, 170mm ‘ML’ [Dec. 1988]
Drivetrain/Freewheel: Shimano 600 MF-8208 sealed 13-24T 6-S
FD: Shimano 105 ‘KJ’ [Oct. 1986] clamp-on
RD: Shimano 105
Shifters: Shimano 105 S.I.S.
Brakes: Shimano 600 Ultegra 6400 alloy side pull with 600 Ultegra S.L.R. aero levers
Pedals: Time Sport [swapped to M520s]
Handlebar: SR CTB, Maes alloy 410mm [stamped ‘Sugino CT’ and ‘H87 C410’ on right bar end]
Stem: SR marked ‘Custom’ 100mm
Saddle: Selle Italia Mundialita black vinyl
Seatpost: Sugino SP-KC 200mm micro adjusting [27.2mm]
QR skewers: Maillard
Hubs: Shimano 105
Rims: Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite Alpine “A” Raggi
Tires: Michelin Select 700x25
Extras: Zefal hp X 4 frame pump, Cannondale seat bag with spare tube, levers

PanBars

I gave it an 85% cleaning (didn’t go to bare frame), which still took hours, as it was pretty grimy. It cleaned up nicely, with no rust, chrome’s in great shape, few scratches on the frame, no signs of trauma. I serviced the hubs and headset, but haven’t done the BB yet. Soaked the FW in mineral spirits, then flushed with WD40, then oiled.
Before:
PanDirtyFW

After:
PanRearHub
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Old 11-28-16, 08:43 AM
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I was disappointed to realize during the clean up that the original 7-speed freewheel was swapped for a 6-speed, presumably at the same time as the switch to 105 derailleurs and shifters (I knew when I bought it that some of the Ultegra 600 components had been swapped for 105, and had priced that into my offer).

I was looking forward to having that extra gear on one of my vintage bikes. I understand that the hubs are a slight downgrade too, but the rims are an upgrade from original spec, so perhaps itís mostly a wash overall. Oh, and I donít know anything about Maillard QR skewers. I guess theyíre fine, seem to work, though itís an odd Gallic touch on a Japanese bike that seems out of place.
PanCranks

PanRD

PanFrntHub
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Old 11-28-16, 08:43 AM
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You got it! Congrats! I think you did very well on price and I suspect you'll love the bike.

Man - those bottle cages need to go! If I see the tricolor bits in my wanderings, I'll let you know. Should be fairly easy to find as it was a very popular group (with good reason).
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Old 11-28-16, 08:45 AM
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Very cool paint on that there Panasonic! Dunno about the the yellow bottle cages, but that's just personal preference and overall it looks like you'll have a solid rider there. Nice job. And that 105 RD is a great-shifting little mech, indexed or friction, it doesn't care.

From experience: Don't put off servicing the BB. I've done this more than a few times because it seemed to be spinning okay and wasn't screaming at me or anything. Invariably when I finally opened it up it was an "Ohmygod I'm so sorry little bike I didn't realize it was so bad" moment.
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Old 11-28-16, 08:48 AM
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I’ve done my test rides on the original tires, which are pretty cracked, but hold air well and feel pretty supple. However, the rides have been both under 8 miles, and I’ll swap the tires before riding much more. Interestingly, the 700x25 listed tires measure 22mm wide fully inflated.

PanRearBrk

The bike feels very solid and smooth, though not as light and lively as the Tommasini. I like the bars, they’re 39.4cm c-c at hoods and 41cm c-c at ends. I can’t find much about different SR bars online, certainly much less than Cinellis. I haven’t adjusted the levers (they’re too low currently), since I need new tape and new brake cables before I mess with that, but I think these bars and hoods will be perfect for me once the levers are a little higher. It shifts very well. I’m not sure having indexing on DT shifters is a huge leap forward from friction, but it does make shifting a bit more certain when the wind is loud. This is only my third experience with DT shifters, all this year, and this is first with indexing (in my younger days I always had stem shifters).

The original Mundialita seat is pretty comfortable, at least on short rides. The seatpost is a little over-the top.

PanSeatpost

Now I need to decide what to do with it. As it sits, it fills the same niche as my other two vintage bikes — 1980s light-weight steel 6-speeds with fast road racing geometry; high quality tubing; not the very highest end period components, but up there.

This one’s a bit of a mutt in terms of components, and has a ‘blah’ paint scheme (though it is handsome in its way). I need to ride it more to see if it distinguishes itself from the other bikes. If I keep it, I’m considering making it a bad weather bike: replace the seat post with something that won’t allow water seepage, see if I can fit some clamp-on fenders, fit the widest tires I can, and have fun. And maybe powder coat it a sexy metallic orange!

Also, I’d previously bought a Sunrace 7-speed FW that I was considering trying to fit on one of the other bikes, to get a 28t low cog. It’s the M3S version, 13-28t, marked with ‘N3’ on the center. Would this 7-speed FW work on the Panasonic with the Shimano indexing? Do I want a FW that is specifically designated as Hyperglide? Recommendations here, please.
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Old 11-28-16, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
You got it! Congrats! I think you did very well on price and I suspect you'll love the bike.

Man - those bottle cages need to go! If I see the tricolor bits in my wanderings, I'll let you know. Should be fairly easy to find as it was a very popular group (with good reason).
Thank you! That would be awesome.

Yeah, I cleaned up and put the bottle cages back on partly as a joke. They are so lurid, so 'of that time,' and they match the outline color of the Panasonic decal, so for now they're staying. Plus I don't have any decent spare bottle cages. When I get to redoing the cables and tape then I'll swap them with something more, ah, discreet and tasteful.
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Old 11-28-16, 08:52 AM
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Very nice bike. 22.5lbs is quite light, imo. Would be a 'tad lighter' in a smaller frame size of course.

On a side note my '88 Peugeot Triathlon is listed as 23lbs in the brochures of the day. That bike has 105 components and a Reynolds 501 main triangle, and though I've never weighed, I"ve always had deep doubts it's really that light. Your Panasonic is a higher-end bike of the era and if its that close 23lbs, I know mine cant be, lol.
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Old 11-28-16, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale
Thank you! That would be awesome.

Yeah, I cleaned up and put the bottle cages back on partly as a joke. They are so lurid, so 'of that time,' and they match the outline color of the Panasonic decal, so for now they're staying. Plus I don't have any decent spare bottle cages. When I get to redoing the cables and tape then I'll swap them with something more, ah, discreet and tasteful.
I might have some old yellow blackburns around if you're interested...with pink tips. It would still be of the time, but a bit more subtle.
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Old 11-28-16, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Oxley
Very cool paint on that there Panasonic! Dunno about the the yellow bottle cages, but that's just personal preference and overall it looks like you'll have a solid rider there. Nice job. And that 105 RD is a great-shifting little mech, indexed or friction, it doesn't care.

From experience: Don't put off servicing the BB. I've done this more than a few times because it seemed to be spinning okay and wasn't screaming at me or anything. Invariably when I finally opened it up it was an "Ohmygod I'm so sorry little bike I didn't realize it was so bad" moment.
Yes, I like both the design and function of the shifters. Thanks for the nudge on the BB. I finally got all the tools to do the Tommasini BB, and I think I'm set for this bike, too. I'm going to try to do both those BBs in the next week or so.

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Old 11-28-16, 09:05 AM
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Looks almost exactly like an Ironman frame, brake bridge and all. My '87 LeMans came with the same seatpost.
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Old 11-28-16, 09:06 AM
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Nice looking bike.
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Old 11-28-16, 09:43 AM
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Nice acquisition. Those 80s paint jobs aren't for every one, but I likem. Sorry to hear you want to powder coat. I have the same bottle cages but in black, I think you should keep those on there.
I would definitely overhaul the bottom bracket though. I was in a similar situation and that bb needed it. It was 30 year old garage queen, only 300 miles, BB smooth but dried out.
I had a Panasonic dx3000 back in the day. It was my first "real bike". I was lucky to choose that model as my first one.
Looking at it closer, it does resemble the Expert Ironman but not the Master.

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Old 11-28-16, 09:46 AM
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Nice. I have an '87 DX5000 and love it. The 600 6-speed is a very nice freewheel if you stay with 6. If you want 7 speed, you should be able to drop in a Sunrace. What are the shifters indexed for? I assume 7-speed (did 105's come in 6?), in which case, Bob's your uncle.

With the tight geometry, I doubt you'll have much room for fatter tires or fenders, unless you go the 650B route.
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Old 11-28-16, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89
Very nice bike. 22.5lbs is quite light, imo. Would be a 'tad lighter' in a smaller frame size of course.

On a side note my '88 Peugeot Triathlon is listed as 23lbs in the brochures of the day. That bike has 105 components and a Reynolds 501 main triangle, and though I've never weighed, I"ve always had deep doubts it's really that light. Your Panasonic is a higher-end bike of the era and if its that close 23lbs, I know mine cant be, lol.
It's 1.75# heavier than my Tommasini Racing, even though both have their heavy original seats, and the frame on the Panasonic is a tiny bit smaller. I would have guessed the slightly more modern components on the DX-5000, and the Tange Prestige frame, would give the Panasonic at least parity with the older bike. OTOH, the Tommasini has tubular rims/tires, so that's probably a chunk of the weight difference.

I know it's pretty light by steel road bike standards. I've just been spoiled from not having ridden a really heavy road bike in many years, and surrounding myself with lightweight bikes. And I realize I have some weight weenie tendencies that I need to control, since I'm not the kind of rider who really benefits from extreme light weight.
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Old 11-28-16, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I might have some old yellow blackburns around if you're interested...with pink tips. It would still be of the time, but a bit more subtle.
Cool, can you send me a photo?

Originally Posted by Lazyass
Looks almost exactly like an Ironman frame, brake bridge and all. My '87 LeMans came with the same seatpost.
I guess not surprising since Panasonic built bikes for Centurion, among others.

Originally Posted by tarwheel
Nice looking bike.
Thanks!

Originally Posted by texaspandj
Nice acquisition. Those 80s paint jobs aren't for every one, but I likem. Sorry to hear you want to powder coat. I have the same bottle cages but in black, I think you should keep those on there.
I would definitely overhaul the bottom bracket though. I was in a similar situation and that bb needed it. It was 30 year old garage queen, only 300 miles, BB smooth but dried out.
I had a Panasonic dx3000 back in the day. It was my first "real bike". I was lucky to choose that model as my first one.
Looking at it closer, it does resemble the Expert Ironman but not the Master.
It's fairly unlikely I'll follow though with powdercoating. I have a bit of a thing about originality, and the frame's in such good shape it would be a shame. It's more of a 'what if' daydreaming speculation. Thanks for the upvote on the cages, and the additional BB nudge.

Originally Posted by jeirvine
Nice. I have an '87 DX5000 and love it. The 600 6-speed is a very nice freewheel if you stay with 6. If you want 7 speed, you should be able to drop in a Sunrace. What are the shifters indexed for? I assume 7-speed (did 105's come in 6?), in which case, Bob's your uncle.

With the tight geometry, I doubt you'll have much room for fatter tires or fenders, unless you go the 650B route.
As long as I'm in Louisiana, I don't have much incentive to change the FW, except to make it more original. If we move to somewhere with more hills, I'll do it for sure. The shifters appear to be indexed for 7. I can feel on last click, even when there's no more cog left. Glad to hear the Sunrace will be fine.

Eyeballing the gap between the chainstays and current tire, I think I can go up to 28mm tires, as long as the wheel is really true (which it seems to be). I just bought a set of the clip-on fenders mentioned as being on sale in another thread here, so I'll have the chance to try in the next week or so. I realize fenders and 28mm tires together may be too much.

The 650B route is also a consideration. As mentioned, my 'fleet' is pretty one dimensional, and having a fast semi-touring bike with a handlebar pack, wide tires, and fenders is appealing. I've been following that thread (650B conversion) pretty regularly.
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Old 11-28-16, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale
I’ve done my test rides on the original tires, which are pretty cracked, but hold air well and feel pretty supple. However, the rides have been both under 8 miles, and I’ll swap the tires before riding much more. Interestingly, the 700x25 listed tires measure 22mm wide fully inflated.

That was pretty common in those days, I think. Light weight was a major selling point, so a lot of tire manufacturers used to pretend their tires were wider than they really were. That way, a "25" that was really only 22mm wide would appear to be lighter than a competitor's 25 that really was a 25.
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Old 11-28-16, 01:54 PM
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I'd skip the powder-coating, too. And I'd lose the bottle cages, and re-do the bar tape in black. I think it would look killer that way, and the frame would look much more descrete.
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Old 11-28-16, 02:28 PM
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+1 on the "Don't Powdercoat;" that thing looks pretty sweet as-is!
+1 on the ugly bottle cages, standard steel or alloy cages in yellow would look much better, esp if it's a close match to your cable housing

Originally Posted by Kevindale
If/when you replace the tires on those rims, please PM me or post here what brand/model/size they are. Those look like the notoriously-hard-to-fit Ambrosios that are a little bit larger than most 700c rims.

I have a pair of them I picked up in a big box o' parts purchase and have tried a half dozen 700c tires on them, none of them would go on, no way, no how. I did get a smallish pair of 27" tires to mount and inflate to 90psi, but it was such a loose fit, I didn't want to risk riding them.
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Old 11-28-16, 02:44 PM
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Powder coating it would drop the value about 98%. It would be like painting over a Picasso.
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Old 11-28-16, 06:03 PM
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Haha, I figured the board would veto the powdercoating idea. OK, that idea is dead. Not that I'm worried about resale value -- these aren't that collectible, I think, but I do have respect for a quality piece of machinery. I agree it would look very refined (and masculine) with black bar tape. OTOH, here's a weak photoshop version with orange instead of yellow (yes, I have a thing for orange):
PanasonicDX5000blnd

Originally Posted by jonwvara
That was pretty common in those days, I think. Light weight was a major selling point, so a lot of tire manufacturers used to pretend their tires were wider than they really were. That way, a "25" that was really only 22mm wide would appear to be lighter than a competitor's 25 that really was a 25.
Ha, reminds me of the old mileage claims put out by auto manufacturers. One thing that strikes me on the vintage bike front is the weight of the saddles, and the deep side panels. I'm tempted to take an old Turbo or Mundialita that needs recovering and try cutting and inch or so off the sides, mostly because I think it's a great look (I love the way the Brooks Swallow looks, for example) but also to lighten the load. When the old school racers were drilling holes in everything, why didn't the play with lightening their saddles? Was it crucial for structural support?

Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman
If/when you replace the tires on those rims, please PM me or post here what brand/model/size they are. Those look like the notoriously-hard-to-fit Ambrosios that are a little bit larger than most 700c rims.
Here's a close up of the rim labels, from before any cleanup:

PanasonicEliteRim

Is that the info you're looking for? Now I'm curious to fit some new tires. I think I'll use the Schwalbes that I took off my Cannondale well before they were worn out, since I figure used tires should be a little pre-stretched and mount more easily.
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Old 11-28-16, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale
Here's a close up of the rim labels, from before any cleanup:
...
Is that the info you're looking for? Now I'm curious to fit some new tires. I think I'll use the Schwalbes that I took off my Cannondale well before they were worn out, since I figure used tires should be a little pre-stretched and mount more easily.
I just dug mine out and the label is slightly different; mine are marked Ambrosio 19 Extra Elite (Durex) and I see yours are marked SUPER Elite, have the World Champion sticker, which mine don't. Also they look like they are a couple mm wider, too; so probably a completely different animal. You may not have the oversize problem with those. I hope you don't.
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Old 03-28-17, 04:37 PM
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The Panasonic is back!



Can you spot all the changes?
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Old 03-28-17, 05:59 PM
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I'm glad the paint is still there! I loved my DX2000 from the moment I picked it up in an NYC basement thrift stop. Rode much more nicely than its spec. Digging what you've done with it; the black rims, SP and Tricolor RD are nice. Well done. The yaller caps in the handlebars are a trip.
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Old 03-28-17, 07:28 PM
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New post + stem look shiny. Glad to see a resurrected Panasonic thread, as I recently acquired an 83 Schwinn Voyageur (made in the Panasonic factory) and have been going down the rabbit-hole with Panasonic history.

Also thank god you didn't powdercoat--keep that paint job alive for as long as you can!
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Old 03-28-17, 11:14 PM
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Ugly bottle cages -- Gone! Do you like that new (Flite?) saddle better? It certainly looks racier.

I'm kinda 50/50 on the orange vs yellow bar tape and cable housing. I probably would have kept the yellow until it was uttterly filthy, and them moved on to the orange. Or bright green.
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● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1973 Nishiki Semi-Pro ● 1979 Motobecane Grand Jubile ●1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1988 Schwinn Voyageur ● 1989 Bottechia Team ADR replica ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Technium RT600 ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ●


Last edited by Lascauxcaveman; 03-28-17 at 11:21 PM.
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