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Sakae Ringyo (SR) when did they start?

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Sakae Ringyo (SR) when did they start?

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Old 09-26-17, 07:26 PM
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Don Buska
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Sakae Ringyo (SR) when did they start?

I've always liked the quality of the SR components and use them on many of my bikes. True they were never original in design and mostly just well done copies of other's (like Campagnolo). However, they sure covered the spectrum in cranks, handlebars and stems.

Part of the fun of working-on and riding these older vintage road bikes is researching the parts manufacturers. I've collected all the available on-line SR catalogs. However, there is very little on their history. I do know they were part of the JBM (Japan Bicycle (Parts) Manufacturers??) which started in 1969 I believe, but that does not mean they were part of the JBM in the beginning. Most parts that can be dated seem always to fall in the mid-70s through mid-80's. Still to go from nothing to making a full line of the aforementioned parts seems incredible. My 1974 JBM brochure has a very complete line of Sakae Ringyo components. Those on the forum with the "Japan connections" what history can we get on when and where did SR get their start. Even articles in Japanese would be a good start as those can be translated. It's not like anything they made was unique and there were already established and well know Japanese manufacturers for those items before I saw SR items being installed on bikes (at least those sold in the U.S.A.).

I've already done some extensive Google searching without much success or if there was a similar topic brought up before, the replies were guesses at best or just out right wrong based on documented data I've already seen.

So Forum Japanese authorities please educate me.

Don

BTW, I love their Aerox series cranks (all versions) from the early 1980's and currently have two bikes using them. Or anything in their FOURSIR series.
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Old 09-26-17, 07:58 PM
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Here's some 1960s Japanese bike catalogs- the lack of SR components is conspicuous.

The catalogs of Japanese vintage bicycle
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Old 09-26-17, 08:22 PM
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[QUOTE=The Golden Boy;19889582]Here's some 1960s Japanese bike catalogs- the lack of SR components is conspicuous.

Yep the cyclotourist website is an excellent source for the early Japanese catalogs and agreed I haven't found anything relating to SR as well. I worked for a Japanese company for 22 years, but at the time I wasn't into the vintage road bikes. Mainly ham radio back then so I'm well versed in the Akihabara electronics district It would have been interesting to have established some vintage bike connections too, but such is life.
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Old 09-27-17, 12:14 AM
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I have seen a catalog "Sakae Bicycle Parts, Catalog No. 19". It was printed Sept. 1983.

If the catalog numbers are yearly, then 1964 is catalog No. 1.

So possibly Sakae Ringyo started sometime in the first half of the 1960s.

I have checked some Japan's Bicycle Guides from the 1950s and no mention of or advertising from Sakae Ringyo.
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Old 09-27-17, 05:03 AM
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Sakae Ringyo Catalog 18 early to mid 1980's
Here is catalog 18.
I must admit I did not know they made this large of a variety of components.
My Trek has a SR stem and now that I know there were more than 1 or 2 models I'd like to pull it to see exactly which model it is.

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Old 09-27-17, 06:00 AM
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Isn't or Wasn't SR the parent company of Suntour?
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Old 09-27-17, 06:12 AM
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Sakae Ringyo goes back to at least 1963 and possibly much further. In the mid-1960s they were producing handlebars, stems and plastic fenders for bicycles and motorcycles. SR catalogs were not released on a yearly basis, as we have catalog #19 dated 9/83 and catalog #23 dated 8/88. Earlier catalogs were probably produced less frequently. It was common practice in the bicycle components industry to publish new catalogs only when introducing a new product.
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Old 09-27-17, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Isn't or Wasn't SR the parent company of Suntour?
A Japanese company called Mori bought Sakae Ringyo and Maeda (owners of the SunTour brand), eventually merging them to form SR Suntour sometime in the mid-1990s

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Old 09-27-17, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Sakae Ringyo goes back to at least 1963 and possibly much further. In the mid-1960s they were producing handlebars, stems and plastic fenders for bicycles and motorcycles. SR catalogs were not released on a yearly basis, as we have catalog #19 dated 9/83 and catalog #23 dated 8/88. Earlier catalogs were probably produced less frequently. It was common practice in the bicycle components industry to publish new catalogs only when introducing a new product.
Unfortunately for us here in the states prior to 1970 SR was probably not well know out of Japan. My guess is they may not have produced an English version catalogs or magazine ads prior to that either. Thus, it appears like they just dropped out of the sky with a full line-up of components here in the US. I hope one of our Japanese vintage bike enthusiasts will someday write a paper on the history of Sakae Ringyo before it's lost to history. Always comforting to know the whens, whys and whos.

BTW, I have a catalog labeled P-7 (Parts 7) that is dated Sep 1982 and another undated P-4 (probably late 70's by the components offered). Obviously a different series vs those labeled with just the number.

Here is a picture of a crank arm off a unit that was on eBay a year or two back. I had to keep the pictures as I've never seen an SR crank with the nice SR logo engraved on it. My guess is this might be an older one, but sadly the pictures don't show any form of date code that was readable. Since it's a cotterless crank though it probably isn't much before 1970 if that!

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Old 09-27-17, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Sakae Ringyo goes back to at least 1963 and possibly much further. In the mid-1960s they were producing handlebars, stems and plastic fenders for bicycles and motorcycles.
Not that I don't trust you T-Mar, as I do - since your most often my only source of empirical evidence on these matters, do you have source material for the 1963 or before date?

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Old 09-27-17, 03:59 PM
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The only pre-1970 evidence I have for Sakae Ringyo dates to 1963 and 1966. Here's the ad they were running at that time. Notice that there is no mention of cranksets. Sorry that it is not a scan but as you'll notice, the binding is already separating and I did not want to force it to lay flat on a scanner bed.

I probably had my first exposure to SR product in the very late 1960s but didn't realize it at the time. There were a lot of inexpensive Japanese manufactured brands around, many of which used JUN branded stems. I didn't realize until much latter that this was actually an SR product.

I do remember that I was not very impressed by my first (known) experiences with SR cranksets in the early 1970s. The early Sekine entry level models came through with the SR Silver crankarms that used an atypical 3 degree taper. To complicate matters, the frames had 70mm bottom bracket shells but used 68mm spindles, due to very thick cups. Then, slightly later, we started seeing some models with the Grand Silver, cottered, aluminum crankarms. Needless to say, I became quite fond of the Sugino Maxy, despite its swaged construction.
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Old 09-27-17, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
Unfortunately for us here in the states prior to 1970 SR was probably not well know out of Japan. My guess is they may not have produced an English version catalogs or magazine ads prior to that either. Thus, it appears like they just dropped out of the sky with a full line-up of components here in the US. I hope one of our Japanese vintage bike enthusiasts will someday write a paper on the history of Sakae Ringyo before it's lost to history. Always comforting to know the whens, whys and whos.

BTW, I have a catalog labeled P-7 (Parts 7) that is dated Sep 1982 and another undated P-4 (probably late 70's by the components offered). Obviously a different series vs those labeled with just the number.

Here is a picture of a crank arm off a unit that was on eBay a year or two back. I had to keep the pictures as I've never seen an SR crank with the nice SR logo engraved on it. My guess is this might be an older one, but sadly the pictures don't show any form of date code that was readable. Since it's a cotterless crank though it probably isn't much before 1970 if that!

I have that crankset. It came on an early 70's Austrian Ted William. The coat is not incised but melt forged. I think it looks dashing as well.

I grew up in Japan all during the 70's and rode SR products galore but never realized it. The scenery from the saddle was the real attention getter!
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Old 09-27-17, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The only pre-1970 evidence I have for Sakae Ringyo dates to 1963 and 1966. Here's the ad they were running at that time. Notice that there is no mention of cranksets. Sorry that it is not a scan but as you'll notice, the binding is already separating and I did not want to force it to lay flat on a scanner bed.

I probably had my first exposure to SR product in the very late 1960s but didn't realize it at the time. There were a lot of inexpensive Japanese manufactured brands around, many of which used JUN branded stems. I didn't realize until much latter that this was actually an SR product.

I do remember that I was not very impressed by my first (known) experiences with SR cranksets in the early 1970s. The early Sekine entry level models came through with the SR Silver crankarms that used an atypical 3 degree taper. To complicate matters, the frames had 70mm bottom bracket shells but used 68mm spindles, due to very thick cups. Then, slightly later, we started seeing some models with the Grand Silver, cottered, aluminum crankarms. Needless to say, I became quite fond of the Sugino Maxy, despite its swaged construction.
Thanks for the 'almost' scan T-Mar. Still provides valuable information. I noticed the page number is 266. Is that some form of Trade Publication? Seems way to big for a bicycling magazine.

I don't have much experience with the pre-1970 bikes and what cursory reading I've done it sure does appear that the evolution of the drop-down handlebar road bike made a major advance during the 1965 to 1975 time period. At least for the consumer grade models. Especially the transition from mainly steel to aluminum components. Agreed the Sugino really did come through with that early 3-bolt cotterless aluminum crank. Road steel cranks disappeared fast after that point.

Thanks - Don
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Old 09-27-17, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
I have that crankset. It came on an early 70's Austrian Ted William. The coat is not incised but melt forged. I think it looks dashing as well.

I grew up in Japan all during the 70's and rode SR products galore but never realized it. The scenery from the saddle was the real attention getter!

Thanks for the help with the crank date. I'll add that to the picture fold name on my computer for future reference.
It is pretty indeed.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:42 AM
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That timeline is a little off. Maeda Kogyo and Sakae Ringyo merged to form SR Suntour '89-'90. Mori acquired SR Suntour not long after, maybe '91-'92, then closed the whole operation down within a couple of years.

Mori's main business was manufacturing inexpensive aluminum poles to hang drying laundry, used by most Japanese households at the time. Still pretty common today, BTW---not a lot of clothes dryers in Japan. What kind of synergy they saw buying a floundering bicycle component manufacturer is beyond me.

SR was Tokyo-based, and had long been a Shimano subcontractor. Suntour's crankset supplier was Sugino, Osaka-based. Shimano increasingly brought crankset production in-house, leaving SR to flounder and seek other partners. SR didn't seem to offer any components Suntour couldn't get from Sugino, so the SR/Suntour courtship never made much sense from a production/marketing standpoint. But Suntour at the time had lost almost all of its US market share and was heading towards bankruptcy. SR had some operating capital and promises of a new synergy that would somehow reclaim market share from Shimano.

That didn't happen.

I don't know anything about SR's earlier history, but it's likely similar to most Japanese parts makers---very little presence outside the home market until the '70s US bike boom, then increasing exports and market share as the Japanese component brands dominated the US market heading into the '80s.

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
A Japanese company called Mori bought Sakae Ringyo and Maeda (owners of the SunTour brand), eventually merging them to form SR Suntour sometime in the mid-1990s
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Old 09-28-17, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
That timeline is a little off. Maeda Kogyo and Sakae Ringyo merged to form SR Suntour '89-'90. Mori acquired SR Suntour not long after, maybe '91-'92, then closed the whole operation down within a couple of years.

Mori's main business was manufacturing inexpensive aluminum poles to hang drying laundry, used by most Japanese households at the time. Still pretty common today, BTW---not a lot of clothes dryers in Japan. What kind of synergy they saw buying a floundering bicycle component manufacturer is beyond me.

SR was Tokyo-based, and had long been a Shimano subcontractor. Suntour's crankset supplier was Sugino, Osaka-based. Shimano increasingly brought crankset production in-house, leaving SR to flounder and seek other partners. SR didn't seem to offer any components Suntour couldn't get from Sugino, so the SR/Suntour courtship never made much sense from a production/marketing standpoint. But Suntour at the time had lost almost all of its US market share and was heading towards bankruptcy. SR had some operating capital and promises of a new synergy that would somehow reclaim market share from Shimano.

That didn't happen.

I don't know anything about SR's earlier history, but it's likely similar to most Japanese parts makers---very little presence outside the home market until the '70s US bike boom, then increasing exports and market share as the Japanese component brands dominated the US market heading into the '80s.
Thanks for the additional insights Paul. BTW, enjoyed your interview on the "The Outspoken Cyclist" from last year. Yeah I knew most of the later SR story here and was just wondering if anyone in Japan ever wrote any historical articles on SR's beginnings.

FWIW about washing clothes in Japan. Often the wash machines only have a cold water source so everything gets washed in cold water. At least that was how they were set up when I spent a month there in 1984 at a company dorm.

Thanks again Paul for the additional info.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:12 PM
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Thanks, Don. I had my 15 minutes of fame. I did a Suntour presentation at the Philly show a few weeks before, and had the honor of putting John Schubert, John Allen and Larry Black to sleep. I think this links to my interview:
https://outspokencyclist.com/tag/paul-brodek/

Kobayashi and some of the other former SR managers bought the rights to SR Suntour after Mori bailed, and continued in business primarily producing entry-level suspension forks.

Back in the '80s-'90s lots of Japanese houses/apartments only had cold water supply, with small, individual water heaters for the kitchen and bath. Usually no water heater for the clothes washer, and no clothes dryer. That's changing with new construction, but I was in Kobe/Osaka for a week in August, and there were still lots of laundry poles used to hang drying clothes. I'm not sure if Mori is still in that business, but I'd guess they'd have a hard time being competitive with Chinese laundry poles.

Back in the day I lived in an older house in Kyoto with a _heated_ stainless steel bathtub. You filled the tub with cold water, then heated the tub---took about 20min to get reasonably hot. A couple of times I got busy working on a bike (back on topic?), forgot about the tub, and found the water just starting to boil. You weren't supposed to heat the water while you were in the tub, but especially in the winter the water would cool down pretty quick, and it was fun to cook myself just a little.


Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
Thanks for the additional insights Paul. BTW, enjoyed your interview on the "The Outspoken Cyclist" from last year. Yeah I knew most of the later SR story here and was just wondering if anyone in Japan ever wrote any historical articles on SR's beginnings.

FWIW about washing clothes in Japan. Often the wash machines only have a cold water source so everything gets washed in cold water. At least that was how they were set up when I spent a month there in 1984 at a company dorm.

Thanks again Paul for the additional info.
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Old 09-28-17, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post

Back in the '80s-'90s lots of Japanese houses/apartments only had cold water supply, with small, individual water heaters for the kitchen and bath. Usually no water heater for the clothes washer, and no clothes dryer. That's changing with new construction, but I was in Kobe/Osaka for a week in August, and there were still lots of laundry poles used to hang drying clothes. I'm not sure if Mori is still in that business, but I'd guess they'd have a hard time being competitive with Chinese laundry poles.

Back in the day I lived in an older house in Kyoto with a _heated_ stainless steel bathtub. You filled the tub with cold water, then heated the tub---took about 20min to get reasonably hot. A couple of times I got busy working on a bike (back on topic?), forgot about the tub, and found the water just starting to boil. You weren't supposed to heat the water while you were in the tub, but especially in the winter the water would cool down pretty quick, and it was fun to cook myself just a little.
LOL on this side Paul. I'd suggest we not get into the finding of the bathroom toilet stall labeled "Western" Even that is changing with newer homes and businesses though.
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Old 09-29-17, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
That timeline is a little off....
I've read various accounts on the formation of SR SunTour and there is much discrepancy. While there may have been a company or legal entity with that name prior to the mid-1990s, I don't recall seeing any products with SR SunTour branding until that time. Certainly, all my early 1990s SunTour catalogues only have SunTour branded components and the company is still credited as Maeda (though at least one mentions SR as the USA distributor). While I don't have any SR catalogues from this era, my mail order literature from the same period only shows SR branded components, which are limited handlebars/stems and suspension forks. I can't find any evidence of SR SunTour branded product, until the mid-1990s and apparently after Maeda went out of business.
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Old 09-29-17, 11:52 AM
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There was a lot going on at the time, I was part of the maelstrom, and it was a long time ago. And since they all wound up pretty much just a footnote, there's not a lot of documentation around. Maeda was losing spec day by day, desperate for operating capital, hoping the SR merger and some product improvements would somehow make them competitive again. I had too much going on to pay attention to the details, all I can tell you is what I observed.

I left Maeda in the summer of 1990. They were already in the process of combining operations with SR. They had just closed Suntour USA, giving control of the US market to SR USA. Since they had burned my bridge back home, and I saw pretty clearly that they wouldn't survive, I figured it was a good time to look elsewhere.

Since I was on my way out, I hadn't done any work on the '91 product introduction marketing materials, but I had seen some initial workups. The presentation sheets were labeled SR Suntour, but the products were still individually labeled either SR or Suntour. There were still individual offices in Sakai and Tokyo, but SR staff would come to Sakai for product presentations.

So when I left they were already in the process of combining operations, and offering complete product groups combining their products. SR cranks had replaced all, or at least most, of the Sugino cranks. I remember thinking it didn't much matter, since almost nobody would risk spec'ing a Suntour bike any more. Product mgrs would spec a single Suntour bike just to keep Shimano from having 100% spec in their line, but they wouldn't order more than a handful.

Now that I think about it, I don't how the merger was structured, or how the timeline worked. My apologies if I was off with my "timeline differed" comment. It may have started as a formal understanding of increased cooperation. By the time Maeda was closing Suntour USA it was pretty clear they were heading for a full merger. I don't know when that actually happened, likely after I left. Most of the guys I worked with were already bailing, since it was pretty clear the merger wouldn't bring back any spec.

I vaguely recall that the Mori rescue came not much later, as well as the final dissolution. It was mostly a sidebar by that point, as I was really busy getting Trek's operation up and running, and there was no way I was going to carry a bike with SR Suntour spec. It was the kiss of death.

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I've read various accounts on the formation of SR SunTour and there is much discrepancy. While there may have been a company or legal entity with that name prior to the mid-1990s, I don't recall seeing any products with SR SunTour branding until that time. Certainly, all my early 1990s SunTour catalogues only have SunTour branded components and the company is still credited as Maeda (though at least one mentions SR as the USA distributor). While I don't have any SR catalogues from this era, my mail order literature from the same period only shows SR branded components, which are limited handlebars/stems and suspension forks. I can't find any evidence of SR SunTour branded product, until the mid-1990s and apparently after Maeda went out of business.
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Old 12-20-17, 09:35 PM
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Origins of Sakae Ringyo (SR)

OK!

Here is my update —

So, I have been going through the last hour of fact-checking prior to press on the book. The publisher is already perturbed with my drill-down perfectionism, and as far as I know — they'll still be so many things to correct in a hopeful second edition —

You've quoted me with this post, but if anyone searches online, I'd like the very best information to be out there, or at least in here!

So, there are — as many of you noted — a couple of paths back on Sakae Ringyo –

But I think I've nailed it here, quote —

"Sakae Ringyo Co., Ltd. — Head Office: Adachi-ku Tokyo; President: Shiro Kobayashi: Company President Shiro Kobayashi personally founded Sakae in January, 1947."

Source: Japan BicyclePress, Monday, September 1, 1980, page 11, Column 3

Thanks eveyone,

In Kindness,

William

(going forward in time everyone knows the tale of the JBM group, Mori Industries, and SR Suntour I hope…)

Last edited by classicjapanese; 01-13-18 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Correction of information with citation
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Old 12-21-17, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by classicjapanese View Post
OK!

........"Sakae Industrial Co.,Ltd." (under the brandname of CRANE.........
OK, now we have another mystery - any connection at all to the Shimano CRANE offerings (or is it just because it'a loved bird in Japan or something?)
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Old 12-21-17, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
OK, now we have another mystery - any connection at all to the Shimano CRANE offerings (or is it just because it'a loved bird in Japan or something?)
No, just sheer coincidence — it's that nick-name or nick-number penchant. The idea of symbol or object was supplanted by the three letter codes, the worst choice in that realm was the selection of KUMAZAWA IRON WORKS, unlike Shimano's 888, or Suntour's 333, or Kokuto's KKT, Kumazawa used KKK. Obviously, not for long.
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Old 12-29-17, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by classicjapanese View Post
OK!

Here you go —

The origins of "Sakae Ringyo" (SR) go back through —

"Sakae Ringyo Kaisha" thence back to —

"Sakae Industrial Co.,Ltd." (under the brandname of CRANE and the three-letter-moniker of "SHB", thence more back still when they were —

"Sakae Handle Brake Mfg. Co., Ltd.", founded (+/- a year of…)

(drumroll please!)

1932

I'll stick by these facts until I find someone who's much bigger and stronger than I and wants to pick a fight —

Kindly, WB

(going forward in time everyone knows the tale of the JBM group, Mori Industries, and SR Suntour I hope…)
I have found a 1956 advertisment for Sakai Handle Brake Mfg. Co. Ltd. of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
Sakai, not Sakae. It has the SHB Trademark. The ad says the company has "25 years experience".
So this dates the company's beginning to 1931, which falls within your estimate.

Sakae Ringyo and Sakae Ringyo Kaisha had their headquarters in Adachi-ku, Tokyo and their factories in Ibaraki Prefecture.

I don't think that I am "much bigger and stronger" than you and I don't want "to pick a fight", but I am curious to know how a brake manufacturer from Sakai, Osaka Prefecture transitions to a manufacturer of cranksets, stems and plastic mudgaurds in Tokyo?

Sakae Ringyo also has a different trademark, a five pointed 'star' or 'flower' with an 'S' in the center.
@Don Buska , you asked where @T-Mar got his Sakae ad from; probably a 1960s volume of Japan's Bicycle Guide.
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Old 12-30-17, 09:41 AM
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Hummer and ClassicJapanese thank you both for the informative information and the others too for your inputs Hummer, I too had questions relating to that company timeline that ClassicJapanese introduced. As I see there is a company listed as 'Sakae Industrial Co.,Ltd.' still operational in Japan today that has a history line going back to 1947 with no relation to the manufacturing of anything slightly bike related.

I guess a first step would be to determine the origin of the names Sakae and Ringyo in the title. Are they derived from family names or locations or neither. I know the Kaisha portion of the name from the ad that Tmar presented simply means 'company' in english. Therefore it was essentially the Sakae Ringyo Company in the 60's. The next step is what is the constant that carries this Sakae name through the list of companies in ClassicJapanese's list? Was there a common owner with a lineage to the Sakae family?

Hummer you indeed seem to have found that the SHB company (Sakai Handle Brake Mfg. Co. Ltd.) is named for the area of location rather than a family related name. And ClassicJapanese does present that SHB did manufacture the right product to be a candidate which could have migrated into Sakae Ringyo, but without a source document telling of that name change it would be just conjecture.

Much of it comes down to the source of the 'Sakae Ringyo' naming. Hope some of our forum members in Japan can clear this up for us.


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