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Bridgestone Kabuki Superlight

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Bridgestone Kabuki Superlight

Old 12-02-17, 11:50 PM
  #1  
chad0517
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Bridgestone Kabuki Superlight

Sorry very new to riding and collecting. I needed to know for sure about this bike. I think is a conners bridgestone kabuki . Any help appreciate it.
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Old 12-02-17, 11:54 PM
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FBinNY
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The name is a bit of an oxymoron.

These were generic lower mid level bikes of the 70s.

You'll note the very basic single piece head/lugs embossed to offer the look of the head tube and 2 lugs of better bikes.

Last edited by FBinNY; 12-03-17 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 12-03-17, 12:58 AM
  #3  
BritishV8
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I've enjoyed my own Bridgestone Kabuki since I purchased it new in 1979. (Mine is a "Sky Way".)

IMHO, FBinNY's description is only half correct. These weren't high-end bicycles, but they certainly weren't "generic".

Bridgestone's "Technart" manufacturing process was both unique and clever. You can read a bit more about Technart in the 2nd post within this thread: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...peed-12-a.html
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Old 12-03-17, 07:44 AM
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I can''t claim continuous ownership, but I bought my first Kabuki, used, from a dealer in 1976. I put a lot of miles on it, even after I got my driver's license. I sold it a few years later when I bought a new bike. About 10 years ago, I found another Kabuki at a local junk shop, so I bought it to rekindle the old memories. It is a Super Speed, from about 1975.

From what I have learned over the years, the different Kabuki models used different tubing, but all had the same cast aluminum "lug" construction. The Submariner used stainless tubing, the Super Light used aluminum, and the Super Speed used high-tensile steel. I'm sure better components were used in the higher priced bikes too. While Kabuki bikes are not high performance racing bikes to be drooled over, they are not horrible either. With some maintenance, your bike can be made into a decent, albeit heavy, rider. Also, most people agree the Kabuki headbadge is among the best ever made.

Last edited by Pompiere; 12-04-17 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Fixed text, thanks T-mar.
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Old 12-03-17, 09:00 AM
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I bought one of those in a group of bikes from a local DKO flipper. Frame was the heaviest road bike I have come across in the last ten years, rivaling an old Schwinn Varsity. But it did have some decent parts like a Suntour V RD. Used the strange quill seatpost.

Sold the seatpost and a couple other parts. The rest of the parts went in the bin. Bike as acquired was incomplete.

I would not call it collectible. Collectors right now want the high end stuff. I would call the bike bottom end with some mid level parts.
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Old 12-03-17, 09:21 AM
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Kabuki was a full range brand. They offered everything from 3 speed city bicycles up to professional grade racing bicycles, and even children's bicycles.

The lugs are an aluminum alloy that was die cast around flared and plugged tubes. This allowed Bridgestone to use tubes of dissimilar materials and materials that were difficult to join. It also eliminated the need for costly, skilled brazers. However, to provide adequate support for the tubes and keep tooling costs reasonable, the lugs were relatively long and square ended. The faux, spear point design was for aesthetics only. One problem with the die cast lugs lugs was brittleness and the ears for the seat post cinch bolt often fractured. Consequently, later versions used the ears only for mounting the brake cable stop hanger. This version used a seat post with an internal expansion bolt, like a quill handlebar stem. Higher models used traditional steel lugs with brazed construction.

The Superlight was not CrMo but used aluminum tubing with a steel fork. While it isn't very light, light is a relative term. It was a couple of pounds ligher than the comparably spec'd Submariner with it's stainless steel main tubes. It was the lightest of all the models with the die cast, aluminum lugs.

The Superlight has several entry level features like stem mounted shift levers and a claw mounted rear derailleur. Weight was also in the upper, entry level range. However, for its era, it also has some mid-range features like aluminum rims and quick release hubs (often only on the front). It was positioned and priced like a mid-range model, probably due to the novel aluminum tubes. Circa 1975, it was 5th in Kabuki's line of 8 adult ten speeds and had an MSRP of $180 US. The exact year of the bicycle can be determined from the serial number.

Last edited by T-Mar; 12-03-17 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 12-03-17, 11:27 PM
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Another interesting tidbit: Bridgestone was a innovator and pioneer in the area of disc brakes!

I read a 1974 Bicycling magazine article which rated Bridgestone's (rear-only) disc brakes pretty highly. It explained that the design was patented by Bridgestone, though Shimano was hired to manufacture them.

I can't fill in the evolution of discs after that, but a quick Google search brought me to a May 2004 article by Sheldon Brown in Adventure Cyclist. He concluded the article thusly: "I suspect that discs are the wave of the future and that fifteen years from now it will be hard to believe that people used to tour without them. Nevertheless, disc brakes for touring cannot really be considered a mature technology, and the disadvantages of them pretty much cancel out the advantages." (Are we there yet? The trip started with Bridgestone's vision.)

I expect the OP's Superlight was built with Dia Compe centerpull brakes both front and rear.
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Old 04-25-20, 11:18 AM
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halb

T-mar,
I have a Kabuki Superlight, and wondered how it was constructed.
Your entry was enlightening. I had seen other, mostly improbable, explanations.
Your entry fits. Could I ask how you know? I looked at Bridgestone/Kabuki brochures, but they didn't really describe.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by halb View Post
T-mar,
I have a Kabuki Superlight, and wondered how it was constructed.
Your entry was enlightening. I had seen other, mostly improbable, explanations.
Your entry fits. Could I ask how you know? I looked at Bridgestone/Kabuki brochures, but they didn't really describe.
The construction method was very novel during the early 1970s bicycle boom when I was working in an LBS. We had to keep up on the competition and It was covered in cyclingl magazines of the era. C. Itoh, the Japanese trading company that owned Kabuki, had a sectioned BB shell that could be used to illustrate the construction. It clearly shows the plug and flare in the ends of the tubes.

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Old 04-26-20, 10:49 AM
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Interesting thread; worth reviving
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Old 04-26-20, 04:18 PM
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once BITD a Kabuki came in the shop for frame repair. a seatstay had popped free of the seat lug.
a simple job for a steel frame. I fired up the brazing rig and imagine my horror when the tip of the
seatstay started melting. I remember thinking how could an al-alloy frame bike weigh 32-34 pounds!
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