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Zebra bikes?

Old 06-23-05, 10:39 AM
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peripatetic
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Zebra bikes?



Anyone know anything about them? I have a 'comet' model, which from the looks of the pink brand on grey frame was probably marketed as a women's bike (though the top tube is level, not sloping.) It's actually pretty light for a steel frame, which is why I'm asking about it. I kind of like it, but a google search has yielded nada.

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Old 06-23-05, 09:02 PM
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References to Zebra start appearing in the cycling magazines around 1985, just about the time that Zebrakenko disappeared from the pages. I always wondered if it was just a case of simplifying the name? However, the distributors were different, so it just may be a co-incidence.

I haven't seen a Comet model, but from what I have seen, the line-up appears to have been geared towards entry level, with a few low, mid-range models. Seamed, butted tubing had been around on low, mid-range models for a couple of years, so this may be what your Comet uses and would explain a "pretty light" weight. Any tubing stickers/decals? What components?

There were quite a few pastel colored models around this time, courtesy of the Miami Vice influence. The most important thing, is that you like the bicycle.
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Old 06-24-05, 12:16 AM
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Thanks for the bit of info, T-Mar. The components are Suntour ARX, the brakes are Dia-Compe sidepulls. But the original brake levers and handlebars have obviously been swapped with some chintzy flat handlebars and some very generic Chinese brake levers (absolutely have to go.) And now that you mention it, I do get the Miami Vice thing. In the way of the labels, it says "Made in Japan," and there is an Ishiwata label on the fork. The seat tube is labeled "Chrome Molybdenum Double Butted tubes/Zebra Bicycle Co." The frame is lugged--obviously?

What's 'seamed, butted' tubing?

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Old 06-24-05, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic

What's 'seamed, butted' tubing?
First let me explain seamless tubing, which is made from solid bar stock. The stock is heated to 1700-1800F, then pierced and drawn over a pointed steel bar called a mandrel to make the hole. While the tube is still hot it is drawn through a series of circular dies to establish the wall thickness and outer diameter. The tube is then heat treated, cooled and cold drawn using dies and mandrels to its final dimensions.

Butting is simply the process of varying the finished wall thickness, using the mandrels and dies. Bicycle frames are more highly stressed at the ends, where the joints are. To have sufficient strength in the area of the joints, the tube has to be relatively thick. However, in the middle section, away from the ends, the tubes do not require as much strength and therefore can be made thinner, saving weight. Obviously, the extra drawing operations to butt the tubes add cost. Tubes are butted by varying the inside diameter.

In the early 1980s, tubing manufacturers were looking for ways to bring down the cost of lightweight bicycles. To keep the tubing light, it had to be butted. The solution was seamed tubing, which is basically a strip of flat steel that is rolled into a cylinder and then welded along it's length. The strip was butted in its flat state by drawing through rollers. By eliminating the various heating and drawing operations and the associated tooling dies and mandrels, seamless tubing in much less expensive.

Seamed tubing had been around a long time before the 1980s, but was used primarily in inexpensive bicycles, using thick, low strength steels, which resulted in heavy frames. In the 1980s, techonological developments permitted the welding of the thinner, stronger steels. The new, seamed, butted tubing was comparable to seamless, butted tubing in weight and strength, but was much cheaper. All the major tube manufacturers introduced seamed, butted tubing, that was almost equivalent to their premium, seamless, butted tubing.

Some people think that seamed tubing is inferior to seamless, by virtue of the welding. Theoretically, this is true, but in practice the welded seam is reportedly as strong as the tube joints created by brazing or welding.

I went back and looked at the 1985 Zebra specs and could not find any models that used both an ARx derailleur and butted, seamed tubing. ARx would indicate 1981 or later. Seamed, butted tubing came into prominence around 1983. I would guess that your model dates from 1983-1987. There should be a two letter date code on the back of the ARx which you can decypher using the info on the Vinatge-Trek website. Assuming it is original, components genrally are the a year earlier or the same year as the frame.
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Old 11-04-19, 03:43 PM
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I have a similar Comet I bought ~1993 used with similar gear
They are out there They are just "vintage"
A pleasant 2x6 speed 26 lb steel road bike
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Old 08-14-20, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post

Anyone know anything about them? I have a 'comet' model, which from the looks of the pink brand on grey frame was probably marketed as a women's bike (though the top tube is level, not sloping.) It's actually pretty light for a steel frame, which is why I'm asking about it. I kind of like it, but a google search has yielded nada.
Is it this bike?


Here is what's left of the script but it does not look like "Comet."
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Old 12-09-20, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by motiheal View Post
Here is what's left of the script but it does not look like "Comet."
The model name of the subject bicycle is Invincia.
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Old 12-10-20, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
The model name of the subject bicycle is Invincia.
Curious how you now this? I was told Excelsior by someone.
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Old 12-10-20, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by motiheal View Post
Curious how you now this? I was told Excelsior by someone.
Hello motiheal,

This is a fair question. There is a lot of misinformation that is put out as factual, when the "information" is at best a guess, or worse a complete fabrication.

I have a price list from the US distributor. I believe that the list has all the model names. There is no Excelsior model.

From the price list there are two possible models for your bicycle: Invincia or Ultima.

From the picture of the model name on your frame it appears to read "Invincia".

I hope this answers your question. You should pose the same question to the person who told you the model name was "Excelsior".

The price list that I have could be a fabrication.
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Old 01-05-21, 04:39 PM
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While preparing a Frames and Framebuilding post for tomorrow, I ran across this Zebra ad ("Ultima" model shown) in the Bicycling, Apr 1986 issue.
The 1986 Buyers' Guide published in January does not list any Zebra models.
I'll check the 1987 Buyers' Guide and will reply back if Zebra models are listed.

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Old 01-10-21, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
...This is a fair question. There is a lot of misinformation that is put out as factual, when the "information" is at best a guess, or worse a complete fabrication.

I have a price list from the US distributor. I believe that the list has all the model names. There is no Excelsior model....
The identification of a Excelsior model was made by myself based on the components and extant documentation. The components indicated a 1985-1986 model. A 1985 Bicycle Guide listing Zebra models for the USA market identifies the Cyclone equipped model as a Excelsior. So, there was a Excelsior model for the period in question.

The 1986 Japan's Bicycle Guide also includes a listing for Zebra's Cyclone equipped model as being the Excelsior (ZR-1). So, if the 1986 USA market version was the Invincia, then it was a change introduced after the debut of the 1986 models and/or a change unique to the USA market for the 1986 model year.

The relevant point is not to dispute it being an Invincia but that the Excelsior was a legitimate Cyclone equipped Zebra model during the years in question and that the identification was based on extant documentation and was not a "guess" or "complete fabrication".


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