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dddd 01-11-19 12:39 PM

Another really obscure Japanese brand.
Found this old ten-speed at Goodwill for a very fair $20 (since the Bontrager tires were fresh and both UKAI steel wheels were in very good condition).

I at first thought that I was seeing a SEARS logo on the headtube, but a closer look revealed the SANKI moniker.

And the frame and fork decals all say "SANKI BEAT".

Mystery is who made it, for whom? Serial says N526 on the seat lug.

How's that for a 1972 (Suntour date code OI) bike-boom contender?

Other than the Suntour drivetrain, the componentry is notably generic. No branding at all on the Altenberger-look hubs, the centerpull brakeset or on the crankset.
Comfortable(!) quilted-top saddle on a 25.8mm chromed steel seatpost, and the gearing is very wide-ranging with huge gaps.

All-up weight is 30.5lbs and the frame geometry is carbon-copy of a 22" Schwinn Varsity but for the frame size being only 55cm. That's right, 70x70 degrees and 56cm or 22" top tube. I actually guessed that it was another Varsinental clone the very first time that I rode it at night (with the dog in tow). It handles trail riding with exceptional stability, I can hold the leash with one hand off the bars, with the dog pulling, while navigating modestly rough and muddy singletrack (good thing it has safety levers)!

The fit is small so I will be passing it along, but it seems to be a great bike with flat pedals for riding to the store or walking the dog.

T-Mar 01-11-19 04:10 PM

About a handful or so Sanki bicycles have surfaced on the forums. There have also been some Jupiter Beat and University branded bicycles which had decals indicating Sanki ties and implying Sanki was a manufacturer. Still, we've seen multiple serial number formats and the subject bicycle has a format typical of Centurion of the era, which were reportedly manufactured by Tano, though they're typically seen on the lower end of the seat tube.

madpogue 01-11-19 04:14 PM

I see branding on the front brake, but it's out of focus, and hard to read sideways.

dddd 01-11-19 04:50 PM

Originally Posted by madpogue (Post 20743427)
I see branding on the front brake, but it's out of focus, and hard to read sideways.

Yeah, it's just a 4-digit number and a JIS symbol that turns up on lots of Japanese parts from the 70's, much like on Dia Compe brakes for that matter.

juvela 01-15-19 01:45 PM


Colour, lugs, Nikko-Sankyo bulge-formed head & transfer format are similar to those of a base model Mizutani.

Do not wish to assert an ID.


dddd 01-15-19 03:08 PM

Thanks for that, I agree the vintage seems about the same also.

Thanks T-Mar for the earlier clues.

I'm assuming bikes like this were most commonly sold at department stores at that time (1972), perhaps alongside the Iversons that were even more similar to a Varsity in their basic specification.

ramzilla 01-15-19 05:21 PM

Welcome to the cool world of mysterious 70's era Japanese bikes. You did good on that bike for $20. I would take that bike and ditch the drop bars. Put on some proper upright North Road handlebars with an upright stem and, new brake levers & thumb shifters. Put a nice rack on the back, Then, you got a bike that will last a lifetime. Japanese bikes are proof that we should never confuse price with value.

Chombi1 01-15-19 05:49 PM

The Spirograph head badge is so period correct!:thumb:

thinktubes 01-15-19 06:40 PM

Stump puller

Fahrenheit531 01-15-19 06:59 PM

Originally Posted by Chombi1 (Post 20749797)
The Spirograph head badge is so period correct!:thumb:

+1 hahahaha

ramzilla 01-15-19 07:18 PM

I really like the chrome steel spoke protector & the chrome chain ring guard. Those things started to disappear in the early 80's. (As well as chrome steel cottered cranks). Definitely a 70's bike. That thing will clean up real nice. A lovely vintage bike. I'm wondering if this is Japanese or an early example of a made in Taiwan item.

2manybikes 01-15-19 07:43 PM

Originally Posted by Chombi1 (Post 20749797)
The Spirograph head badge is so period correct!:thumb:

Just like My Rex head badge except the words.

juvela 01-19-19 03:46 PM


One kitting note on which @T-Mar may wish to comment -

"Usually" when a machine receives a Maeda gear ensemble it is not paired with a Takagi/Three Arrows chainset.

Takagi was acquired by Shimano at some point and typically if a road bicycle has a Takagi chainset it will exhibit Shimano kitting elsewhere in the build.

One possibility is that the subject machine was constructed prior to Shimano's purchase of Takagi. Have never known an exact year for the acquisition.


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