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Vintage Japanese bikes to collect

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Vintage Japanese bikes to collect

Old 03-02-19, 11:18 AM
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capnjonny 
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Vintage Japanese bikes to collect

Vintage Italian bikes have gotten too expensive for a bloke like me to afford.

Japanese bikes are still reasonable in price

I am wondering which Japanese built bikes will become collectors items.

Should I start buying up some of these and stashing them away for my grandsons inheritance?

which Japanese built bikes are most likely to increase in value over the years?
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Old 03-02-19, 11:31 AM
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Generally speaking, most Japanese bikes were mass produced in big numbers, so most will not likely ever become truly collectible or valuable. There are just to many out there as well.

I'm sure there are a couple of brands that might be considered collectable, like 3Renshow, who I believed built there bikes more in the Italian tradition of hand-built, but you pay the same premium for them as you do for Italian bikes.
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Old 03-02-19, 11:34 AM
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3Rensho, Zunow, Yamaguchi, Nagasawa, Cherubim, Ebisu, Hirose and many others
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Old 03-02-19, 11:48 AM
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Ones like this will be coveted.
Not mine, the blue and gold are iconic.


Here is the one I bought last year, I've been a member of the cult ever since. I just put new built wheels, mavic hubs on Campy strada rims, very fast, bad ass.
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Old 03-02-19, 11:57 AM
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All the bikes that Vonruden said for sure . Also what Giacomo 1 said , you will pay a premium for those . How about just some fun equity . IMO the Centurion Ironman is a good deal , you usually can pick up a decent one for 200-300 . These were designed for racing . A few Co.'s built pretty much the same bike as the IM . Here are some of mine .

86' Ironman (chrome fork is my idea)



IMG_0191 by mark westi, on Flickr

This is a 84' Centurion Comp TA , IM's dad .


IMG_0192 by mark westi, on Flickr
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Old 03-02-19, 12:18 PM
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What about a fuji finest? And the centurion turbo and nishiki tri a are very nice frames. But yes, the number made counts against them as collector's items. Katakura silk?
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Old 03-02-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff View Post
What about a fuji finest? And the centurion turbo and nishiki tri a are very nice frames. But yes, the number made counts against them as collector's items. Katakura silk?
I owned a Nishiki Ultimate for a while. Great looking bike, full Campy. Too small to ride. Sold it for $350, I believe. Wish I still had it.
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Old 03-02-19, 01:48 PM
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Among more-mainstream brands, my '79 Fuji Professional comes to mind, very much a true race bike with aggressive geometry, tubulars and full Superbe 7s friction gruppo.

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Old 03-02-19, 01:57 PM
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Others from Japan that I am hanging on to include a Konno Allez, a 1977 Centurion Semi-Pro, a nicer Zunow and a 1981 Bianchi Super.
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Old 03-02-19, 03:13 PM
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What others above have said- all good info.
Two pieces of advice if you are really collecting
1) Concentrate on the lowest production/highest initial cost representative models. For example, if looking at a Zunow, find a Z-1 Hummingbird with Pentalia stays. Few were made, fewer remain.
This even works for production models. If you're looking at Japanese produced Schwinns, check out the Prologue: a one (or possibly two) year model, sold as frame only, Prestige tubing. Again, few made, fewer remain.

2) Buy only examples that are pretty-much-perfect. You'll pay more, but if you're really talking about putting these away for 10-20 years in climate controlled storage, it will pay off. At least as much as any 'investment' grade bicycle ever will.

Finally, be prepared to pay today. Dive into this and you'll find that high quality Japanese collector-level bikes are about the same price as Italian.
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Old 03-02-19, 06:14 PM
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I've noticed Miyatas are becoming more expensive and desirable,but mostly the higher end stuff. Nishikis as well.

in Canada, Apollo by Kuwahara bikes sort of jumped in price.
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Old 03-02-19, 07:11 PM
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I think the chrome lugged, high end Centurions from the late 70's -about 1980 will always be sought after. An excellent condition pearl orange Semi Pro would be one that I'd hang onto.
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Old 03-02-19, 07:23 PM
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Will any of the bikes we love ever go up in value? Seems like we're at the peak or just after the peak for 60s-80s classic road bikes, Italian, Japanese, or otherwise.
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Old 03-02-19, 07:44 PM
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Definetly consider the premium Panasonic's (PICS build) and pray to find a 1989 to maybe 92 team.

Don't let the name throw you. Its one of those sort of generic like brand name that most think it's a bike that was sold at Kmart.

Seek high-end framesets. Many bikes have been cannibilized but with enough resources today, plenty of parts are out there.
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Old 03-02-19, 08:11 PM
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I recently bought this 100 percent Japanese Domestic Model 1982 NOS Miyata Professional frame directly from Japan. It's never been built. Chrome underneath paint. I hope it goes up in value over the years. Very possible one of a kind in USA. Paint color and Decals or lack of are different that the Domestic Models.
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Old 03-02-19, 08:30 PM
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Wow! Great examples. The blue aero Miyatas, Pro, Team etc...seem to be getting really great prices. Konno Allez bikes (they are out there. I grabbed one but after the poor girl telling me 5 times it was a 56, and driving about 80 miles, it was a 58). Any "aero" bikes. A Panasonic aero came up on ebay and went for a crazy price. I guess it's the "small number" editions. FUJI OPUS, any TANGE 1 bikes...I've seen a few 80's Japanese bikes from the big names that I would bet anything were outsourced to small Japanese master builder shops. They were just too good. I'd say watch for clues like Tange 1, Pro, Team, etc.. and don't buy the near misses if you hope they'll appreciate. A DX 4000 is not going to be coveted when there is a DX 5000 out there, or even a DX 6000!
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Old 03-02-19, 09:25 PM
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If you are looking to maximize your grandsons inheritance do not invest in the collectibles market.
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Old 03-02-19, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Igor P View Post
If you are looking to maximize your grandsons inheritance do not invest in the collectibles market.
^ This +1!
And always remember : "Buy low, sell high".
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Old 03-02-19, 10:05 PM
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Once us baby boomers age another ten or fifteen years the vintage market will be much different. People will be giving away all those Colnagos
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Old 03-02-19, 10:53 PM
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One of these.

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Old 03-02-19, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
Should I start buying up some of these and stashing them away for my grandsons inheritance?
How 'bout a Miyata mountain bike in black along with a shotgun. Think what will be most valued during the coming zombie apocalypse.
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Old 03-03-19, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
Generally speaking, most Japanese bikes were mass produced in big numbers [...].
I imagine that this is true of Italian bikes as well.

There have been plenty of Japanese brands of non-mass-produced bikes: as well as those already mentioned, there've been Alps, Zephyr, Level, S W Watanabe, Makino, Kalavinka, Iribe, Quark, Pegasus, Peloton, Ohtaki, Iso, Baramon, Reminton, Raizin, Yanagi, Silk (post Katakura), Nagasawa, Amanda, Amuna ... and those are just off the top of my head. Several were/are one-man operations. There've been many more small companies besides.

I too would never dream of buying any bike as an investment.
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Old 03-03-19, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Igor P View Post
If you are looking to maximize your grandsons inheritance do not invest in the collectibles market.
I agree. Imagine your grandchildren talking after the funeral, "...bless his heart, Granddad loved these old bikes and things. What are we going to do with them? Maybe we should just gather then together and sell them off as a lot, using my "don'tneedit" app. [shutter clicks] There. Listed.."
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Old 03-03-19, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
I imagine that this is true of Italian bikes as well.

There have been plenty of Japanese brands of non-mass-produced bikes: as well as those already mentioned, there've been Alps, Zephyr, Level, S W Watanabe, Makino, Kalavinka, Iribe, Quark, Pegasus, Peloton, Ohtaki, Iso, Baramon, Reminton, Raizin, Yanagi, Silk (post Katakura), Nagasawa, Amanda, Amuna ... and those are just off the top of my head. Several were/are one-man operations. There've been many more small companies besides.
Yes, for sure you are correct, but those Japanese one-man shops and the bikes they built I think are rarities in the general bike world, and if you find one, you'll pay a high premium for it. The OP mentioned that he couldn't afford the Italian bikes and was looking for a cheaper alternative, so I don't think he will spend the money for these one - off Japanese bikes either.

I have no idea what kind of bikes the companies that you mentioned built, but I do know the Italian bikes were proven race winning designs, so for me, I would opt for the Italian, but that's just me!
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Old 03-03-19, 08:35 AM
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Beat me to it

Originally Posted by Igor P View Post
If you are looking to maximize your grandsons inheritance do not invest in the collectibles market.
Not being a negative Nancy here but this is a terrible longterm strategy. Fun maybe, but foolish. You have as much chance of the bike's value increasing as you have your grandson selling them for scrap because he just wants rid of them. Your passion does not equal his. I doubt you'd even keep up with inflation. Your aim is very generous and I applaud you for wanting to help your family but there are much safer ways.
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