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1983/84 Apollo Kuwahara Cascade project

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1983/84 Apollo Kuwahara Cascade project

Old 10-27-20, 08:09 PM
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VintageRide
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1983/84 Apollo Kuwahara Cascade project

Added a couple of images to the " Shows Us Your MTB " but thought perhaps I would try and do a rebuild / restore thread for those who own or just appreciate the vintage models. I had to do some searching before coming to the conclusion that this is most likely a Cascade. I had a top of the line 1985 Sierra Grand a couple of years ago but sold it to a very, shall we say, insistent collector who just had to have it. Thinking back I should have held onto it as they are quite uncommon, I rarely see anything like the Cascade for that matter.


This particular bike was upside down next to a garbage bin in my neighbourhood, one of the few times I decided to walk with a friend on a nice sunny day when we spotted this bike, looking rather neglected and having obviously spent the latter part of its life outside in the elements. The chain was very stiff and thoroughly rusted so back pedalling was impossible, Two flat tires meant I had to more or less carry it home, best I could do was lift the back wheel.


Initial inspection revealed that the fork blades were skewed to the left, not too much but enough that I will have to straighten them at some point. Other than that the frame itself is quite solid, the paint and decals surviving in reasonable condition. Both wheels are a bit out of true and the hubs have plenty of play so if the bearings are still good they need an overhaul. Same problem with the bottom bracket and headset so it needs a bit of attention. One spoke is missing on the rear wheel and there is one spot where the rim is bent outwards a bit for an inch or so at the braking surface, I think it can be carefully straightened. Standard for the day Arayas and I like the high flange hubs which should polish up nicely.


It still has the Suntour shifters and Mountech front derailleur but at some point the matching rear derailleur was replaced with an older Shimano LX, I think I will try and find a decent M730 or Dear Head if possible, they look better and work well. Pedals are serviceable KKTs but if I like the bike enough might get a nicer pair. It most likely had a fluted seat post, currently there is a non descript plain jane black substitute that looks out of place, just have to have an original in there if I can find a reasonably priced one. I think the diameter is 26.2 or 26.4mm?


Spent the next day cleaning as much as possible, replaced the useless chain, oiled the freewheel internal bearings temporarily so it spins much better now. Used a heat gun to remove the tacky reflective tape from the top tube, seat tube and seat stays - I prefer to rely on good lights for visibility and they definitely took away from the classic look. The rear tire went flat in short order so will be patching it soon and wonder what might be a good pair of replacement tires for a mix of light trail and street riding.


I never thought I would end up with another vintage MTB as I now find myself enjoying the use of two 650b rando bikes ( repurposed 1981 Fuji S12S and a Rawland Stag ) so the Kuwahara will take a back seat but definitely has a place. As I am close to 65 my days of a flexible body are behind me but the Cascade with some tweaking can certainly be made comfortable. Not the kind of bike I would take too far unless I can source some somewhat inexpensive faster rolling tires.



It does have the Sugino Super Maxy version of the TA Cyclotouriste crankset which I think should be made into a triple. The large chainring is a 48T and I believe the inner is a 34T. The freewheel is a 14 - 32T so with say a 26T small chainring it would give a nice range for the hills where I live. Last time I checked the bolts and spacers for a triple were a bit pricey.


I need to find someone locally that can tackle the fork straightening and hopefully a friend can help out with that, I am not setup to do a proper job of it at my place. Of course, I should take it for a ride once overhauled just to find out how it feels, might not notice it but cannot leave it just the same.


I could do a search but any suggestions for removing the rust from the chainwheel bolts and freewheel in particular?


Here are some initial before and after images, please excuse some blurry ones, it was low light at the time.
































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Old 10-27-20, 08:41 PM
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Nice save. Looks great so far!
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Old 10-28-20, 04:59 PM
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Thank you for your interest! Just another decent '80's mtb finding a hopefully useful life. I just found an Avocet 15M Mountain seat on Craigslist, not much on them but if it is comfortable enough that is all that matters, it was under 10.00 so not too bad. Going to try and keep the costs down on this bike since it was free. I have invested more than enough on the other three bikes I have and would rather just enjoy them.

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Old 10-28-20, 05:19 PM
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Nice find!

As for the tires, you may be limited to what you can find in 559 mm BSD during the pandemic. All the bargains and good selection that I knew of completely disappeared. It's tough to be an impatient, selective cheapskate these days.
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Old 10-28-20, 05:47 PM
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You found this in a Burnaby alley!?!
I live in New Westminster and have never seen anything close to this. Nice score.
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Old 10-28-20, 05:53 PM
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Really nice. Ditto on the 559 tires. Good ones are hard to find.
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Old 10-28-20, 07:21 PM
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I will have to keep on the lookout for those tires, really appreciate the advice, and yes, I guess I CAN be a cheapskate when I put my mind to it because normally I tend to purchase better quality items. I got myself caught up in vintage audio and have a handful of amplifiers and receivers. I really like the mid 70's to mid '80's Luxman gear in particular, most of the really nice ones are out of my budget but I did find an L 480 integrated amplifier last year for good price, or so it seemed as the Seller had somewhat refurbished it but lately one channel was acting up.

A friend who repaired electronics is looking at it and there were a few somewhat mismatched transistors and suspect caps so hopefully it will be fixed soon. Trouble is, like many older items, the original Toshiba transistors are getting more difficult to source but I finally found what I needed. With so many fakes coming out of China it made sense to find originals. It's the shipping that costs so much!





Sorry for going off topic - as for the Kuwahara it seems the headset bearings will not adjust properly, though I have yet to take it apart I just wanted to temporarily take the play out of them. Might be a case of too few bearings in there. This certainly is going to be a somewhat longer term project but hoping to have it together in a couple months


It is true that out here in the Vancouver area and beyond one does not typically find decent bikes left discarded, was a bit surprised actually despite the overall condition, guess the right person did not come along before me. It was actually out in the open in a large townhouse complex, just good timing. It is far from rideable but on the other hand some good parts are on it. I guess I have a thing for orphans.

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Old 10-29-20, 02:57 PM
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Cleaning the rust on the spokes at the front hub, which I see is a Suzue, possibly a sealed version. I hope I can save them, the bearings were out of adjustment and rather tight unfortunately, As soon as I purchase some Park grease I will begin going through everything. Not too common these days, plenty of low flange hubs of course and it seems they fell out favour by the mid '80's. Should look quite good once they are highly polished.

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Old 10-30-20, 07:14 PM
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My my, I had a suspicion that, due to the binding headset issue the problem might lie with the steering column. Once I disassembled everything it was quite obvious that indeed the column itself was the culprit. It starts to bend about 1" above the lower race and looks to be a good 1/2" out of alignment which explains not being able to get the play out of the headset and the binding as well. In fact there is a gouge line so hopefully I can properly brace the forks, perhaps insert a rod through the opening under the fork crown just below the bend and then insert another snug fitting pipe or rod from the threaded end and bend it slowly back after measuring how much etc.


I am just eyeing things initially but the forks look fine and this should simplify matters. The real question is, how did it happen? Kind of odd if you ask me having the steering column out by that amount it would have made steering rather odd for one thing. If anyone has suggestions on realigning it would be appreciated!

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Old 10-30-20, 08:45 PM
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Good of you to be fixing up the Kuwahara. Pretty nice bikes. I bought a couger frame and fork couple years ago. Was planning to build drop bar but went other direction.

As found

Mock up drop style.

After repaint.
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Old 10-30-20, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by VintageRide View Post
My my, I had a suspicion that, due to the binding headset issue the problem might lie with the steering column. Once I disassembled everything it was quite obvious that indeed the column itself was the culprit. It starts to bend about 1" above the lower race and looks to be a good 1/2" out of alignment which explains not being able to get the play out of the headset and the binding as well. In fact there is a gouge line as well so hopefully I can properly brace the forks, perhaps insert a rod through the opening under the fork crown just below the bend and then insert another snug fitting pie or rod from the threaded end and bend it slowly back after measuring how much etc.


I am just eyeing things initially but the forks look fine and this should simplify matters. The real question is, how did it happen? Kind of odd if you ask me having the steering column out by that amount it would have made steering rather odd for one thing. If anyone has suggestions on realigning it would be appreciated!
I spotted the bent fork pretty fast. Probably why it sat and rotted.

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Old 10-31-20, 12:40 AM
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Located another Craigslist item, a couple of older Shimano rear derailleurs for next to nothing, one is an AR11 Mountain. The other is an Alvio 8 speed, nothing special but better than what is on the Kuwahara currently. I think the AR11 will look at home on the 650b Fuji instead of the mid '90's Shimano XT I installed initially.


I will post some images soon.


Kdogbikes - nicely done repurposing of your Kuwahara, quite an improvement over what it was originally! I am not nearly that ambitious although I suppose it might be worth going to drop bars if I felt it was truly beneficial, that would mean investing a few dollars into this Cascade as I would go with rando handlebars and a Nitto Technomic stem, possibly fenders and of course some nice tires. Who knows it might be an eventuality depending on what direction I go.


GamblerGORD53 - You have a better eye than me spotting the fork issue from the pictures, I could notice it easily enough when viewing the bike from the front of course. I really hope I can save this bike as it is the right size, higher up the model line of the time and rather uncommon. I even like the color.


Given how loose most of the bearings are and especially the headset it would have been rather dicey to ride this bike, The headset bearings and races look good actually and should be useable. The bottom bracket has a lot of play as well, someone really did not care or know anything about maintenance. When one thinks of how much an equivalent quality bike today would cost it does not make any sense to simply get rid of it but that is an all too common situation these days. Fortunately many are saved by those who know better!

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