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Question on Classic Japanese "Kofu Wind" bicycle

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Question on Classic Japanese "Kofu Wind" bicycle

Old 05-05-21, 07:55 AM
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dfw7849
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Question on Classic Japanese "Kofu Wind" bicycle

Hello,
I am new to this group and have a question. I own an antique Japanese bicycle called a "Kofu Wind". It is a 3-speed 26 inch bike made around 1950 by the Kofu bicycle company in Kofu, Japan and then imported to the US and other countries. The Kofu Bicycle company no longer exists to my knowledge. I have owned this bicycle since I was 10 years old in 1957! Since then I have never seen another one like it. It is still in pretty good shape. However, I am missing all the accessories like the fenders, chain guard, storage pouch, tire punp, and even the mechanical switch mounted on the handle bar for changing the gears. These parts were on the bike when I got it but most were prompted discarded back in the late 1950s. Over the years I have tried to find parts for this bike but the only thing I have ever found was a new seat and an advertisement from a magazine showing a picture of the bicycle on eBay. I have contacted many antique bike dealers and organizations but no one has ever been able to help me. I was told that the Kofu bicycle company existed for many years and made many bikes for export as well as for sale in Japan. But my attempts to contact anyone connected to the company or antique bike clubs in Japan have not been answered. Someone somewhere must be familial with this Japanese bike company and maybe even have a bike like mine. Also if anyone can help me post my request in Japanese on a website in that country it would be much appreciated! This post is my latest attempt in a long line of attempts, and I have nothing to lose by asking for help! Don Weston
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Old 05-05-21, 10:31 AM
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Kofu was a Tokyo based company that manufactured bicycles under the Wind, Kofu and Kenko brands. Effective 1970, they merged with the Zebra company, which dated back to 1901. The new company was called Zebra-Kenko, producing bicycles under the eponymous Zebrakenko brand. These were quite widely distributed in the USA from about 1975-1984.

In 1976 Zebra-kenko was acquired by Okamoto Rikken Rubber Co., a rubber goods manufacture with history dating back to 1934 and whose original products were condoms. Okamoto would absorb at least one other bicycle compny, Foyu, in 1981, before changing it's name to Okamoto Industries Inc. in 1985. This was also the year that the bicycles resorted to the Zebra branding in the USA. Bicycle distribution in the USA appears to have ceased sometime in the very late 1980s.

The Okamato coporation continued to grow, absorbing variopus companies. It currently has nine production facilities in five countries, including the one in Sandusky Ohio, where they manufacture parts for automobile interiors. Bicycles no longer appear to be part of Okamoto's business.

It can be challenging sourcing parts for pre-boom era Japanese bicycles, as they were not widely distributed in the USA at that time. A lot of them also had eponymously branded parts, making things even more difficult. However, some parts, like the shift lever, should have more generic, coming from a manufacturer like Shimano.

I'd appreciate photographs of your bicycle. Please ignore the warning of needing 10 posts. Photos will not attach to the post but they will upload to a gallery album were members can view them.

Have you considered typing you advertment into Google Transalate and letting the application perform the translation, which you can then cut and paste? It's not perfect grammatically but it should at least be understandable to Japanese readers.

Last edited by T-Mar; 05-05-21 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 05-05-21, 06:39 PM
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Kōfū, Kenkō, and Wind

The company's name was, I believe, Kōfū something-or-other. Actually it was instead written in Sino-Japanese characters, but Bikeforums' spam prevention or whatever doesn't let me use these. The characters for and were/are this and this respectively, so one might english the name as "Bright Wind" or similar. It has only recently become relatively easy to type letters complete with macrons, so it's not at all surprising to see Kōfū rendered as "Kofu".

I know that Kōfū put out bikes branded "Kenkō" or perhaps "Kenko". ("Put out" is deliberately vague. Offhand, I don't know if Kōfū manufactured them or just marketed them.) Kenkō is a very common Japanese word, the standard word for "health" (thus the standard term for health insurance is kenkō hoken).

I don't know of any relationship between the company Kōfū and the city Kōfu, and have no reason to think that there ever was any. (Note that the pronunciations are different, and the ways they are written in Sino-Japanese script are entirely different.)

Kōfū, the company, lives on. Formally, it's Kōfū Ringyō Shōkai. (Ringyō means bicycle business. [It more commonly means forestry business, but that's with different characters.] Shōkai means [commercial] firm.) The company runs both a motorbike shop under its own name (its website) and, not next door but a short way along the same road (Nakahara kaidō), a bicycle shop named Cycland Koowho (its website). ("Koowho" is a rather fanciful way to write what's conventionally written as Kōfū.)

Japanese company websites typically have material about past glories, but neither of Kōfū Ringyō Shōkai's websites bothers with this. The closest I've found is the photo at the top of this page, showing the bike shop as it was in 1960.

The bike shop's website says "Copyright (C) KOOWHO Inc." I don't know what status "Koowho Inc." has, if any; and suspect that it's merely a nonce translation back from Kōfū.

Koowho sells (rather attractive) items with Kenkō advertising. See here.

I've never had reason to enter the motorbike shop. As for Koowho, it's a good, general-purpose bike shop, with a specialty in Moulton (Alex, not Dave). When you're inside, if you look upwards, you see a small selection of old Kenkō bikes mounted on the walls.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:41 PM
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Here is somebody's splendid "Kōfū Bicycle" roadster, from Kōfū Bicycle Co Ltd. Here is a lavish catalogue of Kōfū "Kenko" bikes, from 1968 (too late to be of direct interest to the OP, of course); I notice that the company name is not Kōfū Ringyō Shōkai (which incidentally appears in the 1960 photo of the shop) but instead Kōfū Jitensha (i.e. Kōfū Bicycle); perhaps it was only tenuously related to the bike shop, and it's even imaginable that the manufacturer and the shop were entirely separate but the proprietor of the latter was a fan of the former. Click this for a Google search for images of Kōfū bicycles. If I add "Wind" to the search keywords, I get nothing; perhaps "Wind" was a name used only for export.
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Old 06-08-21, 07:52 PM
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Is there anyone in the forum who is fluent enough in Japanese to help me post an inquiry in an antique Japanese bicycle forum concerning my 1950s Kofu Wind bicycle? Any help that you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-09-21, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
It has only recently become relatively easy to type letters complete with macrons
OT, but I'm curious, how is it easier recently?
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Old 06-10-21, 05:59 AM
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On the relative ease of inserting macrons:

Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
OT, but I'm curious, how is it easier recently?
āēīōūĀĒĪŌŪ is certainly not an exhaustive list, but as it happens they're all that I'd ever want to use. How I insert them depends on which software it is that I'm using at the time, etc etc; but one way or another (at worst, copying and pasting) I can insert them. It's not long since software and fonts were limited to ISO 8859-1 or whatever; but now I can be confident that any software involved will function in UTF-8, and it's very likely that the particular font has all ten characters.
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Old 06-10-21, 07:54 AM
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I see you are in Japan. Are there antique bike websites there where which might have parts for my 1950s Kofu bike? If so, can you please post a "parts wanted" request for me?
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Old 06-10-21, 01:00 PM
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Hello @dfw7849, welcome to the forum.

If you are looking to find parts for a 1950s Japanese Kofu bicycle in North America, I think it will be a difficult search.
A little history about Japanese bicycle exports.

Prior to World War II Japan was a large exporter of bicycles, mostly to Asia. Not long after the end of World War II the Japanese bicycle industry again began to export bicycles through Japanese export companies. In the 1950s the largest destinations for Japanese bicycle exports were Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the year 1960 bicycle exports to Canada and the USA began to increase. Exports increased to North America all the way through the next decade.

Most of the Japanese exports to North America at this time were contract production for national distributors or retailers. The contracted bicycles usually had the marquee requested by the foreign buyer, not that of the Japanese manufacturer. The contracted bicycles were quit different from the bicycles built for the domestic Japanese market. I have seen Japanese Kofu Keneko bicycle guides for 1966 and the bicycles are not typical of bicycles in Canada and the USA during the bike boom.

If you are looking for replacement parts for a 1950s Kofu bicycle made for the Japanese market, then Japan is the best country in which to search.

Also there were many Japanese parts manufacturers. Did Kofu use proprietary parts or parts that were generally available from Japanese manufacturers?
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Old 06-10-21, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummer View Post
Hello @dfw7849, welcome to the forum.

If you are looking to find parts for a 1950s Japanese Kofu bicycle in North America, I think it will be a difficult search.
A little history about Japanese bicycle exports.

Prior to World War II Japan was a large exporter of bicycles, mostly to Asia. Not long after the end of World War II the Japanese bicycle industry again began to export bicycles through Japanese export companies. In the 1950s the largest destinations for Japanese bicycle exports were Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the year 1960 bicycle exports to Canada and the USA began to increase. Exports increased to North America all the way through the next decade.

Most of the Japanese exports to North America at this time were contract production for national distributors or retailers. The contracted bicycles usually had the marquee requested by the foreign buyer, not that of the Japanese manufacturer. The contracted bicycles were quit different from the bicycles built for the domestic Japanese market. I have seen Japanese Kofu Keneko bicycle guides for 1966 and the bicycles are not typical of bicycles in Canada and the USA during the bike boom.

If you are looking for replacement parts for a 1950s Kofu bicycle made for the Japanese market, then Japan is the best country in which to search.

Also there were many Japanese parts manufacturers. Did Kofu use proprietary parts or parts that were generally available from Japanese manufacturers?

You bring up many good points but I don't have answers as to the difference between Kofu bikes intended for the US versus Japanese market, or where Kofu got their parts. Since I have had almost zero luck finding any parts for my bike in the US, I still hope to pursue finding them in Japan if I can get someone who speaks Japanese to help me. If I can find an antique parts supplier in Japan who has Kofu bike parts from the 1950s, I can supply them with a picture of what my bike looked like when it was new from a sales flier I found on eBay that was published in the 1950s. That picture can then be used to compare the parts the Japanese vendor has to see if they match. It is a long shot but still worth a try at this point in my opinion. Thanks for your comments!
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Old 06-12-21, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dfw7849 View Post
You bring up many good points but I don't have answers as to the difference between Kofu bikes intended for the US versus Japanese market, or where Kofu got their parts. Since I have had almost zero luck finding any parts for my bike in the US, I still hope to pursue finding them in Japan if I can get someone who speaks Japanese to help me. If I can find an antique parts supplier in Japan who has Kofu bike parts from the 1950s, I can supply them with a picture of what my bike looked like when it was new from a sales flier I found on eBay that was published in the 1950s. That picture can then be used to compare the parts the Japanese vendor has to see if they match. It is a long shot but still worth a try at this point in my opinion. Thanks for your comments!
Suggestion: Start by posting that picture here. If you're in north America and it seems from comments you get that parts might be available in north America, then pay for "premium membership" and post a wants ad in the sales section.
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Old 06-12-21, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
Suggestion: Start by posting that picture here. If you're in north America and it seems from comments you get that parts might be available in north America, then pay for "premium membership" and post a wants ad in the sales section.



Thanks again for all your valuable information microcord. I am not able to post pictures so far or I would already have done so. But I will try again in response to your email. As you can see comparing the magazine flier to my actual bike, my bike is missing all the accessories! They were on the bike when it was purchased for me back in 1957 by my mother when I was 10 years old. The bike was already used and several years old at that time. I eventually removed the accessories and threw them away. Big mistake! But at that time it was customary for kids like me to remove such items in order to make their bikes look better.
This is the first I have heard of a "premium membership" but I will definitely follow up on your suggestion and join! However, I also am still hopeful of finding someone who could do a search for me on Japanese antique bicycle websites in Japan rather than the USA. If you would be willing to help me in Japan, please email me and I will send you the pictures (if they don't upload) so you could post them on any Japanese antique bicycle website you may be familiar with. My email address is donald.weston@cox.net Thanks! Don Weston
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Old 06-12-21, 05:06 PM
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Before you put a lot of time and perhaps money into amassing parts for your bike, perhaps you should ask yourself what work is likely to be needed. I notice that the seat tube seems to be crimped at one point; what other damage is there to the frame? Are the wheels true and is rust of the spokes merely superficial? Does the (internally geared) rear hub have any markings that identify it?

The advertising lists "Caliper Hand Brakes", plural; and its photo seems to show a caliper rear brake in the normal position, mounted on a seatstay bridge. But your bike lacks a seatstay bridge. Does your rear hub include a coaster brake, or was a seatstay bridge removed?

You seem to have the original saddle, stem and handlebar; but the pedals and chainwheel differ from what's shown in the advertising picture. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't original: reality might have differed from what was advertised. (And actually it's hard to see what the pedals are.)

The advertisement describes a lot of components as "Chrome Plated". I'd guess that this means "if you can somehow find the original parts, then they'll be as rusty as your stem if you're lucky and as rusty as your seatpost if you're not". I doubt that you'd ever be able to identify the exact components that were used; but even if you were able to, I wouldn't worry about them and instead would look for what looks similar and works properly (and is likely to work better, be less troublesome, and cost you less than the authentic item).

(If this response suggests that I know what I'm talking about, then the impression is misleading. And when it comes to internally geared hubs and coaster brakes, I know absolutely nothing. But plenty of people on this forum do know their stuff.)
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Old 06-12-21, 06:46 PM
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Kofu Wind
Kofu wouldn't mean "break" by any chance?
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Old 06-12-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
Before you put a lot of time and perhaps money into amassing parts for your bike, perhaps you should ask yourself what work is likely to be needed. I notice that the seat tube seems to be crimped at one point; what other damage is there to the frame? Are the wheels true and is rust of the spokes merely superficial? Does the (internally geared) rear hub have any markings that identify it?


The advertising lists "Caliper Hand Brakes", plural; and its photo seems to show a caliper rear brake in the normal position, mounted on a seatstay bridge. But your bike lacks a seatstay bridge. Does your rear hub include a coaster brake, or was a seatstay bridge removed?


You seem to have the original saddle, stem and handlebar; but the pedals and chainwheel differ from what's shown in the advertising picture. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't original: reality might have differed from what was advertised. (And actually it's hard to see what the pedals are.)


The advertisement describes a lot of components as "Chrome Plated". I'd guess that this means "if you can somehow find the original parts, then they'll be as rusty as your stem if you're lucky and as rusty as your seatpost if you're not". I doubt that you'd ever be able to identify the exact components that were used; but even if you were able to, I wouldn't worry about them and instead would look for what looks similar and works properly (and is likely to work better, be less troublesome, and cost you less than the authentic item).


(If this response suggests that I know what I'm talking about, then the impression is misleading. And when it comes to internally geared hubs and coaster brakes, I know absolutely nothing. But plenty of people on this forum do know their stuff.)

WOW, great questions and you certainly have a keen eye! First the damage to the frame was already there when I got the bike in 1957 from the previous owner. I would say the "wheels are true" since the bike rides without any wobble. Also the spoke rust is superficial. Attached is a picture of the rear hub with the part number shown. The 3-speed control and cable are long gone and I would love to find a replacement but it would need to be as close to the original a possible. The "Kofu Wind" seat is not the seat that came with the bike. This original seat is one I found on eBay several years ago and is the only That seat on the bike when I used it as a child is shown in the picture of the bike before I restored it and had to be throw away. I am pretty sure it is a seat I put on the bike myself as the original seat was worn out.


I am note sure what a seatstay bridge is? Perhaps you could provide a picture. The rear brake on my bike is mounted with two metal rectangular pieces which have a hole in the center for the bolt on the brake caliper to go through. I am sure this was added sometime before I got the bike and the original caliper brace must have broken off. I would provide a picture of the homemade bracket for the rear brake but the bike is currently at my home in Arizona and I am working in California long term. There was never a coaster brake on my bike. The pedals and rubber hand grips on the bike are the same ones that were on the bike when I got it in 1957. I would not know if they are original or not.


My goal is NOT to restore my bike back to it's original, like new, condition. I am fine with all the rusted parts as long as they are still functional. My goal is to find as many original parts that are missing from my bike as possible. If the parts are in poor condition that is Ok as long as they are correct for my particular bike or as close to correct as possible. I am not interested in disassembling the bike and making all the parts look new again. To me that would ruin the bike and it would no longer be the bike I have owned for the past 60 years. So any help you could give me in finding original Kofu bicycle parts from the 1950s that look as close to the ones in the advertisement would be greatly appreciated. I would actually really like to buy a whole bike that is the same or similar Kofu Wind model as mine and then remove the parts from that bike to put on my bike. If the parts are a little different because the bike was sold in Japan for the Japanese market I could accept that as long as they are genuine Kofu bicycle parts from the 1950s and not parts from some other completely different brand or from some other country. I have absolutely no interest in putting some old Schwinn bicycle finder skirts or chain guard just because they fit and might look nice. My goal is to make my bike look the way I remember it as a boy back so long ago.





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Old 06-12-21, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Kofu wouldn't mean "break" by any chance?
I now have a nickname for my ZeBRAKEnko Wind.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:27 PM
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A seatstay bridge . . . bridges the seat stays. It crosses over the rear tyre, and allows you to mount a brake for the rear rim.

Somebody here may well recognize that rear hub.

My undereducated guess is that your frame is toast; or anyway that if you are determined to make it (safely) rideable, then it would need a new seat tube (and perhaps other repairs too).
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Old 06-13-21, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for the pictures of the seatstay bridge. My best recollection (without actually examining my bike which is in another state) is that the original bridge broke off my bike and was replaced by two flat brackets from a hardware store. I probably did the repair myself but just don't remember for sure as it would have been done over 60 years ago! As for the frame it was bent when I got the bike and caused it to veer to one side so I had to have one hand on the handle bar at all times. to drive straight No big deal and I just got used to it. So I would say the bent frame is safe enough for my purposes.

So I am still hoping you will post a "WANTED" ad in the antique Japanese bicycle websites for me. Is that possible? I sure hope so. I will very gladly pay you for your trouble. Please let me know. Thanks, Don Weston
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Old 06-13-21, 03:34 PM
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Don. I think you're significantly underestimating the amount of time, expertise and language skills required for somebody to put together a reasonably accurate recreation of your Kofu. I'm not talking about a concours-level restoration, which you've said you're not interested in, I'm talking about just finding the right stuff, or even reasonably plausible stuff, regardless of condition.

You've got a 70yr-old, postwar, inexpensive lower-end bicycle in a category that wasn't/isn't heavily collected, and in fact a product category where the products were essentially seen as disposable. In a country where living quarters are cramped and space is at a premium, so you're unlikely to find folks hanging onto old cheap bicycles when, over the past 70yrs, they've been able to buy new ones at the supermarket for cheap.

It's hard enough finding vintage high-end Japanese bicycles. Finding low-end stuff is likely a very tall order.
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Old 06-13-21, 04:17 PM
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5 May:
Originally Posted by dfw7849
I own an antique Japanese bicycle called a "Kofu Wind". [...] It is still in pretty good shape.
14 June:
Originally Posted by dfw7849 View Post
As for the frame it was bent when I got the bike and caused it to veer to one side so I had to have one hand on the handle bar at all times. to drive straight No big deal and I just got used to it. So I would say the bent frame is safe enough for my purposes.
You and I must have very different notions of "pretty good shape".

Hummer has already pointed out that a Japanese bike company of the time would have had very different models for the/a North American market and the Japanese market. This Kōfū bike appears to be for the/a North American market; certainly it's not for the Japanese market, and I see no evidence that Kōfū ever marketed any bike named "Wind" in Japan.

I do not know of any Japanese-language old bike forums. (Possibly such chitchat takes place at Facebook.) I'm not interested in being either a translator or middleman.

In Japan, Yahoo Auction has a monopoly parallel to what eBay has elsewhere. This link is to bike-related auctions that mention "Kōfū". NB there's a considerable amount of keyword spamming: As an example, what now happens to be the first item is titled "Rare item! Prewar bicycle new nameplate Shōwa retro Nōritsu Kōfū Zebra Kawamura Teirin Yamaguchi Jitensha Miyata Nōritsu Katakura Tsunoda Fuji Katakura Sekine Maruishi BS Jitensha Bike Sunlight" (yes, complete with repetitions).

This link is similar but for "Wind".

I believe that there are companies that will bid in Yahoo Auction on the behalf of somebody who is outside Japan, wants items sent outside Japan, and hopes to pay by credit card or even PayPal. However, I have no experience or knowledge of any of them. Others here might have tips. Good luck!

And . . . agreed with pcb . And if we're talking about Japan, remember that bikes tend to live outdoors, that humidity is very high, and that even the most humdrum of maintenance (notably, oiling the chain) appears to be beneath the dignity of many bike owners. (Many E-bikes already sound as if they belong in a dumpster.) Though yes, there are a few handsome survivors, such as this Kōfū "Kenko" from 1969: yours (or your wife's) for a very reasonable 66,000 yen (plus no doubt a horrendous shipping free and various other complications).
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Old 06-13-21, 04:22 PM
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On that Kōfū "Kenko" from 1969: The software here seems to auto-add an "s" immediately after "http". If you subtract the "s", the resulting URL should work.
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Old 06-13-21, 08:14 PM
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Well thanks for all your help microcord. I understand your comments about the difficulty in trying to find parts for an imported bike that is over 70 years old and may or may not have ever been available for sale in Japan. However, I do know a lot about antique collecting and have been very active in the classic car collecting hobby for over 40 years. My collection of 1950s classic car memorabilia is worth a considerable amount of money and contains many items most collectors would never have believed would have survived but they have. I look at antique bike collecting as being similar to antique car collecting and if you know where to look and are persistent you will eventually find what you are looking for. So I will continue my quest to find my antique bike parts regardless of how hard it may be. Right now I am hoping to find someone who would be willing to look for me in Japan because I can't do it myself due to the language barrier. I had hoped that person would be you but it is not. I did not mean to offend you in any way by asking your to be a middleman. In fact I offered to pay you for your time because I know it is valuable. If you know of anyone who speaks Japanese and who would be willing to check the Japanese Yahoo Auction site for me on an ongoing basis please give them my email address. I would be glad to pay them for their time. Thanks, Don Weston donald.weston@cox.net

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Old 06-14-21, 03:26 AM
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No offence taken, really.

But I wonder how anybody should check Yahoo Auction for you. Take brakes, for example. I've never read any suggestion that Kōfū ever made these; I'll presume that they didn't. I also don't suppose that they would have been branded for any but the largest of bike companies. So I'll start by assuming that there are no brakes labelled "Kōfū". Instead, the brakes would have been from some component company, Yoshigai ("Dia-Compe") perhaps. (NB I am underinformed on these matters and won't be surprised if told I've got wrong.) All we have, I think, is the assurance from the advert that the bike had "Caliper Hand Brakes, Chrome Plated". (The illustration doesn't add anything to this.) The plating wouldn't have been of superb quality; so after over half a century in a humid climate, we know to look for rusted brakes. I can't see any advantage of looking for old steel brakes in Japan over looking for them in the US, but I can see a pile of more or less probable disadvantages: prolonged email correspondences with questions, clarifications, and the risk of mistranslations; Japan's "Galápagos syndrome" payment systems; and of course the choice between expensive airmail or its cheaper but unhurried alternatives. So I suggest that you concentrate your efforts in the US.

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Old 06-14-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
No offence taken, really.

But I wonder how anybody should check Yahoo Auction for you. Take brakes, for example. I've never read any suggestion that Kōfū ever made these; I'll presume that they didn't. I also don't suppose that they would have been branded for any but the largest of bike companies. So I'll start by assuming that there are no brakes labelled "Kōfū". Instead, the brakes would have been from some component company, Yoshigai ("Dia-Compe") perhaps. (NB I am underinformed on these matters and won't be surprised if told I've got wrong.) All we have, I think, is the assurance from the advert that the bike had "Caliper Hand Brakes, Chrome Plated". (The illustration doesn't add anything to this.) The plating wouldn't have been of superb quality; so after over half a century in a humid climate, we know to look for rusted brakes. I can't see any advantage of looking for old steel brakes in Japan over looking for them in the US, but I can see a pile of more or less probable disadvantages: prolonged email correspondences with questions, clarifications, and the risk of mistranslations; Japan's "Galápagos syndrome" payment systems; and of course the choice between expensive airmail or its cheaper but unhurried alternatives. So I suggest that you concentrate your efforts in the US.
I understand it would be difficult for specific parts like brakes but I don't need brake parts. Perhaps the Yahoo Auction search could be limited to only specific items to make it more manageable. The items I need the most are only the correct fenders, chain guard, and the 3-speed control switch, that's it. The search could be limited to just these items. Also if by some chance a complete bike were to be offered for sale that is something I would be interested in of course. The bike would have to match the one shown in the magazine article picture. We don't know for certain that my bike was not offered for sale in Japan using a different model name instead of "Wind". Again I know it is a very long shot but trust me when I say I have found many 1950s antique car parts for sale that were incredibly rare but somehow survive! My classic car is a 59 Pontiac Bonneville and it has some extremely rare options like the "Sportable" transistor radio in the glove box. I have own seven 59 Pontiacs over the past 57 years and have perhaps one of the most complete memorabilia collection in the world for this particular car.







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Old 06-14-21, 09:10 AM
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I understand where you're coming from, your frame of reference. And I understand your frustration, thinking that all somebody has to do is place a few ads, and like with your car parts, you'd be surprised, but something will turn up! Heck, all I need is a few parts, how hard could that be?

What you're missing is the completely different reality of life in Japan during the years Detroit was churning out land yachts, and Tokyo/Osaka was churning out your Kofu Wind.

Japanese rooms were sized by tatami mats, let's be generous and say one tatami mat is 17sq feet. Post-war Japan, let's overlook how many folks were still homeless, how much rebuilding hadn't yet been done. Most people lived in the cities, and they were lucky to have an apartment with, say, 3 tatami mats and a very small kitchenette. So their _entire living space_, their entire world, was 60sq feet. The living room had one small dresser and floor mats. At the end of the day, the floor mats were shoved to the side, and the futon was taken out of the closet, laid out on the floor, and the living room became the bedroom. Didn't have the living room back until you folded up and stowed away the futon in the morning. If you had kids you'd be real lucky to have 3 mats, then the parents could have their own futon. But my in-laws started out in a 2-mat room, and mom/pop and the two kids shared the 1-mat sleeping space. Only after the futon came out for bedtime, of course. No hot water, no shower---you went to the local public baths to wash/shower. Hot running water was for rich folks.

Where are you going to find space to fit any parts that came off your car? Why would you allocate any space to hang onto a car part that had no use, and little value? Your bicycles are parked outside with a thousand other bicycles belonging to neighboring residents. When your kid's Kofu Wind finally breaks down, do you have space in your life to think that gosh, little Taro loved that bike, how great would it be to keep it? Where are you going to save it? It's not going to fit/sit in your 3-mat room, all you can do is leave it outside and let the environment/nature deal with it. But even outdoors there's not enough room to keep wrecks with all the other bicycles, so eventually it gets swept up and disposed of.

I don't want to get into weird/political territory here, this isn't me trying to get any sympathy for the living conditions of people in post-war, post-fascist Japan. This is just me saying that your experience finding parts for giant land yachts in the wide-open spaces of the USA has absolutely no relation to the probability of finding anything antique/vintage in Japan. Especially trying to find things of low value, that were routinely thrown out when they were either outgrown or no longer funtional/useful.

Originally Posted by dfw7849 View Post
I understand it would be difficult for specific parts like brakes but I don't need brake parts. Perhaps the Yahoo Auction search could be limited to only specific items to make it more manageable. The items I need the most are only the correct fenders, chain guard, and the 3-speed control switch, that's it. The search could be limited to just these items. Also if by some chance a complete bike were to be offered for sale that is something I would be interested in of course. The bike would have to match the one shown in the magazine article picture. We don't know for certain that my bike was not offered for sale in Japan using a different model name instead of "Wind". Again I know it is a very long shot but trust me when I say I have found many 1950s antique car parts for sale that were incredibly rare but somehow survive! My classic car is a 59 Pontiac Bonneville and it has some extremely rare options like the "Sportable" transistor radio in the glove box. I have own seven 59 Pontiacs over the past 57 years and have perhaps one of the most complete memorabilia collection in the world for this particular car.






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