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Japanese equivalent of Colnago/Cinelli/Masi quality-status-pedigree

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Japanese equivalent of Colnago/Cinelli/Masi quality-status-pedigree

Old 09-01-22, 08:51 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
If we're honest there are and have been many Japanese bikes and frames that are very high quality, status and pedigree are subjective as they come with entrenched tradition that Japan did not have like Europe, Italy, etc.

Then factor in that manufacturing in Japan was very crude for far longer than them as well. That said they made up for lost time in record time once they got rolling.

All the high end names listed already are fantastic and well deserve any and all consideration they get.

I would also add that while not often talked about in the same discussion as them there are many "regular" Japanese marques that built and made many extremely high quality bikes and frames as well, Panasonic, Nishiki, Miyata and many others produced plenty of elite frames and huge numbers of very high quality production bikes and frames that were fantastic quality and riding machines.
I cannot agree with the above statement more.
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Old 09-01-22, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Kinda grubby, and likely overpriced, but there is a very colorful Zunow available on my local FB Marketplace.https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...a-84b8191bc909

That is absolutely beatiful.
Matches my Pit Viper fanny pack.(seriously)
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Old 09-03-22, 10:51 AM
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In addition to the Erba I have three other bikes that should qualify for this thread. Here is the first, Panasonic Team America Custom, with all Dura Ace components and Mavic rims. I will post the next two bikes over the next couple days. They are each revelation rides.

Take Care.

P.S. Note the handlebar wrap is over the hoods, which was intentional. The hoods are unobtainium and if rolled back for under hood taping would have split and been a total loss. As is they can be ridden until they finally split from use. To me a better choice.
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Old 09-03-22, 10:56 AM
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All Tange Prestige tubing for frame and fork. Internally routed shift cables with lovely down tube lugs for internal routing and a nipple lug in the bottom bracket for the exit of the front derailleur cable to exit. Color matched paint to address touch up and fill in stem lugs, but while color is correct could not match the original pearlescence paint which glows in the sunlight.

Take Care.
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Old 10-05-22, 08:30 PM
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For what it's worth, I think that Japanese bikes can be every bit as high quality, smooth, refined, and sporty as their Italian (and to a lesser extent, French, British, Belgian, etc) counterparts. Certainly Shimano has equaled and surpassed Campagnolo in many areas, off and on, over the last few decades. But as mentioned before, Japan lacks the culture and history of cycling and racing that Europe had.

It's like comparing a Ferrari or Jaguar with a high end Toyota or Nissan. While the Japanese product may very well surpass the European car in performance, quality, reliability, and design, it doesn't inspire the same passionate response. Merckx and Hinault and Lemond, didn't ride Japanese bikes, and AJ Foyt, Senna, Schumaker, and Lauda aren't associated with Honda (although more and more drivers are these days, to be fair).

Japan just hasn't been a part of cycling history long enough. I have no doubt they'll eventually be seen as equals, but we're not there yet. Shimano is probably the greatest Japanese name in cycling. Until they get a "Cannibal" of their own, they won't get the same status as the European (especially Italian) brands.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:08 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
not boutique but the top level bikes of big manufactures can be right up there. Team Miyata as an example
+1 I just set up a Pro Miyata this summer with close to appropriate parts I had on hand. (Cyclone, not Superbe derailleurs and brakes, Campy Chorus triple. GEL330 rims.) What a ride! Pure race. No bad habits anywhere. And I haven't even put on decent tires yet. (It's late season. 23c tubbies are hard to find. Just got some Veloflex Race 23cs that I had to take out a small mortgage for. Bike should sing with those on.) Sadly, it is not a show bike. I picked the frame up for too little because it had a lot of rust and peeling decals from being parked outside a long time. So it won't pose for photos. But between my legs? Doesn't get better! (Doesn't hurt at all that it is the best fitting bike I've ever owned.)
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Old 10-06-22, 04:58 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by dpd3672 View Post
For what it's worth, I think that Japanese bikes can be every bit as high quality, smooth, refined, and sporty as their Italian (and to a lesser extent, French, British, Belgian, etc) counterparts. Certainly Shimano has equaled and surpassed Campagnolo in many areas, off and on, over the last few decades. But as mentioned before, Japan lacks the culture and history of cycling and racing that Europe had.

It's like comparing a Ferrari or Jaguar with a high end Toyota or Nissan. While the Japanese product may very well surpass the European car in performance, quality, reliability, and design, it doesn't inspire the same passionate response. Merckx and Hinault and Lemond, didn't ride Japanese bikes, and AJ Foyt, Senna, Schumaker, and Lauda aren't associated with Honda (although more and more drivers are these days, to be fair).

Japan just hasn't been a part of cycling history long enough. I have no doubt they'll eventually be seen as equals, but we're not there yet. Shimano is probably the greatest Japanese name in cycling. Until they get a "Cannibal" of their own, they won't get the same status as the European (especially Italian) brands.
Excellent points all around! One correction. Senna did drive Honda power. Possibly Schu also?
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Old 10-06-22, 06:01 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by dpd3672 View Post
...

It's like comparing a Ferrari or Jaguar with a high end Toyota or Nissan. While the Japanese product may very well surpass the European car in performance, quality, reliability, and design, it doesn't inspire the same passionate response. Merckx and Hinault and Lemond, didn't ride Japanese bikes, and AJ Foyt, Senna, Schumaker, and Lauda aren't associated with Honda....
Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
...Senna did drive Honda power....
In my mind, Senna will forever, be associated with Honda. All three of his F1 Driver's Championships were won with Honda power, including 31 of his victories and 53 of his pole positions. Other F1 legends who have won Driver's Championships with Honda power were Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost. I believe that Honda powered cars are actually 5th in all time F1 victories behind Ferrari, Mercedes, Ford Cosworth and Renault.
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Old 10-06-22, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
In my mind, Senna will forever, be associated with Honda. All three of his F1 Driver's Championships were won with Honda power, including 31 of his victories and 53 of his pole positions. Other F1 legends who have won Driver's Championships with Honda power were Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost. I believe that Honda powered cars are actually 5th in all time F1 victories behind Ferrari, Mercedes, Ford Cosworth and Renault.
In my mind that was the golden age of F1. Drivers rowed their own gears. No computer controlled systems. Cycling, F1, sports cars and much that was cool in the world have lost much of that coolness through technology in recent years.
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Old 10-06-22, 09:25 AM
  #35  
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Question - Would Centurion Super Elite made by Maeda be included in this group?
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Old 10-06-22, 10:22 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by cinelliguy View Post
Question - Would Centurion Super Elite made by Maeda be included in this group?

I think that the current state of "Elite Japanese Brands" is that if you say it is, then it is!
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Old 10-06-22, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
I think that the current state of "Elite Japanese Brands" is that if you say it is, then it is!
Sorry, got my Japanese frame builder name wrong on the Centurion Super Elite. Actually made by MIKI of Japan. MIKI of Sakai Japan, this small semi-custom frame shop in Japan also made Centurion Semi Pro, Pro Tour, some Super Elites, some of the Specialized Allez, Sequoias, Expeditions, the Sekai 4000 and 5000, and some high end Shogun and KHS models.
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Old 10-06-22, 11:24 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
I would also add that while not often talked about in the same discussion as them there are many "regular" Japanese marques that built and made many extremely high quality bikes and frames as well, Panasonic, Nishiki, Miyata and many others produced plenty of elite frames and huge numbers of very high quality production bikes and frames that were fantastic quality and riding machines.
I would certainly add Bridgestone to this list (as you did in a later post). The RB-1 was the best-bang-for-the-buck buck available in its day. I very much enjoyed my 1992 RB-1 until I destroyed the frame. Handled great, good weight (light, but not stupid light), looked good. All for about 75% of the price of its competition.

I have never lusted after the high-end Japanese frames - admired the heck out of them, yes, but never drooling mindless lust. That has pretty much nothing to do with their (very high) quality, but rather because Japanese high-end stuff was not widely known or readily available in my cycling formative years (c. 1973). Japanese products in general had not fully shed the stigma that "Made in Japan" used to have. Shimano was just selling the Crane RD and then the first Dura Ace parts, but there was nothing frame-wise on my radar that could compete with the European and even American frames that I could and did lust after. (I grew up in Eisentraut territory so saw some of those in addition to the more common Paramounts, Raleighs, Peugeots, Gitanes, and the like. Oh, and the (very) occasional Masi (talked about in hushed, reverent tones, and never ever actually touched)
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Old 10-06-22, 11:29 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by cinelliguy View Post
Question - Would Centurion Super Elite made by Maeda be included in this group?
I've got a couple of Turbos as well as an 85 Prestige. As good of production frames as any out there.
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Old 10-06-22, 11:34 AM
  #40  
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What makes a Colnago, Cinelli, or Masi from the 70s/80s worthy of being the standard for which to compare Japanese brands to?

I think answering that question is important to determining what Japanese brands should be compared, and it also will reveal that we value different things. I honestly am not sure why a high end Cinelli from 40 years ago would be 'better' than any number of high end Japanese road bikes from that same time period.
If its just that 'well this one has chrome lugs', I cant say that matters to me when considering which is 'better'.
To me, 'better' means quality finished filing on the dropouts or nicely mitered tubes inside the bottom bracket shell. Those are really small details that dont actually make a bike perform better though. 2 bikes can have identical tubing specs and geometry and one wont be actually better than the other as a result. So small details which go largely unnoticed, especially tubes mitered inside a bb shell, are what separate things. And that sort of parameter seems silly to use. Honestly, I have no idea what the inside of a bb shell looks like for any of the 3 brands mentioned in the initial post.

Since back 40 and 50 years ago frames could largely be the same- same tubes, same geometry, same paint- another way to recognize status would be innovation. Which brands and models were pushing out aero options or unique track designs.
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Old 10-10-22, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
What makes a Colnago, Cinelli, or Masi from the 70s/80s worthy of being the standard for which to compare Japanese brands to?

I think answering that question is important to determining what Japanese brands should be compared, and it also will reveal that we value different things. I honestly am not sure why a high end Cinelli from 40 years ago would be 'better' than any number of high end Japanese road bikes from that same time period.
The Cinelli has design features that to me simply make it a more desirable frame. The spoiler bottom bracket shell, the fastback seatpost cluster, and yes, the chroming on the lugs and chainstay all elevate the Cinelli in my opinion.

The two-tone paint jobs on some Japanese bikes--like the 1986 Centurions--was higher quality. The paint on my Cinelli can chip very easily.


Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
If its just that 'well this one has chrome lugs', I cant say that matters to me when considering which is 'better'.
To me, 'better' means quality finished filing on the dropouts or nicely mitered tubes inside the bottom bracket shell. Those are really small details that dont actually make a bike perform better though. 2 bikes can have identical tubing specs and geometry and one wont be actually better than the other as a result. So small details which go largely unnoticed, especially tubes mitered inside a bb shell, are what separate things. And that sort of parameter seems silly to use. Honestly, I have no idea what the inside of a bb shell looks like for any of the 3 brands mentioned in the initial post.
, Well, for me, that chroming is a sign of attention to detail--it's a sign of "quality finishing." The filing on the dropouts is a good example, and I'd put the Cinelli up against just about anyone. I don't know what the inside of my BB shell looks like either.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Since back 40 and 50 years ago frames could largely be the same- same tubes, same geometry, same paint- another way to recognize status would be innovation. Which brands and models were pushing out aero options or unique track designs.
Again, I think the Supercorsas of the 1980s had several innovations like the spoiler bottom bracket. The Cinelli just has a mystique that Japanese bikes don't have. The fact that I know that a guy named Mario Camilotto built my frame, versus an unnamed Japanese robot, certainly helps in the mystique department.
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Old 10-10-22, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
The Cinelli has design features that to me simply make it a more desirable frame. The spoiler bottom bracket shell, the fastback seatpost cluster, and yes, the chroming on the lugs and chainstay all elevate the Cinelli in my opinion.

The two-tone paint jobs on some Japanese bikes--like the 1986 Centurions--was higher quality. The paint on my Cinelli can chip very easily.


, Well, for me, that chroming is a sign of attention to detail--it's a sign of "quality finishing." The filing on the dropouts is a good example, and I'd put the Cinelli up against just about anyone. I don't know what the inside of my BB shell looks like either.

Again, I think the Supercorsas of the 1980s had several innovations like the spoiler bottom bracket. The Cinelli just has a mystique that Japanese bikes don't have. The fact that I know that a guy named Mario Camilotto built my frame, versus an unnamed Japanese robot, certainly helps in the mystique department.
Trying to differentiate an effectively mass produced Cinelli from the myriads of other Columbus tubed, investment cast lugged, brazed frame sets with a builder whose name ends with a vowel is a real stretch. These bikes were made by the thousands and as handmade as a Cadillac DeVille. T
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Old 10-10-22, 03:19 PM
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Toyo. Small shop. This frame is Kasei 022.
This one is new of course, but there are "vintage" ones out there. Started in 1973.

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Old 10-10-22, 03:20 PM
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=since6;22634773

In addition to the Erba I have three other bikes that should qualify for this thread. Here is the first, Panasonic Team America Custom, with all Dura Ace components and Mavic rims. I will post the next two bikes over the next couple days. They are each revelation rides.
You've kept us in suspense long enough. I would love to see the other two.
Oh, and also the Erba.
Brent
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Old 10-10-22, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Trying to differentiate an effectively mass produced Cinelli from the myriads of other Columbus tubed, investment cast lugged, brazed frame sets with a builder whose name ends with a vowel is a real stretch. These bikes were made by the thousands and as handmade as a Cadillac DeVille. T
I don’t consider the 1980s Supercorsas to be mass produced. Made by the hundreds by hand, not the “thousands.” Also, the Supercorsa has been in continual production for over 70 years. How many Japanese contenders are there for that distinction?
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Old 10-10-22, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by P!N20 View Post
All the above and Maeda
Isn't Suntour really Maeda Heavy Industries?
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Old 10-10-22, 04:28 PM
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Not that I used to care about Japanese (or any non-Italian) bikes, but when I first saw a Samson Illusion keirin bike, that left me speechless. I found them while searching for bikes with Columbus EGO tubes, they are a notable mention, just for the record. If they are copy of this and that, nice or horrible is everyone's discretion, but craftsmanship for sure... Not C+V though, even if they look like..








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Old 10-10-22, 04:32 PM
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Love my PR5000

I have a bunch of nice italian steel and this thing is on par with the best of them


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Old 10-10-22, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by gkamieneski View Post
Isn't Suntour really Maeda Heavy Industries?
I don't know the specifics but they are definitely related.
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Old 10-11-22, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Again, I think the Supercorsas of the 1980s had several innovations like the spoiler bottom bracket. The Cinelli just has a mystique that Japanese bikes don't have. The fact that I know that a guy named Mario Camilotto built my frame, versus an unnamed Japanese robot, certainly helps in the mystique department.
When you say 'unnamed Japanese robot', are you claiming robots built all the high quality Japanese road bikes from the 80s or are you calling the people who built the frames 'robots'?


Either way is wrong/bad. There were brands in Japan that handbuilt frames, just like in Italy.
There was production just like in Italy.
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