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C. Itoh?

Old 10-04-08, 12:24 PM
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politicalgeek
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C. Itoh?

Searched and couldn't find much info. Found a quick blurb on Sheldon's site that these were another brand of Bridgestone.

There is one that just came up on craigslist @ $60. I'm just looking for a budget commuter at the moment and this may work. Anything I should look for when I go see it?
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Old 10-04-08, 12:38 PM
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Give it a thorough examination. This brand is universally regarded as one of the lowest of the imported low. If it's not in ride away condition, $60 is too much.
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Old 10-04-08, 01:07 PM
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I planned on going lower.

As I said, budget commuter for now, eventual rain bike, campus beater etc. when I can take the time to find and work on something better.
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Old 10-04-08, 01:31 PM
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I had one in high school (mid 1970s). It was one step above a department store bike, but a small step. It had a strange internal wedge seatpost (like a quill stem) that was unlike anything on any other bike, cheap stamped steel hubs and a flexy cottered crank. Not worth upgrading. I think it was about $90 new. I wouldn't mind having one for nostalgia purposes, but definitely wouldn't pay $60 for it.
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Old 10-04-08, 01:47 PM
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I recently sold a bare frame set to a buddy.......It has brushed bare stainless steel tubes and aluminum lugs. It originally came with 650(A) wheels and nifty racks on the front (with dual headlights) and rear, a huge saddle bag and a nice small handlebar bag. While not the best frame around it certainly did make for a pretty good looking fixed gear with 700c's.......It actually rides pretty good too.......$60 is a bit much but I've watched them go for a lot more than that on the 'bay.
It would make a pretty good beater if it's got the stainless and alloy lugs. My buddies does have chrome plated steel seat and chainstays and a steel fork though.
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Old 10-04-08, 02:24 PM
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C-Itoh was also a really cheap brand of computer terminal/keyboard. They were clunky, unwieldy, they stuck, and jumped. Any relation, do you think?
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Old 10-04-08, 02:33 PM
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IMHO $60 is way too much to pay for that type of bike, even in a location with a strong market for vintage bikes. I live in a town with a hot market and in the last five months I acquired 14 bikes from the 70s or 80s for $50 or less. One or two might have been the equal of a C. Itoh but I got them for $10 or less.
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Old 10-04-08, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by IceNine View Post
IMHO $60 is way too much to pay for that type of bike, even in a location with a strong market for vintage bikes. I live in a town with a hot market and in the last five months I acquired 14 bikes from the 70s or 80s for $50 or less. One or two might have been the equal of a C. Itoh but I got them for $10 or less.
I've been looking around at Old Roads and some other places. Seems to be a mixed bag of reviews on these bikes.

The market here is pretty skewed for bikes. Everyone on craigslist thinks their Huffy is $80-100 firm, we get the $300 fixies and even bikes that sell for $45 one day and get re-listed the next at $150. I'll try to talk them down if I like what I see. I just want something to get me by for now, that is better suited for my commute than the hybrid I have. When I find something at a good price and better quality OR decide to build up my own off of a Nashbar or Ebay frame, then whatever I find now that is cheap can be used as a beater.

ETA

This is the photo from craigslist


Last edited by politicalgeek; 10-04-08 at 03:45 PM. Reason: photo
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Old 10-05-08, 03:40 PM
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Haven't heard back, but it may be for the better.

Another ad came up for a Schwinn Le Tour III. The owner is looking to trade for a hybrid or $120. I have my Bianchi hybrid I purchased at the co-op and had Nitto North Road's installed on. Seems like a fair trade, provided the bike fits and looks good, for the prices I've seen.
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Old 11-27-10, 11:52 AM
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Yea i saw a c.itoh on craigslist aswell. Decided to go check it out. His orignal price was 60 but i got him down to 50. bought and 1 min after riding it the front tube popped so i got $20 back and i bought a new tire and tube. I cleaned up the bike and oiled it and its actually a pretty nice bike. Ive been riding it for a while now and now complaints
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Old 11-27-10, 11:54 AM
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no*
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Old 11-27-10, 02:51 PM
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As I recall, C. Itoh bikes went on to be called Bridgestone Kabuki bikes. Big difference in quality. My dad bought me a C. Itoh bike from a department store when I was a kid. The bike started to self-destruct the first time I rode it. The rims were really flimsy, and the metal, chrome plating and paint was total garbage. I've seen other ones, and they were also junk. The next bike my dad got me when I was a kid was a Chicago built Schwinn from an authorized dealer. Live and learn. If you don't have to buy it, don't. OK to find one in the trash, or for $5 at a tag sale...but not for $60.
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Old 11-27-10, 04:23 PM
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FWIW, C. Itoh is a Japanese company that is a parent company of numerous smaller companies, such as Bridgestone. I knew a lawyer that worked for C. Itoh and back in the '70's a salesman came through his office selling the Bridgestone Kabuki Submariner bicycle with stainless steel tubes and aluminum lugs. The good bikes were marketed under the Bridgestone banner and the cheapies were labeled C. Itoh. C. Itoh. is a very highly respected Japanese company, they export all sorts of products to the U.S., including screws and fasteners for example.
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Old 11-27-10, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
... The good bikes were marketed under the Bridgestone banner and the cheapies were labeled C. Itoh...
This is unfortunate fallacy that keeps popping up. In reality, C. Itoh was a full range brand. They also marketed higher end bicycles that were directively competitive with other Japanese models such as the Fuji Newest and Nishiki Professional.
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Old 11-28-10, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
This is unfortunate fallacy that keeps popping up.
Probably because of this quote on Sheldon's website.


C.Itoh

Brand name used by Bridgestone in the early '70s. These were pretty crummy bikes.
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Old 11-28-10, 08:45 PM
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I remember them from the A.R. Adams days. We would almost laugh in a customer's face if he brought one in for service. Most likely the lousiest 'lugged frame' bike ever made.
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Old 11-29-10, 04:52 PM
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Didn't mean to disparage the C. Itoh bikes as a whole. What I meant to say was that typically the C. Itoh bikes were inferior to the Bridgestone bikes. That is probably an overstatement as T Mar has pointed out.
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Old 11-29-10, 05:35 PM
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I've had both C. Itohs and Bridgestones from the same era and other than different badging, were pretty much identical, including the claim on the down tube of 'WORLDS FINEST BICYCLE PRECISION MECHANISM' and both dated from around 1971--I still have the Shimano Lark RD from one of them lying around someplace. Here's one on the St. Louis CL that has been listed for quite a while for the whopping sum of $39!!

https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/bik/2083353047.html
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Old 11-29-10, 07:03 PM
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Pass on it dude. They really are the worst of the worst. We had a bike drive years ago to get people to donate bikes for underprivileged kids, and one of these was donated. I had to try to fix it up so that it would be ridable for a child. None of the components was worth keeping, nothing was repairable, in short it was junk, frame was water pipe, I eventually scrapped it. It would have been embarrassing to give it to some one.
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Old 11-29-10, 09:55 PM
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Worst... bike... ever.
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Old 11-30-10, 07:16 AM
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I had one when I was 12 or 13 in 1973. Horribly heavy frame, cheap Cherry sidepull brakes, and strange lugwork at the head tube. The best feature was the SunTour Honor derailleur - more steel to it, but it shifted well. Sold the Itoh after 1 year of use for what we paid, around $95. My first bike flip, I guess. PG
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Old 11-30-10, 07:42 AM
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I bought one with my paperroute money around 1970.
It lasted 15 years and it was still riding strong when I sold it.
And I don't take good care of things, so it had to be a decent bike to last that long.
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Old 11-30-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by skyerocker View Post
I remember them from the A.R. Adams days. We would almost laugh in a customer's face if he brought one in for service. Most likely the lousiest 'lugged frame' bike ever made.
Originally Posted by bikerosity57 View Post
Pass on it dude. They really are the worst of the worst...
Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Worst... bike... ever.
If I had only ever seen Varsities, would I be justified in making similar statements about Schwinn? Who cares if they did make Paramounts, the Varsity was crap. Poorly stamped steel components and a 10lb weight penalty over most other entry level 10 speeds. A middleweight dressed up to look like a lightweight.

As suggested by 23skidoo, the C.Itoh was pretty much a rebadged Bridgestone/Kabuki. In many cases they were exactly the same, except for paint and decals. If you're going to trash C. Itoh, you have to slam Bridgestone/Kabuki too.

In fact, you're going to have to slam just about any mass volume, full range, bicycle brand. Let's face when you're producing for a particular price point, there are not too many ways to give you an edge over the competition, especially other brands from the same country of origin. You're restricted in the available components and tubing. If you give them a little extra on one component, you're going to have to skimp somewhere else. The bicycle business is so competitive, there's often very little to chose from between brands at a certain price point. Yes, there were some Bridgestone/C. Itoh/Kabuki idosyncracies, like die cast lugs and expander posts, but overall they were very similar to the Universal Japanese Bicycle.

Undoubtedly, the C. Itoh you've seen are the entry level models, as they were most common. But they were no worse than a Bridgestone Kabuki Super Speed or a Nishiki Sport. I suspect that part of the reason for the disdain is because the examples you saw were in such poor condition. The less expensive the bicycle, the less likely the owner was to take care of it. I saw the same phenomena with CCM Targas, Peugeot AO8s, Raleigh Records, etc.

The bottom line line is that for a given price the C. Itoh were comparable to their competition, particularly Japanese made models and especially Bridgestone/Kabuki. They don't deserve the reputation they have, as they were no worse than other brands of the era.
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Old 11-30-10, 08:44 AM
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The only C. Itohs I ever saw had the "one-piece head tube lugs-casting" affair. Even with my limited exposure to quality bikes in 1972, when I was riding a U-08, C. Itoh's stuck out like a sore thumb.
I didn't realize they ever made in an "upper range".
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Old 11-30-10, 09:21 AM
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My Bridgestone Kabuki Submariner isn't so bad. In fact, I kind of like it.

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