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Name that vintage touring bike

Old 05-10-11, 02:56 PM
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balindamood 
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Name that vintage touring bike

A mystery. My bets are Nishiki or Takara, but can find no proof. What I have is:

Lugged Champion No.5 PG frame with three bottle mounts, and full rack mounts F/R and threaded fender mounts in rear, no chrome
Diacomp 981 brakes
Suntour ARX derailuers with top of the down tube mount shifters
Std. SR stem/rando bars
Serial # HE87496
Cream color with burgundy head tube
Forged Suntour dropouts
Sugino GT triple cranks
Suzue LF 36H hubs laced to Araya non-hoked bead alloy rims, 5-speed suntour freewheel
Hatta headset

No stickers at all (or sign it ever had any).

Suntour derailuers are date coded ZC (1983 vintage) and the brakes are 5583 (1983).

It is a darn nice 1984ish bike sans the PG tubes.

Pictures:













I am beginning to wonder if it is a custom of some sort. The rack bosses on the seat stays are way out of alignment (5th photo) the right is toed 10 degrees in, the left is 10-degrees toed-out; almost like they put them on the wrong side.

Thanks!!
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Old 05-10-11, 03:05 PM
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It seems like just about every Japanese mfg had a canti-equipped touring bike in the early 80s: Shogun, Miyata, Univega, Panasonic/Schwinn, Nishiki, Takara, Fuji. But I'll be only a couple used Tange Champion no. 5 tubing. The last bike I had with that tubing was a Sekai (though it wasn't a tourer).

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Old 05-10-11, 03:10 PM
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What is odd to me is the number of brase-ons and drop-outs are inconsistant with a lower lever bike (usually the lower the cost, the fewer the brase-ons, especialy with touring bikes). This one has it all, including the more pricey 981 canti's, but the tubing. Why? Must have been built for armagedon.
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Old 05-10-11, 03:58 PM
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Looks as if #5 is likely seamless CrMo that is strait gauge (unbutted) 0.9mm tubing. Is it a 26.6mm seatpost? If it is not Hi-tensile, it might actualy be a decent quality (but heavy) frame.The thick tubing might have been a "feature" intended for adding stiffness to a loaded touring bike. If you are hauling 40lbs of gear in panneers, the extra weight of the frame would be inconsequential but the extra stiffness would be much appreciated. I did a loaded tour on butted 531 frame years ago, I could easily shake the bike and make make the frame wiggle like a limp noodle when it was loaded, rather unnerving.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:27 PM
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Seat post is a Sugino 26.4. I am thinking the heavier frame is a good thing for loaded touring, but this beast is inconsistant with all other things I can find coming from Japan in 1984. The PG stuff generally had few if any brase-ons. Tha is why I am rather curius about it. It does have Hi-Ten fork.
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Old 05-10-11, 11:33 PM
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Pictures added above.
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Old 05-11-11, 05:05 AM
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+1 Champion 5 tended to go on lower end bikes. I have never seen a touring bike built out of that tubing, I have always seen higher grades of tubing.

There's a separate thread on Nishiki serial numbers, but I do not think this is a Nishiki.
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Old 05-11-11, 10:26 AM
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At this point, I do not think it is a 1984 Nishiki, Centurion, Fuji, Panasonic, Univega, Sekai, shogun or Miyata. I am not sure about Takara or KHS. I am beginning to suspect that it may be a 1970's bike that was "upgraded" 1984. The lugs and wheels seem older than the drivetrain and brakes.
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Old 05-11-11, 02:43 PM
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It's a neat frame, whatever it is.
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Old 05-11-11, 06:34 PM
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I don't think a 1970's frame would have that braze-on on the top of the down tube for those Suntour Symmetric shifters. Didn't those Symmetrics debut in the 1980's?

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Old 05-11-11, 06:53 PM
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^ Yup, those symmetric shifters are very 80s.

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Old 05-11-11, 07:12 PM
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The dropouts fore and aft have only one set of eyelets. Maybe that could've been gotten away with on a secondary level touring rig.

Centurion bikes have that head tube panel painted a different color. Perhaps a early Elite GT or a predecessor to it?

Or, with the tubing stickers being the only survivors, maybe it is a touring effort by a lessor manufacturer who had really cheap decals with their name and model on them.

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Old 05-11-11, 09:11 PM
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I thought about an Elite GT, but they came out in '84 and this is not one. All period Japanese touring bikes of that period that I can find any details on all have butted tubes. The lugwork looks like it is out of the 70's, but I agree about the symetric shifter mount. Maybe a Marushi? Maybe T-Mar will check in sometime and look at this thread.
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Old 05-11-11, 09:15 PM
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The fork low rider mounts became available,, 1982,83-ish. Looks like a wide range triple crankset instead of the once popular half step plus granny crankset. I'd say its not a Centurion Pro Tour,nor a Raleigh, Schwinn or Peugeot. No headbadge remains? Chris
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Old 05-11-11, 09:23 PM
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No sign of it ever having decals. I do not know why someone would bother with the serial number if it were a custom job. It definately seems Japanese, but it may be early Tiawan.
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Old 05-11-11, 09:36 PM
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I, too, thought about Maryuishi. Probably not SR.
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Old 05-11-11, 09:41 PM
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Could be early Taiwan, I suppose, but it has all the hallmarks of early-mid Japanese. All the braze-ons point to about 1983-1985. And the lugset, dropouts, and all the little brazed-on bits like RD cable stop and brake cable guides seem to be Tange. The only weird braze ons are the low rider mounts, which do not seem typical for early 80s Tange. Are you sure the DOs are Suntour? They look just like Tange DOs, but maybe they are similar enough that I just can't discern the differences.

Both of my Shoguns had the identical rack mounts on the inside face of the seatstays (and they weren't aligned well, either!), and my 1984 1500 had the same M5 threaded fork crown hole (which is too small to take a brake bolt, which is not needed with the cantis anyway). The threaded fender bosses on the bridges are a really nice touch, and my 1985 Shogun 2000 had them, but my 1500 did not. The 1500 had the same glued-on polished chainstay protector, but the 2000 did not. Both models had Tange 2 DB main tubes (9/6/9), and took 26.8 seat posts. Neither bike had the nice rear dropout adjusters.

Strange that it has a Hatta headset-- both my Shoguns had Tange headsets.

So, it's a strange specimen you have, for sure! For what it's worth, I've always thought that my Shoguns bore an uncanny resemblance to Kuwaharas, so I sort of assumed they were built by them and given Shogun serial #s.

It would be interesting to see what your bare frame and fork weigh. Both of my Shogun frames weighed in at about 5.5-6 lb for the frame alone, and 2 lb for the fork.

Those Suzue hubs are sealed cartridge hubs, right? The ones I had spun so smoothly...
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Old 05-12-11, 12:54 AM
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I did an initital look at Kuwaharas, and have not found anything similar, though there is not alot of info on them. The hubs are the standard non-sealed version. I think you are correct about the dropouts. I have scraped the paint off of them and do not see the standard Suntour markings. The rear (single) eyelets are also a bit different than what I am used to seeing on Suntours and Shimanos.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:36 AM
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Comparing to this bike at;
http://luxlow.com/uncategorized/terr...road-bike-450/
There are a few intriguing similarities (but yours is probably older and more setup for loaded touring). Might be that your bike was also sold as a house-brand bike by a shop (or unbranded) rather than as an established brand.
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Old 05-12-11, 02:22 AM
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Dropouts are similar. Spec level looks the same. The lugs are different, and my bike never had a riveted-headbadge. Dunno. If I could just find a brand that the serial number sequence matched, then I might know where to look.
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Old 05-12-11, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
I did an initital look at Kuwaharas, and have not found anything similar, though there is not alot of info on them. The hubs are the standard non-sealed version. I think you are correct about the dropouts. I have scraped the paint off of them and do not see the standard Suntour markings. The rear (single) eyelets are also a bit different than what I am used to seeing on Suntours and Shimanos.
I have an early 80s Tange catalog. There are about 3-4 different forged DO options in the catalog, and yours matches one of them. The rears should be unmarked, and the fronts should be marked "Tange XX", xx being a two-letter code. It's cast in the DO along where the skewer binds.

The reason I suspect my Shoguns were made by Kuwahara is that I once saw a Nishika tourer whose frame was a dead ringer for one of my Shoguns-- in just about every possible way, and it had a "made by Kuwahara" sticker on it.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:40 AM
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The thing that I cannot match, with ANY 1984 Japanese bike, are the lugs. The lug work looks like nearly every production level bike out of Japan up to about 1980. They seemed to evolve after that to the shorter, thinner lugs which we are all familiar with, but these are the older, thicker longer ones. I think the reason the seat-stay rack mounts are off is that they were put on AFTER the rear triangle was brased (that is the only reason I can figure for their off-centerness). I cannot believe that any of the major Japanese maunfactureres would do something so pedestrian as late as 1984. If it was a garage-style custom, why the production type serial number clearly stamped in a production-like manner?

This bike is simply dumbfounding. I cannot even decide to build it up or get it re-painted.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:44 AM
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Those colors scream Centurion, but we've already ruled that out, right?
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Old 05-12-11, 10:44 AM
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Maruishi had similar head tube paneling in that era, but they typically used generic tubing decals, and the fork crown would have kangaroos engraved on it. Here are some Maruishi catalog pages, I think from 1984. Your rig is similar to the TA15.
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Old 05-12-11, 11:53 AM
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Your rig is similar to the TA15.
Braze-ons, tubing, lugs, and components don;t match. I have ruled out Maruishi. I am not trying to research SR, and on an outside chance, maybe an Araya (though they usually did a much better lug-job than this).
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