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Sekai Bicycle Database

Old 01-04-12, 10:43 AM
  #51  
sekaijin
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Thank you RaleighSport for starting this thread!

Very glad to see it. I am a latecomer, as I've been AWOL from BF for a few months.

I got into road cycling and C&V restoration (and found my way to BF) a few years ago thanks to a lucky-find Sekai 5000 freebie.

Here is the "Dumpster Bike's Revenge" post I made a while back, with whatever research and links I found about the Sekai 5000:

Dumpster Bike's Revenge


If living well is the best revenge, I hope this bike is happy.

Summer of 2006, I rescued this 1977 Sekai 5000 Superlite from death by dumpster. (story here)

I spent the winter restoring it, and doing a little research too.


================================================


Sekai was a small bike brand of the 70s and 80s, founded in Seattle by the one of the Tamura brothers, of the same family that owned several Seattle bike stores including Velo Bike Shop, which is still open.

“Sekai” means “the world,” “society,” or “the universe.”

The 5000 Superlite was Sekai’s top of the line racer. It seems to be quite rare (I haven’t come across another anywhere), probably because 1) it was hand-built in Japan at a rate of only 6 per month; and 2) the extremely thin tubing made it lightweight but very damage-prone.


The tubing is Tange Professional 0.6 x 0.3. It’s so thin, it squishes between your fingers and dents easily. Mine has various dings and a replacement rear dropout due to a crash or workstand clamp damage. I suppose it would be worth a lot if it weren’t so battered.



Gary Fisher tested the Sekai 5000 for Bicycling! magazine's February 1977 issue. He gave it a grudgingly favorable review (p.1, p.2, p.3), despite being put off by the thin tubing:

"After the tube-pressing demonstration I was afraid to let it all hang out. But I found good design has eliminated most of the problems inherent in this light a frame. The tight rear triangle [16 inch chainstay] and heavier down tube [0.8 x 0.5] have minimized bottom bracket flex, and the bike gives good response when the rider is thrashing away in large gears. The shallow head angle [72 degrees] eliminates that uneasy feeling at high speeds.... While I wouldn't recommend this frame to anyone but the most super-careful, weight-conscious cyclist, I certainly liked it."




Sekai sold the 5000 Superlite to dealers as a frameset only, so there is no official original build. This bike remains almost completely in “time capsule” condition as originally built at Yellow Jersey in Madison, Wisconsin. I replaced the saddle, tires, bar tape, brake pads, toeclip straps, and some cables and housings. I also rebuilt the crankset with period-correct TA chainrings (going from 49/40/28 to 52/38).



I also added this period-correct TA bottle cage (thanks Iowegian and intron!).



The Tange Levin headset was advertised as a component you "can't distinguish from Campy at 2 feet." Seems like everybody felt they had to sell against Campy.



Weyless marketed these cartridge-bearing hubs as "over 3 1/2 ounces lighter” than Campy in a 2-page photo spread ad campaign. They are laced to Fiamme Ergal yellow label tubular rims.



The seatpost and pedals are also Weyless.



The pedals look like Suntour Superbes but are apparently an earlier Bill Shook design that inspired the Suntour Superbe. They have Afa Christophe chromed toe clips.



This TA Cyclotouriste 52 tooth outer chainring is size-stamped on both sides. On the outer side, the size stamp is superimposed on the TA brand stamp. I like to think of this goof as a rare curiosity, like the famous postage stamp with the airplane flying upside down.


================================================


Thank you to Iowegian and intron (again) for answering my iso/wtb postings, and sending me the vintage bottle cage and clamps. Also to Don Gillies for the Sekai catalog flyer; to Steve Kurt for the Bicycling! article; and to many BikeForums members for restoration and wrenching advice.
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Old 01-04-12, 10:46 AM
  #52  
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Gorgeous! I've seen it before though... who woulda thought the Sekai obsessed on BF might have seen your thread There's actually a 4000 available in my area right now, but I'd have to cut off my shins to ride it.

Do you mind me asking how it rides and how big of a person you are?
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Old 01-05-12, 06:42 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
Do you mind me asking how it rides and how big of a person you are?
I am 5'8" and 140 lbs., so a bike like this is a good match for my build.

How it rides ... well I've never had a talent to describe the ride of a bike like a fine wine, but I'll try. I find it a pleasure to ride because it fits me right and it's a bike I love, but objectively I might raise a couple issues. Its light weight (19.75 lbs original build) makes it very responsive - maybe too much, it is almost twitchy in front, but I may have made that worse by installing a short-reach stem to fit me better.

I concur with Gary Fisher's February 1977 Bicycling review that the frame is a bit flexy. Mashing a climb, I can get chain rub on the FD cage from the rear triangle flexing.

Hard to say how these quibbles would map to a 4000, which has slightly more robust tubing and what I'm describing may speak more to the build. Plus, my bike had frame damage repaired (a rear dropout and seatstay & chainstay tube ends replaced) so who knows.
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Old 01-10-12, 03:26 AM
  #54  
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Just came across this intriguing Craigslist post:
http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/bik/2791183325.html
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Old 01-10-12, 12:14 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
Just came across this intriguing Craigslist post:
http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/bik/2791183325.html
LoL it might be worth checking if you want a Sekai mtb, but don't get your hopes up.. there's lots of things that could be a bad spelling of.
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Old 01-10-12, 10:52 PM
  #56  
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I have the 1977 SEKAI catalog. My first really good bike was a 1977 SEKAI Grandtour 2500. In this year (and I think this year only) it was the perfect combination of "Flame Red" paint and black anodized parts. In 1978 the head badge changed from "swirly blue" to "fluted".

Here is my archive of EBay auction captures. It includes 3 pages from my 1977 catalog. Unfortunately, the page with the 2500 specs was cut out, and this also damaged some of the 4000 specs on the back.

http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~gillies/sekai

Here are some of the SEKAI-branded accessories
- SEKAI Frisbee with every bike (still have mine, yellow and says, "SEKAI")
- SEKAI water bottle
- SEKAI deluxe 27x1 and 27x1 1/8 tires
- SEKAI tubular tires (green label, seen on a 4000 two weeks ago)
- SEKAI saddle (elina super pro), in suede (2700) or smooth (2500) vinyl.


- Don Gillies
Owner of 2 x SEKAI 4000's.
San Diego, CA, USA
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Old 01-11-12, 06:41 AM
  #57  
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Hi Don! Thanks for checking in and for sharing your expertise. One thing I've wondered about the 1975 catalog is, are the 4000 and 5000 photos reversed. They look that way, when you compare them to the descriptions of what is chromed.
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Old 01-11-12, 12:15 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by systemBuilder View Post
I have the 1977 SEKAI catalog. My first really good bike was a 1977 SEKAI Grandtour 2500. In this year (and I think this year only) it was the perfect combination of "Flame Red" paint and black anodized parts. In 1978 the head badge changed from "swirly blue" to "fluted".

Here is my archive of EBay auction captures. It includes 3 pages from my 1977 catalog. Unfortunately, the page with the 2500 specs was cut out, and this also damaged some of the 4000 specs on the back.

http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~gillies/sekai

Here are some of the SEKAI-branded accessories
- SEKAI Frisbee with every bike (still have mine, yellow and says, "SEKAI")
- SEKAI water bottle
- SEKAI deluxe 27x1 and 27x1 1/8 tires
- SEKAI tubular tires (green label, seen on a 4000 two weeks ago)
- SEKAI saddle (elina super pro), in suede (2700) or smooth (2500) vinyl.


- Don Gillies
Owner of 2 x SEKAI 4000's.
San Diego, CA, USA
You do exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Don for the tons and tons of info you've put out there and I've been able to add to this database! I'll be going through all that shortly here.. and since you do exist, can you tell me was there ever a stock 2400 with the black diacompe brakeset and barcons? We've been trying to help a member date his bike more precisely then a 3 year range.

Edit: Don I'm sure you know, but others might not that there were also, cycling caps, jerseys (Those first two were shop specific), and pumps... that I know of anyhow.
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Old 01-14-12, 09:04 PM
  #59  
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In case you missed it, currently on eBay ...

Vintage 1980 Sekai 4000 Shimano 600 Arabesque Road Bicycle Japan Bike 61cm
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Old 03-24-12, 11:03 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
You do exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Don for the tons and tons of info you've put out there and I've been able to add to this database! I'll be going through all that shortly here.. and since you do exist, can you tell me was there ever a stock 2400 with the black diacompe brakeset and barcons? We've been trying to help a member date his bike more precisely then a 3 year range.

Edit: Don I'm sure you know, but others might not that there were also, cycling caps, jerseys (Those first two were shop specific), and pumps... that I know of anyhow.
I have a stock 2400 Special with the black Dia Compe Brakes but no barcons (has Suntour Powershift ratcheting on downtube). I also have a couple of 2500 Grantour with black Dia Compe brakes & barcons. I can post pics and serial numbers when I have time.
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Old 03-30-12, 02:37 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by rancho66 View Post
I have a stock 2400 Special with the black Dia Compe Brakes but no barcons (has Suntour Powershift ratcheting on downtube). I also have a couple of 2500 Grantour with black Dia Compe brakes & barcons. I can post pics and serial numbers when I have time.
If you'd be interested in listing your components detailed here, and sending me the serials I'll be glad to date them and add them to the modelbase.
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Old 03-30-12, 05:12 PM
  #62  
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This Sekai GT-Deluxe 2700 frame recently found it's way to my home. The poor things fork was run over, but the frame appears to be straight. This is the first time I have seen butted Hi-Ten tubing? The serial # on the BB is 8E90035, and the mesurements are 52X55.5 CC. I plan on building it up with spare parts and a nice Ishiwata fork. If I like it, it will get fresh paint and new decals. Edit: can anyone verify the seatpost size? I am geting 25.4 with my calipers.

Cheers,
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Old 03-30-12, 05:26 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Chris W. View Post
This Sekai GT-Deluxe 2700 frame recently found it's way to my home. The poor things fork was run over, but the frame appears to be straight. This is the first time I have seen butted Hi-Ten tubing? The serial # on the BB is 8E90035, and the mesurements are 52X55.5 CC. I plan on building it up with spare parts and a nice Ishiwata fork. If I like it, it will get fresh paint and new decals. Edit: can anyone verify the seatpost size? I am geting 25.4 with my calipers.

Cheers,
Chris
Wow I'm glad to see the gal found a good home! LoL your bike already has a thread on the site here http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ighlight=sekai and yes the double butted hi ten is quite novel IMO.

As for seatpost, I'll go measure mine. Looks like 25.4 on my twin to your bike.
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Old 03-30-12, 06:20 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
Wow I'm glad to see the gal found a good home! LoL your bike already has a thread on the site here http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ighlight=sekai and yes the double butted hi ten is quite novel IMO.

As for seatpost, I'll go measure mine. Looks like 25.4 on my twin to your bike.
Yup that's the one! Thanks for the seatpost info, helps a bunch
Cheers,
Chris
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Old 04-01-12, 03:20 PM
  #65  
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Chris, are you going to try and match the tan paint with the fork? I'm curious to see how your going to do this.
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Old 04-08-12, 09:39 PM
  #66  
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This is a placeholder: 1984 Sekai 2400





I will get all the info. For now:
Brakes: Diacompe cantilevers (06-83 manufacture date, I think)
Derailleurs: Suntour ARX rear (6 speed) and Suntour 7 front
Cranks: Sutour GT tripple 52-47-34
Pedals: Sakae pedals + ?? brand clips
Handlebars: Sakae
Stem: ???
Rims: ???
Hubs: ???
BB Serial #: forthcoming

...
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Old 04-09-12, 05:21 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
Chris, are you going to try and match the tan paint with the fork? I'm curious to see how your going to do this.
The frame and fork will probably get painted a light green or blue haven't decided yet?

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 04-14-12, 09:07 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
If you'd be interested in listing your components detailed here, and sending me the serials I'll be glad to date them and add them to the modelbase.
Finally got around to taking pictures and getting the Serial # for you RaleighSport. If you need better close up pictures let me know. These bikes have not yet been reconditioned.

Bike #1
1977 Limited 2400 Ser# Y77-1238515
"Butted Tange Tubes High Tensile Throughout" Sticker
Lugs different than to 2500s
26 seat tube diameter
Stamped dropouts
Suntour VGT Luxe Rear Derailleur
" " 7 Front Derailleur
" " Power Shifters on downtube
Suzue small flange hubs w/ Sekai stickers
Araya 27 1/4" Aluminum rims 36h
Sugino Maxy Crankset
Kyokuto Top Run peddles w/clips
SR stem
SR Road Champion Handlebars
Dia Compe black anodized brakecalipers
" " Q/R Levers with gum hoods
Aluminum seat post with Black Nylon Kashimax Saddle
Has the newer head tube decal

BIKE #2

1977 Grandtour 2500 Ser# 77B92754
"Butted Tange Tubes High Tensile Throughout" Sticker
26 seat tube diameter
Forged Suntour GS dropouts with adjusters
Suntour Cyclone Rear Derailleur
" " " " Front Derailleur
" " Bar End Shifters
Shimano 600 small flange hubs w/ oil clip
Super Champion 27 1/4" Aluminum rims 36h
Sugino Maxy Black anodized Crankset
Kyokuto Top Run peddles w/clips
SR stem
SR Road Champion Handlebars
Dia Compe black anodized brakecalipers
" " Q/R Levers with gum hoods
Aluminum Avocet seat post with brown Nylon Kashimax Saddle
Has smaller seat tube decal than other two bikes.
Has the newer head tube decal

Bike#3

1977 Grandtour 2500 Ser# 77B92957
"Butted Tange Tubes High Tensile Throughout" Sticker
26 mm seat tube diameter
Forged Suntour GS dropouts with adjusters
Suntour Cyclone Rear Derailleur
" " " " Front Derailleur
" " Bar End Shifters
Shimano 600 small flange hubs w/ oil clip
Araya 27 1/4" Aluminum rims 36h
Sugino Maxy Black anodized Crankset
Kyokuto Top Run peddles w/clips
SR stem
SR Road Champion Handlebars
Dia Compe black anodized brakecalipers
" " Q/R Levers with gum hoods
Aluminum seat post with brown Nylon Kashimax Saddle
Has the older head tube decal
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Old 05-14-12, 11:07 PM
  #69  
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Hey, I just bought a Sekai touring bike whose model doesn't seem to be anywhere in this great, sweeping post. Here's what I've got:

Sekai Magnum S7
Norco era
Tange #2 Cro-Moly
Chocolate brown paint with a cream head tube
Top mounted downtube shifters (with a protruding square boss underneath it)
Two sets of bottle cage bosses on the top and bottom of the downtube
Nitto stem and Nitto Grand Randonneur drop bars
Sella Italia saddle
Dia Comp canti breaks
SunTour Cyclone M-II drive
Sugino triple crank (not sure what model)
Araya 700C wheels (presta valves, 40 spokes)
Serial number Y4A2789

I'm posting a picture from the CL seller.



You can add all that to the big list. And also, I was hoping someone might know more about this particular bike. Can anyone give me some idea of its year and place in the quality scheme?

Thanks.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:10 AM
  #70  
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I'll post pics of the Sprint I just rehabbed later this evening, too small for me but it rides like a dream.

Serial number IP75053
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Old 05-15-12, 11:37 AM
  #71  
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S7 added to unknown models (for now, I'll check on it later and put it into the hierarchy wherever it's supposed to fit.) And ford that'd be great too.
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Old 05-15-12, 05:50 PM
  #72  
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Here's the Sprint, I believe it's all original except for the tires, cables, housings and bar wrap. I even got the owners manual with this one.











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Old 06-15-12, 02:27 PM
  #73  
RaleighSport 
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That sprint is in very nice shape!
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Old 07-01-12, 11:34 PM
  #74  
sstodvictory
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Sekai 2500 Touring "shed find"

Just retrieved my Sekai 2500 from long storage, after finding this thread. I did a tear down & lube in 1995 and seldom touched it after that, moving it to my shed in 2003 where its been ever since. It looks to be in good condition - should clean up nicely. The price, new in 1989 was $385 in Champaign IL. "2500 Series" is painted in white on both sides of the top tube. On the seat tube is a "Touring" sticker and "Japan 1985" lower down. The green sticker on the fork is "Mangaloy 2001". Everything is original except the seat, brake pads, racks, cateye, a flip stand, and handlebar tape (original was black cloth). My present home is in Cerro Gordo, IL.

- Serial No. Y5C3898
- Paint: black metal flake, silver metal flake on head tube
- 23" (58 cm) Mangaloy frame
- Dia-Compe cantilever brakes
- Sugino GT crankset
- SR SP-11 pedals
- Suntour MounTech derailleurs (10 speed)
- Nitto stem
- Nitto Grand Randonneur 135 handlebar
- Laprade seatpost
- Suzua hubs
- Araya 27" wheel rims
- braze ons for two water bottles and mid-fork for luggage

Steve


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Old 07-05-12, 05:39 PM
  #75  
RaleighSport 
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News: I am slowly puttering my way through the serials I have, and I'm finding two distinct dating patterns the Sekai era and the Norco era, I am going to do a lot more fact checking and then hopefully consult T-mar for some confirmation, but I think soon serial dating will be plausible.
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