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Thread: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

  1. #21
    Craven Moorehead's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    honestly? japan never properly evolved from a high growth export driven economy into one which would be able to expand by more rationally focusing on slower internal growth once their exports got too expensive and/or the bubble burst. same thing'll happen to china...wallowing in economic stagnation kills your bike industry imho.
    agree, but japan's demographic nightmare has made it difficult/impossible to foment any internal demand growth

  2. #22
    siestabikes is offline Pack Filler
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    both my Rivendells, Atlantis and Rambouillet, were made in Japan....very fine machines indeed

  3. #23
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Japanese brands have done a pretty good job of holding on to some of the segments of the parts supplier market.

    Shimano makes a lot of stuff outside of Japan, for the obvious reason that it's important for OEM parts makers
    to be able to supply frame makers with parts in the most efficient manner, which means having close ties
    to China, Taiwan, and the other places making most of the frames these days.

    On the other side, it's great to see Nitto, Sugino, Hatta, MKS, HKK, Izumi, etc still around, definitely helped
    by the NJS crowd.

    g

  4. #24
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Maruishi did actually make their own bicycles at one time. The company started out around 1920's or so . I actually owned a nice Maruishi in the early 80's when I was a student in Japan. At 270 yen to the dollar, the Japanese stuff was great. The company finally went out of business in 2004 over an accounting scandal.

    Bridgestone and Panasonic had a real chance in the late 80's but after the bubble burst in the early 90's, firms just had to retrench and cut lines to survive. The high end stuff went and the japanese just focused on importing cheap taiwanese/chinese bikes to the domestic market. (the momma-san chariot)
    Cyclelicious Mamachari blog

    The keirin crowd is really associated with gambling in Japan and is just considered seedy. Go to a OTB and you will get the picture in an instant. In the 90's, the younger crowd always lusted over the colnagos and Derosas.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    A minute or two into this YouTube you'll see a builders shop that looks like many a VS member shop.

    Keirin TV Show 4 (Building an NJS frame) - YouTube

    I'm convinced that many a brand name Japanese bike like Panasonic, Anchor, etc are quality lugged frames. Production frames? Ok. But what I can get from them is: Lugs, Round Tubes, Level Top Tube, 59 ST CTT, 57 TT CTC.
    To get that here, I have to go custom or get NOS/used E-bay/Craigslist. NJS trickles into Japanese road frames.
    Long live classic frames, forks, and bars.
    Jeff

  6. #26
    Chris is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    honestly? japan never properly evolved from a high growth export driven economy into one which would be able to expand by more rationally focusing on slower internal growth once their exports got too expensive and/or the bubble burst. same thing'll happen to china...wallowing in economic stagnation kills your bike industry imho.
    Oh is that so?

    Chris

  7. #27
    j44ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawker View Post
    Someone posted here in another thread a couple of weeks ago a reminder that they are still available via Yellow Jersey, the Madison, Wis. bike shop. Yellow Jersey has some nice photos of their demountable (take-apart) frame on their website.
    Yep. In bottle-fly green.

    I had a Miyata 914 steel frame back in the 1980's that I rode everywhere. I put original American Classic hubs/seatpost/water bottle cages on it. Reasonably light but very nice riding bike. Splined triple butted tubing written on the top tube. I still have the water bottle cages somewhere! I see Koga-Miyata show up periodically, and they sponsored a pro team in Europe a while back, yes? So they are likely still around.

  8. #28
    Moke is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Every year the Oahu Century ride gets about 2,000 Japanese Nationals to come over and ride. Sort of like our marathon I guess it is a bucket list/honor to get the 100 mile T shirt. No matter how crappy of shape or how crappy of a bike you have they show up and ride. Bridgestone is marketed as Anchor (heck of a name for a bike) and makes some crackerjack carbon and beautiful steel frames. Koga-Mitata has a good following, as do all the name Keirin makers . Most produce some pretty road bikes. Like others say, the bikes are there but they just don't export much.
    I usually work the tech support at an aid station and get to see all the nice bikes parked by our truck. There are some totally sweet ones there. It is sort of like a Japanese flavored NAHBS, It sure is fun looking. Then the later riders are a disaster. Why you would select a 50 lb folding bike with 20 inch wheels to do a century is beyond me, or spend $5K plus on a trip and bring a bike that barely works is just crazy thinking.
    One other cool thread drift factoid is the Japanese pack a bike neater than anyone. A lot of the local biker dudes help assemble their bikes at their hotel. Each box is like Christmas. The pedals each wrapped in paper, sometimes in boxes, and taped, every cm of the bike covered with wrapping paper, nothing out of order, corners folded, placed in the box with love. Someone in Japan must make a fortune wrapping bikes for travel. Then they must think we are idiots as we repack them American style, lots of bubble wrap, and stuck in the box. Safe, but not a thing of beauty

  9. #29
    zetroc is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    siestabikes is on a bumpathon, it seems.

    Japan is no longer the land of cheap bicycle fabrication - that honor now belongs to Taiwan and/or China.
    steve cortez

    FNG

  10. #30
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moke View Post
    One other cool thread drift factoid is the Japanese pack a bike neater than anyone. A lot of the local biker dudes help assemble their bikes at their hotel. Each box is like Christmas. The pedals each wrapped in paper, sometimes in boxes, and taped, every cm of the bike covered with wrapping paper, nothing out of order, corners folded, placed in the box with love. Someone in Japan must make a fortune wrapping bikes for travel. Then they must think we are idiots as we repack them American style, lots of bubble wrap, and stuck in the box. Safe, but not a thing of beauty
    Love the attention to detail, missing from so many elements of life these days.

    -g

  11. #31
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by zetroc View Post
    Japan is no longer the land of cheap bicycle fabrication - that honor now belongs to Taiwan and/or China.
    I remember building up one of the first Chinese-made Schwinns, Schwinn World IIRC. It was a horror story. Writing was on the wall though, I think some of the first Japanese bikes imported into the U.S. were just as bad.



    Quote Originally Posted by zetroc View Post
    siestabikes is on a bumpathon, it seems.
    I hope the vbulletin developers take my suggestion to show the age of posts by turning the background more and more disgusting green so nobody embarrasses themselves by responding to a zombie thread without knowing it. Lots of bumped posts on here recently

  12. #32
    Mabouya is online now VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by EricKeller View Post
    I hope the vbulletin developers take my suggestion to show the age of posts by turning the background more and more disgusting green so nobody embarrasses themselves by responding to a zombie thread without knowing it. Lots of bumped posts on here recently
    Interesting how most of the time the conversation picks up again without missing a beat.

    Personally, I have no problems with resuscitated threads. It's not as if once a topic has been discussed it can never be broached again.

  13. #33
    mbrtool is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    honestly? japan never properly evolved from a high growth export driven economy into one which would be able to expand by more rationally focusing on slower internal growth once their exports got too expensive and/or the bubble burst. same thing'll happen to china...wallowing in economic stagnation kills your bike industry imho.
    I don't believe comparing China's and Japan's exports to the rest of the world is fair. Japan's machine tools, based on accuracy and dependability, are world class. Their automobiles, camera's and PLC's aren't too shabby either. China?.... maybe in a while.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbrtool View Post
    .... maybe in a while.
    I think thats the point, many years ago "made in Japan"s meaning was similar to "made in China" today

  15. #35
    balindamood is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    <sigh>

    Japan had a number of builders/companies which came into their own in the 70's/early 80's. Though there are/were a number of US trade names, the main makers as I can recall included:

    Matsushita (Panasonic/National to include a number of Schwinns)
    Bridgestone (Kabuki, some Schwinns, and 1986 Trek 300.310's)
    Tsunda (Lotus)
    Kuwamara (Kuwahara, some Nishiki's, others)
    Fuji
    Miyata (Univega, several others)
    Mariushi
    Araya
    Toyo
    SR (not the same as Sakae Ringyo)

    Many of these, if not all still make bikes for the local market. Azuki, Nishiki, Centurion, Diamondback, some Bianchi's, Shogun, Specialized, Takara all came from the above.

    The small/specialty builders (Nagasawa, Zunlow, Toei, and 3Rensho) are still around as well, alothough I think 3Rensho is now gone since Mr. Kono's auto accident.

    The US devaluation of the Yen happend around 1986. The Yen wen from about 220Y to the buck to about 130Y in a year (it is not a bit below 100). It killed the margins, and sourcing was shifted to Tiawan in droves (including Shimano). By 1991, about the only bikes comming from Japan were Bridgestones, and they pulled in '94.

    The fact is that the Japanese still make some very fine bicycles. If you want one, you are going to have to seek them out, because the dollar/yen thing is too screwed up to import them profitably, and all of the name brands have moved to Tiawan, and now China. Frankly, you can get just as fine a frame from the US these days for the cost of a Japanese frame.

  16. #36
    DougS's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    is THIS where i complain about rapha?
    low is pro
    long is strong

  17. #37
    j44ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougS View Post
    is THIS where i complain about rapha?
    Yes. And no.

  18. #38
    962's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk
    honestly? japan never properly evolved from a high growth export driven economy into one which would be able to expand by more rationally focusing on slower internal growth once their exports got too expensive and/or the bubble burst. same thing'll happen to china...wallowing in economic stagnation kills your bike industry imho.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Oh is that so?
    Jerk, you've met your match: Who Is IOZ?: What's This Day of Rest Shit?

    Or is that you?

  19. #39
    Fixed's Avatar
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Most Japanese are looking for shibumi
    In a bike IMHO
    Cheers
    I love bike racing

  20. #40
    blasdelf is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: whatever happened to japanese bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    Shimano makes a lot of stuff outside of Japan, for the obvious reason that it's important for OEM parts makers
    to be able to supply frame makers with parts in the most efficient manner, which means having close ties
    to China, Taiwan, and the other places making most of the frames these days.
    Some of the stuff is actually outsourced, for instance chains are made by KMC and cables / housing / brake pads are made by Yokozuna, I know that for both of those the products they OEM for Shimano are very well differentiated from what they offer independently.

    But for Shimano's specialty forging stuff I'm pretty damn sure they own the means of production, all the forges and everything. Maybe the building is technically owned by a contractor that employs the grunts, but that's just the cost of doing business (especially in mainland china). For a lot of the high-end stuff it's all still completely in house in Japan.

    They ain't SRAM they're "people who actually make their own shit"

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