Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resurrected by Rattlecan

I see a lot of bikes pass through Bike Works and some of the nicest bikes we see are the Japanese sport-touring bikes from the 1980s. As with many things bicycle, Sheldon Brown has a page about them at:


Sheldon was the fellow who adopted the short-hand term we use to refer to these bikes, UJB or Universal Japanese Bike. A Flicker pool of some of these machines can be seen at:


Cribbing from Sheldon, I've devised a spiel on the virtues of UJBs and I've sold quite a few of the bikes to happy customers. My spiel is pretty convincing, but some times the bikes have seen a lot of use over the decades and the frames are looking pretty rugged. We tend to sell those rougher looking frames at bargain prices to folks on low budgets.

I'm a guy on a low budget and it's a darn convincing spiel. I also tend to say, "yeah, it looks rough now, but a bit of work with some emery paper and Rustoleum and it'll clean right up."

Sometimes you get convinced by your own sales pitch and then you have to see if you really know what you're talking about.

So I bought this Shogun (time will tell if I keep this bike or if it's just another in my ongoing bicycle catch-and-release program). I'd been looking for something to try out the Origin-8 bars on and the Shogun seemed like a good candidate. Version one of the build was wildly ugly with orange grips and a saddle with yellow highlights. But the bike rode great, so this weekend I made a quick run to the hardware store for some paint and masking tape.

The slide show tells the story. With the now classy-looking frame, I decided to go with a more sedate saddle and a basic black tape for the grips. It's the nicest looking bike I've had in quite some time.

Keep 'em rolling,



Marrock said...

Looks sharp, I like how you highlighted the lugs on the frame.

I really like those bars too, good choice.

If you want to release it to the wilds of NJ, let me know. ;)

Dan O said...

These bikes bring back memories for me. My bike shop days ran from '81 - '84 or so.

I built up many new bikes from Miyata, Nishiki and Univega. Cool lugged steel bikes at that time.

If I ever found a really clean Miyata Pro from that era, would probably go for it. Blue paint, gold panels, Shimano 600 - yes, I can see it now....

Cafn8 said...

That is a nice looking machine.

My first bike specifically for commuting is a late '80s Panasonic sport bike. It's not high end, but continues to impress me with its ability to do practical things well. It's smooth, comfortable and has rack and fender mounts as well as lots of clearance for wider tires. It was $25 used on craigslist.

Sadly, it needs a new wheelset after damage sustained avoiding the side of an errant minivan. Wilds of NJ indeed.

Chaty said...

Nice work. I wish I had talent for that. Very nice.

Velomann said...

I have a great fondness for the 80's japanese bikes-good value in solid frames with more than decent components.

My daily commuter is an '86 Nishiki touring bike with cantis and a full arsenal of braze-ons.

My wife's bike is an '85 Bridgestone T-700 touring bike, similarly outfitted. Came stock with 40-spoke rear wheel and spiffy spoke chainguard.

My son rides an 80-something Japanese made Bianchi with moustache bars.

My trailer-hauling bike is an 86 Miyata Terra Runner; a triple-butted lugged Japanese mtb.

All are great rides
pics found here:

Anonymous said...

Kent, I think Sheldon was cribbing there...the original acronym was "UJM" for Universal Japanese Motorcycle, coined early to mid-70s by Cook Nielsen or Phil Schilling at Cycle magazine.

mike c said...

You could finish it off with a "Resurrectio" deval from Riv:


Dan O said...

Being a recovering motorcyclist - the UJM tag has been around for a long, long time.

If interested, some pics of my '84 Miyata Ridge Runner: