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:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/japan.html


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:

http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne?id=73762281@N00&format=rss_200

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,

Kent
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