« 2010年4月 | トップページ | 2010年6月 »


2010年5月29日 (土)

BE Tires


As I mentioned in the previous English post, the world famous rim manufacturer Araya discontinued production of its BE (Beaded Edge) rims and consequently dropped them from their product line-up.  It may be hard to find Japanese produced BE rims now, but BE tires can still be found in limited sizes.  I have been unable to find the sizes at the far ends of the spectrum, ie 26x 1" 1/4 (used on high end sports models) and 26x2"or wider (used on heavy duty carrier cycles).

Luckily, the most common size 26x1" 3/8 (utility cycle) and 26x1" 3/4 (light carrier cycles) can still be obtained in Japan, though it doesn't necessarily mean they are "produced" in Japan. Sorry the links below are all Japanese sites.

1.BE Tires (1)
2.BE Tires (2)
3.BE Tires (3)
4.BE Tires (4)

BE tires were one of the first mass produced tire designs and rely on air pressure to hold the tire bead in place and remain on the rim; as opposed to WO (wired-on) tires which have a metal wire that keeps the bead in place.

Beaded Edge Tire (BE)
Note how the tire wraps completely around the tube and relies on air pressure to keep the tire bead seated in the rim.  Since the tube is totally encased in the tire a hole must be cut in the outer edge of both sides of the the tire for the valve stem.  This is done using a special tool.)

Wired-On Tire (W/O)
Note the bead of the tire is wired and keeps the bead seated.

Old tires are interesting in that the manufacturer's name is molded not only into the sidewalls but also into the tire tread. 
(Note the words THE MARUKA TYRE on the tread in photo below.)Img_9300_3

Below is a photo taken from a 1958 parts catalog. Each of the tires has the manufacturer's name molded into the tread.

Note the tire tread reads: "THE BULL DOG TYRE" in English and in Japanese along with the bull dog logo.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the pneumatic bicycle tire is indeed a marvelous invention   In comparison to solid rubber tires, it not only provides superior shock absorption, but reduces weight.  Who invented the pneumatic bicycle tire?

John Boyd Dunlop (1841-1921)

John Boyd Dunlop (1841-1921) is often thought to be the inventor of the pneumatic bicycle tire. The "necessity" for Dunlop to invent the pneumatic bicycle tire was that his son suffered from headaches as a result of riding his tricyle.  Dunlop obtained a patent in 1888; however, the patent was later retracted as a fellow Scot Robert William Thomson (1822-1873) had patented a pneumatic tire nearly 40 years earlier! Thomson's design was quite clever consisting of several air filled tubes packed into a leather casing (tire). Unlike Dunlop's design where a single pucture renders a tire tube flat, with Thomson's design one could still carry on as each tube is independent.


Dunlop used to manufacture bicycle tires.  Below is an actual example of a BE tire with "THE DUNLOP TYRE" molded into the tread, and Mr. Dunlop's image on the sidewall.  Note the wide strips of rubber on the outer edges where, as previously mentioned, a hole needs to be cut to allow the valve stem to pass through the tire.   



Here is a example with Mr Dunlop's image molded into the tread.


I'm always amazed at old parts as they never fail to bear the manufacturer's name and or logo, often more than once on a single part.  BE tires are a good example, on both sidewalls and molded into the tread, sometimes in both Japanese and English.

Next week will be the Japanese version of this post. I'll be back soon with another English post, until then "stay trued and happy wheels".

2010年5月21日 (金)


I'll be back with another English post soon, until then stay trued and happy wheels.

( レストア前の英隆自転車)



去年まで、 アラヤは当時の仕様と同様のステーンレス BEリムを製作していました。 



1964年までBE(Beaded Edge=引掛式)タイヤの生産率が高かったが、それ以降はWOタイヤの軽さとリムへの取り付け、取り外しの簡単さに負けたため生産が減って行く一方。


26x 1" 1/4 (軽快車)
26x 1" 3/8 (実用車)
26x 1" 3/4 (軽運搬車)
26x 2"       (重運搬車)



丸嘉 Maruka 社ロゴ入りBEリム。
バルブの本に「Araya RIM 26x1 3/8」と刻印。





宮田自転車 (黒いセンターライン注目)(写真はS-さん)


石塚 緑太いセンターラインに細い金引き線



2010年5月15日 (土)

Finding BE Rims Just Got Tougher


When acquiring a "project bicycle" for restoration, chances are it will be in rough shape.
(This is a photo of Eiryu bicycle prior to restoration)

In the good old days rims where chrome plated much like chrome wheels today seen on high-end motorcycles or automobiles.  However, in the majority of cases the chrome will have rusted beyond restoration.

Even if the chrome is still there, typically the pads from the stirrup brakes will have worn through the chrome exposing the bare metal.P1040510

So most of the time the rims have to be replaced.  Finding a good pair of NOS (new old stock) chrome plated beaded edge rims is not easy.  However, until last year one could resort to purchasing a pair of stainless steel beaded edge rims from Araya
Not anymore.

I checked Araya's homepage recently and noticed that BE rims were missing from the product lineup.  I contacted Araya and discoved, much to my dismay, that the company dropped BE rims from their lineup and have discontinued production. 

Now Araya is known worldwide for its rims.  It began manufacturing wooden rims in 1903 and metal rims in 1914.  Since the first metal rims were beaded edge one can estimate that Araya's beaded edge rim manufacturing spanned about 95 years.

I did a little research and discovered that up until 1965 beaded edge rims were the most produced type of rim in Japan. Thereafter, the wired-on (WO) type of rim surpassed BE rim production.  Wired on tires were lighter weight and easier to change.

As noted in the diagram below BE tires completely encased the tire tube and rely on air pressure to keep the tire bead seated.  WO tires rely on a wire to keep the tire bead seated. 

Basically, the four most popular sizes for adult full-size bicycles were:
26x 1" 1/4 (High end sports models)
26x 1" 3/8 (Basic utility model) Most common.
26x 1" 3/4 (Light carrier model)
26x 2"        (Heavy duty carrier model)

Apart from the overall condition of the chrome and size, there are two other main things to look for when searching for a good pair of NOS (New Old Stock) rims:  company or model logo and center lines.

(1)Company or model logo marks
Many of the old rims were manufactured with the bicycle company's logo which can be found between the first and second spoke hole on both sides of the valve stem.

Here is an example of a rim with the Maruka company logo.  Note that just below the valve stem is the manufacturer's stamp Araya.

Nichibei Fuji


Mizutani Ringyo

(2)Center Lines

Miyata (Note the black center line)

Araya (Black center line with gold trim)Dsc07385

Ishizuka (Green center line with gold trim)

Don't see much chrome on bicycles today. But 50+ years ago there were lots of chrome.  BE chrome rims add a nice touch.Img_9262_2Img_9271

Special thanks to S-san for sending in some of the photos for this post.
Next post will be the Japanese version of this one.  I'll be back with another English post soon, until then stay trued and happy wheels.

2010年5月 9日 (日)

100,000アクセス 【記念ビデオ】

I'll be back with a new post in English soon, until then "stay trued and happy wheels!"





2010年5月 2日 (日)

In commemoration of 100,000 hits. (New Video)


First I would like to thank all the people both in Japan and overseas for their emails and kind words of praise regarding the recent restoration video Trash to Treasure posted on YouTube.  If you haven't received a reply please be patient, I promise I will get back to you.

When I started this blog two years ago, I thought I would be lucky to get a hundred hits a year.  I receive more than that a day and keeping up with the emails is becoming time consuming.  The reason for starting this blog was that I could not find information on vintage Japanese bicycles from the 1950's.  I could not believe it as the quality and craftsmanship is unsurpassed.  The fact that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has undertaken the task of compiling a book in praise of these wonderful works of both form and function is beyond me. 

To commemorate the 100,000 milestone I have assembled a short video which I hope will be the first in a series with the aim of showing people that, back in the 1950's a bicycle in Japan was a prized possession, cost two month's salary or more, built to last a lifetime, and, a work of art in both form and function.

Vintage Japanese Bicycle Introduction (Part 1)

« 2010年4月 | トップページ | 2010年6月 »