英語の記事 (Postings in English)

2021年7月 2日 (金)

Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo)Part 1

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

As was the case in the previous two posts, "Mayam Fender Ornament" and "Moon Phoenix Fender Ornament", we shall examine another fender ornament.

Here is a Maruishi fender ornament.
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Maruishi used the kangaroo as its symbol.
Maruishi-kangaroo
 
But why a kangaroo?
I have yet to uncover creditable information on the specific reason why; however, here is my hypothesis.
In 1884 Hillman Herbert & Cooper, a company in Coventry England, made a dwarf ordinary and named it the Kangaroo. 

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(Photo property of ONLINE BICYCLE MUSEUM)

In 1892 the company changed its name to Premier Cycle Co. Ltd., but retained the kangaroo as its logo.  Now, Maruishi Shokai's roots date back to 1907.  The company manufactured Premier models using a kangaroo as its trademark. Thus, I surmise that at some point in the early part of Maruishi's long history it likely dealt with Premier Cycle Co., as both companies use a similar kangaroo standing erect.

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(Photo property of ONLINE BICYCLE MUSEUM)

Feast your eyes on the following photos from T-san of his outstanding Maruishi Co., Premier.  Typical of the bicycles produced in Japan in the early to mid-1950s, it is literally loaded with the company's trademark, kangaroos!
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A great big thank you goes out to T-san, again, for sharing his photos with us.
If you have any information pertaining to Premier Cycle Co. Ltd., or the origin of the Maruishi kangaroo, kindly contact me 
showajitensha@hotmail.co.jp

2021年6月 4日 (金)

Moon Phoenix Fender Ornament

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。 

As mentioned in the previous postthe design of fender ornaments varied depending on the manufacturer and even from model to model

Here is a rather large, unique  and somewhat mysterious fender ornament.  
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It reads "Tsuki-Kirin Bicycle".  In Japanese "tsuki" is "moon" and "kirin" is "giraffe" so a literal translation would be "Moon-Giraffe".  However, kirin can also refer to a Chinese mythical creature, the same one which appears on the infamous Kirin Beer label.  So, a closer translation would be "Moon-Kirin". 

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Note in the above photo there is a crescent moon on the left and what appears to be a phoenix on the right.
Although the Chinese mythical creature does have wings and flies, it is said to be a hooved animal.
Thus, judging by these emblems, Moon-Phoenix may be a better rendition.

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On a final note, I did uncover a bicycle from the early 1950s of the same name, "Tsuki-Kirin" whose trademark is shown below, and, depicts both a moon and the Chinese mythical hooved creature.

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The above trademark makes sense. But, why the phoenix on the fender ornament? It is mystery to me, any help would be appreciated.

2021年5月 7日 (金)

Mayam Fender Ornament

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。 

 Vintage Japanese bicycles have many features, but certainly one of the most distinctive is the ever-prominent fender ornament.  The design of these emblems varied depending on the manufacturer and even from model to model as in the case of Fuji fender ornaments.  For more on these wonderful emblems click here.

Here is a recently acquired Mayam fender ornament.  
One look says it all: sleek, stylish, speedy with a touch of class.
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2021年4月10日 (土)

Saddle posts

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the 12 part series on vintage sprung leather saddles, we looked at various saddle styles, their different suspensions, some of the tools used to maintain them, and trademarks.  It is only befitting that the series be followed up with a bicycle part that directly related to the saddle but often overlooked, the saddle post.

Shown below is a typical utility cycle saddle post from the 1950s.
Basically, 2 pipes welded together which enables the saddle to be adjusted vertically and horizontally.
Although this is the predominant profile, a closer look shows minor differences.Img_0285_20210409193301

The left one has a hollow back.  The middle one has a closed back.  The right one has a closed back and the bicycle manufacturer's trademark.
 
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A closer look.
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The trademark is Mizutani.
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Compare the above simple construction with a rare style saddle post from an early 1950s Bridgestone bicycle
This design has more than twice the number of parts than the above saddle posts.
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Note the bolt that runs through the post.
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The bottom is split and the construction is similar to a handlebar expansion bolt.Img_0289

Tightening the bolt slides the two pieces in opposing directions against the inside of the seat tube thereby securing it in place.
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Finally, here is a utility cycle saddle post from the early 1970s.
Basically, one pipe bent and strengthened with a weld on the inside of the bend.
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Often overlooked, the saddle post can serve as a clue in helping to date a bicycle.  As we can see from the above, older ones are constructed from more parts and more solidly constructed. 


2021年3月13日 (土)

Vintage Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 12)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

I would like to close this series on sprung leather bicycle saddles with what I look for when searching for vintage Japanese bicycle saddles.  In the first half of this series Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 1), (Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4), (Part 5) and (Part 6) we took a look at various leather saddle styles from the 1950s: (800 series)(750 series), (900 series)(500 series), (600 series) and (1300 series) respectively.

Based purely on my experience, the golden age of leather saddles appears to coincide with that of bicycles themselves which peaked in the 1950s

1. Stamps
I look for how many times the trademark appears on the saddle.  In the golden-age of rod brake bicycles, manufacturers stamped their trademark into the leather three times (both sides and top)

(1) Left side stamp
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(2) Right side stamp
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(3) Top stamp
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2. Rear plate
I also look for a plate riveted to the rear of the saddle.    
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3.  Leather
Just like humans, saddles tend to form wrinkles (cracks) as they age, and, the leather loses its resiliency tending to sag.

(1) Check for surface cracks.
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(2) Check for cracks around the rivets, especially in the nose.  This is true regardless of whether the saddle is used or NOS (New Old Stock).
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(3) Check for sagging on the sides.  One can stretch the saddle with the adjusting bolt on the frame nose, or give it a "tummy tuck" (⇐link only in Japanese but photos tell the story).

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(4) Check for scuff marks or fading.  These can typically be taken care of with shoe polish and elbow grease as seen in a previous post.
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4. JIS mark
Inspect for a JIS mark.  A JIS mark on saddles became the standard in 1958.  No JIS mark is actually a good sign as it may indicate that the saddle was produced sometime prior to 1958. 

It may appear on the rear plate. 
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Or, the word itself JIS may appear on the underside of the saddle.
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5. Frame
Check the frame for rust, damage, irregular bends, and paint or chrome peeling.


6. Manufacturer
Saddles from the 1950s predominantly bore the bicycle manufacturer's trademark or logo.  The actual saddle manufacturer is sometimes indicated on the underside.  

K.K.K. stood for Kashima Saddle Mfg. (now Kashimax, Japan's only remaining saddle manufacturer) Img_0166

Fujita Saddle Mfg., Co., Ltd.
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I will close this series as I originally started it back in Part 1.  I admit it.  I am old-fashioned. I make a conscious effort to appreciate the simple things and not allow myself to be carried away by mass marketing and conspicuous consumption.  I like simple things that are made well from genuine materials, work well and with care will last a long, long time.  Preferably a lifetime.  I like the fact that, if you take care of "something", that "something" will take care of you.  Sprung leather saddles are a good example.  Leather is great, much like a fine pair of leather shoes, boots,  or a high-quality leather baseball glove, through repeated use they literally mold or conform to one's individual physique for a truly perfect fit.  If one takes care of the leather, the saddle will provide long-lasting comfort.

 

2021年2月13日 (土)

Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 11)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the first six posts, Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 1), (Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4), (Part 5) and (Part 6) we took a look at various leather saddle styles from the 1950's: (800 series)(750 series), (900 series)(500 series), (600 series) and (1300 series) respectively.  And, in the previous four posts (Part 7) , (Part 8) , (Part 9) and (Part 10) we looked at tools used to maintain sprung leather saddles, specifically the "hammock saddle stretcher", "saddle spring spreader" , "saddle box end wrench" and the "saddle nut transfer spanner".

In this installment we shall take a look at a dual purpose tool.

As shown in the illustrations below, the top half is a brake lever nut spanner, and, the bottom half is an "alligator saddle nut spanner".
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Here is the dual purpose tool.
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Made by Hataya Tool Co.
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Again, the top half used for brake lever nuts as we shall see in detail in a future post. 
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And, the bottom half, is an "alligator saddle nut spanner".
Let's take a closer look.
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The alligator mouth-like opening is designed to accommodate assorted nut sizes.
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The tool has a flat thin profile enabling it to easily fit in between the narrow spring coils.
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Compared to the "saddle box end wrench" this "alligator saddle nut spanner" is a one-size fits all tool, no need to worry about what size the nuts are.
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Simply slide it in between the coils until the teeth make contact with the nut.
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The teeth instantly bite the corners of the applicable nut; thereby preventing any chance of slipping.
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With its thin flat profile, and, unique alligator mouth-like opening which eliminates the need to match spanner size with the size of the nut, the "alligator saddle nut spanner" greatly facilitates loosening and tightening saddle nuts. 
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Definitely a handy little tool to have when disassembling and reassembling saddles.

 

2020年12月19日 (土)

Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 9)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the first six posts, Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 1), (Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4), (Part 5) and (Part 6) we took a look at various leather saddle styles from the 1950's: (800 series)(750 series), (900 series)(500 series), (600 series) and (1300 series) respectively.  And, in the previous two posts (Part 7) and (Part 8) we looked at tools used to maintain sprung leather saddles, specifically the "hammock saddle stretcher" and the "saddle spring spreader".

In this installment we shall take a look at a tool called the "saddle box end wrench". 
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When setting out to restore a saddle, even if the leather and rivets are all in good shape, chances are that the saddle hardware will be rusted and need to be cleaned up, in worst case replaced.  The easiest way to get rid of rust is to disassemble and tackle each part one-by-one.  And when it comes to disassembling a saddle, the "saddle box end wrench" is a good tool to have in one's restoration arsenal.
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Rust never sleeps!
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This is the "saddle box end wrench".
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It is used to loosen/tighten the nuts which hold the springs to the saddle.
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One end is for 10㎜ nuts and the other end is for 12mm nuts.
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The tool is thin and angled appropriately to enable it to easily fit between the narrow spring coils.Img_2509

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10mm nuts on the bottom of the coils.
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12mm nuts on the top of the coils.
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As previously mentioned, the easiest way to get rid of rust is to disassemble and tackle each part one-by-one.
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After removing rust, it is time to reassemble.
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In the next installment, we shall continue to look at another tool used to maintain sprung leather bicycle saddles.

2020年12月 5日 (土)

サス付き革製サドル(第八回)

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

今まで「サス付き革製サドル第一回」「第二回」「第三回」「第四回」,「第五回」「第六回」記事で、
昭和20年代後半~30年代前半の革製サドル6種類800系750系 、900系500系600系1300系それぞれを見て来ました。

そして前回の記事(第七回)から、サス付き革製サドルの手入れで使用する手工具を紹介し始めました。
初回は、ハンモックサドル用の「皮張り器」でした。


今回は、サドルの「バネ開き器」という手工具 を見てみましょう。

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名称の通り、サドルのバネを開くための工具です。
バネをサドルに固定するナットをアクセスできるようにバネを広げる工具です。
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これはサドルの「バネ開き器」の手工具。
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名古屋の畑谷屋製「Hataya」
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バネのコイル空間が狭くて一般的なスパナ―は入りません。
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サドルの「バネ開き器」の手工具が実に良く出来ています。
先端がバネのコイルの間に挿入できるように嘴(くちばし)形状になっています。

ハンドルを握ると先端を広げてバネのコイルが開きます。
段付き機で好みの開位置に固定できます。
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コイルの開き具合によって、スパナでナットを緩めてからナットとワッシャーを手で取り出す程余裕があります。
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また、サドルを組み立てる時にもワッシャーを取り付けてナットを手締め出来る程余裕があります。Img_9953

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「バネ開き器」はサドルの分解と再組み立てに便利な手工具です。
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次回も、革製サドルの手入れで使用する別の手工具を取り上げます。

2020年11月20日 (金)

Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 8)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the first six posts, Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 1), (Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4), (Part 5) and (Part 6) we took a look at various leather saddle styles from the 1950's: (800 series)(750 series), (900 series)(500 series), (600 series) and (1300 series) respectively.  And, in the previous post (Part 7), we began looking at tools used to maintain sprung leather saddles, specifically the "hammock saddle stretcher".  

In this installment we shall take a look at a tool called the "saddle spring spreader". 

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The spring spreader is used to expand spring coils to enable access to the nuts which hold the springs to the saddle.
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This is the saddle spring spreader.
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Made by Hataya.
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The space between the coils is narrow making it difficult to access the saddle bolts.Img_9933
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The saddle spring spreader is a very simple tool.
The duck-billed tips fit between the coils.
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When you squeeze the handles the tips spread the spring coils apart.
The stepped locking mechanism locks the tool in the open position. 
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After loosening the nut with a wrench, there is enough room to remove the nut and washer with your fingers.
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When reassembling, the tool provides enough room to attach the washer and start the nut with your fingers.Img_9953

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The saddle spring spreader is a handy tool to have in disassembling and reassembling saddles.
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In the next installment, we shall continue to look at another tool used to maintain sprung leather bicycle saddles.



 

2020年10月23日 (金)

Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 7)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous six posts, Sprung Leather Bicycle Saddles (Part 1), (Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4), (Part 5) and (Part 6) we took a look at various leather saddle styles from the 1950's: (800 series)(750 series), (900 series)(500 series), (600 series) and (1300 series) respectively.

Starting with this installment, we shall begin to take a look at tools used to maintain sprung leather saddles.  

Let's start with a tool called the "hammock saddle stretcher". 
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You may recall that the "hammock" (800 series) saddle was introduced in the first installment (Part 1)  As the name implies, this tool is used to pull the leather on this style of bicycle saddle taunt.   In the past, prior to obtaining this tool, I resolved the issue of a flabby hammock saddle by giving it a "tummy tuck" (⇐link only in Japanese but photos tell the story).

The hammock saddle stretcher is a fairly simple tool. 
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It has feet on one end.
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 The feet fit on the front coils.
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A handle on the other end which causes the length of the tool to expand when turned.
The holes are for the tension bar which fit between the rear coils.
Holes enable the tool to accommodate various size hammock saddles, child's, lady's and men's saddles.
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Simply set the tool.
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Loosen the adjuster bolt, turn the handle, stretch the leather taunt and tighten the bolt.
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It is a handy tool to have in reassembling hammock saddles.
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In the next installment, we shall continue to look at another tool used to maintain sprung leather bicycle saddles.

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