Wednesday, February 18, 2009

From Kabuki to Rivendell and Beyond...

Today, I had a lucky find.  I was dropping off some recycling at a drop off near work and I noticed a couple of blue bikes sitting next to the dumpsters.  I checked them out and threw the one with most promise into my trunk.  When I got back to work I showed a guy who should know it's value and he said "that's a nice bike.  With a just a little fixing up, you could get a buck and a quarter for it on Craig's List".  I wasn't sure I what I wanted to do with it, but it made me curious to know more about this bike.  So I Googled it and ended up finding some interesting things about this brand.  

It was made by Bridgestone in Japan and sold in the US as Kabuki.  As I dug deeper I found that Grant Peterson had been a designer for Kabuki for 10 years in the 80's and early 90's.   After Bridgestone closed it's doors in the US, he started Rivendell Bicycle Works.  Grant Peterson is known for swimming against the bike racer tide and creating high quality bikes that aren't just single purpose bikes, but ones that anybody can use.  Then I found an excellent interview that Cycloculture did with Grant just 6 months ago.  

Note the reflector on the chain ring.

Even though the bike I found was made in the late 70's, before Grant Peterson worked at Kabuki, I still am happy for the connection to someone who is trying to steer cycling in a different direction.  Kabuki's were known for being a little different, having their own style.  I like that.

What I know so far is that this bike is a T-5 which I assume means a 5 speed.  From what I've read, the Kabuki's come in 3 grades.  I'm not sure what grade mine is, but I will be tapping my sources to find out more.  What are my plan's for this bike?  Who knows!  It's a mixtie and it bit short for me.  I'm thinking, fix it up and see where it wants to go... if it will tell me.  

And Beyond?  One of the links on Cyclocultures interview is about wooden bikes in Rwanda.  Wooden bikes?  That's definitely worth checking out.

ps. the plate on the front of my Kabuki is real cool, but my pics were crap, so maybe tomorrow.


Lynn said...

Boy, some people have all the luck! I can't believe someone would throw away a beauty like that. I'm looking forward to seeing the head badge.

The Jolly Crank said...

Beautiful find. Lucky Dog.

Anonymous said...

Um, I have an idea - sell it to me!!!!


m e l i g r o s a said...

cant believe this was dumped!!? what a cutie, it's like my frenchie's japanese long-lost cousin :)
cant wait for more pics-

spiderlegreen said...

Lynn-Jolly~ No luck, just karma... very Japanese. ;)

Dottie-I'll have to ask Kabuki-son.

Melio~ I did notice that the colors are very similar to your frenchie(Country cousins?). I took some more pics of some it's interesting features, today.

Erich Zechar said...

As far as I know, Grant Peterson was involved with Bridgestone USA, a different division than Kabuki. I don't believe he had anything to do with the Kabuki brand of bicycles.

One oddity about Kabuki bikes is their seat post, which is adjusted by a wedge instead of a clamp, much like the adjustment found on most handlebar stems. I found this out the hard way, as I have an old Kabuki road frame with a stuck seat post and missing wedge adjuster. You could free the post, but there aren't any replacements available any longer.

spiderlegreen said...

Erich~ my google of Grant Petersen and Kabuki seemed to suggest that he was indeed involved with Kabuki bicycles. Looking deeper, I could find anything that said he specifically connected with Kabuki, so you could be right. I'm sorry to hear about the broken seat. I hope you can still use it. Yes, they are different from most seat posts. This one currently works fine.