My grail bike! I’ve wanted a Laserlite since I first saw one bitd. A kid in my hometown had one and I got to see it a few times but never rode it. When freestyle became popular he bought a CW Freestyler and the Laserlite was consigned to the back of his garage, never to be seen again.
Fast forward 25 years when I got back into the old school bmx scene, and the memory of that bike remained, which grew stronger in 2009 when I moved to Japan, the home of Kuwahara plus Tange, Araya, Suntour, Sugino and all the other famous Japanese brands. I dreamed of stumbling on an old, abandoned Laserlite (or any Kuwahara) but although I saw some decent examples in the old school bmx shops and meetings I visited, the elusive barn find remained just that. I therefore bought myself an ’87 Haro Group 1 as my weekend rider and started looking for other bikes to satisfy that old school craving, though would always have a look at the latest Laserlite build or score posted online. Then in 2013 this one popped up for sale, a KZ-83 with oval tubes and original, if well-worn decals and a small dent in the right, rear stay. The rims and bars had long gone but the Suntour stem and “broken arrow” clamp were still there, along with the og stem pad. A deal was struck and after about 30 years coveting one, I had finally got my own Laserlite, which was also going to be returning home to Japan, 30 years after rolling off the Tange production line.
Since I had wanted a rider, not a carpet queen, neither the lack of original parts nor the dent was a problem, though the more I started looking for the parts I needed to complete it, the more I got sucked into buying things I hadn’t originally planned or budgeted for. However, given the condition of the frameset and the fact that it was raced over in Massachusetts bitd, I went for the survivor racer look, with a bit of an America flavour. Ideally everything would be survivor condition but the bike has taken over as my weekend rider, so consumables were replaced. However, apart from the reissued Panaracer tyres and tubes, Izumi chain, Shimano inner cable and Nitto layback, everything is from the 80s. The Laserlite black and chrome colour scheme is a classic but I've added a little bit of red to accent the rising sun decals. It's far from being a factory-spec bike but it puts a smile on my face every time I ride it!