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bloud

A survivor story with an unknown ending...

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kuwi-1.jpg

This 1979 Kuwahara, pretty much as you see it pictured, was originally owned by a former neighbor when I was a kid. I can remember it back to probably 1981. This bike was drooled over by me and all the neighborhood kids back in the day. Just something about it seemed really special. It wasn't until more recent years that I discovered just how special and uncommon a bike like this is. I have attempted to make contact with its first owner who was probably 5 years older than me, and when you’re young 5 years can be a lot.

 

My best friend in about 1984/5, also a neighbor, had his Diamondback stolen. The owner of the Kuwahara was graduating high-school and heading off to college and my (now bikeless) friends parents bought this Kuwahara for him for something like $150.

 

About 3 years ago I reconnected with my old friend after more than 20 some years. He had noticed some Facebook photos I posted of my old Quadangle. He contacted me and let me know he still owned the Kuwahara and in fact was still riding it around with his kids. We exchanged a few emails and I made sure he knew the rarity of the bike etc.

 

My friend had over the years bought some replacement grips and IRC tires off ebay and said something had happened to the rear caliper and he bought one to replace it. Keep in mind he's not a collector, doesn't hang around forums etc. I thought it was great he had taken the initiative to fix his old bike. Just hope the parts he got were real and not repops. This would be a prime example of someone who wouldn't know the difference. But let me stay on topic.

 

A week ago, my buddy again contacted me and let know some unfortunate circumstances had taken place and he was going to have to liquidate some assets. It was time for the bike to go. I told him how much I could afford at the moment and would love to have the bike, but considering his circumstances I said he'd probably do better on ebay. As a collector with a very strong attachment to certain bikes in my collection, I have a real soft spot for this bike. Hopefully it finds a new home that's not going to rip it limb from limb. I assure you I’m doing some thinking on what can I sell in my head right now. But in the end what my old friend needs is as much $$ as he can get.

 

It was always gold as far back as I can remember (1981) and had the Kuwahara stickers as you see them. The serial number is intact so I doubt it was ever stolen etc. I find it unusual that such a bike would get painted this color and re-stickered so early in its life. Hopefully a reconnection with the first owner can enlighten some of the mystery there.

I wanted to share this survivor story with you guys as I’m quite sure it’s going to get listed on ebay in the near future and most of you know the new owner is probably going to strip and rebuild it. So, before that happens, I wanted to make a permanent little mark in history here.

 

1979 Kuwahara (KE-1) survived 33 years and counting…

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kuwi-7.jpg

 

 

 

Good God, did I just write all that?...

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Wow. Great narrative Bloud, don't second guess yourself at all. Love the whole story, great job writing all that... Fascinating read.

 

I know very little about these bikes, but it's looks all killer to me. What is your neighbor looking to get for it if you don't mind me asking?

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I know very little about these bikes, but it's looks all killer to me. What is your neighbor looking to get for it if you don't mind me asking?

He and I honestly doesn't know what to expect and I'd rather not taint anything with my guesstimates.

 

I'm pretty sure these are the Holy Grail and/or STR-1 equivalent of the Japan/Kuwahara world. But I don't think it would fetch STR-1 prices. I would suppose a Kuwahara collector could wait years to find one of these come up for sale. It is my understanding not many were made/survived due to a possible design flaw and breakage.

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Thw design was changed due to a tendency for the single gussett to crack. As you correctly pointed out, not many exisat due to the cracking issue.

 

They certainly are the "holy grail" of Kuwahara collectors, and certainly with the heritage your friends KE-1 has, even more so.

 

It is interesting the decals on it. In some early photos of Lee Medlin, it shows him riding a KZ1 with a frame pad with that same logo. Maybe those decals are early frame decals. I have a NOS decal the same as the one on the head tube.

 

I'll dig the photo out.

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Never seen a gold one like that which makes me think it was painted after purchase and decals added. The fork dropouts look funny too, what kind of forks are on it?

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Go get that bike. Sell whatever you can! :)

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Too bad you bought that headset, you could have used the cash for this great Kuwahara :-)

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Never seen a gold one like that which makes me think it was painted after purchase and decals added. The fork dropouts look funny too, what kind of forks are on it?

 

Those are 1st Gen Kuwahara forks. Only came on the KE-1's and maybe a few 1980 KZ-1's.

 

Too bad you bought that headset, you could have used the cash for this great Kuwahara :-)

 

Yeah, that really depleted me. ;-) I am sorry dude, I had completely forgotten about you and another buddy of mine needed one.

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Get that bike, it's a part if YOUR history too, direct ties to your childhood

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Great looking bike and story. You should go get it and sell some other stuff. Someone might decide to repaint it. That would suck.

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like others said

 

sell whatever you can to get this bike, its part of your history too and most likely he would rather you have it than a stranger off ebay

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I have seen only one other kuwi just like that one. When I lived in Downey as a kid there was a track right behind the all- american home center. A sponsored racer always went there to practice and he had a bike exactly like that one. We always asked him where he got it and he said he got it for free but never told us. He had gold 3 piece cranks on it and yellow tires with gold rims. Beautiful bike.

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Wow that was quick. It is already on ebay.

 

250967855765

 

I wonder if one of the society guys will save this bike.

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Wow that was quick. It is already on ebay.

 

250967855765

 

I wonder if one of the society guys will save this bike.

 

Ouch! that was fast... Sad what a divorce can make you do.

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Inventory tonight, for-sale post coming soon. ;-)

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He states in the ad that it is originally white and the original owner painted it gold.

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He states in the ad that it is originally white and the original owner painted it gold.

 

This is an assumption on his part as he can see white paint underneath. But, we both always remember it as gold back to 81. That's why I found it odd someone would repaint it so early on.

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like others said

 

sell whatever you can to get this bike, its part of your history too and most likely he would rather you have it than a stranger off ebay

 

 

I agree. Flip a Fuji :power.of.suggestion:

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like others said

 

sell whatever you can to get this bike, its part of your history too and most likely he would rather you have it than a stranger off ebay

 

 

I agree. Flip a Fuji :power.of.suggestion:

 

But which one of the 8!?

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like others said

 

sell whatever you can to get this bike, its part of your history too and most likely he would rather you have it than a stranger off ebay

 

 

I agree. Flip a Fuji :power.of.suggestion:

 

But which one of the 8!?

 

 

The weakling!

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I agree. Flip a Fuji :power.of.suggestion:

 

But which one of the 8!?

 

 

The weakling!

 

I have no weakling worth anything to anyone around here. But abozny will get even more pissed if I sell a Pro F/F which would include one of those Meriters he needs... ;-)

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Well, I did my best and bid well over what I wanted to. This bike will not be mine...

 

I am quite happy for my friend and what it went for though!

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I have no weakling worth anything to anyone around here. But abozny will get even more pissed if I sell a Pro F/F which would include one of those Meriters he needs... ;-)

 

MERITER??? Did you say MERITER??? Who? Where?

 

Damn, I missed another one !!! :)

 

BTW, sorry you didn't get the bike !!! But like you said, at least your friend got lots of cash for it. Wonder who got it??? (wasn't me :) )

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