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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just rescued a Sekai 5000 (circa 1975) from someone's basement where it has been moldering since 1987. I'm going to restore it to rideability. My research led me to a great expert resource on Sekai's: Andy Muzi, the owner since 1973 of the Yellow Jersey bike store here in Madison, Wisconsin. He recalls fondly the Sekai age (1973-1986) and has a 1975 Sekai catalog on his store website at https://www.yellowjersey.org/SEKAI75.JPG

Enjoy ...
 

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Sekai Criterium 4000

I replaced my Fuji Professional with a Sekai Criterium 4000. I ordered it at the end of 1973 from Velocepide in Seattle. Components were mostly then then new Shimano Dura Ace. Mine was made from Ishiwata tubing and silver finish. I rode it quite a bit, mainly in Boston where it was my daily and only sled. I still have it. Turns out under the paint the entire frame is chromed. I have the smallest size and it still flexed in the BB area to the point where with friction DT levers, it would shift from the big to little ring!

sekaijin said:
I just rescued a Sekai 5000 (circa 1975) from someone's basement where it has been moldering since 1987. I'm going to restore it to rideability. My research led me to a great expert resource on Sekai's: Andy Muzi, the owner since 1973 of the Yellow Jersey bike store here in Madison, Wisconsin. He recalls fondly the Sekai age (1973-1986) and has a 1975 Sekai catalog on his store website at https://www.yellowjersey.org/SEKAI75.JPG

Enjoy ...
 

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sekaijin said:
I just rescued a Sekai 5000 (circa 1975) from someone's basement where it has been moldering since 1987. I'm going to restore it to rideability. My research led me to a great expert resource on Sekai's: Andy Muzi, the owner since 1973 of the Yellow Jersey bike store here in Madison, Wisconsin. He recalls fondly the Sekai age (1973-1986) and has a 1975 Sekai catalog on his store website at https://www.yellowjersey.org/SEKAI75.JPG

Enjoy ...
Dude! Monster score!! Are those the sealed Suntour pedals? TA crank? Looks like a vintage suntour derailleur. Very nice all around!

- FBB

PS: Did you score the Zefal HP pump that fits into the clip?? That'd be worth searching around in the basement to find it...
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
djmuff said:
I just picked up a Sekai 2000, and after trying to find out more info on this brand I found this thread. I just cleaned the bike up and got it road-worthy, so here's some photos. It looks to be about the same era as the 1975 catalog.
Nice find! I keep an eye on Sekai bikes when one comes up on ebay, every now and then. Yours is in rare good shape. Esp. the decals. I've been told that chipping paint and flaking decals are part of the "authentic Sekai ownership experience."
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
boneman said:
I replaced my Fuji Professional with a Sekai Criterium 4000. I ordered it at the end of 1973 from Velocepide in Seattle. Components were mostly then then new Shimano Dura Ace. Mine was made from Ishiwata tubing and silver finish.
Boneman, better late than never (I hope) in replying to your post from last August ...

Interesting that your Sekai was made from Ishiwata tubing ... From mid-70s catalogs (and djmuff's photos), it looks like Sekai bikes were made from Tange tubing, at least by 1975. But I recall seeing at least one other reference to Sekais having Ishiwata tubing. Maybe they started making them with Ishiwata and switched to Tange by 1975.
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
fbagatelleblack said:
Dude! Monster score!! Are those the sealed Suntour pedals? TA crank? Looks like a vintage suntour derailleur. Very nice all around!

- FBB

PS: Did you score the Zefal HP pump that fits into the clip?? That'd be worth searching around in the basement to find it...

Thanks FBB! I have to say, I'm happy to see some new life in this old thread which was my very first post on RBR. I joined RBR because I scored this bike and needed to learn what it was, and how to fix it up. To your questions:

  • Pedals: they look a lot like Suntour Superbes, but Andy Muzi tells me (and comments here on the Yellow Jersey website) they are American-made Weyless, designed by Bill Shook who was the original, pre-Suntour creator of this style of pedal.

  • Crankset: yes, it's TA Cyclotouriste, in a 49/40/28 triple build. The TA signature crankarm stickers were chewed-up and peeling, so I removed them to polish the cranks.

  • Derailleur: good eyes, it's a Suntour Cyclone front derailleur. I could not get it to upshift off the granny ring - not sure why the bike was built this way, with triple rings and a double FD. So I got some TA rings off ebay and rebuilt the crankset as a 52/38. (I also considered keeping it as a triple so I bought a NOS Simplex LJ503 front derailleur that I never installed ... anyone interested?)

  • Zefal pump: your comment is absolutely spot-on. That's the beauty part: I still have the old Zefal hp pump I got when I was a kid, and it fits (and still works) just fine. I nearly threw that thing away a couple of times, in my recently ended bike-less decade. Didn't know why the heck I was keeping it, but I'm sure glad now that I did.

I spent the winter restoring this bike, and it has cleaned up pretty nicely. I've also done a little research into the history of the Sekai bike brand. I hope to share some new pictures and some of my research soon. Stay tuned, or visit my blog for a draft in progress.
 

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I missed this thread first time around.
Good memories of my black Sekai 4000 in the late 70's.At the time I envisioned myself a tourer and had it equipped with racks and panniers. Set it up with a mix of Suntour Superbe and Cyclone and the obligatory Weinmann concave rims that required 23 tire levers,3 men, a boy & his dog to change a tire (Specialised turbos, of course).
best,
k
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
caterham said:
I missed this thread first time around.
Good memories of my black Sekai 4000 in the late 70's.At the time I envisioned myself a tourer and had it equipped with racks and panniers. Set it up with a mix of Suntour Superbe and Cyclone and the obligatory Weinmann concave rims that required 23 tire levers,3 men, a boy & his dog to change a tire (Specialised turbos, of course).
best,
k
Hey caterham - in case you missed this too, here's a nice black Sekai 4000 for your good memories ...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...MEWA:IT&viewitem=&item=130066069472&rd=1&rd=1
 

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Hi Sekaijin,

thanks for that link.I'd almost forgotten how nice the lugwork treatment was on those bikes. That was my first purpose-built bike. I'd purchased it from Singleton's Cyclery in Tacoma, WA just out of college and rode my first two STP's on it.
As I mentioned earlier, I fancied myself a touring cyclist back then, only later to discover at night after 3 punctured tires and a pretzelled front wheel on a very ,very,VERY long,dark ,windy & lonely stretch of highway in eastern Montana that the romance of the road wasn't *exactly* what I'd imagined it would be.hehe.

best,
k
 

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Just wanted to add another Sekai to this thread. Picked up this Sekai 2500 Grandtour the other day, and after some work it's turned into a nice little bike. It had flat bars on it, with top mount shifters and mountain bike brake levers. I swapped all that out for a nice cro-mo stem, aluminum drops, and some RSX 7-speed STI levers. I was really happy that they indexed just fine with the 6-speed rear. After a thorough cleaning & overhaul, I added the Avocet touring saddle and some new tires and it's ready to go.

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I dunno ... both your Sekais in this thread lack the flaking decals that have been described to me as "part of the Sekai total ownership experience."

Seriously, very nice resto!

djmuff said:
... RSX 7-speed STI levers. I was really happy that they indexed just fine with the 6-speed rear.
Very cool. Someday I might go to modern brake/shifting on an old bike. Is it a Suntour Ultra-6 freewheel? Did you keep the original (Suntour AR?) RD and was that made to be index compatible?
 

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I worked for a Sekai dealer and they were a cut above all the other Japanese bikes. I remember being awed by the reports in Velonews (back when it was a pulp newsprint mag that you got automatically with a racing license) that Sekai had custom built a frame for Mark Pringle that weighed less than 4 pounds. That was the lightest bare frame around at the time.
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That would be the Sekai 5000, which was around for just a few years, in the mid to late 70s I think. The 53cm frame weighs about 3.4 lbs. With the original 1.6 lb fork, it’s a 5 lb frameset. Not bad for lugged steel.

Mine was built up at Yellow Jersey in Madison, WI circa 1977. Andy Muzi thinks he would have sold it for around $900 new. The complete original build is about 19.5 lbs.

The top tube and seat tube are Tange Champion .06 x .03 x .06, which is really pushing the limit. (The downtube is .08 x .05 x .08.) If you squeeze those tubes, they bend between your fingertips. Gary Fisher wrote a review in Bicycling Magazine and said that was weird, but he liked the ride. I recall reading somewhere that Mark Pringle weighed like 98 lbs.
 

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Sekai Road Bikes

Hello...

I was just browsing the net and saw this forum. I was the original founder of the Sekai Bicycle Company, but retired from cycling over 20 years ago.

But, I do know where there are a couple mint condition Sekai 4000's. One is owned by my ex-wife and one is owned by my ex-brother in law. None of us are active cyclists any more (unfortunately). I don't know if either of them are interested in selling them, but I can ask if anyone is interested. They are big bikes though, as my ex-wife was 5'11", and her brother was 6'8".

GT
 
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