Re: [CR]was 1983 the end?


Example: Component Manufacturers

Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2003 20:52:53 -0700
Subject: Re: [CR]was 1983 the end?
From: Bainbridge <gotfleas@earthlink.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
In-Reply-To: <5.2.1.1.2.20030602221102.03d65d80@pop3.norton.antivirus>


Ann Phillips wrote:

" What year did production move from Japan to Taiwan? "

The big shift took place in 1986 when the yen crashed. I still get a rash when I think about what happened that spring. That year we had spec'd the Specialized bike line where every model was made in Japan except the entry level bike, which came from Taiwan. This was in Jan. By May the yen had fallen so far that the line plan had completely flipped and we had only 2 bikes in Japan. The whole production world tipped over that year. Japanese companies started living off the value of the land their factories were built on because they were coughing up so much money trying to continue to make bikes and parts, hoping the yen crisis would abate. It was the beginning of the end for Japan. The savvy Japanese rushed to start joint ventures in Taiwan/China, the old die hards did just exactly that. Sadly some very nice quality production houses folded up. Suntour, reeling from the yen crisis, was dealt the death blow by Shimano's SIS system which performed so much better than Suntour's even though Suntour actually invented index shifting. It took a couple of years for Suntour to die, but they fell to their knees in '86/'87.

For those that care or ever wondered, Suntour was a company of bicycle lovers who hated gimmicks. Junzo Kawai was the ultimate bicycle lover and had walls lined with bound copies of Le Cyclist and other journals. Shimano on the other hand is filled with engineers that have no connection with the bike. Suntours engineering staff was headed up by a former olympic track rider and all around bike geek that commuted quite a distance to work every day...miss those guys.

-Bryant Bainbridge
Portland Orygun