Re: [CR]The Best Italian Bike in Japan

(Example: Production Builders:Pogliaghi)

Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 22:20:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David Ross" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]The Best Italian Bike in Japan
cc: CR discussion list <>


I agree with your assessment of Zunow. I got hooked on Zunows a few years back, and have picked up a few of them. Three of these are from roughly the same period as yours, and one probably came from the same shop in Okinawa in the same year. It's got the same graphics, and has a pearl white paint job over an all-chrome frame. It's got a complete DA group, including those neat triangular platform pedals that require the unobtanium cleats.

I have tried to find out about Zunow's history without much success. At least one list member was involved in importing them, but hasn't shared much (and may not know much of the history). I do know that the "genius" (Zunow is supposed to be Japanese slang for genius) behind Zunow is a Mr. T. Kageyama. He produced his 25th anniversary edition bike in 1990, so presumably he began in 1965. He seems to have had a number of interesting ideas, some of which have odd translations (e.g. Ditchex for his grooved top tubes, and Pentagla for the pentagram-sectioned chain stays, Horn System for the flared bottom of the seat tube).

The earlier, non-Ditchex, pre-garish-paint Zunows are very elegant indeed. My earliest one is a simple gloss black with yellow graphics, Campy DOs and a very thin semi-sloping chromed fork crown. It has a very short wheelbase, about that of a track bike. I'm guessing 1972 - 1975. I've never been able to decipher Zunow serial numbers, so I don't know if there might be a clue of the year in it.

Now that you've joined the Zunow fold, I would love to share photos, info and observations. In my experience Zunows don't generate much chatter on the CR list, so feel free to email me off-list to continue. Or maybe we should start a rumor that Kageyama apprenticed with Bianchi, and see where that goes!

Dave Ross
Portola Valley, California USA