Re: [CR] Sekai / Sekine connection?

(Example: Framebuilders:Rene Herse)

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Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 15:08:47 -0500
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Subject: Re: [CR] Sekai / Sekine connection?

Hi Greg:

I cannot speak to the Sekine brand before about 1973, but during the bike boom, the Canadian government set up an assembly factory, supposedly near or in a Native American community to bring employment to that region. Frames, labeled as Sekine, were brought in already manufactured in Japan, and then final assembly was done there in Canada. (I don't think they had any relationship to Sekai)

Interestingly, I saw a reference recently to someone who was associated with that effort but it escapes me who that was... Tim Isaac maybe?

In any case, here in Greensboro, a successful Toyota dealer (Rice Toyota) saw this as an opportunity and invested in a wholesale distributorship for these Canadian assembled Sekine bikes. I was managing a local bike shop at the time (The Carolina Pedal Shop) and they hired me to tell them what to order for the parts catalog they wanted to fill. Crank sets, tires, cotter pins (!), that sort of stuff.

Well before long, everything was zipping along just fine until the bikes arrived. They were quite nice, had a little jewel (plastic) in the head badge, full Japanese parts, more than decent bikes of the day...but they were expensive! Maybe 10-20% higher than the other bike shop quality bikes available at that time.

So sales were very slow. We sold them because the warehouse was just minutes away and we could stock just a few yet have access to the whole line. "Want a 21" frame? We can have it ready for you in a few hours!" But other dealers were having a tough time meeting the expectations of the distributorship owners.

So, the Toyota guys decided to have a warehouse sale, they took out large newspaper ads up and down the state & beyond, advertising these bikes at or below what the dealers had paid! Sales briefly were brisk at least for that weekend, but then fell silent. And the dealers were, shall we say, Unhappy?

So back came Sekines from dealers, bills went unpaid, sales to dealers stopped cold.

The distributor was now in deep trouble; a warehouse full of bikes and they had damaged their true means to sell them. This dragged on for a year, finally I ended up having hundreds of boxed Sekine bikes in the roomy warehouse of our shop. They had left their original rented warehouse and paid us to store what was left.

That business (the Carolina Pedal Shop) tanked when I left to finish my Master's degree, and last I saw the Sekines, they were stacked high in the Toyota dealership's showroom, being given as incentives to Toyota buyers!!

Those were the days!


Dale Brown cycles de ORO, Inc. 1410 Mill Street #100 Greensboro, North Carolina 27408 USA 336-274-5959

-----Original Message----- From: Greg Lone <> To: Sent: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 2:11 pm Subject: [CR] Sekai / Sekine connection?

Hi list. the recent thread on Sekai bikes led me to wonder about a Sekine I have owned since the mid 80's. It's from about 1980. Tange #2 tubing, Shimano 600 arabesque group, Tange forged dropouts, simple long point lugs. Serial # FU 02039 . I see the odd Sekine, but they are generally entry level. This one is definitely better than average {for a Sekine at least}, and quite a nice bike to ride. I get the impression that Sekine bikes were uncommon outside of the Canadian market. Anyone know the inside story? Are they built by Sekai, or is the similar name just a coincidence? Anyone have any info on the better quality Sekine bikes?

Greg Lone
Langley B.C.