Miyata

Miyata
Miyata 710: a high-end Miyata from the late 1970s
Miyata head badge.

Miyata is a Japanese bicycle and unicycle manufacturer that has been in operation since 1892.

Miyata claims to have been the first Japanese manufacturer of flash-butt welded frame tubes (1946) and the first to use electrostatic painting (1950).[1]

Contents

History and today

Miyata was founded by Eisuke Miyata, a gunsmith employed by the Hitachi Kuni Kasama Clan. Miyata built Japan's first conventional, modern bicycle at the Miyata Gun Factory in 1892. He recognized the future of gun manufacturing in Japan was not strong, and got the idea for a new bike design after being asked by a foreigner to repair a conventional bicycle. The steel tubes used for the new Miyata bicycle were manufactured with the same technique as the piping used for guns. It was bored out lengthwise using a round steel rod. The entire bicycle, except the tires, was built from scratch at the gun factory.[2]

The Miyata brand still exists and, while it is no longer distributed in the United States, it remains popular in Europe under the Dutch "Koga-Miyata" brand.[3] As of 2008, there is limited availability of Koga-Miyata bicycles in North America.

Koga Miyata was a joint project. By A. Gaastra (Koga) and Miyata. The bikes are built in the Netherlands.

Koga-Miyata is a Dutch bicycle manufacturer, established in Heerenveen. Koga Miyata is nowadays part of the Accell Group. In the early seventies the company was established by mr. A. Gaastra. The additive Miyata came of the Japanese frame builder, with whom Gaastra cooperated.

Miyata in the U.S.

Throughout the U.S. bike boom of the 1970s and into the 1980s, Miyata competed with domestic companies including Schwinn, Huffy, and Murray; European companies including Raleigh, Peugeot and Motobecane — as well as other nascent Japanese brands including Nishiki, Fuji, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Centurion, Lotus and Univega — whose bikes were manufactured by Miyata.[4] Japanese-manufactured bikes succeeded in the U.S. market until currency fluctuations in the late 1980s made them less competitive, leading companies to source bicycles from Taiwan.

Models

Late 1970s to mid-1980s Miyata bikes have high-quality Japanese lugged steel frames and Shimano or Suntour components.[5]

Miyata models carried numeric names (e.g., Miyata 710). By the late 1970s Miyata began using the same names, writing out the numeric names (e.g., Miyata Seven Ten).

Generally,[6] 90 and 100 series were sports/entry level bicycles. 200 and 600 series and the 1000 model were touring bicycles, with the level of bicycle increasing with first digit in the series. In general, a 200 series touring bicycle would be roughly equivalent to a 300 series competition/fitness bicycle in terms of component levels, frame materials and value. 300, 400, 500, 700, 900 series were mid-range competition/fitness bicycles — with the level of quality increasing with first digit in the series. The top line, pro series bicycles were named non-numerically (e.g., Team Miyata and Pro Miyata). 1000 series and X000 series bicycles, with the notable exception of the 1000 touring model, were competition/fitness models with non-ferrous frames.

Often (but not always) the last two digits of the model number indicated the number of available gears, e.g., 912 was a 9-series 12 speed and a 914 was a 9 series 14 speed.

  • Miyata 9x: This was the bottom of the range, entry-level model. Triple butted tubing, Shimano/Suntour entry-level components.
  • Miyata 1xx: Low-level model aimed at the casual consumer. Chromoly triple-butted main tubes, hi-ten stays, toe clips/straps, available in both men's and mixte styles.
  • Miyata 2xx: A popular lower-end touring model. 1984 catalogue indicated the 210 used straight-gauge tubing, Dia-Compe cantilever brakes and Shimano triple drive train. By 1985, the 210 featured triple-butted chromoly tubing in the frame, with a Mangalight fork. 1986 and later models used 700 wheels; earlier models used 27" wheels. Braze-ons on front and rear dropouts (no low-rider braze-ons in front), cantis front and rear, horizontal rear dropouts, one bottle braze-on, rear rack braze-ons, and flat-top fork crown. There were also special models such as the 215ST
  • Miyata 3xx: A mid-range road bike model from the "Semi-Pro" group, with Shimano 105 brakes, derailleurs, and shifters. The 105 was also shown with an arrow-like graphic. The [Miyata 310/312] had a shorter wheelbase than the touring models, but with clearance for fenders and wider tires and is sometimes called a "sport-touring" model (a comfortable model for day rides and commuting). Features included double- or triple-butted Cr-Mo tubing (depending on year), 525 Crown, SR CTD handlebars, and Araya rims. Earlier models had hi-tensile steel forks, but later forks were "Mangalight" manganese alloy. Some years are equipped with a "Aero style DT Shifters" set up, consisting of one brazed on post mounted on top of the down tube.
  • Miyata 5xx Competition (part of the "Semi-Pro" group): A higher-end road bike than the 310/312, with more "aggressive" geometry.
  • Miyata 6xx: A quality touring model, one step down from the 1000, with slightly different frame geometry and lower level components. Mid-1980s 610s have triple-butted splined Chromoly frame tubing, an unusually high quality tubing and construction for its price level. This bike is slightly lighter in weight than Trek 520/720 touring bikes, but of similar quality.
  • Miyata 7xx: A mid- to high-end road bike from the "Semi-Pro" group. Early models had Suntour parts, including an odd 3-wheel rear derailleur, possibly using the same frameset as the 910.
  • Miyata 9xx: Miyata's high-end road bike from the "Semi-Pro" group, with Shimano 600 components.
  • Miyata 1000: Touring bike with splined, triple-butted Chromo tubing. Some report the 610 to be stiffer than the 1000. 1997 model had a mix of Shimano 600 and Deore XT parts (600 DT shifters, XT derailleurs). Noted bicycle authority, Sheldon Brown called the Miyata 1000 "possibly the finest off-the-shelf touring bike available at the time".[7] The 1000 was marketed in the U.S. from the late 1970s and marketed in North America until about 1993.
  • Miyata 1400: A high-end road bike sold only as a 1989 model with Shimano 600 components. It was higher-end than the 914 that was sold in the same year. Unlike the aluminum 1400A, the 1400 used Miyata's CrMo triple-butted construction.
  • Miyata Alumicross: A top-of-the-line "cross" bikes (which included the Quickcross, Sportcross, and Triplecross), introduced in the late 1980s with standard-size aluminum main tubes bonded to steel lugs and a Chromo fork. Seat and chain stays are steel, with the seat post binder bolt holding the seat stays to the seat post lug.
  • Miyata Pro/Team/1200: These are the high-end race ready models (Team Miyata, Miyata Pro, etc.)

Unicycles

Although demand for Miyata unicycles outside of Japan has diminished in recent years due to a wider range of quality unicycles becoming available, Miyatas were once considered to be a highly desirable unicycle because of their quality of manufacturing and well designed saddle during times when choice was often limited to expensive custom-made unicycles or extremely poor quality products sold in department stores. Miyata unicycles are now uncommon among non-Japanese riders due to the surging popularity of riding styles such as Muni (Mountain Unicycling) and Street/Trials riding, which Miyatas are largely unsuitable for, however Miyata is still the unicycle of choice in Japan where riders tend to be more interested in Freestyle riding and Artistic Unicycling, this coupled with the fact that unicycling is taught in Japanese schools as part of physical education has secured Miyata a continuing place in today's unicycle market.

Miyata currently manufacture a range of unicycles with wheel sizes ranging from 14 to 24 inch, models are available for beginner and intermediate riders up to expensive high end cycles with carbon fibre frames. Miyata can make custom frames to order and also sell a five foot giraffe version of their popular Flamingo model.

References

External links

See also

  • List of Japanese bicycle manufacturers
  • Univega
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