Midweek C&V: Panasonic DX2000...

I noticed this bike in the Village over the weekend. It is not everyday to spot a Panasonic, so I snapped a couple quick shots.

I believe this is a 1987 DX2000 model Panasonic. In 1987, this model was made with a Tange 900 CroMo double-butted frame, and a fork made from Tange Mangaloy 2001 tubing. Mangaloy is a manganese-molybdenum (MnMo) alloy which retains a higher percentage of its strength after brazing than does the more common chromium-molybdenum (CroMo). It is also a lighter material. The alloy allows less-strict heating controls which make it especially suitable for mass production, and allow for lower prices on products made with it. The 1987 DX2000 bikes were offered in the United States with Sugino DVP crankset, Shimano L523 S.I.S. rear derailleur, Shimano Z204 front derailleur, Shimano S434 S.I.S. shift levers, DiaCompe QS500N brakes with AC260 aero levers, Araya SS-45 rims, and the paint scheme (somewhat shown) was a Classic White / Imperial Red fade (unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the "fade" part).

The company which would come to produce bicycles under the name Panasonic originally began in 1918 as Mashushita Electric. Though the company began producing bicycle related products at earlier dates, it was not until 1951 that they began to produce bicycle frames. At this time, and under the direction of Konosuke Matsushita, the bikes were built under the name National (National Bicycle Industrial Company). At first bikes were sold only in Japan; it was not until the company began to export their bikes in 1971, first to the United States, and then worldwide, that they sought a name with wider appeal, and settled on Panasonic. The NBIC, or Panasonic, eventually manufactured various models for other bicycle companies. During the 1970s many bikes may have been labeled with the names Schwinn, Raleigh, Royce Union, Suteki, and Centurion, but underneath the paint and decals, they were Panasonic frames. Schwinn's World Traveller, World Voyager, and LeTour models all came off the NIBC production line.

Like many bicycle manufacturers, Panasonic made a range of bikes, including high-end racing bikes, and sponsored professional teams. Most notable among these was the Dutch-based Panasonic team of 1984 to 1992. This was one of the strongest teams at the time, and included such riders as Eric Vanderaerden, Phil Anderson, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Robert Millar, Olaf Ludwig, Jens Heppner, Maurizio Fondriest, Eddy Planckaert, Erik Breukink, Gert-Jan Theunisse, and Wilfried Nelissen on their roster.

For more information about NBIC, and Panasonic bikes check the Panasonic Bicycles Virtual Museum website.