This page contains some of the frequently asked questions and answers. Have a question that you don’t see answered here? Submit it to us via the form below.
How can I tell what year my Panasonic bicycle is?
Typically, the lower part of the head tube or the bottom of the bottom bracket shell will contain a number. The first number and letter are what you should look for. Example: 7K02143 The first number designates the year (1987 in this case) and the letter designates the month of manufacture (K = 11th month, therefore November). Bikes older than 1985 are a little tougher to date. You will likely have to look for numbers on the bottom bracket as well as on the Panasonic head tube badge. Also, just because the date code on your bike start with a 5 will not always mean it is a 1985 model. A good example might be a 5K model built in November of ’85 but in reality it was sold as a 1986 model. Panasonic would often gear up a little early for the next years production much like auto makers. Checking the date codes on the components (if original) can also help establish the vintage. (Shimano component date info can be found here.)
A = January
B = February
C = March
D = April
E = May
F = June
G = July
H = August
I = September
J = October
K = November
L = December
Panasonic has changed their serial number system a few times over the years which makes it a bit tricky at times to know what you have.
Most of the 1985 – mid 90’s bikes had a number on the lower portion of the head tube. Most were also a number followed by a letter such as 7B09345… which would be Feb. of 1987 (yes, you have to guess the decade based on paint and components but that isn’t usually too difficult) Some higher end models such as my ’86 Team America had the serial number on the bottom bracket rather than head tube.
Older bikes say from 1984 back to the mid to late 70’s would sometimes have a couple numbers. Under the bottom bracket or stamped on one of the rear dropouts (rear drops on lower models generally). The head badge sometimes has four small lightly stamped digits… I believe the first three digits are the day of the year (001-365) and the fourth digit is the last digit of the year.
There are some oddballs out there as well. For instance, I saw a photo recently of what I knew to be a 1988 model MC series mountain bike. At least here in the USA it was sold as a 1988 model. The odd part was that the serial number on the bike was clearly from 1990-1991. The difference? The bike was sold new in Europe and for some reason Panasonic offered the same color and decal scheme in that market that we saw back in 1988. It can be confusing… and going strictly by visual cues or serial numbers isn’t always an exact science (especially on the older bikes).
How do you pronounce Tange, as in the tubing used for most Panasonics?
While I am not Japanese language expert, I have always been told it was Tahn-geh (close to Tahn-gay but less emphasis on the end) Don’t quote me on that however! 😉
How much is this Panasonic bicycle worth?
What is my bike worth? This is a common question among Panasonic owners who ponder selling the old bike that has been hanging in the attic or garage. It is also a question asked by those looking to purchase a Panasonic or value one for insurance purposes.
General price ranges (updated April 4, 2012)
To be honest, without some detailed information and photos it is often pointless to even guess. As a general rule, a really nice condition DX-1000 should be worth up to $170 or so. The run of the mill Sport 500, Sport DX, Sport LX models should bring no more than $150 and often times half that if in need of much work. The same can be said for the Villager models and Tourist models (not to be confused with Pro Touring or other Touring models)
The mid-level bikes such as DX-2000, DX-3000, and Team should bring between $150 and $340 depending upon year and condition. Recent sales of DX-2000 models I have seen have been around $175, DX-3000 around $185 and Teams between $200 and $350.
The best bikes to look for in my opinion are the DX-4000, DX-5000, and DX-6000 models. They typically had lightweight Tange 1 or Prestige tubing with Shimano 105 or 600 components and they make excellent and reliable riders. I’ve seen them sell anywhere between $160 and $450. Some of the best bang for the buck out there right now. The average DX-4000 selling price is around $280 lately. I have seen only a few DX-5000 or DX-6000 models sell and they were downright steals in my book… only one was over $420.
At the upper end of the spectrum you have what I tend to refer to as the unicorn bikes. These are models such as the Team Europe, Team Europe II, Team America, Team Japan, AR-6000, Titainium, and PICS bikes. In a nutshell, these bikes represented Panasonic’s high end road bikes and it isn’t very common to come across them for sale. Typically built with Tange Prestige, Tange 1, or Columbus SL/SP tubing and Campagnolo Record/Victory or Dura Ace components. They were very high quality and when new offered fantastic value for the money when compared to the well established European brand bicycles. They were often shunned by cycling elitists in the day because they weren’t Italian or English but the build quality was often as good or better than the European competition. Expect to pay $175 to $500 or more for one of these top end bikes if in very good condition. If you find a bargain on one, count yourself fortunate. I have seen a few real bargains lately including a very low use 1985 Team Europe II for only $195. If you happen to own of of these and you are looking to sell it, please let us know via the contact page on this site. If it isn’t something of direct interest to myself, I will be happy to pass it along to other Panasonic enthusiasts who would likely give it a fair home for a fair price.