Once upon a time there was a bicycle manufacturer in Japan that prided itself on building quality bicycles. Yes, that manufacturer was (and still is) Panasonic. And just like many other bicycle builders, Panasonic produced bikes ranging from high end competition for the Italians to lower end basic transportation type bikes.
If you’ve spent much time on this web site you’ve likely noticed our attention is generally geared towards the higher end models. This is not to say that some of Panasonic’s basic low-end bikes such as the Sport 500 aren’t good bicycles. They are fine bikes, they just aren’t exactly rare, terribly collectible, or light weight. They are for the most part the bicycling equivalent of a Toyota Corolla. Decent, reliable and basic. Your point A to point B sort of bike. Nice commuters but certainly not racers.
Now with that said, there appears to be a whole lot of false information out there in the minds of many many Craigslist sellers. Many of these seller are likely unsure of what it is they just pulled out of the garage, barn or attic and some quick Googling of Panasonic bicycles turns up stories of how great they are etc. etc. OK, so I’ll have to take blame for some of that hype as there really wasn’t much info available on the web about Panasonic bicycles prior to me creating this web site.
I’m here to set the record straight. For those of you looking to buy or sell a lower end Panasonic bicycle, please read carefully.
The Panasonic Sport 500, Sport LX etc. was literally at the bottom of the Panasonic food chain as far as their ten speed bike like was concerned. Collectors like myself are not scrambling to snap them up for $200 plus as they aren’t exactly hard to find. In fact, I’m not a buyer of ANY Sport series bike for my collection. I see them offered all over the country on Craigslist often for $100 or less, and honestly, that is how it should be. I’d have a hard time paying more than $150 for one unless it was in darn near NOS condition.
Now, I just can’t resist a little Craigslist ad humor from a seller who clearly didn’t do his homework OR hopes to pull a fast one on an unsuspecting buyer. I even emailed this particular seller trying to clarify a few points of misinformation but the ad reappeared a day later slightly revised in price but nothing else.
“26 INCH PANASONIC VINTAGE 10 SPEED 500 SPORT. EXTRA SHARP ROAD BIKE RARE AND NICE, 165.00 OBO CHECK CRAIGS LIST YOU SEE THE ARE MOSTLY 200 and ABOVE FOR THE SAME BIKE AND MINE IS LIKE NEW I KNOW I AM CRAZY BUT I HAVE BEEN OFF WORK WITH A INJURY FOR 3 WEEKS SO I REALLY NEEED THE MONEY THIS WQAS A SPECIAL EDITION ROAD BIKE MADE IN JAPAN FOR A ROAD RACE IN THE LATEE 70’s. YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO MAKE AN OFFER BUT LETS KEEP IT REASONABLE AS THIS IS HARD TO FIND AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION!!”
NOT a special edition. NOT built for a road race in the late 70’s (unless racing your kid brother to the 7-11 counts?), NOT hard to find, and rarely are they $200 and above unless it has the magical “fixie” word thrown in there somewhere.
Now, in an effort for this post to be more than just a rant against silly CL sellers, I’ll put together a time line showing links to the various models over the years. (Please be patient as I’m still working on adding to the time line below)
The Panasonic Sport Model Time Line: 1979-1989