It is hard to believe that this bike is in fact as old as it is. The Tange Aero tubing was certainly ahead of its time… aero right down to the seat post tube. This bicycle is a real engineering marvel and it shows just what Panasonic was capable of during the early eighties. The frame shown here appears to have been built in May of 1982. Special thanks to Robin Bennett for allowing me to photograph his bicycle for use on this web site.
1982 Panasonic Aero Road (AR-6000) Factory Specifications
- List Price: Under $1,000 USD
- Frame Sizes: 21″, 23″, 25″, Angle: 74 deg. x 74 deg.
- Frame: Tange Cr-Mo Aero tubes, Shimano short fork ends
- Fork: Tange Cr-Mo, Aero 25, forged Shimano fork ends
- Handlebar: Light Alloy, Maes
- Stem: Light alloy, Dura Ace AX
- Saddle: Ariake Nu-Buck Aero with Dura Ace AX seat post
- Crankset: 42/52T Dura Ace AX, forged alloy cotterless
- Freewheel: 13/23T Dura Ace AX, 7-speed
- Chain: Dura Ace UG silver finish, 1/2?x3/32?x110 links
- Hubs: Light alloy, small flange with quick release, Shimano Dura Ace AX
- Rear Derailleur: Dura Ace AX
- Front Derailleur: Dura Ace AX
- Shifting Lever: Dura Ace AX, brazed on down tube mounted
- Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace AX, alloy center-pull, with hooded levers
- Rims: Aero 700c, alloy
- Tires: 700x25C, Racing Extra 100 PSI
- Spokes: Swaged stainless 14-15G
- Pedals: Dura Ace AX, DD Pedal, light alloy with reflector
- Accessories: Front, rear and side reflectors/Cloth handlebar tape/spoke protector/Toe clips and straps/Bottle cage and bottle/Allen Key wrench
- Weight: 23 lbs (21″)
- Color: Pearl White
The frame isn’t the only thing special about the AR-6000. This bike also featured the Dura Ace AX component group. Dura-Ace AX components were introduced at the International Cycle Show in Cologne, Germany in 1980. According to the Shimano web site, the group was based on an innovative new aerodynamic design theme. Through the use of the bicycle industry’s first wind tunnel, Shimano engineers developed a component series with 20% less drag than contemporary designs. Shimano’s quest to produce the best performance products available is evident.
The other most obvious feature, other than the slight profile, is the interesting cable holder on the back of the derailleur. This was designed to take the bare cable, without housing, and feed it to the pinch bolt. Many bikes of this era had a cable guide mounted on the seat tube just above the bottom bracket shell. The bare cable would run from the down tube shifter under the guide and straight to the rear derailleur. No housing needed. A creative solution to cable drag!
I remember that model very well; It was the 1st aero I’d ever seen. I spotted one with the pearl white paint in July 82 on Iowa’s RAGBRAI ride.
There is a very slight chance that the bicycle you see pictured on our site is the bike you saw during RAGBRAI in ’82. I don’t know the entire ownership history of this particular bike but it was in Iowa. My own AR-6000 was one that was around in North Iowa for many years with several avid cyclist owners. I actually remember first seeing it being ridden in 1987 or so. Oddly, I’d come to own it many years later. 😉