The Team America was the 2nd model from the top after the Team Europe model. So what was the Team America? In a nutshell? It is a Japanese bike built with Italian Columbus SL tubing and named the Team America. How about that for a mind bender?
The 1986 Team America model came with a full Dura Ace component group and lovely Araya Aero 4 tubular wheels. The three color paint job is perhaps one of Panasonic’s more attractive designs.
1986 Panasonic Team America Specifications:
- List Price: $1100 (approx.)
- Frame Size: TA-851…51 cm / TA-853…53 cm / TA-856…56 cm / TA-858…58 cm / TA-861…61 cm.
- Frame: Columbus SP & SL Cr-Mo double butted tubes, lostwax head and seat lugs, Shimano EF forged ends and Shimano New Dura Ace sealed B.B. set.
- Fork: Columbus SP blades, Tange C-10 lostwax crown, Shimano EF forged ends and Shimano New Dura Ace sealed head set.
- Handlebar: Nitto No. 165, Maes alloy
- Stem: Nitto Pearl, Forged alloy
- Saddle: Selle Italia Super Turbo with Shimano Dura Ace EX seat post.
- Crankset: Shimano New Dura Ace 53/42T
- Freewheel: Shimano New Dura Ace 6-speed 12-19T, Cassette type.
- Chain: Shimano 600 UG Silver, 1/2″ x 3/32″ x 108 links. (Pictured bike has Dura Ace CN-7401 Boron finished links, 1/2?x3/32?x108 links, narrow type.)
- Hubs: Shimano New Dura Ace, Freehub sealed mechanisms 32H
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano New Dura Ace (7400) S.I.S.
- Front Derailleur: Shimano New Dura Ace (7400)
- Shifting Lever: Shimano New Dura Ace S.I.S., brazed on down tube mounted.
- Brakes: Shimano New Dura Ace BR-7400, alloy side pull with Dura Ace AX aero levers.
- Rims: Araya Aero tubular ADX-4, 32h, Super Hard Anodized
- Tires: Panaracer tubular 200gr. Competition
- Spokes: Stainless 14G
- Pedals: Shimano New Dura Ace with reflectors
- Color: Special Tri Color Paint
What can I say about this ’86 Team America other than the fact that it is likely my personal favorite Panasonic bicycle. You see, I remember looking at the 1986 Panasonic model year brochure back in the day and even though this wasn’t the top dog (Team Europe) within the line, it was far and away THE bike I wanted. It is also the bicycle that prompted my quest for more Panasonic information… and turning up fairly empty-handed, I guess you could say it also led to the creation of this web site.
So I wanted one of these for many years… since 1986 to be exact! The only problem was that I had never actually seen one anywhere other than in the bike shop catalog back in the day. I have been watching ebay and other sites for quite some time and never saw one for sale. I sort of figured that perhaps this bike was a bit of a unicorn within the Panasonic line. You see pictures but can’t be sure they actually exist.
Well, during mid May of 2008 the unicorn bike became a reality. I spotted one on ebay and was determined to own it as long as the price didn’t go up to insane levels. As luck may have it, I won the auction and the bike is now sitting over my left shoulder. I spent several evenings going through everything in order to get it “museum clean”.
It turns out that I had in fact purchased the bike from the original owner. The bike was originally purchased from a now defunct Schwinn/Panasonic dealer in East Liberty, Pennsylvania called The Bike Barn.