I first became aware of the Panasonic PR-6000 back in the early nineties after seeing one in a magazine photograph of a Panasonic Sportlife team rider. It wasn’t the most detailed photo in the world but having spent my entire road bike riding life (to that point) on Panasonic bicycles I knew it looked amazing and I knew I wanted one. Unfortunately for me, Panasonic had ceased the importation and sales of their bicycles here in America after the 1989 model year. That made acquiring an actual PR-6000 little more than a pipe dream for me since it would require the importation of the bike from Europe or Japan. I was still a high school student in the early nineties and wasn’t exactly made of money so the idea of calling all over Europe to locate what was then an extremely expensive bike, and then doing the wire transfer of money and shipping arrangements was purely the stuff of dreams. I would have to continue riding my 1988 DX-5000 and be content with what I had.
When I first started riding Panasonic bikes I had a 1985 Panasonic Team which would eventually be stolen and replaced with my much loved 1988 DX-5000. I remember drooling over the 1985 and 1986 Panasonic catalogs dreaming of the 1985 Team Europe I and 1986 Team America in particular. In fact, it was a random search on eBay back in 2008 that uncovered what would eventually become my own 1986 Team America… and in turn spark the creation of this web site.
The creation of this web site and my quest for more and more Panasonic related literature eventually had me crossing paths with a fellow enthusiast and collector in the Netherlands named Melvin. Melvin is a moderator over at Retrobike.co.uk and he had been kind enough to provide me with a few of his European market Panasonic catalogs for this site as well as a few pictures of his own Panasonics. During our discussions, I mentioned how I had always loved the PR-6000 and would still love to own one someday if I could somehow find one and get it here without blowing my life savings. Be careful what you wish for…
I logged on one morning to find a message from Melvin along with a link to a classified ad listing site in the Netherlands. Wouldn’t you know it, Melvin had located a lightly used PR-6000 frame and fork for sale and he was now dangling the bait before my very eyes. It also turned out that Melvin worked for a shipping company there in the Netherlands and as a result was able to pack and ship the frame and fork to me here in America at a very reasonable rate. I jumped at the chance and bought it and Melvin went above and beyond my expectations and has proven that he really is a true gentleman as well as superhero collector of bicycles.
The frame and fork just happened to arrive the very same day I was introducing my girlfriend’s son to my parents for the first time. Ironically, he would eventually become my step-son and has even helped on the 1986 Team Japan restoration project all before turning six years old. He had a hand in on the PR-6000 project build as well and has made building and restoring these bikes even more fun for me.
So how do you go about building your dream PR-6000? Do you stick to the basics and go for the 100% stock appearance or do you change things up a bit? I’m normally a stickler for stock originality but for some reason this PR-6000 just seemed to beg for a slightly over the top build. I decided to go for the period correct Dura Ace 7402 part group as that was pretty much a requirement on virtually any PR-6000. Rounding up the vintage Dura Ace components in suitable condition for the build took quite a bit of patience, time and of course money.
Growing up I always had a fascination with the over-the-top Italian race bikes with their pantographed stems, cranks and other bits. Back then, you would make a bike your own by changing out bits to save weight, improve quality or simply to make it look cool. I decided that my PR-6000 build would be built with a little added element of “pop” by emphasizing the orange color within the color scheme.
I really wanted to find a set of blue colored Mavic Open Pro rims that could be laced to my Dura Ace hubs and finished off with orange Michelin Pro Race tires. Persistent browsing and bidding on eBay finally landed a set on my doorstep. I had a local friend (and Panasonic lover) custom build the wheels using DT Swiss spokes and the dream became a reality.
By far the most difficult component to find in the entire build, aside from the frame and fork, was the new-old-stock orange Selle Italia Flite Titanium saddle. I hunted for over 2 years before having one land in my lap. I can assure you, they don’t grow on trees! Aside from that the other orange accents were easy enough to find. The cables are from Jagwire, the bar wrap is Cinelli cork and the orange bottle cage is made by Bontrager. Simple.
* Note, the photos below do not depict the fully completed bike. We’ll update this page and gallery once we get derailleur cables installed and everything adjusted.
1991 Panasonic PR-6000 “Panasonic Bicycles Virtual Museum Custom” Build Specifications
- List Price: A LOT
- Frame Models: N/A
- Frame Sizes: 56cm
- Frame: Tange 1 Cr-Mo double butted tube, forged ends (Yes, our PR-6000 is extra unique in that it was built with Tange 1)
- Fork: Tange C-10 Lostwax crown, Cr-Mo Blades, forged ends
- Headset: Shimano Dura Ace (NOS)
- Handlebar: Nitto B105 Classic 25.4
- Stem: Dia Compe Gran Compe Ene Ciclo 100mm
- Saddle: Orange Selle Italia Flite Titanium (NOS) with Dura Ace 7400 (NOS) alloy seat post
- Crankset: Shimano Dura Ace 52/42T
- Bottom Bracket: Dura Ace (NOS)
- Freewheel: Shimano Dura Ace 8-speed 12-19T Uniglide cassette (NOS)
- Chain: Shimano HG90 1/2?x3/32?x108 links, narrow type
- Hubs: Shimano Dura Ace 32h, Sealed mechanism with quick release
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7402
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7402
- Shifting Lever: Shimano Dura Ace 8 speed S.I.S.
- Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace 7400 S.L.R. levers
- Rims: Mavic Open Pro SUP 32h, blue
- Tires: Michelin Pro Race 4, orange 700x23c
- Spokes: 14G DT Swiss
- Pedals: TBD
- Accessories: Orange bottle cage
- Color: Team Colors
- Weight: 9.2 kg (20.24 lbs) as pictured