MARUISHI TOURING BIKES
an old Japanese ad for the 695
I really can’t find that much out about the company. Most of the web pages that come up are in Japanese. What is clear is that their touring bikes did not do too well in the US market, but almost all the big companies stopped making production touring bikes at the end of the 80’s, though they seem to be making a small comeback. Until very recently, Maruishi was making fairly traditional (and affordable!) randonneur touring bikes for the Japanese market. Check out the Emperor Touring Master:
Complete with generator lights, front rack, fenders and pump mount on the seat stay. This is how it comes for 88,000 yen which, last time I checked, is less than $800. Not bad at all. I have also found a few photos posted by proud Maruishi owners like myself:
This bike belongs to Rob in Minneapolis. This is his daily commuter, and he’s had it since ’93.
Here are some photos from Japanese web pages:
Note the Nitto front rack mounted on the rear. Whatever works, and it probably supports a Carradice-style saddle bag quite well.
As for Maruishi’s current status, most of what I know is from the following letter from a bike store owner who has some dealings in Japan:
Hello Mr Piazza,
a friend forwarded to me your name in connection with an enquiry involving
Maruishi. so some of this you may already know.
of immediate concern of course is last week's announcement that several
Maruishi executives have been arrested on fraud charges, and that several
Japanese media are reporting that the company will be liquidated this autumn
in an Enron-style meltdown. this is rather sad, but predictable due to Maruishi's
poor sales for over a decade.
overseas, Maruishi bicycles are marketing under the name Jamis.
Maruishi is mainly known for its mamachari and minivelo line of city bicycles.
these run from USD$90-400.
Maruishi touring and rando bicycles are actually a very minor piece of the
business, and are not that much differentiated from competitors like Davos,
Royal Norton, Miyata, and so forth. That said, the nice thing about them
is that they are fairly affordable and have retained very traditional colour
schemes. I think the latest round has frames that originate in China, Taiwan,
and Japan -- although the latter may no longer be true. They are not really
considered to be collectable due to the price and marquee, but of note is
that all Maruishi road bike were made in Japan until very recently -- I'm
sure this also has had a very negative impact on profits.
hope that helps!