Continuing with our highbrow theme from yesterday. Yet another OTSG First, Burton B’s 1977 Katakura Silk. Aptly named to be sure.
1977 Katakura Silk PX
- Name: Burton B
- Year 1977
- Make: Katakura Silk
- Model: PX (U.S. Market 10 Speed)
- Frame Size: 58cm
- Wheelbase: 105mm
- Drive Train:
- SunTour Cyclone derailleurs
- Sugino Pro-Dynamic S crankset
- Dia-Compe bar-end ‘Silver Shifters’
- Shimano 7-speed Freewheel
- Wheels & Tires: Shimano High-flange hubs, Araya Rims, Panaracer Tires
- Brakes: Dia-Compe centerpull calipers, slotted levers w/safety levers
- Rider Interface:
- Nitto Mod. 177 “Noodle” Handlebar, 44cm
- Brooks Leather bar tape
- Brooks Team Professional saddle
A little bit about it:
Katakura Silk was a Japanese bicycle manufacturer in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The company, once Japan’s largest manufacturer of Silk, began producing bicycles at a factory near Yokota that had produced aircraft parts during the war. The Japanese road cycling team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics rode Katakura Silk. The brand was also well respected in Japanese Keirin racing.
This particular machine was manufactured at the height of the 70’s Bike Boom. A former factory employee told me this model was called the “PX” and made primarily for the U.S. market. Many were sold at the PX stores on U.S. military bases. Frame geometry is similar to sportif/randonneur type bicycles popular at the time.
I bought this bike from a departing American when I arrived in Tokyo in 1979. I paid the equivalent of $45. I have owned it for 31 years and it still has the original paint and stickers on the frame, albeit with a few scratches. I rode it ‘as is’ and kept it in my garage. In 2010, I gave it a complete restoration/upgrade. Many of the components are the original equipment; others, like the derailleurs are NOS parts of a higher grade from the same period. I replaced the stem shifters with bar-end Silver Shifters, and fit a Shimano 7-speed freewheel, effectively making this a 14-speed. The saddle and handlebar were upgraded, too, and I treated it to a flickstand and stainless steel spokes. Almost every weekend I take it out for century rides around the Kanto area.