Shogun Bikes


ShogunInterestingly, the top searches for this blog relate to Shogun Bikes. Why? I presume because I’ve mentioned mine in several posts. So here goes… I picked up a relatively intact Shogun 500 about a year and a half ago at the local Salvation Army. I’d never had any sort of road bike before (I come from the BMX, then mountain bike world), but thought for the price ($27), why not give it a shot?

Turns out I liked it. A lot.

Shimano Deore 1982 Here’s what I know about Shogun Bikes, or at least my Shogun 500: Shogun bikes were imported from Japan by Seattle Bike Supply. I know of Shogun mountain bikes, but can’t confirm if they’re from the same manufacturer or not. Searching via Google has turned up bikes from as early as the 60’s, but it looks like the brand was the most common in the early to late 80’s.

The components place my bike at 1982 or so, with the Deore “Touring Ensemble” stock (yes before Deore made the jump to btn bikes).

The Shogun 500 is made of Tange Champion #5. From what I can gather, Tange at that time (early 80’s) graded the CroMo tubing from #1 to #5, with #1 being the thinnest and lightest, as well as butted. #5 obviously, is the heaviest of the bunch, with straight gauge walls.

Digging around through Bike Forums is your best bet for further info on the brand.

ShogunAs for my bike, while functional, most of the components were worn out at best, so I went about rebuilding it to suit my purposes. Rather than pure roadie, I set it up “Rivendell style”. More of a “do everything” bike that I could ride light dirt, longer road riding (did a two day, 160 mile tour last summer), commuting–you get the point.

Aside from the frame, headset, and brake calipers, I ended up replacing everything. Nixed the drops for the Nitto Mustache bars. Went with a Shimano LX drive train with bar-end shifters, Sugino XD2 triple cranks, and capped it off with a Brooks Flyer saddle. Also converted from 27″ to 700c with burly rims and Shimano XT hubs. Probably poured way too much money into it, but what can you do?

Maybe I’ll go with a fancier frame someday, but for now I can’t wait to get out on my next ride.


ros_09posterDATE: May 20, 2009
TIME: 7:00 pm
WHERE: Lion’s Park, Kalispell

Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.

Contact: Susen Marie-Ladd – 406.257.8503

It just happens I talking to a friend the other night who has two plates in his forearm, a muscle that never going to work the same, and is afraid to hop on a bike ever again, all due to a careless driver. I’ve been very lucky myself, but have had way too many close calls to count over the years (ex: see my previous post). I’d never heard of the Ride of Silence before spotting a flyer at the grocery store, but definitely plan on attending. Spread the word!

Nothing more exciting than watching a truck travelling 25+ mph sliding sideways on ice at you, and that’s exactly what heppened last night on my way to the grocery store. I don’t know if the guy in the truck was goofing around or what, but he came a mere 2 feet from me, passed me, crossed over into the other lane, then smashed into the curb rear tires first. Nothing catastrophic on his part, but it’s times like that when you as a bicyclist feel very small and vulnerable.

On Commuting


This winter for a whole batch of reasons I’ve just not been able to manage bicycling to work more than driving. This week I pulled off 2 out of 5 days. Disappointing personally to say the least.

One thing I’ve noticed, however, it that the days I do ride tend to be those with the worst weather. Freezing rain? Check. Ice fog? Ditto. Big new pile of snow with bonus mystery ice? Again, that was a biking day.

Two days ago I rode out of my driveway past the neighbor on his snowblower. Funny look a biker gets in such a circumstance.

It’s a rare sight to see a nice bike rack at, well, any business here in the Flathead Valley. Then again, this isn’t exactly the most bike friendly locale. Take Missoula for example (an outlier, I know) and you can’t hardly walk downtown and not find a bike rack full of bikes. Our downtown? Cue the crickets.

And that’s exactly why I find it refreshing that my favorite grocery store (Rosauers), not only has a rack, but a damn nice one.

Great, so what’s the problem? A big cold one–that damn nice rack is completely covered in snow/ice.

I’ve talked to various clerks and managers there, I’ve sent several comment cards to corporate, and Monday finally had occasion to talk to the store manager, Tom Sullivan. His resolution? Zilch.

I was advised that the rack is so covered snow/ice that the only solution is to wait for it to melt off sometime this spring.

My solution? Shop somewhere else. Too bad, I’ve been shopping at Rosauers ever since I moved to the valley in 1993.

Tom Sullivan can be contacted at (406) 755-5088.

Mystery Ice


Biking in the winter? Generally more exciting than regular old clear road riding, even with the Nokian snow tires. After the big snow right around New Year’s, we had a warm spell leaving random (and very solid) bit of ice on the roadway. All and good if you spot and navigate appropriately, however this week we had a nice new batch of snow rendering these patches of ice near invisible aside from when one might happen to ride over them.

Queue my first fall since I started winter commuting (11/2008)…

And of course it came at the most inopportune time, right when a family of five was watching. Anyhow, the bike came out from under me in a split second, leaving me sliding a top the bike/on my back. Interestingly, it didn’t even hurt all that much–just a bruised ego and a bit of snow to brush off.

Lesson learned? Slow down.

I think I can manage that.

DIY Mud Flap on the GreenIt looks like winter is winding down here. Sure, there will be plenty more snow days (it’s snowing as I type), but the bulk of accumulation in the valley bottom is either gone down stream or collected in one of those nice big puddles I have to navigate.

I keep meaning to type up some updates, but this time of year the only bike related activities are riding back and forth to work, running errands, and looking over maps scheming up this summer’s rides. Not the most interesting thing to type about, admittedly.

ShogunI did get out on the Shogun and ride the Airport/Foy’s Lake loop yesterday (my earliest first of the season “ride”). Pretty routine ride when one is in Summer shape, but hot-damn if it didn’t just kick my ass. I guess that’s to be expected when one rides a whopping 6 miles to work and back on the flat. But can I really complain? I don’t know that I’ve ever even been on a bike in March since I moved up here.

Random stats for February:

  1. 1. I bought gas exactly one time, in the neighborhood of 1o gals.
  2. I rode 132 miles.
  3. Biked to work 71% of the time. (Only drove 6 days!)
  4. People do indeed think I’m crazy.
  5. Most importantly, once you get the swing of it, it’s not even a big deal. I was rarely cold, and hell, I was keeping active.