|early years||Kuwahara was founded in Osaka, Japan in 1918 by Sentaro Kuwahara. It was a family run business with help from his wife and eight children that made and sold bicycles and bike parts at first in his neighborhood, then growing and expanding more. In 1925 Kuwahara began to export bicycles and parts to Russia, China and Southeast Asia. Kuwahara closed their doors for business temporarily from 1940 till 1945 due to World War II. In 1947 Kuwahara reopened again for business and Sentaro Kuwahara became the first chairman of the board of directors of the first bicycle wholesale association in Japan. In 1959 the very first and small shipment of bicycles were delivered to the USA. Sadly in 1960 founding company president Sentaro Kuwahara passed away and his Son, Masao Kuwahara took over in his place. In 1962 Kuwahara sent it's first shipment of APOLLO brand sport (10speed or 12speed road racing) bicycles to Canada. In 1968 Kuwahara started exporting bicycles to the USA as private label bikes for other companies such as Schwinn, Takara, Puch, Concord, Apollo, Azuki and others. Kuwahara had never produced their own Kuwahara brand bike outside of Japan until 1972 when Kuwahara began developing BMX bicycles for the US, Canada, European and Australian markets. During the middle 1970's the BMX boom had started and Kuwahara was regularly exporting Kuwahara brand BMX's to these countries.|
In 1979 Takuo Kuwahara became the new President of Kuwahara. He started up a Factory Kuwahara BMX team each in The US, Canada, Europe and Australia.
Howie Cohen started Kuwahara distribution through Everything Bicycle, a distributorship that Howie himself started. Everything Bicycles coincidentally was located just around the corner from Wizard Publications, the folks responsible for Bicycle Motocross Action magazine.
FIRST KUWAHARA BMX.
Kuwahara original model test in BMX Action august 1980.
The first BMX model ever made under the Kuwahara name had no model name and was simply known as the Kuwahara bike. It was sold around 1979 until very early 1980 before the introduction of the new KZ models. It could be easily distinguished by the single front gusset which had four little holes near the front of the frame. The frame and fork were made of 4130 Cro-Moly steel and featured all the top components from SunTour, Dia-Compe, Ukai and Taihei Elina. Colors were available in blue, white and black.
Cape, www.cult-bmx.com, august 2006: The very first Kuwahara BMX. Known as the Kuwahara bike or KE-1. Single gusset frame. Manufactured from 1979 until early 1980.
Frame and Fork: Tange Chrome-moly tubing, TIG welded
Bars: Redline V-bar
Stem: SunTour mini stem (forged aluminum)
Wheels: Ukai Shine-side Box rims
Tires: IRC BMX Racer Skinwalls
Hubs: SunTour sealed bearing High-Flange
Spokes: Asahi .80/36
Crank: SunTour V/X crank 170mm
Front Sprocket: SunTour 44T Aluminum
Rear Sprocket: SunTour 16T Freewheel
Pedals: KKT Lightning alloy pedals
Seat: Taihei Elina Nylon seat
Seat post: Alloy Fluted post
Seat clamp: SunTour
Brakes: Dia-Compe MX1000
The second model which was improved with a lighter and stronger frame, better geometry for increased handling. Forks made by TANGE and frame made by KOIZUMI. This bike played an active role in the U.S. BMX scene and many of them were painted in the E.T. Elliot colors. Made in Japan.
Kuwahara KZ1 test in BMX Action Bike october 1982.
In 1980 Kuwahara also started developing and exporting Mountain bikes to Canada and Australia.
Kuwahara KZ-2 bike test in BMX Action january 1982.
In 1982 Steven Spielbergs hit movie E.T. featured Kuwahara BMX's and famous riders of those days including Bob Haro.
KUWAHARA E.T. MODEL.
Kuwahara's most famous model that was featured in the hit E.T. movie. It used a KZ-1 frame which was painted a two-tone color like the one Elliot rode in the movie. Two models were sold, one was the Factory Kuwahara with top of the line components (rare) and the cheaper version that was mass produced and sold in department and toy stores.
ET version of the Kuwahara BMX Bike test in BMX Action october 1982.
Big Spread on the new ET model Kuwahara in BMX Weekly volume 2 issue 47.
By the end of 1982, Bob Morales and Eddie Fiola left team Haro and signed a one year contract with Kuwahara and designed the Kuwahara freestyle bike. Kuwahara licensed the "ET" rights and used Eddie Fiola and Bob Morales to promote its new "ET" freestyle bike.
Eddie Fiola, Transworld BMX april 2003: Kuwahara actually paid a monthly income, which wasn't very much, but the company that owned Kuwahara was Everything Bicycles. We got to go through their warehouse with a shopping cart and just pull parts, left and right, whatever we needed.
Official Test for the full-race Kuwahara Lazer Lite in BMX Action june 1983 and in Bicycles and dirt magazine september 1984.
The Nova went on sale in 1983. It was designed for high performance without breaking the bank.
Kuwahara NOVA test in BMX Action september 1984, BMX Racer september 1984 and BMX Action Bike november 1984.
Cape, www.cult-bmx.com, august 2006: The (first generation) Nova went on sale around 1983 along with the more expensive LaserLite. The Nova was targeted at buyers who could not afford the high end model LaserLite as well as being an entry level BMX bike for beginner riders with its lighter front and slightly heavier trimoly rear to allow the bike to drop when taking jumps. The Nova had similar drop outs like the ET model with it's single large hole type punched into it compared to the three holes of the KZ-1 and LaserLite models. The Nova did not use the oval or aero tubing like the LaserLite model and used standard round type tubing for the frame. The frame geometry of the new Nova was based on the older and successful KZ model without the gussets and different dropouts similar to the ET bike. The Nova also used the all new lay back Laser-post and the Kuwahara full size bars as used on the LaserLite. Components were less exotic than the LaserLite to help keep the cost down. The Nova was first released in black followed by Chrome and also White.
Frame: A combination of seamless high-tensile steel and 4130 Cro-Moly
Fork: 100 percent Cro-Moly
Bars : Kuwahara full size chrome Laserbars
Wheels: Ukai alloy with silver speed lines
Pedals : KKT AMX alloy platform pedals
Seat : Elina Turbo aerodynamic nylon saddle
Seat post : Kuwahara Cro-Moly lay-back Laserpost
Seat clamp : SunTour Arrow alloy clamp
Brakes: Dia-Compe with TECH-3 one finger lever
Kuwahara Survivor bike test in BMX Action april 1984.
1986 Kuwahara Scamp test in Super BMX february 1986.
70 Years of Bicycle Excellence: The history of Kuwahara in Super BMX may 1986.
Kuwahara Bravo test and spec. in Super BMX october 1986.
1987 Kuwahara Bravo Team test in Freestyle spectacular june 1987.
During 1987 team Kuwahara flatland riders included Mike Loveridge, Ron Camaro, Larry Manayan and Chris Obermeyer.
Racing was decreasing in popularity and Kuwahara switched its manufacturing to Taïwan and resorted to goofy-colored bikes and novelty features to try and sell bikes. Needless to say, it wasn't successful.
1988 Kuwahara Magician Pro test in American Freestyler january 1988.
1988 Kuwahara Laserlite 3000 test in BMX Plus! january 1988.
1988 Kuwahara Magician Expert test in American Freestyler april 1988 and BMX Plus! november 1988.
Cream #9 november 2004, a French BMX magazine, did an Old School History feature about Kuwahara.
Kuwahara press release, august 2006: 2007 Laserlite Team and Laserlite Team Ltd.Ed. The new Kuwahara Laserlite frames have been developed and designed utilizing crucial input from Kuwahara Factory Team AA Pro riders Matt Pohlkamp and Warwick Stevenson to bring you one of the highest quality and best handling frames on the market today.
Laserlite Team: Pro XL 7005 Series Aluminum frame with Hydroformed downtube, Funn Hooka-DH Hollow Axle Alloy Cranks, Internal Sealed Bearing Headset, Funn Thrilla-MX CNC Pro Stem, Sun Welded Rhyno Lite Rims, Sealed Bearing Cassette Hubs.
Laserlite Team LTD ed: To Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Kuwahara KZ 2.5 ET model released in 1982, a Limited Edition Laserlite Team model bike will be available featuring the ET Red/White fade Paint scheme and custom anodised Gold components. Specs as per Laserlite Team. This will be limited to 250 pieces worldwide.
The 2007 Laserlite Team and 2KZ series which includes Pro, Pro 24", Expert, Junior and Mini sized bikes will be launched at the upcoming Eurobike (Germany Sept 1st) and Interbike (USA Sept 27th) bicycle tradeshows.
Mario Aguirre, september 2014: In 1986 Roland Rascon and I were at Everything Bicycles in Carson California. we were assembling some tandem bikes for Kuwahara Mr. Howard Cohen ( AKA Kuwahowie)RIP. Anyway Roland and I had put together some freestyle routines and at lunch we were in the parking lot fooling around with some new tricks and Howie saw us and was astonished on the tricks we did together and he said to Roland and I that he wanted to send us to japan!!!!there you have the starting of kuwahara freestyle team. Robert Cordoza that was the team manager. know from one of the riders in the ET movie.
Jeff Carroll Mr. no hander.
Derek Oriee, july 2006: Ron Camero and I got on Kuwahara at the same time. We were best friends and grew up in the same neighborhood. We both got sponsored by Awesome Shoes and went to the Awesome Shoes/CW team with Kuwahara team manager Robert Cordoza. I Stayed with Awesome/CW team and Ron went back to Kuwahara/Vision Street Wear.
Derek Oriee, july 2006: You may remember the early Kuwahara freestyle adds with the guy doing an endo in a white Kuwahara uniform.