Kuwahara was originally popular for building Bike Frames for everyone else, a bit like Honda used to provide car engines for other Companies before building their own. But in the 80's they decided to make their own brand and developed a set of BMX's for retail. The KZ-1 etc was the high end and the 'Apollo Kuwahara' was the general catalogue lower grade version. They also manufactured a Red & White Kuwahara ET Bike and offered them free to Steven Spielberg for his up & coming movie. Today this is one of the most sought after BMX's and fetches £600-£1000, especially in original condition.
Raleigh launched their own range of BMX's around the same time as Kuwahara. They too copied the 'Gusset' style frame that Kuwahara had developed with the two holed plate between the top & lower front tubes. The Extra Burner was Raleigh's version of the Kuwahara ET and equally is still one of the most sought after Burners today and an original one can fetch more that a good Super Tuff Burner, £185 one sold for this year whereas a good Super Tuff between £120-£150. Later Raleigh launched the very popular Aero framed Burners. They had a much longer top tube than the MK1 with the Gusset and looked much more like a professional bike at a budget cost, although heavier than the Mongooses, Redline, Kuwaharas etc.
As for the wheels, Skyways always the popular Tuffs, but the Acorn Freestylers were of equal quality and me and my BMX buddies failed to break Skyways or Acorn Freestylers with heavy handling and 6ft high jumps. Although the budget 'Acorn Magnums' which retailed at just £20, did concede and break after serious abuse though. Raleigh's steel wheels always buckled and to find a Burner today with unbuckled steel wheels must be largely unused. These were easy to buckle & crack after using the BMX on a track. The Weinmann & Araya Alloy wheels are much better though and very strong and equal value as the Tuffs. Raleigh made their own Tuffs which are decent quality and good value for any build.
Mini History/guide for Kuwahara's, Burner & wheels
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12 September 2009
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