Miyata is a Japanese manufacturer of bicycles, unicycles and fire extinguishers. The company has been in operation since 1890. Miyata was also one of the first producers of motorcycles in Japan under the name Asahi. The Asahi AA was the first mass-produced motorcycle in Japan.
Miyata was founded by Eisuke Miyata, a gunsmith and engineer from Tokyo. In 1881, Eisuke opened a gun shop and factory in Shiba which he called Miyata Manufacturing, producing arms for the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1889, a foreigner visited Miyata to ask the gunmakers to repair his bicycle. The engineers repaired the bicycle, and the company began to repair bicycles as a side business. Eisuke's son, Eitarō, manufactured the first Miyata prototype bicycle in 1890, using rifle barrels produced at the family's factory. The early success of Miyata's bicycles was boosted by a request in 1892 from crown prince Yoshihito (later Emperor Taishō) to build him a bicycle. Upon Eisuke's death on 6 June 1900 and with the market becoming flooded by foreign gun manufacturers, Eitarō converted the business entirely to bicycle manufacturing.:31–32
Many say Miyata pioneered triple butting, and revolutionized frame building techniques. The first Miyatas were bolt-upright town bikes. Over the decades, Miyata established a good foothold in the bicycle market, becoming contracted by multiple local brands to build their bicycles and ultimately attracting Panasonic Corporation to become a shareholder in 1959.
The Miyata brand still exists and, while it is no longer distributed in the United States, it remains popular in Europe under the Dutch "Koga-Miyata" brand. As of 2008, there is limited availability of Koga-Miyata bicycles in North America.
Koga Miyata was a joint project. By A. Gaastra (Koga) and Miyata. The bikes are built in the Netherlands.
Koga-Miyata is a Dutch bicycle manufacturer, established in Heerenveen. Koga Miyata is nowadays part of the Accell Group. The company was founded by Andries Gaastra in the early 1970s. The addition of 'Miyata' to the acronym 'Koga' acknowledged the importance of the Japanese frame builder, with whom Gaastra cooperated.
Miyata has since reworked and reopened the Japanese factory but on a much smaller scale. Using the frame that won the a L’Alpe-d’Huez stage in the 1981 Tour de France, one can now order hand-built steel frames.
Miyata in the U.S.
Throughout the U.S. bike boom of the 1970s and into the 1980s, Miyata competed with American companies including Schwinn, Huffy, and Murray; European companies including Raleigh, Peugeot and Motobecane — as well as other nascent Japanese brands including Nishiki, Fuji, Bridgestone, Centurion, Lotus and Univega — whose bikes were manufactured by Miyata. Japanese-manufactured bikes succeeded in the U.S. market until currency fluctuations in the late 1980s made them less competitive, leading companies to source bicycles from Taiwan. Miyata halted production and importation of the Japanese framed bike in 1987 and moved away from the traditional rifled tubing.
Late 1970s to mid-1980s Miyata bikes have high-quality Japanese lugged steel frames and Shimano or Suntour components.
Miyata models carried numeric names (e.g., Miyata 710). By the late 1970s Miyata began using the same names, writing out the numeric names (e.g., Miyata Seven Ten).
Generally, 90 and 100 series were sports/entry level bicycles. 200 and 600 series and the 1000 model were touring bicycles, with the level of bicycle increasing with first digit in the series. In general, a 200 series touring bicycle would be roughly equivalent to a 300 series competition/fitness bicycle in terms of component levels, frame materials and value. 300, 400, 500, 700, 900 series were mid-range competition/fitness bicycles — with the level of quality increasing with first digit in the series. The top line, pro series bicycles were named non-numerically (e.g., Team Miyata and Pro Miyata). 1000 series and X000 series bicycles, with the notable exception of the 1000 touring model, were competition/fitness models with non-ferrous frames.
Often (but not always) the last two digits of the model number indicated the number of available gears, e.g., 912 was a 9-series 12 speed and a 914 was a 9 series 14 speed.
- Miyata 9x: This was the bottom of the range, entry-level model. Triple butted tubing, Shimano/Suntour entry-level components.
- Miyata 1xx: Low-level model aimed at the casual consumer. Chromoly triple-butted main tubes, hi-ten stays, toe clips/straps, available in both men's and mixte styles.
- Miyata 2xx: A popular lower-end touring model. 1984 catalogue indicated the 210 used straight-gauge tubing, Dia-Compe cantilever brakes and Shimano triple drive train. By 1985, the 210 featured triple-butted chromoly tubing in the frame, with a Mangalight fork. 1986 and later models used 700 wheels; earlier models used 27" wheels. Braze-ons on front and rear dropouts (no low-rider braze-ons in front), cantis front and rear, horizontal rear dropouts, one bottle braze-on, rear rack braze-ons, and flat-top fork crown. There were also special models such as the 215ST (both traditional and mixte styles).
- Miyata 3xx: A mid-range road bike model from the "Semi-Pro" group, with Shimano 105 brakes, derailleurs, and shifters. The 105 was also shown with an arrow-like graphic. The Miyata 310/312 had a shorter wheelbase than the touring models, but with clearance for fenders and wider tires and is sometimes called a "sport-touring" model (a comfortable model for day rides and commuting). Features included double- or triple-butted Cr-Mo tubing (depending on year), 525 Crown, SR CTD handlebars, and Araya rims. Earlier models had hi-tensile steel forks, but later forks were "Mangalight" manganese alloy. Some years are equipped with an "aero-style" shifters, mounted on a single brazed-on post on top of the down tube.
- Miyata 5xx Competition (part of the "Semi-Pro" group): A higher-end road bike than the 310/312, with more "aggressive" geometry.
- Miyata 6xx: A quality touring model, one step down from the 1000, with slightly different frame geometry and lower level components. Mid-1980s 610s have triple-butted splined Chromoly frame tubing, an unusually high quality tubing and construction for its price level. This bike is slightly lighter in weight than Trek 520/720 touring bikes, but of similar quality.
- Miyata 7xx: A mid- to high-end road bike from the "Semi-Pro" group. Early models had Suntour parts, including an odd 3-wheel rear derailleur, possibly using the same frameset as the 910.
- Miyata 9xx: Miyata's high-end road bike from the "Semi-Pro" group, with Shimano 600 components.
- Miyata 1000: Touring bike with splined, triple-butted Chromo tubing. Some report the 610 to be stiffer than the 1000. 1997 model had a mix of Shimano 600 and Deore XT parts (600 DT shifters, XT derailleurs). Noted bicycle authority, Sheldon Brown called the Miyata 1000 "possibly the finest off-the-shelf touring bike available at the time". The 1000 was marketed in the U.S. from the late 1970s and marketed in North America until about 1993.
- Miyata 1400: A high-end road bike sold only as a 1989 model with Shimano 600 components. It was higher-end than the 914 that was sold in the same year. Unlike the aluminum 1400A, the 1400 used Miyata's CrMo triple-butted construction.
- Miyata Cross: A top-of-the-line "cross" bikes (which included the Alumicross, Quickcross, Sportcross, and Triplecross). The Alumicross was introduced in the late 1980s with standard-size aluminum main tubes bonded to steel lugs and a Chromo fork. Seat and chain stays are steel, with the seat post binder bolt holding the seat stays to the seat post lug. The Quick, Sport, and Triplecross were triple-butted cromoly.
- Miyata Pro/Team/1200: These are the high-end race ready models (Team Miyata, Miyata Pro, etc.)
The serial numbers for Miyata Bicycles Made in Japan Since 1972, according with the first letter on the serial number:
A 1972 B 1973 C1974 D1975 E1976 F 1977 G 1978 H 1979 I 1980 J 1981 K 1982 L 1983 M 1984 N 1985 O 1986 P 1987
Q 1988 R 1989 S 1990 T 1991 U 1992 V 1993 W 1994 X 1995 Y 1996 Z 1997
Although demand for Miyata unicycles outside Japan has diminished in recent years due to a wider range of quality unicycles becoming available, Miyatas were once considered to be a highly desirable unicycle because of their quality of manufacturing and well designed saddle during times when choice was often limited to expensive custom-made unicycles or extremely poor quality products sold in department stores. Miyata unicycles are now uncommon among non-Japanese riders due to the surging popularity of riding styles such as Muni (Mountain Unicycling) and Street/Trials riding, which Miyatas are largely unsuitable for, however Miyata is still the unicycle of choice in Japan where riders tend to be more interested in Freestyle riding and Artistic Unicycling, this coupled with the fact that unicycling is taught in Japanese schools as part of physical education has secured Miyata a continuing place in today's unicycle market.
Miyata currently manufacture a range of unicycles with wheel sizes ranging from 14 to 24 inch, models are available for beginner and intermediate riders up to expensive high end cycles with carbon fibre frames. Miyata makes custom frames to order and also sells a five-foot Giraffe version of their popular Flamingo model.
- Alexander, Jeffrey W (2008). Japan's Motorcycle Wars: An Industry History. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-1453-9.
- 1981 Miyata catalog (USA)
- 日本自動車百年史 [100 years of Japanese History before Automobile] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 17, 2010.
- "Panasonic to Sell Stake in Bicycle Maker Miyata". Japancorp.net.
Panasonic Corp. has agreed to sell its 40.69 pct stake in bicycle maker Miyata Industry Co. to fire engine maker Morita Holdings Corp. officials at the Japanese electronics maker said Wednesday. Morita, which acquired 10 pct of Miyata in 2001, will buy Panasonic's holdings in a tender offer. Panasonic, Miyata's largest shareholder, has been supporting the company's turnaround effort since its 1959 equity participation. In the tender offer set for Thursday through Nov. 7, Morita will buy Miyata shares for 205 yen apiece. Miyata could be delisted from the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as Morita has no upper limit on the number of Miyata shares it will buy.
- RoadBike Review's Forum Archives
- Miyata Info
- Miyata Hierarchy at bikeforums.net
- "Japanese Bicycles in the U.S. Market" by Sheldon Brown