Kuwahara Frame Set Decal Guide

The Questions:

What are the correct Kuwahara decals to put on your build?  Where do you buy them?  Are they N.O.S. (New Old Stock)?  Are they reproduction?  If so, are they quality reproductions? And most importantly, are the Accurate decal sets?

The Outcome:

We have been asked so many questions through email regarding Kuwahara decals that we decided to make the ultimate Kuwahara frame set decal guide to help Kuwahara collectors track down the proper decals to restore their Kuwie’s back to Factory specs.

The Research:

In order to do so and to be fair with our research, we have gone through an intensive in-depth decal comparison analysis and purchased various Kuwahara decal sets from all over the world, first hand, from many different sellers.  And YES. we purchased almost every kind of Kuwahara decal set, including rare decals like Pantera and even Waldo set’s from as many different sellers as physically possible!  We like to be thorough!  *Also, Thank you to a few individuals who sent in hard to attain decal sets and/or originals.*

PLEASE NOTE: OUR RESEARCH INCLUDED:
– decal stock quality (should be clear 3-4mm vinyl – not on polyester or mylar)
– printing quality (should be silkscreened with high mesh count to prevent jagged lines – not digital or offset)
– measurements of die cuts (the actual clear sticker size itself from edge to edge all around).
– measurements of each letter/word and a side by side comparison with original sets (removed from survivor frames)
– registration accuracy (where each colour or layer sits over the next)
– font accuracy (in most cases, you will not find a font to match, so most fonts must be custom traced)
– letter/font thickness
– color match

The Sellers – Who To Buy From:

Turns out there actually aren’t many people producing these decals on a consistent basis so we narrowed down our list to 5 (five) regular sellers on eBay and on the net.

Of those 5 (five), the seller,  BMX-Rider (formerly Sunofmand2085), had the most consistent high score when it came to the ultimate factory correct decal sets.  He lists his decals as being the most “factory correct” decal on the market and we have to agree 100%.   Frog BMX has a great selection but the accuracy just ain’t there and when you’re restoring a vintage BMX to factory specifications, accuracy matters.  All 3 (three) Thailand sellers for the most part, sell the exact same decal sets which are pretty much crap and not worth buying in our opinion.  Plus they falsely list some of their decals as N.O.S. when they are actually reproduction decals.

The Pantera decal set is only available by BMX-Rider, as is the Exhibitionist decal from Frog BMX so we had nobody else to compare quality with.  And the ET decal set actually has the same trace detail from all 3 Thailand sellers and Frog BMX, so when buying the ET decal, BMX-Rider is the only option.

As far as factory correct details go, BMX-Rider is the only seller that has placement dots on the decals which are present on all original decals.  Also, BMX-Rider and Frog BMX both have the ® symbol (1984 & later) on their decals, but Frog BMX’s ® symbol is the incorrect size and font and is incorrectly placed.

SCAMMER ALERT – FALSE ADVERTISING: We also found that all 3 (three) Thailand sellers are falsely advertising the majority of their decals as N.O.S.  Be aware that their decals are truly NOT New Old Stock by any means.  They are reproductions but poor ones to say the least.  However, the “Lightning Bolt” Chrome-Moly decals seem to be NOS from our research.

Here is a chart detailing the Good and the Bad of all Kuwahara decals sold on the market by sellers from around the world.

****PICTURES COMING SOON OF OUR IN-DEPTH DECAL COMPARISON FROM ALL REPRODUCTION DECAL SETS.****

The Details:

There are only 3 main kinds of Kuwahara decal sets produced between the years 1979 and 1984 (until 1986 for Apollo models), the "Early" Generation 1, the "Standard" Generation 2, and the "Flagless" versions. However, ALL main tube and fork decals are the exact same size for any 16", 20", or 24" frames and forks.

FACTS: SOME INTERESTING AND KEY DETAILS TO NOTE - All models produced 1983 and later included the ® symbol in all the decals (including "Lightning Bolt" seat post & handlebar decal) except the "4130" seat post tube decal. Factory original decals also include little 'placement dots' on the main tube decals of all models, on the 'model name' decals (Laserlite, Survivor, Nova, & Pantera) and on the fork decals of E.T. models only.

#1.A - "Early" 1st Generation Kuwahara Frame Set Decals (Version 1)

1979 - 1980

Factory stock on KE-1, and early KZ and KM-1 models

- Japanese Flag positioned on left hand side of "Kuwahara" on main tube decal.
- All fonts used on all frame areas are considerablly different from 2nd Generation "Standard" decals.
- Does not include the ® symbol.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red.
- Die Cut corners are NOT rounded.
- Head Tube decal has white to the edge of the die cut.
- The holes in the letters A and R are knocked out (not filled in with white) on the Main Down Tube decal.

#1.B - "Early" 1st Generation Kuwahara Frame Set Decals (Version 2)

1980 - 1981

Factory stock on early KZ, KM-1 and late KE-1 models

- Japanese Flag positioned on left hand side of "Kuwahara" on main tube decal.
- All fonts used on all frame areas are considerablly different from 2nd Generation "Standard" decals.
- Does not include the ® symbol.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red.
- Die Cut corners ARE rounded.
- Head Tube decal is clear to the edges of the die cut.
- The holes in the letters A and R are filled in with white on the Main Down Tube decal.

#2.A - "Standard" 2nd Generation Kuwahara Frame Set Decals w/o ®

1980 - 1982

Factory stock on KZ, Laserlite, Survivor, KYZ, Apollo (16",20",24"), and 24" Crusier (Version 1 & 2) models

- Japanese Flag positioned above the "K" of "Kuwahara" on main tube decal.
- All fonts used on all frame areas are considerablly different from 1st Generation decals.
- Chrome-Moly "Lightning Bolt" seat post tube & handelbar decal included (on Laserlite, Survivor, & 24" models only).
- Does not include the ® symbol.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red.
- Yellow color is darker than standard CMYK yellow (more like a yellow/orange)
.

#2.B - "Standard" 2nd Generation Kuwahara Frame Set Decals w/ ®

1983 & 1984

Factory stock on KZ, Laserlite, Survivor, Nova, KYZ, Pantera, Apollo, and 24" Crusier (Version 1 & 2) models

Japanese Flag positioned above the "K" of "Kuwahara" on main tube decal.
- All fonts used on all frame areas are considerablly different from 1st Generation decals.
- Chrome-Moly "Lightning Bolt" seat post tube & handelbar decal included (on Laserlite, Survivor, Nova, & 24" models only).
- Includes the ® symbol on ALL but the "4130" decal.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red.
- Yellow color is darker than standard CMYK yellow (more like a yellow/orange)
.

#3.A - "Flagless" Frame Set Decals w/o ®

1982

Factory stock on E.T. Models

- Japanese Flag is not included on main tube decal.
- There is no "4130" seat post tube decal included.

- Does not include the ® symbol.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red

#3.B - "Flagless" Frame Set Decals w/ ®

1983 & 1984

Factory stock on Exhibitionist & Pantera Models

- Japanese Flag is not included on main tube decal.
- Chrome-Moly "Lightning Bolt" seat post tube & handelbar decal included (on Exhibitionist models only).
- "The Bicycle Source / USA" decals included (on Exhibitionist models only).
- There is no "4130" seat post tube decal included (Pantera models only).
- Includes the ® symbol on ALL but the "4130" decal.

- Silkcreened on clear vinyl stock.
- Red color used is darker than standard CMYK red.
- Yellow color is darker than standard CMYK yellow (more like a yellow/orange)
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