The Harlem Globe Trotters were very popular at the time. Japanese CEOs were still reeling from having met the Americans in battle during WWII. They might have overestimated our stature. I have seen more or less 10 of these 27″/ 68.5cm frames in my lifetime. Most of them have come from Japan. Of the ones that I have seen, all of them were made in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
I am 6’6″. This bike fits me. Before becoming a “bike guy”, I didn’t know that there were bikes taller than 64cm/25″, so I happily rode my bikes with the seat posts extended like a periscope. To purchase a new bicycle that fits me as well as some 5’10” dude’s bike fits him, I would have to find a custom frame builder. There are lots of them, and they make great bikes. Maybe one day I will have one, made from Reynolds 531 tubing with ornate chrome lugs, and a unique head badge from a small shop on the coast. Until then, I’m kind of stuck.
Of the 10 or so 27″-frame bikes I have seen, none of them (except a custom bike I saw once) was a higher-end bike. Miyata made this size available on the Two-Ten model, but not on its lighter and more responsive bikes. Fuji made them in several entry-level models, but not in the Club Fuji. I have a Schwinn Continental that is as tall as this Miyata. It weighs 753 pounds, 2oz. I have combed the vintage bike catalogues. 68.5cm bikes happened for a little while, in limited quantity and quality.
With this bike, I chose to treat it as a higher-end model. I put some money into it. The bike itself was expensive, as the seller knew he had a rarity. I can get a spent-condition Miyata 210 for $40-$60. This one cost me $95, ratty tires and all. The handle bar assembly you see above was even more expensive–around $150 for the bar end shifters, bars, stem, 1″ to 1 1/8″ adapter, and brake levers. The tires are not the Kendas I would install on a Schwinn World Sport. They’re Panaracer Pasela gumwalls, which are some of the best tires you can find for 27″ wheels. So…saddle, cables, bar wrap, chain, lube, and ball bearings–I’m $325 into this bicycle, which is a lot more than advisable.
That said, I have improved the handling, comfort and stability of this bike immensely. Having the bars way out in front, and the brake levers as far apart as my shoulders, makes this bike very stable on the road. I lucked out with the frame–it’s straighter than Mike Pence. The wheels are true as can be. It will make a great rider for one of these giant Dutch guys here in Michigan!