The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles

Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Portland, Oregon

1981 SR Gran Course

More known for their cranksets and stems, SR (short for Sakae Ringyo) did make a small number of somewhat obscure Japanese bikes. Born of the bike boom, the SR Gran Course is a great example of an affordable workhorse with sensibility and class. 

1981 SR Gran Course

1981 SR Gran Course

The SR sports an incredibly ornate and sought after Shimano 600 EX Arabesque  group set. This set was second from the top of the Shimano component food chain. The parts may look delicate but in reality, they are quite durable and made to last. At the time, both Shimano and Suntour were putting out exceptionally well made components which have stood the test of time and abuse. However, the Shimano 600 EX Arabesque  group set was the more ornate competitor and thus seems to get more attention and command higher prices when sought out.

1981 SR Gran Course

The SR rejuvenation came back together remarkably well as all aspects of the bike were made for practicality and an introduction to recreational cycling.

1981 SR Gran Course

Stately elegance, practical character and sophisticated components should keep her alive and roaming for years to come.

Color: Sand metallic with brown and red pinstripes
Frame Size: 53cm (C-T) seat post & 57cm (C-C) top tube
Frame/Drop-outs: Hi-Tensile Steel
Fork: Hi-Tensile Steel
Handlebars: SR Sakae; Newbaums cloth bar wrap with hemp twine (shellac finish) and cork ends
Stem: SR
Saddle: Nashbar Prospect
Seat Post: SR
Crankset: SR Sakae/Silster; 52/42 170mm
Freewheel: 6-Speed Shimano 600 EX
Hubs: Shimano 600 EX (36 hole; Shimano skewers)
Front Derailleur: Shimano 600 EX
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 600 EX
Shifting Levers: Shimano 600 EX
Brakes: Shimano 600 EX levers & calipers; Shimano pads
Rims: Araya 27″
Tires: Panaracer Pasela; 27″x1-1/4″
Pedals: SR SP-150
Special Features: Graceful lug work with pin striping

 1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course
1981 SR Gran Course


25 comments on “1981 SR Gran Course

  1. azorch
    August 21, 2012

    Wow! What a looooong top tube! I am very fond of the 600 Arabesque group – the decorative nature really hails back to a bygone era.

    • Josh C.
      August 21, 2012

      I know, I know. I had to measure 3 times to make sure it was accurate although the top tube does fall more on the 54cm size (actual measurements 53.65cm).
      The Arabesque group was what sold me on the bike in the first place and I feel that it keeps the frame classy and functional at the same time. Thanks for the post, Mark!

  2. Geoffrey Deihl
    February 2, 2013

    I had that gruppo! On a Takara back when I was in college. It worked great even tho everyone was Suntou-centric then. Sadly, I tossed all of those parts, heavily scratched from crash damage, I was crazy back then and wish I could have them back.

    I have an SR Pro Am I want to restore with many original parts, but need an Aerox crank! Also Cyclone II F and R derailleurs.

    • Josh C.
      February 3, 2013

      SR did make some fine, machines. This was certainly one of them as it was of lower price but was a real value considering the performance capabilities. As for the Aerox crank and/or Cyclone derailleurs, those can be tricky to find. Sometimes, I’ll buy a whole bike just because I want to harvest a part or two from the groupset. You many need to consider thinking along these same lines in order to finish off your Pro AM.

      • Geoffrey
        February 3, 2013

        Hi Josh, yes, you’re right, I am considering a whole bike. Cyclone derailleurs can be had on eBay, but they are pricey. The Aerox crank is a rarity, but I am sending the frame out for paint so there’s time. I learned patience on a Raleigh Super Course MKII I am finishing after 9 months! That one I went for the vintage look but upgraded to a 9-speed and SIS down tube shifters. Still have the Huret FD though! Took a long time to accumulate the parts I wanted. Your Gran Course is beautiful.

      • Josh C.
        February 3, 2013

        I agree, in this game, patience is a mighty important virtue. Good luck on the parts acquisition and please share some photos of your gem once it’s complete! Thanks again for the kind comments and correspondence.

  3. soopwr8
    April 9, 2013

    Very beautiful!

  4. johnny bocchetti
    June 25, 2013

    Gianni here! Just traded a cannondale 3.0 for a mint condition in storage SR Gran Course with Shimano 600 ex. The machine is unused. The frame is a little big but I’ll ride it anyway, like having a girl friend that’s a little too tall!

    • Josh C.
      June 25, 2013

      Great trade! I do have a soft spot for those fat tubed vintage Cannondale’s but the SR gets my vote for comfort. Aluminum can be such a harsh ride depending on your terrain. So, congrats! Nice score.

      • johnny bocchetti
        July 11, 2013

        The cannondale was my third over the years. Very light and not much road noise get taken up by the frame. Stiff as can be, the SR is just like the one above only much larger. The components are all 600 ex, it’s sitting in my living room, greeting my guests!!

  5. Seth Hettena
    July 22, 2013

    I recently purchase one bike just like this and I would love to get it looking as beautiful as yours. What’s your trick for getting the paint to look as nice as yours does? And how did you shine up those components? Degreaser?

    • Josh C.
      July 22, 2013

      Hi Seth,
      I go through quite a few steps to cleaning up the bicycles I acquire.
      I usually start by cleaning them with mild soap and water after they are totally broken down as frames. I use small amounts of Simple Green to remove grease. For surface rust removal I like soaking cotton rags in Evaporust and wrapping those only where needed on the frame. Components can be submerged. For polishing, I use Mothers for aluminum and chrome. For paint I like Meguiers car polish. For bare metal, I just cover with the car wax, no clear coat as it will yellow over time. Of course, from there, I won’t ride that particular bicycle in the rain because the wax won’t keep the rust inhibited if it is washed off.

      There are other steps here and there but that is roughly my process. I hope you find it useful in your own restoration endeavors!

      • Seth Hettena
        July 28, 2013

        Thanks so much. That’s super helpful!

  6. Wise Old Bike Guy
    September 30, 2013

    Contrary to popular belief, the SR bike label is *not* Sakae Ringyo, the parts maker.

    Way I heard it working at bike shops in the 80’s, “SR” were the initials of a dude who ran an importing company. He was rumored to be a brother or cousin of the guy behind the original Windsor bike brand, made in Mexico.

    As evidence of the distinction, note the lack of any branding conformity between SR on the frame/fork and SR on the parts.

    • Josh C.
      September 30, 2013

      Interesting! Thank you for the information. It seems I have some digging to do in order to consider my post accurate.

  7. neal conijn
    May 31, 2014

    I had this same bike as my first “new” purchase, bought it from Strawberry bike shop in Hemet, Ca. in about 1981 for close to $300. Was a 56cm, liked it so much my dad and a friend also bought one, a Campus Sport, and I think my dads was a Gran in a huge 62 or 64cm.

    • Josh C.
      May 31, 2014

      Sounds like some good memories, Neal. I’m curious what the Campus Sport looked liked compared to the Grand Course.

  8. paul hiroto
    March 8, 2016

    Looks as if no one has left a post on this site in a while. Is this site alive? I was hoping to find some answers about upgrading this type of SR. This bike has become a flat bat bike now. Gears are same (hopefully I can upgrade), brakes as well as brake handles have been upgraded. Does anyone know where I can find detailed specs for this bike, other than this website.
    Help anyone?
    Oh by the way…I love this bike!

    • Josh C.
      March 8, 2016

      Hi Paul,

      A good place to find out more about SR bikes and upright style conversions would be the Classic and Vintage forum. The member base on the site is quite robust and although I have a bit of info here, there are many others who have great advice through decades of experience.

      Good luck!~

      • paul hiroto
        March 8, 2016

        WOW! Very cool, and thank you for emailing me so quickly. I did not think I would hear from anyone one any time soon but THANK YOU!

        Do you still own a SR? The pictures you have posted on this site are crazy cool and that bike is/was premium stuff. Thank you for sharing!

      • Josh C.
        March 8, 2016

        No problem, Paul! I am happy to help.
        Sadly, I do not still own the SR. It was sold after the restoration. If the owner is following this thread, please do post updates! It’s always great to hear how old friends are doing.

  9. Bill kaminski
    February 2, 2017

    I had a old SR miss that bike. Does anyone know where I might be able to buy one?

    • Josh C.
      February 2, 2017

      Hi Bill,

      Finding a vintage SR won’t be as easy as going down to your local bike shop to nab one but they aren’t impossible to find either. A lot depends on your location though. Craigslist would be a strong first step on your search list but again, depending on your location, you may not find it as useful as someone in a bicycle-rich city might (Seattle, Portland, SF, Philadelphia, etc.). eBay will be another strong starting spot (although you’ll have to add on the cost for shipping) as would your local co-op bicycle shop. Making friends with a group like that might have you on the short list in case an SR makes its way in the shop.

      Good luck! They are out there but patience will be your key to success.

  10. Lynn LaSalle
    April 9, 2017

    I just found this after finding an SR on Craiglist! Less than 7 miles from my house, and picked up for a song. It’s a little sad and a lot dirty, but looks like everything is original, except for the seat. I’m using Josh’s beautiful restoration as my inspiration. Looking to ride it in the October 2017 Chianti L’Eroica.

    • Josh C.
      April 9, 2017

      You know, Lynn, a little sad and a lot dirty is the story of my vintage bicycle life. It is absolutely astounding how much you can do with some rags, a bottle of Simple Green and a whole lot of time and patience. My guess is you have a diamond in the rough on your hands. Clean it thoroughly, oil it, replace the consumables (brake pads, tires, bar tape, etc.).

      It is my pleasure to have you using the site as your road map. Having your 2017 L’Eroica deadline is strong inspiration. I am certain you’ll be ready for the event in October. Hell, I bet you even get a few great shakedown rides in well before the race!

      Feel free to email with any questions you may have. Or to send before and after shots!

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