The bike chase at the end of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is one of the most memorable scenes in the entire film. The blockbuster movie helped to energize the bike industry in the 1980s. Kuwahara Bikes supplied the film production with the bicycles the young cast, and their stunt performers, rode.
I spoke to Takashi Kuwahara, the president of Kuwahara, about his company’s contributions to the Steven Spielberg classic.
Can you talk a little bit about the history of Kuwahara bikes?
In 1918, Sentaro Kuwahara, my Grandfather, started a bicycle business. After a while, Kuwahara started exporting bicycles and bicycle parts to Russia, China and Southeast Asia.
In 1972, Kuwahara started to produce (OEM) bicycles for brands like Schwinn, Takara and others. Also, we started developing BMX (KUWAHARA BMX) and exported them to the US, Canada, European and Australian markets.
In 1980, Kuwahara had begun developing and exporting Mountain bikes to Canada and Australia.
In 1982, Kuwahara BMX was featured in Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. with Bob Haro (BMX rider). It has now been more than 100 years and our company is still operating under the Kuwahara family.
Can you talk about how Kuwahara got involved in the making of E.T.?
We received a request from Universal Studio to produce some BMX bikes for the movie. They requested a basket (for E.T.) on the BMX. But, the basket we prepared was not used in the movie. I guess the basket didn’t meet their expectations.
What kinds of Kuwahara bikes were used in the making of E.T.?
The bikes were the same frames that were used by our racing team in Japan around that time.
Were any modifications made to the bikes for the stunt work that was done in the film?
There was nothing done by us.
What kind of impact did the involvement of Kuwahara in E.T. have on the business as a whole?
Our brand became widely known all over the world after appearing in the film.