This was actualy posted at the VBMX forum by Scott,Februari 21,2003.
I bought a U.S.A. Hutch Trickstar from someone from VBMX and than I bought a Japanese Trickstar off eBay and I noticed several differences , I figured I would point them out , I wish I had a good working digital camera so people could see what I'm talking about, but the one I have is junk, the first thing I noticed is the standing platform on the Japanese frame does not go past its supports and the USA one does (note: if you notice on this Japanese frame , the standing platform is slightly angled up , instead of running paralell with the top tube, not all those Jap frames are like this one!). Second the welding quality which other people have mentioned is obvious the USA model has nice tight beads and the Tai one looks like a novice done the welding , on the inside of the bottom bracket tube where all the tubes meet the bottom bracket on the Jap model you can see 4 big holes on the USA model you only see 3 small ones on the USA it looks like the welders , welded the seat tube closed and they other the down tube has a small hole and the bottom tubes look like they've been partialy welded, the serial numbers on the USA model are on the lower left drop out ( 0648678 ) and the Jap model is the upper left drop out ( 6A0289 and the little baseball symbol ) The Jap models rear standing grated foot stands are set father back than on the USA model , the rear brake bridge its stamped HUTCH they exact same on both models , but the brake bridge on the Jap model is welding ON TOP of the seatstay tubes where as the USA models is welded in the center of the seatstay tubes , the Jap models standing platform is also different from the USA model , it is angled up and it is slightly wider at the end VS the USA model , the top seat tube where the seat post goes into is slightly different on the USA model there is the cut in the back that goes into a little circle (note: not all US made frames have a keyhole slot in the seattube) and on the Jap model there is NO little circle at the bottom , I would like to compare the two forks but I didn't get any with the Jap model , but I have some Hutch Windstyler forks and there is really no comparing the two , the USA Trick Star drop outs are a LOT thicker , the Windstyler pegs have caps welded on them and the bottom of the forks have caps welded as well.
Picture serial number US Hutch Trick star. Picture serial numberJapan made Trick Star.
NOTE: Take care! This is only one comparison. Not all the Japanese frames are the same like the one Scott has! So, your frame can be slightly different then the ones Scott has!
More info posted by Mr Coasterbrake (Chris) on VBMX November 28,2003
There is no way to date Trick Stars for certain- just approximations based on serial (#, extra symbols, location).
USA's are oldest, have 7 charachter all-numeric serials on left dropout. the chainstays have small vent holes to the BB, but the stays do not go thru the BB- only butt up against it. Straight cut slots for seatpost clamp.
Japan is next, may have 6 or seven character serials which contain the infamous "baseball" symbol and may also cantain some letters (rather than all numbers) again, on the left droupout. chainstays have bigger vent holes in the BB where the stay actually fits into the hole, flush. may have either a straight or "keyhole" post clamp slot.
Taiwan is the latest, serial is usually on the BB (it seems there are some early Taiwans that still had it on the dropout). Chainstays actually goes thru vent hole in BB, usually protruding on the inside of BB (varies from frame to frame...quality control or lack ther of) has "keyhole" slot for the post clamp.
I've seen all 3 types with so many variation of the standing platforms and chaintay platforms that I don't think those are good reference points (I was a Hutch dealer, so I've seen a lot of them).
Japanese Nora Cup decal:
Seems the first Japanese Nora Cup decal had the years « upside down ». 1985 on top of 1984 (Japanese Race frames had such decal too!)