Like last year I went to the Handmade Bicycle Fair of Tokyo this last Saturday.
I would say that the usual suspects were there. So it's cool to see the works done by the craft men but it's also a good opportunity to meet and have a chat with the jitensha (bicycle) otaku :) And certainly a very good occasion to meet new people.
First booth I visited is the Cherubim's one, I met them about a month ago at the Cycle Mode event where I shot their bikes for Wallpaper* on-line mag.
Any kind of style is presented as long as it is hand made of course :
Nice curves for this city bike.
But to be honest I am more into this :
Matsuda San is the boss and maker of the Level's bikes. A most respected man in the Keirin world.
At first sight the bike almost looks like a track bike... Then you notice the derailleurs and cassette and then the brake lever...but no brakes! he? looking closer you'll find out the brake system is quasi invisible and integrated in the fork and tubes. Awesome! ã•ã™ãŒæ¾ã ã•ã‚“!
So what is this? a time trial bike?
It is a touring bike that you unmount... be careful of the cables then...
Of course the boss was here, I mean Nagasawa San. He shared his booth with the good people of COG Japan.
They did a nice photo article about him in the last number. As I still had not bought it, so it was a good timing. Indeed for the price of the mag, buyers were lucky to receive a special envelop with very nice Nagasawa stickers and posters and the sign of Nagasawa San :) I noticed only once back at home that his sign written in Hiragana : ãªãŒã•ã‚ draws the shape of a face. An artist I m telling you! [check on the first pic of the article]
Now I have the stickers it's cool... but where do I get a frame ? ;-)
This saddle, collaboration between Nagasawa and Kashimax was sold for 15000 yens, beautiful but would be odd on my Fuji...
On the top of it is a Chocolate with his logo... cute.
A nice idea to recycle a broken frame; I'd like to have that on my desk!
At the booth, I met a happy owner of a Nagasawa keirin bike. I actually recognized him from a photo I shot at the Sekido bashi Market 2 years ago! The gentleman happens to speak also English and French (I can tell you it's not usual in Japan!), so we enjoyed a tri-language conversation :) He is a faithful user of fixed gear bikes for many years and uses them everyday.
This is one of his bike.
This model is dated from 1979, a nice piece of collection. number to prove it :)
The crank and cog are quite unusual. 24 teeth instead of 48 and I forgot for the cog (same as keirin legend Koichi Nakano if I remember well).
As for the "manivelle" it is labeled from the pre-NJS organization, the BIA I think.
He told me he also has a Kalavinka, a 3rensho and more. I have to see that!
Nagasawa Official Homepage is here: Nagasawa.
Next booth was Makino bikes, sorry I just shot this over-exposed picture of one of their touring bikes.
An other master was here, Watanabe San, I had a good chat with him last year. He was a NJS maker but now is focused on touring bicycles.
In front of him was the booth of Hirose San. Also beautiful touring bikes here and some interesting derailleur mechanism comparable to the system that allows the zoom to move in a SLR Camera for example.
But check the video below and pay attention to the move of the front and rear derailleurs. The shifting is quite smooth.
Ravanello bicycles by an other master, Takamura San.
Look at this chrome lugs!
About this chrome lugs, if you see them on RADIUS bicycles : it's normal they are the same.
RADIUS is owned by ex-pro rider Kusaka Yuki. He design the frames and these ones are hand made built in Taiwan. It is not he first time I hear this in Japan. At the Cycle Mode event the maker of CEEPO [triathlon Ironman labeled brand] told me he also does that (for carbon bike in his case).
Taiwan has not the best reputation in the world of cycling because they produce a lot and any kind of bicycles. So sometimes it is really cheap, low quality stuff. But there are also highly skilled makers over there.
The Taiwanese government helps a lot the bicycle industry (Taiwan being the world leader with GIANT for instance) so it seems easier to find good builders. Well that's what I've been told. Anyway the point is to show that there are good makers also in Taiwan. (I remember a recent video of Italian Ciocc/Gorilla maker saying that Taiwan makers don't have a heart, I disagree. I guess he just has not met the good ones).
Well still about Radius they are in business with Kaneko San who has an atelier/shop near GaienMae Station in Tokyo.
In the same street there is the Bridgstone/Anchor bicycle showroom and Specialized is not far away. And you know what ? 3 minutes from there, there is an other bicycle shop dedicated to Italian brands with crazy beautifull bikes... but they did not allow me to take pictures...
OK let's go back to the fair.
An other touring bike with a collector Campagnolo Record derailleur. And a really cool stand!
Look at the work on the tubes.
This is damn clean.
And other pist bike :
Maker Name : ãƒ“ãƒã‚¹ãƒãƒƒãƒ„ãƒ¢ãƒªã‚¢ã‚¤ : Beach Sports Moriai ?
OK this one I forgot what is it ...sorry...
And then there was some totally crazy stuff like this :
???? by Takata Special (special indeed...)
Who definitely has a crush on Punk :
Okay this one is not ride-able I think :)
Sano San was here to present his bikes made all of wood.
I already introduced him last year. I talked with one of his client, the actual owner of the bike on the pic. And he was unstoppable on the qualities of his bike. For example it weights only 7.9kg! Even the "saddle" can be compared to a carbon one with 15X gr and is not hard as we would imagine. Each "tube" is made of multiple pieces of wood put together a little bit like a classical music string instrument I think. But don't think it is fragile, bikes are robust as well, is not this crazy?
If you wonder, price is about 2.000.000 yens ... You have some time to make some savings if you want to purchase one as the waiting list is already long. Mr Sano builds each bike alone.
I also met Gordon by the way. Here is his bike, he got it when he was 16 and track racing. The maker is the current frame maker for the Australian team!
Fork comes from Kalavinka maker (Tanabe San) own bike!
Nice custom touch with his name :
Some random bikes parked outside :
Endo San, who just passed the Keirin "body" test (I am not sure how to call that, it is a first step in a Keirin career, no bike involved in this test). He spent few months in a Keirin school in order to prepare this test. He rides a Radius frame. Ganbare Endo San!