Category Archives: japan
The Circles Japan Personal Bike Show

With the Gourmet Century Japan being hosted by Circles, the team at this great bike shop in Nagoya wanted to do something special for their visitors. The Personal Bike Show was a way to introduce the community in Nagoya to various framebuilders and individuals, all of which have found their way to town for the ride… Many of which were visiting Japan for the first time.

The format was simple. Each guest would display their bike they brought for the Gourmet Century, alongside two local builders. After finger foods by Chris DiMinno and plenty of booze, each personality took to the stage to answer a few questions, provided by the Circles team. Things like “what was the scariest moment on the bike?” and “What do you think of Curtis Inglis?”

The evening culminated with Shinya from Circles and Chris King expanding on their opinions about why cycling is so important to a community’s health and growth. It was one of those evenings that left you excited to be a part of a global community of cyclists.

Over the next few days, I’ll be featuring some of the frames that were displayed, along with other scenes from Nagoya and beyond! If you’re going to the Gourmet Century this weekend, I’ll see ya there!

Jun 2, 2016 10 comments
Circles Japan Personal Bike Show: Dobbat’s Succeed Fillet Road

Dobbat’s is one of the local Japanese builders who displayed their handywork at the Circles Japan Personal Bike Show. While this small builder might not be known in the Western world, he’s been building bicycle frames since the late 80’s and man, let me tell you, his experience shows. This Succeed fillet road has some of the cleanest lines I’ve seen. Everything just lines up elegantly and nothing feels forced. Not even that fastback seat stay cluster, with its top cut precisely along the seat stay line. While the seat cluster initially caught my eye, it was the stem that really made me appreciate his work. It’s like a delicate flower petal embracing the bar like some wild orchid. I couldn’t get enough of it!

Check out more DIY framebuilding goodness at the Dobbat’s blog and wait til you see his other bike!

Jun 1, 2016 14 comments
Keita’s Reptilian Black Cat Disc Road

I’m in Nagoya, Japan visiting Circles, a local bike shop and quintessential bicycle mecca. I’ll dive into that more in the near future, but for now, I wanted to feature this unique bike…

California framebuilders have found a home at Circles. In turn, lot of the family, friends and community surrounding the shop have found California framebuilders. DeSalvo, Sycip, Retrotec, Hunter and Black Cat frames hang from the rafters and line the bike racks outside the shop. One of which being Keita’s Black Cat disc road. Keita runs Early Birds, the breakfast cafe attached to Circles and it was the first bike of the day that really caught my eye due to its loud, reptilian-inspired paint job.

There’s something very Weedian-inspired about this frame with its hand-painted scales and color blocking. Todd paints each frame he builds with unique patterns and designs, leaving the owner more than enough inspiration to decide how to kit their bikes out. With this paint job, Keita upped the ante with a painted Sim Works stem and green King bits.

As I said, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Circles coverage… so stay tuned!

Jun 1, 2016 44 comments
Akira and His Kinfolk ‘Cross Bike

Kinfolk Bicycles began making track frames in the mid-2000’s. They tapped into the Japanese Keirin community and began working with Kusaka-san to make frames for the US market. Years passed and rider’s interests grew to road and finally ‘cross bikes. Now Kinfolk primarily works with geared bikes and in Japan, they employ Akira, who finds himself in LA usually once a year during Japan’s “Golden Week.”

This year, Akira brought this super slick Kinfolk ‘cross race bike. As you flip through this Gallery, don’t miss that Shimano crank beausage photo. I think that, along with the Paul skewers are my favorite details on this bike.

It’s been fun having Akira in town and I look forward to seeing him in Japan soon!

May 5, 2016 22 comments
Compass Cycle Introduces a New Chromoly Rack

Finding a strong, lightweight, chromoly rack ain’t easy. Especially one that has the light mount on the correct (for US riders) side. That’s why Compass went straight to the source: Japan’s Nitto to fabricate their new rack. It’s got a 22lb carrying capacity, comes in at 167g and yes, has the light mount on the road side, not the shoulder side.

See more at Compass and read up on the rack at the BQ journal.

Jan 27, 2016 7 comments