Akira is our friend from Kobe, Japan and every year he comes to visit us in Los Angeles, usually bringing a new Kinfolk frame with him. He works for Kinfolk in Japan, coordinating the frame construction and paint design, as a side job. During the day, he goes to a very traditional office job in Kobe, so working for Kinfolk offers him creative expression, as well as a little extra money to keep his love of cycling funded.
This trip, Akira brought this beautiful Yeti FRO homage ‘cross bike, with a clever detail. Akira loves to race ‘cross in Japan, especially singlespeed races. When he built this bike up, however, he knew one of the first times he’d be riding it was in Los Angeles, so he really wanted gears on the bike. If you look closely, he utilized a PAUL SRAM shifter adaptor to add on the 11 speed SRAM shifter to the bars, and then added the rear derailleur and cassette, allowing him to convert the bike from a singlespeed to a geared bike in a matter of minutes. For levers, he used the TRP Hylex levers.
For the paint, he worked within the confines of the Kinfolk paint department, which requires the logo to be in that exact location and in the traditional Kinfolk typeface, no matter what the client requests. Sure, it’s not the Yeti typeface, nor is it in the Yeti location on the downtube, but I still think it came out pretty slick. In fact, I thought it was a Yeti when I saw it in the alleyway at Golden Saddle. Even the blue anodized PAUL and i9 components look period correct!
I wish Akira and I got to spend more time together in Los Angeles. Our time with him in Kobe was a dream. Playing host to your Japanese friends is important, as they will always take you in at their home. However, I’m sure he’s stoked to get this bike up on the site.