I would like to assume readers of this site are familiar with the name Koichi Yamaguchi. If not, let me offer a quick intro. Yamaguchi began his career as the master builder for 3 Rensho in Japan during the early 1980’s. Most of his frames went between the legs of professional Keirin riders. They had to be light, durable, and fast! Keirin frames have to withstand the trials and tribulations of track racing. If one were to break, the builder would lose their NJS license and that would mean the end of the company.
In 1987, Koichi moved to the United States and began working for the US Cycling Federation as National Team Mechanic shortly thereafter. Then, in 1989, he began making the first prototype frames for the US National Team. Soon after, he became the lone official framebuilder of the United States Olympic Cycling Team.
Yamaguchi currently has a framebuilding school in Rifle, Colorado and he continues to make custom frames for commission. Long gone are the days of experimental steel frames with bends and swoops galore, as far as the Olympic circuit is concerned, yet these days Koichi relishes his custom orders where the client lets him do the thing he is known for.
Alexis commissioned this Yamaguchi as a lifelong dream of riding a steel frame from the master. It embodies the zeal of Koichi’s Olympic designs, yet will be ridden with flat bars on the street. This bike was a pleasure to shoot and I’m honored every time one of these machines roll past me. Thanks to Golden Saddle Cyclery for setting this one up for me to document.