Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
When we think of building a bike, there’s usually an aesthetic ideal and a finished product in mind. While many of the beautiful bicycles we pore over are works of perfection, the range of aesthetic ideals is as varied as the riders who put them together.
I’ve known Chunks since the early days of fixie freestyle. We used to get together on a weekly basis to do backwards circles and bunny hop converted road frames – sound familiar? That weekly gathering gave us the motivation to ride through winters, sharing laughs and forging friendships along the way.
At the time, the NJS track bike was an aesthetic ideal it seemed we all lusted for. The race-bred, yet street-tough style led many down the path of looseball hubs and B123s in less than optimal conditions. Some went even further, to a carefully curated, freshly imported Keirin frameset dripping in Nitto and Dura Ace.
Names like Bridgestone, Anchor, and Iribe were held high, and built to perfection. Yet the concept of entropy led many of these builds to evolve far from what they may have originally been idealized as. Sometimes that happens more quickly than we even expect – as Chunks explains…
“I bought the Nagasawa frame and fork in 2008 in Toronto while I was working at a shop called La Carrera for a month. It was pretty much brand new, with only a few chips in the paint. I brought it back home to Vancouver and the first week of having it built up, I rode it straight into a curb blackout drunk. I thought I was riding up a curb cut.
The fork was totalled. I was super worried that the frame was unrideable but I threw a new fork on and it rode pretty sweet, and 6 years later I have yet to have an issue with the front end. It’s seen a few winters of courier work in Toronto where they over salt like crazy. She’s ugly but I couldn’t ask for a better ride.”
When Chunks moved to Toronto he made stacks of decals – of his name, in all caps Helvetica – that ended up on pretty much everything in sight. I swear no bike in Vancouver or Toronto was left untouched. The Chunks decal on the Nagasawa is barely visible now, but if you look closely at the seat cluster you’ll find just one of the little pieces of history that has found its way into this well-worn build.
I’ve always appreciated a good patina, even though it seems I’m personally incapable of abusing my own gear to the point of “beausage”. Courier bikes with more bare metal than paint are indeed their own aesthetic ideal, and even if that’s not your style you’ve got to appreciate the functional beauty of a machine that’s evolved to a specific purpose.
Nowadays you can find Chunks cruising the streets of Vancouver on the well-worn Nagasawa, delivering goods for his brand Explorer’s Press which is making some cool moves in the material world.
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