The Japan Cup was the last race in the EF Gone Racing calendar year and the team celebrated in the best way…
Crust Bikes gives the people what they want and that ranges from frames, to complete bikes, accessories, parts, and yeah, handlebars. Their small-time operation allows them to pivot easily to follow trends and in a lot of ways, set the trends themselves. With road bikes permuting into even more capable off-road machines, a lot of the ideologies of mountain bike design and technology have found its way onto drop-bar bicycles. Sure, the obvious moves are those shorter-travel suspension forks but something that not many people have touched on is bar width.
That’s where Crust Bikes and Ultra Romance have really influenced and inspired the question: what is the appropriate width for a drop-bar bicycle? We already looked at my Sklar with the Towel Rack Bars but after much demand – and my own curiosity – I decided to try out the Made in Japan by Nitto Shaka Bar.
I arrived with a crew from Salsa Cycles a few days before Grinduro Japan was set to go down. With the impending storm putting a slight damper on the length and rideability of the course for the weekend, I started to look for some alternative riding in the immediate area around the mountain. While the mountain offered plenty of dirt roads, they remained forested-in which didn’t do the Japanese landscape justice. On the map, I noticed that the coast wasn’t too far away and would be a big ole descent for most of the way. Once we secured some fellow folks to shuttle us back from the beach in our rental cars, I got to work cobbling together a GPS track for us to follow. I connected the small bits of off-pavement and tried to string them together with bike paths as well as a visit to a city park that had a castle, duh. Lets go to the beach!
With Grinduro spreading its wings across three continents this year, landing on the western side of Japan at Madarao Kogen with Salsa Cycles this fall. A resort mostly known for its deep powder and tree skiing welcomed some early season visitors as over 300 cyclists descended upon the ski town. The resort’s main chalet served as the staging ground for the expo and meals for the event. With the threat of Typhoon Hagibis on the horizon, the largest Typhoon to hit this region of Japan since 1958, people were nervous about the viability of the event. The storm was forecasted to reach the resort and produce very heavy rains and strong winds midday Saturday, right during lunch between the two planned rides for the day. With safety and ride-ability in mind, the organizers decided to swap the afternoon ride to the morning and add a segment. This was the more dirt/singletrack focused portion of the day which I don’t think anyone was bummed about. At 19 miles the route still has over 3000 ft of elevation gain.
To spice it up for fall, Sim Works have released the Homage tire in a 700c x 43mm and 26″ x 1.95″ size run. These tires look so good in person, so if you’ve been looking for something new to roll on this fall, be sure to check them out. They’re in stock for $62 each at Sim Works USA.
It has been amazing to witness how much Tracklocross has grown over the years. To be able to have the Tracklocross World Championships held in Japan was something truly special. Huge thanks and appreciation to the dedicated organizers Chris Namba, Junpei Nakata, Eui Ho Kim, and the volunteers for their hard work that was put into this event.
Honjo, the company that makes Rene Herse fenders in Japan, has improved their process for making black fenders. Prior to this improvement, the black coating would scratch easily, marring the finish but with these recent improvements, Rene Herse is now offering their full fender lineup in black. This includes the fluted, hammered, and smooth finishes. Head to Rene Herse to see their full offerings.
ULTRADYNAMICO Rubber Corp, founded by longtime cycle pals @ultraromance and @ultratradition, launches today with an effervescently-late summer tire aptly dubbed “Rosé”. The Rosé comes in popular 650b x 47.99mm size, with an exotic and luxurious sidewall that is tubeless-ready, without seeping away all your sealant.
In May, ten riders headed to Japan for an adventure with the goal of raising money for cutting edge cancer cell and gene therapy research. “Shinrin-yoku” in Japanese means “forest bath”, referring to a walk in the forest soaking in nature and green light. We are all aware on some level of the restorative effect of going for a walk in the woods, but it took the Japanese to give it a specific word. Starting in Uguri, Japan, the team embarked on a six-day, unsupported tour from the town of Hamamatsu en-route to their finish in Tokyo. Along the way, they searched for inspiration and reflected while in the Japanese countryside, as they honor and remember the loved ones we’ve all lost to cancer. The goal: raise funds for the Alliance for Gene Cancer Therapy – the cutting edge of cancer research and our best hope for ending cancer forever.
Japan’s Blue Lug worked with Phil Wood to make a limited release of these rainbow anodized track hubs. These hubs come in 24, 28, or 32h drillings, feature titanium hub bolts, and are a Blue Lug exclusive. The hubset retails for ¥ 103,000, or approximately $950 USD. If you absolutely have to have these, Blue Lug does ship to the US and they currently have stock. Head to their web shop to see more!
For those not wanting to go into the full commitment into the even large at size small 615mm Towel Rack bars, Crust Bikes worked with Nitto to manufacture a 560mm wide Shacka Bar. There are a few more differentiators, too. Including bar clamp. Shacka Bars are 31.8mm, Towel Rack bars are 26.0 and can be shimmed. The shape of the Shacka Bar is more traditional as well. Got any questions? Head to Crust to see more information and to sign up for an alert when these are in stock!
Without sacrificing the feel of René Herse tires’ supple casing, the team has developed endurance casings for many of their offerings, including the popular Juniper Ridge model. This casing, along with the new Hurricane Ridge 700x42mm Endurance Plus tire – a tire used by Ted King during the Dirty Kanza, round out a very plump tire lineup for the brand, including 700C x 38 mm Steilacoom Endurance, 700C x 42 mm Hurricane Ridge Standard, 700C x 42 mm Hurricane Ridge Extralight, 700C x 42 mm Hurricane Ridge Endurance, 700C x 42 mm Hurricane Ridge Endurance Plus, 650B x 48 mm Juniper Ridge Endurance. See more at René Herse.
BQ editor Natsuko Hirose takes us around the Izu Peninsula for this short web edit. See the full piece in the current Bicycle Quarterly.
Mountain biking in Japan is a relatively new sport. The rules for riding on singletrack aren’t really well established, yet that is changing.
While I’ve toured throughout Japan, there’s one thing I’ve yet to do there and the latest from the 50to01 gang has me pining for it even more now!
Doppo translates to “going alone.” On display at the Sim Works Pop-Up at the Cub House was the steel version of their Doppo ATB bike or all-terrain bicycle. We saw the aluminum version from the Chris King Swarm coverage, and we’ve seen this steel model in Japan being manned by Makoto during our Mount Fuji tour.
These frames are made by a builder in Nagoya named Shin Hattori, exclusively for Sim Works, and for the first time, they’re now available in the USA through Sim Works. They feature a number of braze-ons for racks and fenders, as well as a Tange fork with a unique fender mount. This particular model was built up with chubby 650b road tires and fenders.
The Doppo comes in size Small through XXL and will fit a 43mm tire on 700c or 2.1″ on 27.5″ wheels. A frameset retails for $1,680 shipped from Japan via FedEx. Head to Sim Works to see more!
Shige is in town for the Sim Works pop-up at the Cub House. Normally, he works at Circles, the bike shop that created Sim Works in Japan. His job is to work in the “custom lab” at the shop, where various frame builders display their creations and the Circles customers can choose components and frames to make their dream bike. Remember our Shop Visit? Circles is a beautiful shop!
After the Chris King Swarm event, Shige made his way slowly down to Los Angeles, where we rode bikes and I shot his Sklar Monster Cross, which as the name implies, fits a massive 2.2″ 27.5 tire. The rest of the build is quite balleur, so excuse the excessive bling, but when you’re in the business of selling custom bikes for Circles, your bike has to look this good!