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!
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.
If you’re lookin’ to blacken out your track bike’s drivetrain, check out the newest collaboration with San Francisco’s Mash, who teamed up with Japan’s Izumi on three new chains. Offered in all black (pictured,) black with silver bushings, or black with gold bushings. Check out more at Mash SF.
When Jonny first rolled through the doors at Golden Saddle on this bike, I honed in on it. There was something familiar about the bike, yet I had never heard of the brand painted on the downtube. For some reason, it reminded me of an Eisentraut, or a Sachs. After talking to Jonny, he told me he works for Joe Bell, a literal living legend in the framebuilding world. Joe Bell, or JB as Jonny calls him, paints and has painted the frames of some of the most outstanding builders over the years.
In 1971, Panasonic Bicycles first began exporting bicycles to the USA and while their bikes in Japan are mostly consumer-level mamachari and other commuter cycles, this year at NAHBS, their hand-made division brought this beautiful randonneur with Shimano Ultegra, various Nitto products, and one of the wildest finishes I saw at the show.
XPDTN3 takes to Japan for three days of beautiful road riding in the mountains surrounding Tokushima. See more at XPDTN3.
Chari and Co teamed up with New Balance recently on an updated design of their U520 silhouette. Check out the promo video above and swoop a pair from Chari Japan.
Terry from 4K chased around Tommy from Blue Lug, Yoyogi while in Japan.
Osaka-based artist Concrete Road is inspired by bikepacking and Manga, the Japanese art style created in the 19th century. From product design to bikepacking portraits, Concrete Road’s work is worth a follow on Instagram. You can also browse the Concrete Road online shop.
Japan is one of my favorite places to travel in the world but it took a few trips there for me to have that realization. Partially because on previous trips, most of my time was spent in Tokyo, leaving much to be desired in terms of riding experience. The main reason was, however, is how embedded the Japanese culture is in their respect for nature. For a country that believes Mt. Fuji is a god, or at least god-like in the modern ethos, I hadn’t seen any of that first hand. Last year’s trip to Nagoya to see our friends at Circles really solidified my love for Japan, but it wasn’t until Cari came out to Japan for a week-long city tour that I saw the true nature of this amazing, yet small and intimate country.
The Japanese Odyssey is a self-supported race across Japan, totaling 2,400 kilometers. This race takes you from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, through the mountains, onto the island of Shikoku, before ending in Osaka.
The team at Bicycle Quarterly took the Open U.P. to Odarumi, one of the highest passes in Japan, at 6600′ in elevation. Watch this video to find out how a carbon bike handles the climb.
Japanese cartoons, or Anime, cover a wide variety of subject matters, including cycling. Check out this short video showcasing the history of these movies.
Japan. An incredibly diverse country, filled with a rich history, which up until the modernization of the automobile, relied heavily on the bicycle. In fact, from the 1930’s through the 1960’s the bicycle was the most prized possession in Japanese households. Naturally with modernization comes new technology and with new technology came more affordable cars, designed specifically for the Japanese consumers. Soon, the attention of the Japanese people shifted towards the automobile. Alas, the bicycle may have taken a blow in terms of popularity, but it’s hardly fallen off the map. Almost every household still relies on a bicycle. With fuel taxes double what we have in the USA and pricey annual inspection bills, many families still run errands on bicycles. In Nagoya, the wealthiest city in Japan, made possible by Toyota being located there, the bicycle can still be found on the streets and sidewalks in mass numbers.
After three weeks on the road in Japan, I’m finally heading back to Los Angeles and just in time for summer. I wanted to thank everyone that made this trip so memorable and to the Circles family for making it possible. I’ll miss this place and its people, but will be back for sure!
Expect regularly-scheduled posts to commence this week, thanks for your patience… ;-)
Doppo Kunikida was a Japanese naturalist, one of the best. In fact, he’s the founder of the movement which focuses on, you guessed it, nature in literature. This love of nature inspired Sim Works to develop their own touring bike, one that would take a 27.5 or 29″ wheel and be prepared for just about anything you’d encounter on the road or trail. The Doppo is a steel bike, made in Nagoya by the framebuilder Shin and was first debuted at NAHBS this year. This is Makato’s personal bike, which he affixed with racks and panniers for our tour, while utilizing the “anything” mounts on the fork and the Sim Works “Homage” tires. You can read more about the Doppo at the Sim Works blog and contact them for ordering information…
This bike looked so good on the top of Mount Mihara that I had to shoot a few photos of it. Enjoy!