Advice for Ogasawara

Apr 15, 2011
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Ogasawara Mura
#1
Hello all,

I am very glad that I found this forum. I am writing here because I
seek your advice and hope that someone will help me.

I live in Tokyo and am interested in getting into cycling. I currently
rely on running for my cardiovascular workouts, but would like to try
cycling instead. Also, I would like to try multiday long distance
cycling around rural Japan if possible.

The biggest problem that I have is actually purchasing a bicycle.
While I live in Tokyo, I live in a very remote part of Tokyo (in fact,
it’s just a technicality that I can say that I live in Tokyo!) called
Ogasawara. Ogasawara is a very small island chain and we have no
bicycle shops here. I do not get to return to the mainland often as
transport is limited to a 25 hour weekly ferry ride, so I get back
about 3 times a year.

I want to start cycling ASAP and plan to try to buy something and have
it sent here. So here is my question: Where is a good place to buy a
bicycle in Tokyo or Japan that I can have sent to me partially or
fully assembled? I am budgeting between 50,000 and 80,000 JPY.

Thank you for your help,

Alan
 
#3
Hi Alan,

I'm glad you found us. I just saw Ogasawara on a map and that is really really far away! Are you there for work?

Anywho back to your question, I think its really hard to buy a bike without seeing it first. Many models have different frame sizes and it's best if you were able to test it out at a shop. But because it is very difficult you will have to estimate by your height. I'm about 180cm and I needed the largest frame my model came with. What kind of bike are you looking for? a cross bike or a road bike? My suggestion would be to look at Y's road. They are a large chain bike shop in Tokyo with all the newest stuff but unfortunately they only seem to sell carbon frame road bikes which are ridiculously expensive. If you plan on making a trip to Tokyo let me know and I can try to meet with you to show you all the good shops that I know. I have also found that little private owned shops tend to have aluminum frame road bikes at great prices, but they don't have websites for the most part. My local shop has a Felt F-95 team issue aluminum frame road bike for 75,000, I can send you pics if you are interested. Its the same bike I ride and its a great first road bike I think.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
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Yokohama
#4
Oh Bonin Islands.....Fantasic place, very jealous!!! What do you do there?

I would suggest working whatframe size you need first bike fitting is a case of Vodoo rather than pure science....Im 188cm but ride a 54cm and a 56cm frame, others would feel this is too small.

To be honest I would go for a rough calculation provided by most manufacturers, as long as you have the correct stand over height you can then play around with the fitting by swapping out stem,bars, seat posts at a later date.... although if you follow the threads here you normally find that people who stick with it will end up purchasing a custom or top of the line bike about a year later.

I suggest you have a hunt around and then use Rakuten to purchase, you could also look at the online shop http://www.cyclingtime.com/modules/ctstore/
 
Apr 15, 2011
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Ogasawara Mura
#5
Wow! I seem to have found a great community! Thank you for all the fast replies!

@ snoogly - Thank you for the link. They seem to have a wide selection and unbelievable shipping rates! I thought I was going to pay an arm and a leg in shipping.

@Eric - Yes, Ogasawara is quite far, but it is my fifth year here and I have gotten used to it. Yes, I am here for work, teaching English at the local elementary and junior high.

From the advice I have garnered from friends, it seems that I should buy the bicycle in person, and I would be more comfortable with that, but I am determined to have one ASAP. I don't plan to spend too much now (5-80,000) so if I get into it, I will invest.

I believe that I should buy a cross bicycle, but wonder if a road bike would be better suited. One reason I want a bicycle now is because I plan to do a multi-week bicycling trip in Hokkaido this summer. I need to start training for it NOW!

Thank you for your offer of taking me to a store in Tokyo! My last foray was a disaster. I went to Punch Bike in Asakusa because they were close to my hotel, but they were closed that day. I made a dash over to Ueno to see if I could find something, but I got there at 7:52pm and everyone was closing up. My ferry sailed the next morning, so I was out of luck! I think my ideal situation would be to find a little shop with a nice used bike that I could get my feet wet with, but my ignorance of Tokyo made that impossible! If you would be wiling to send me photos of the Felt F-95 I would be very appreciative!

@FarEast - Have you heard of the Bonin Islands before? My island is very small, so I don't have much road to ride on, but at least the road is in great shape to due government (over)spending!

Thank you for the advice. I agree, I think I am going to have to follow the manufacture's advice and if I miss, then I will sell it and buy something else more suited (and more expensive!) at a later date. I never realized how comprehensive Rakuten's site is; it is great! I had read about the Cyclingtime netshop and tried to find their physical brick and mortar store, but I am confused as to whether one actually exists!
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
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#6
Greetings and welcome to the site!

I recently bought a bike from Wiggle the service was great, it took about 10 days from the time I bought the bike until they shipped it, as they take the new bike and completely assemble it for you, and test it, then they just remove the handlebars and the wheels, box it up in two large boxes and ship it. Shipping took less than a week. When the bike got here it took me about 15 minutes with the free tools they provided to have the bike on the road.

If you are going to go touring in Hokkaido, then you want a bike you can tour on, a CF frame may not be that, mostly because it may not have the lugs, or mounting points to put racks and fenders on the bike.

I've not done any touring in Japan, yet, but I used to do a lot in Canada, and you want a comfy bike that can safely haul your gear on tour. There are a bunch of other things to think about, like what racks, what panniers (bags for going on the racks to haul your gear) rain gear, cause if you don't have rain gear it will rain every day! :rolleyes: :D lights, and other stuff.

Get a good all-rounder bike, a cross bike might be the ticket, but the flat bars only give you one hand position, which will get old fast on tour, but things like bars and such you can swap out.

If you go the used route, you can often find a good deal, but often you will end ups spending a fair bit on tires, tubes, chains brake and shifter cables, as well as the tools to work on the bike. If you are handy, this is not a problem, but be prepared that a used bike will often need these things.

Just some thoughts, I hope they help!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#7
@FarEast - Have you heard of the Bonin Islands before? My island is very small, so I don't have much road to ride on, but at least the road is in great shape to due government (over)spending!

Thank you for the advice. I agree, I think I am going to have to follow the manufacture's advice and if I miss, then I will sell it and buy something else more suited (and more expensive!) at a later date. I never realized how comprehensive Rakuten's site is; it is great! I had read about the Cyclingtime netshop and tried to find their physical brick and mortar store, but I am confused as to whether one actually exists!
I've been to several of the Islands and will be racing again at Miyake Jima later this year, 33km around the island if they go ahead withthe new plans!

The standard size chart manufacturers provide will get you 95% of the way to what you need size wise,stem lengths, raisers, seatpost angle and others are finely tuned and really takes some time to dial in (most of which is trial and error)

With the money you are looking to spend I would hold off getting a professional fitting or freaking out about the perfect size, just get the generic size for your height and you will be fine tostart out with and most bikes stores will do this anyway.

Cyclingtime.com has a shop on Odaiba (http://store.cyclingtime.com/)
but some of the best stores aren't in central Tokyo and you can normally get the better deals else where, Sagami Cycles out near me is one such place and they may even have a Rakuten store.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#8
The Yen is still strong and your purchasing power will be high abroad rather than Japan, where the distributors rule the roost and force 2x - 4x unneeded markups - even on domestic products! With that in mind, you could still find decent deals here - but if your size is larger (54+) then it's going to be really difficult. Wiggle is consistently a strong performer for e-com, and all of us here have favorite LBS' which do pretty good and we can recommend.

Look at this -- http://www.wiggle.co.uk/charge-tap-2010/ Charge 'Tap' with Nexus 8speed hub - all for less than you can even buy the Shimano Alfine Wheelset alone in Japan!

If you want to go more traditional (and hassle) ,then a low range Giant with Shame-on-you Sora or Tigra. Like this - http://www.wiggle.co.uk/giant-defy-4-2010/

Cyclingtime has a nice Bianchi available as well . -- http://www.cyclingtime.com/modules/ctstore/product.php?pid=30589
 
Apr 15, 2011
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Ogasawara Mura
#11
Thanks for the replies, I truly appreciate the help!

@GSAstuto - Thank you for the specific suggestions. May I ask some stupid newbie questions? What type of bicycle is the Charge Tap and the Giant Defy? How can I look at the specs of a bicycle and determine the type of bicycle it is? To clarify, I have been reading "How to buy a bicycle" guides that group into categories like Road Racer/Mountain Bike/Hybrid. I think that I want a "Road Sport" bike as I aim to workout with the bike and go on long distance multi-week trips, but I cannot tell if the Charge Tap is a "Road Racer" or "Road Sport"

@Sikochi - How does the shipping fee at wiggle work? If I order a cheaper bike, must I pay a higher delivery charge? I thought I read on their frontpage that wiggle offers free shipping to 70 countries.

Thanks to all, and again, sorry for the stupid newbie questions!
 

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
341
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Bremen
cyclitis.wordpress.com
#12
Hi Alan,

I have been to Chichijima in 2009 with my son - and my bike:

http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.com/2009/03/sensational-new-cycling-road-found-in.htm

I suppose that your living on Chichijima? Or Hahajima? We had a great time there. If you ride the normal roads on Chichijima a racing bike (ie. with slim tires) will do just fine. Due to all the nice and new surface and the tunnels the ride wil be very enjoyable. You also have some nice hills so you can train your climbing abilities. The problem is only that the total length of all paved roads on Chichijima is probably well below 100 km, so you will not have a lot of variations. If you want to do more and ride trails and dirt roads you will need a MTB or a cyclo cross bike. Cyclo Cross bikes are basically racing bikes with fat tires, more robust and heavy frames and different type of brakes.
Depending on the brand, it might be easier to retrofit these bikes for touring. With a pure racing bike you wil have only very limited options to fix any luggage onto the bike.
So apart from all the other good advise that was given here; if you want to explore trails and you wil have the chance to do longer tours such as Hokkaido more often in the future, a cyclo cross might be a good option.

Here is an example, just to get the idea:
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

Otherwise, personally I do not think that picking your first bike in the mentioned price range is such a big issue. You have come to a forum where members spend thousands of dollars, yens and euros each year on new bikes and parts and where the optimum content of your saddle bag is discussed in great detail. So picking your first bike is like marrying for the first time. Get a divorce before you have kids.
Pick the bike you like and siue is important, yes, but by adjusting the seatpost height or exchanging the stem you have ways to make a bike fit.
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#13
Tho I haven't ordered a bike from them, let's say wiggle's shipping price for a bike is ¥15,000. For a bike that costs ¥150,000, vs. one that costs ¥60,000, shipping cost as a proportion of overall cost will be more for the cheaper bike. Also, your savings might be less via wiggle on a cheaper bike than on a more expensive one, so given that, your overall savings on a cheaper bike will be less via wiggle, perhaps not so much so that buying domestic should also be considered. That's why some Japanese shops and rakuten have been suggested.

Of the three types of bike you mention--road, mtn, and cross--I'd offer that for multiweek trips the only one I'd choose from that group would be cross. Road and mtn are not generally good for long touring--road is geared too high, and they (along with mtn bikes, which are geared well) are usually not set up to carry much of anything, certainly not to camp or cook off of.

You may want to add a touring bike to your list of possible choices. Cannondale and Surly (long haul trucker) are two common choices. They're not that expensive, mostly steel framed, and would seem to suit your training needs and your multiweek touring. A built up Surly LHT costs about $1000-1100 in the states (pre-sales tax and shipping), and as people have been saying, the same bike costs more here (about ¥160,000 where I am). These bikes often have fatter tires, good for if you're ever off of sealed pavement (grass or gravel), I think you mentioned some riding like that. Touring bikes also have what are called braze-ons, or eyelets, so carrying three water bottles, maybe extra spokes, racks for panniers on front/back, and even fenders are okay. The geometry of touring bikes is also more "relaxed", and that makes for easier, extended days of riding. For multiweek touring, that's what I personally would choose. Finally, it seems like you're just starting out, so perhaps you might consider comfort vs. performance. (also, click on mob's surly link above for the cross check, but then there's tab, upper right of the pic, for the long haul trucker)

And finally finally, for a locally available touring bike at not a bad price, google Giant Great Journey, either the I or II version. You can probably get one via rakuten or the shop that was suggested, above.

John D.

on edit: couldn't find what I mentioned there, but take a look at this page:
http://search.borderless.rakuten.com/borderless/search.action?k=journey&tl=101157&l=en&p=2&sm=1
--scroll down a bit--
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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Kochi
#15
From the advice I have garnered from friends, it seems that I should buy the bicycle in person.
I believe that I should buy a cross bicycle, but wonder if a road bike would be better suited. One reason I want a bicycle now is because I plan to do a multi-week bicycling trip in Hokkaido this summer. I need to start training for it NOW!
Thanks for the replies, I truly appreciate the help!

@GSAstuto - Thank you for the specific suggestions. May I ask some stupid newbie questions? What type of bicycle is the Charge Tap and the Giant Defy?

@Sikochi - How does the shipping fee at wiggle work? If I order a cheaper bike, must I pay a higher delivery charge? I thought I read on their frontpage that wiggle offers free shipping to 70 countries.
Wiggle offers free worldwide delivery on all items/baskets over 50 UK pounds but there is a charge for bikes - 89.99 UK for Japan so roughly 12,000 Yen (don`t know precisely what the exchange rate is at present)
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/h/option/BikeDelivery
Given where you live, whether there is some added surcharge hidden in the small print somewhere, I couldn`t say. Buying a bike in a local shop that you can see is always the preferred option, especially if you need maintenance help, but again, given your location taking your bike into the shop for a tune-up is impractical, so I would just go with the cheapest, reliable vendor. Likewise, it seems very difficult here to test ride anything (why is that?) so actually going into a shop doesn`t necessarily help matters.

As for type of bike, then it is really a question of what you will be using it for. The afore-mentioned Giant Defy has consistently good reviews and is classed as a road-bike but it has options for adding racks if you want. Hence, it is probably suitable for occasional touring, but I wouldn`t recommend it for heavy-duty touring. Review here:-
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/road/product/defy-2-10-35307/