Jack The Commuter

Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#1
Hello TCC!

Part introduction and part advice seeking.

I'd like to introduce myself. I am from the Southern California, USA, and have been in Japan for since approximately 2006. It was a bit of transition driving the car everywhere, even for short trips, to leaving the car at home because its too much of a hassle to get around.

About four years ago, 2008, I got a bicycle to avoid the crushing commuter trains. I'm a bit embarrassed to say but the bicycle was an electric assisted one way 12km trips. But it got me over the hump and started my interest in cycling.

In October 2011, I had a hard enough get off incident that the cranks do not spin linearly. It has a really noticeable wobble. The bicycle was on falling apart anyways due to poor maintenance and the battery was practically dead so I decided to get a new bicycle. I ended up with a Giant Pace 2012 fitted with a rear rack, panniers, and a kick stand. The guys at Y's Futakotamagawa gave me weird looks when I asked for this kind of setup, but who's the customer? At the time I wanted a cyclocross bicycle but this trend hadn't seemed to spread to this store.

In March 2012, with the newish bicycle, I had an incident with a taxi that was strong enough to vault me, according to witnesses, a half meter above and past the taxi. All I remember is trying to maneuver to avoid hitting the taxi that pulled out suddenly from a side street, a big impact, and the world spinning. I don't remember landing. When I came to, I knew I was hurting but nothing appeared seriously broken on the body. My shoes flew off. Helmet was crushed and cracked. Slide marks on the riding pants. A friendly pizza delivery guy helped me do the initial assessment and I was able to hobble to the curb. The bicycle was on top of the taxi hood but I didn't know how much damage. Big dent on the taxi where I impacted. Bystanders called the police and ambulance. Information collected. The medics after looking at the helmet said I should go get checked out and had an ambulance ride. The medical checks said no obvious concussion or broken bones. One of docs said my left thigh and ham string is bruised badly, it's going to hurt, and I should follow up with my own doctor. He was correct in that I was going to be hurting. Made my statement to the police, picked up the bicycle and went home.

The bicycle was declared a total loss when checked out at the Y's Road Futakotamagawa. Front wheel out of true. Unknown amount damage to the front forks. Frame is twisted to the point where the rear wheel rubs against the brakes. The taxi company agreed to pay for a replacement and covered my medical expenses. I'm satisfied with the outcome, but annoyed I have to take the train into work.

So looking for advice. I was happy with the 2012 Giant Pace. It had mount points for a rear rack and to me it felt efficient. The price being well south of 100k JPY was good too. My use case is commuting without a bag on my back and I'd like to try randoneuring. Any other bicycles I should consider?

What about shops in the Futakotamagawa area? I'm happy with the service but have the feeling that they view me as ghetto or too gaijin with what I want.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#2
First, welcome to TCC Jack!

Second, I'm glad you got off fairly well, all things considered, glad you also had a helmet on :D


What is the budget for the bike? Might be time to step it up to something else?

I'm sure others more savy on what's out there will chime in with good advice.

One other thing Wiggle.co.uk has some killer deals on bikes at the moment, the delivery to Japan is 12,500 yen IIRC and they sure have a great selection.

Cheers!
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#3
My budget is low. I'm hoping to get something under 80k JPY. The Giant Pace is about 72k JPY ready to ride. I'm not that strong of a cyclist (yet) and would prefer an entry level road bike. The Pace is good fit for what I want but was wondering what I might be missing. It seems like the UK with its Cycle to Work program has good selection of bicycles that are under 1,000 Pounds.

http://wiggle.co.uk is great site. Set some criteria up and give you a list of what's available. However, I would rather support and get support from a local store. Some of the maintenance overhaul work is more involved then I have time to get in to.

Eventually I'd like to dedicated bicycles for different tasks. I would imagine if I get a Pace again, it would be dedicated to commuting and touring. Another for group rides and races.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#4
Certainly if you just want the same familiar bike back there is nothing wrong with that!

I found it >> Here << for a much cheaper price the the MSRP of 71,800 yen at 59,800 yen.

I'd suggest hitting the larger retail shops, a lot of them are having big time sales right now, getting rid of last years stock.:D
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
103
Japan
#5
When I got taken out by a car, we transferred all the still as new components to a new frame. The money they paid went into buying the best frame possible and replacing the broken components. You'll out grow the components before the frame so I would advise you to get the best frame (with rack lugs) possible for your money. See what your bike shop can do for you. Oh and welcome to TCC.
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#6
@StulnTokyo - Mail order price is so low! But I'm going to stick with buying locally even if it's more expensive. I've already asked at Y's Road in Futakotamagawa and they don't have the Pace in stock and will not budge on the price.

@kiwisimon - The group set on the broken Pace is the Shimano 2300. I think the labor cost alone in transferring the kit would cost more then just buying a complete bicycle!

But if I was to do the labor myself, it would be interesting and give me an excuse to get more tools. I would need to get a new frame, front wheel and fork. I think everything else has survived.

So is it silly to do this?
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#7
I would get the lowest priced bike and save the project bike for a second bike. Assuming you want to keep riding in between learning to tinker on various bits.


I don't think Ys cares if you bought a bike there or not, you can still pay them for various levels of maintenance. I'm not sue what you get "for free" other than a basic fitting when you pick it up. Most reasonably sized shops I've seen have various maintenance options. If you ask around some smaller outfits can do this as well.

I believe there is a big Giant store in nikotama as well, on the river.

Might be worth finding something like a cycle base Asahi to see what they have. Bigger shop, more choices on the floor, similar types to what you want but including some other brands like Felt and Scott (those were the ones I noticed when I scoped these out for somebody a couple months ago)
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
103
Japan
#8
Transferring parts is pretty simple. I guess it depends on whether the guys at Y's road will do the headset and BB for you, the rest、 100円 allen keys will do. Start building a good relationship with the shop. They may baulk at the idea but my LBS back in the day was more than accommodating.

You said "The taxi company agreed to pay for a replacement and covered my medical expenses" are they paying you or Y's Road? if the latter you maybe hard pressed to get the shop to budge. If you get cash in hand it's a whole different story, hope its cash for you.
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#9
@theDude - Good advice regarding separating the project bicycle from the daily use bicycle. I'll strip the broken bicycle of usable components and save it for practicing building a bike from just a frame.

I think Y's offered adjustments for a year after service and they humored my many questions I posed in broken Japanese. I've gone in couple of times with issues I couldn't resolve on my own and they showed me how to fix them.

There is a Giant shop right at the bridge that crosses the Tamagawa. It's on my way home... Open until 8pm. If I could get of the office at a reasonable hour, I could swing by tonight to look at prices.

I've looked at other makers and not very many offer mounts for rear carriers. Lots in the UK, none Japan! :(

@kiwisimon - I had Y's draw up an estimate for the taxi company. The person who inspected my bicycle put his chop on it along with an explanation why these bicycles can't be repaired. The taxi company wired the money into my bank account. So I'm free to shop anywhere.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,442
907
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#11
Might be worth finding something like a cycle base Asahi to see what they have. Bigger shop, more choices on the floor, similar types to what you want but including some other brands like Felt and Scott (those were the ones I noticed when I scoped these out for somebody a couple months ago)
A new Cycle base Asahi recently opened on Kampachi (southbound side) somewhere between Odakyu line and R3 (Setagaya-dori). It's not huge and they cater more towards housewives and kids than roadies, but comparing prices for some accessories, they seem to be cheaper than Y's at Futakotamagawa. Maybe worth a look.
 
Apr 26, 2010
212
2
38
Shimokitazawa
#13
What about a Jamis Aurora? A bit more stately than the Giant and the Cannondale already listed in the thread, but it would be a nice comfortable ride, and comes with fenders and a rack already mounted, with the ability to add a front rack if you get into longer tours. Rakuten has it for ¥87,000, so a bit more than planned, but no extra layout for rack and fenders.

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/aurora/12_aurora.html
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
648
133
Kanazawa
#14
The Jamis looks good--steel (a bit of 631), and all the kit, too. Lots of touring cyclists choose Jamis.

(The rack looks pretty lightweight, and the fenders seem too minimal--tho that could as easily be a plus. )

One big difference: the synapse has 'roadie' 41.5 chainstays, while the jamis has longer cyclotourist 44. Also, on the synapse there doesn't appear to be any rack mounts on the upper chainstays--I guess you'd have to go the hose clamp route there--so are those eyelets on the back really for a rack, or maybe a lightweight road fender instead? And also, also, the synapse doesn't have eyelets for fenders (nor is it pannier-capable) on the front. The Jamis is fine on both points.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#15
The Jamis looks good--steel (a bit of 631), and all the kit, too. Lots of touring cyclists choose Jamis.

(The rack looks pretty lightweight, and the fenders seem too minimal--tho that could as easily be a plus. )

One big difference: the synapse has 'roadie' 41.5 chainstays, while the jamis has longer cyclotourist 44. Also, on the synapse there doesn't appear to be any rack mounts on the upper chainstays--I guess you'd have to go the hose clamp route there--so are those eyelets on the back really for a rack, or maybe a lightweight road fender instead? And also, also, the synapse doesn't have eyelets for fenders (nor is it pannier-capable) on the front. The Jamis is fine on both points.
I bet you could put a lot of hours in on that Jamis!
The front fork has the bolt midway up the fork for a front rack as well, nice!
Dunno about the bar end shifters for commuting work, if you shift a lot that would not be as nice as Brifters, but, you have the Brifters from the busted bike, so you could certainly swap them over, assuming the will work with the canti brakes on the Jamis.
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#17
For reference the photo below is the busted 2012 Giant Pace. The rear rack is a Topeak Super Tourist. The group set is the Shimano 2300, so index shifting. I was fine with the index shifting and only being able to shift while on the tops. Most likely I don't know any better! This was used since October 2011 to March 2012 cycling to and from work, 12 km one way. In the evenings on the way home, once I hit Futakotamagawa, I would take detours going down to Haneda or only up to Noborito station. I didn't have enough lights to go beyond Noborito in the dark.

It was my first proper bicycle and it was fun. I want more! More of the same is fine... Except I'll be getting more lights so I'd get noticed more.

Image:
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It doesn't look that damaged eh?