Tech Japanese Made Frames

130R

Cruising
May 31, 2018
13
1
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44
#1
Hello fellow enthusiasts,

Please allow me to indulge my nerdy side and ask about steel and titanium frames Made in Japan. I have a bit of a thing for handmade products, particularly those from Japan. So I have decided to get a Japanese frame if possible. I have fond memories of riding my Dad's Tange tubed Panasonic back in the day (80s).

I don't live there anymore but would be willing to travel to pick up a frame and bring it home with me.

I am 44, 185cm and relatively stiff/inflexible so am looking for an endurance style road frame (at least one with a stack height of over 600mm) for training and racing in my local area which is quite mountainous. I would be looking for disc brakes.

What I have found so far is the Panasonic bikes which look really nice but have only a couple of disc brake options, and those seem to have lowish stack heights (if my calculations are correct).

http://cycle.panasonic.jp/products/pos/custom_order/frtd02/

this for example looks to be pretty much spot on except for the stack height.

I am not necessarily sold on Titanium, although I do like the idea of it. Can any of you guys recommend locally available frames that might fit the bill?

I have contacted Hiroshi Koyama to ask about it but I think some of the details may be getting lost in translation... so I thought I should ask here.

Any guidance would be much appreciated. In the end if there is nothing around I can always get a Lynskey or something like that but I would much prefer to get my nerd on and go Japanese.

Cheers
Ben
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,575
2,269
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#2
If i were to buy a bike in Japan I would either go for a Cherubim or Equilibrium.

http://www.cherubim.jp/bikes/

http://equilibriumcycleworks.com/category/bikes/

Cherubims are pretty rare and I think the waiting list is loooong.

Equilibriums are built by a guy called Vlad here in Japan. Not sure of his nationality, possibly Russian?? He certainly turns out some absolutely stunning bikes.

Mudman are also made here in Japan

http://www.abovebike.com/news/item/frame_complete_bike/starfuckers/steel_era_mudman/
 

130R

Cruising
May 31, 2018
13
1
13
44
#3
If i were to buy a bike in Japan I would either go for a Cherubim or Equilibrium.

http://www.cherubim.jp/bikes/

http://equilibriumcycleworks.com/category/bikes/

Cherubims are pretty rare and I think the waiting list is loooong.

Equilibriums are built by a guy called Vlad here in Japan. Not sure of his nationality, possibly Russian?? He certainly turns out some absolutely stunning bikes.

Mudman are also made here in Japan

http://www.abovebike.com/news/item/frame_complete_bike/starfuckers/steel_era_mudman/
Thanks Leicaman, I wasn't aware of those brands
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
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133
Japan
#5
Likes: 130R

Karl

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Feb 7, 2011
361
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Yokohama
#6
Long ago I looked pretty hard at getting a bike from these guys... http://www.roarkcycles.com Decided my biking level didn't justify the expense, but they make great custom ti bikes. OTOH, I have a 'vintage' (old - 1986) steel Panasonic order made bike I really love. Still using it, so I can see the attraction to Panasonic.
 
Likes: 130R

130R

Cruising
May 31, 2018
13
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#7
So does anyone there actually ride Japanese bikes? Or are they overlooked more these days?
Those Cherubim and Roark bikes are pretty flash and in the case of Roark very expensive. I would be buying more of a workhorse, ride everywhere kind of bike. I think with something really pretty like that, I would be reluctant to ride it unless it was fine outside.
To be honest I think those kind of artisan painted bike would probably best be left for the cafe run and I can't afford to have a cafe specific bike :ashamed:
Still very interested to see whites around over there these days. Of course I could get a lovely used steel frame quite easily but I really want a disc bike this time.
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,575
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Asakadai, Saitama
#8
I know beauty is subjective but those Roark’s are ugly. Look like they were built in the late 90’s. Their website also looks like it was designed around the same time ;) . I’m sure they ride beautifully, but there are so many more beautiful Ti machines out there.

Some people do still ride Japanese bikes here but the majority or riders will be on modern carbon road bikes. It’s not uncommon to see guys wearing full aerosuit, aero helmet, million yen TT bike and huge belly dangling over the top tube, riding along the river on the TT bars doing a whopping 23kph :).

If you are looking more for a workhorse then I’d look at a mudman. Prices are reasonable and they could probably make you something that you wanted rather than an off the shelf frame. Discs shouldn’t be a problem either. The guy making them does so at Above bike store in Kanagawa. I’ve seen him filing down soldered frame joints when I’ve been to the shop. Pretty cool to watch him at work. I think the frames are painted in house by SwampThing, a seriously talented bike painter.

https://www.instagram.com/swamp_jpn
 
Mar 10, 2014
468
144
73
Funabashi, Chiba
#10
I know beauty is subjective but those Roark’s are ugly. Look like they were built in the late 90’s. Their website also looks like it was designed around the same time ;) . I’m sure they ride beautifully, but there are so many more beautiful Ti machines out there.

Some people do still ride Japanese bikes here but the majority or riders will be on modern carbon road bikes. It’s not uncommon to see guys wearing full aerosuit, aero helmet, million yen TT bike and huge belly dangling over the top tube, riding along the river on the TT bars doing a whopping 23kph :).

If you are looking more for a workhorse then I’d look at a mudman. Prices are reasonable and they could probably make you something that you wanted rather than an off the shelf frame. Discs shouldn’t be a problem either. The guy making them does so at Above bike store in Kanagawa. I’ve seen him filing down soldered frame joints when I’ve been to the shop. Pretty cool to watch him at work. I think the frames are painted in house by SwampThing, a seriously talented bike painter.

https://www.instagram.com/swamp_jpn
What do they say these days, “savage”?

Funny how there’s a word like that to describe calling it like it is.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
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Japan
#11
Some people do still ride Japanese bikes here but the majority or riders will be on modern carbon road bikes. It’s not uncommon to see guys wearing full aerosuit, aero helmet, million yen TT bike and huge belly dangling over the top tube, riding along the river on the TT bars doing a whopping 23kph :).
That lets me off the hook, my wife made me throw away the aerosuit. What river exactly was that? asking for a friend...
 
Likes: leicaman

130R

Cruising
May 31, 2018
13
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44
#12
I know beauty is subjective but those Roark’s are ugly. Look like they were built in the late 90’s. Their website also looks like it was designed around the same time ;)
Yeah based on their website and photos, I don't feel compelled to pay $7500 for a frameset..... maybe Karl has seen them in person and they are more impressive
 

luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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#15
It’s not uncommon to see guys wearing full aerosuit, aero helmet, million yen TT bike and huge belly dangling over the top tube, riding along the river on the TT bars doing a whopping 23kph :).
I thought this might be aimed at me, but I always rev it up to 25 kmh so it's gotta be someone else... ;)
 
#18
this for example looks to be pretty much spot on except for the stack height.
If you like the Panasonic but you feel like the bars will be too low then why don't you get it and just change the stem to one with a rise? I know a lot of riders seem to hate the way this looks but a low stack with a rising stem is stronger and lighter than a high stack and a horizontal stem. Personally I feel as though beauty and function are linked, so I'll happily fit a rising stem.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
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Japan
#19
Hello fellow enthusiasts,

Please allow me to indulge my nerdy side and ask about steel and titanium frames Made in Japan. I have a bit of a thing for handmade products, particularly those from Japan. So I have decided to get a Japanese frame if possible. I have fond memories of riding my Dad's Tange tubed Panasonic back in the day (80s).

I don't live there anymore but would be willing to travel to pick up a frame and bring it home with me.

I am 44, 185cm and relatively stiff/inflexible so am looking for an endurance style road frame (at least one with a stack height of over 600mm) for training and racing in my local area which is quite mountainous. I would be looking for disc brakes.
Cheers
Ben
I think you should get a custom made bike built out of Tange Ultimate tubing to scratch that nerdy itch. The Tange hooks into your fathers connection and the Japanese reflects a part in your life and it's a good excuse to make a trip or two back here.It will stick out in a crowded sea of American and carbon frames.

I see these guys offer a heap of custom options including a chice of tubing including Tange as well as 100% geometry. http://shin-customcycles.com/bikes/index.html
looks pretty sweet.
Dealing with Vlad at Equilibrium would perhaps make communication a little smoother perhaps. Whatever you do, make sure the process is fun and you get 100% what you want. You are after all, paying premium money for the privilege.
 

130R

Cruising
May 31, 2018
13
1
13
44
#20
@kiwisimon yeah exactly. I think you are understanding what I am seeking.

After all I work in China and could go get a local builder to make something for me BUT the skill levels here are low, craftsmanship and geometry knowledge are not really a thing here. AND the likelihood that the premium level tubing that you are paying for is fake is fairly high. You see people advertising some absurd looking bikes online, its as if they don't even know how handlebars and seats are supposed to be put on.

So paying for an expert builder, whether or not its custom geometry is what I am after. The last thing you want is a beautiful new bike that rides like a pig because the builder doesn't really know what he is doing.