In bike, japan on February 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

So a lot of my time in Japan has been spent in bike shops, and taking photo’s of bikes. One of the things I really wanted to do on this portion of my trip was to try and buy a couple of Keirin frames (Japanese track frames, professionally raced, probably crashed and now sold secondhand) for cheap beer, buy two, ship them back to good old blighty where demand is high, and sell one for the cost of both and end up with a frame for free. Well that never happened, the bods over here know how much a frame is worth and unless you know someone who knows someone you’ll end up like I did making the walk of shame back from some flea market in the arse end of Osaka, with nothing to show for it, but a bottle of lemonade from a vending machine, which you gratefully clutch and sip from on the three quarters of an hour hike back to civilisation.

But the shops out here are full of good bits, frames, hubs, wheels, stems, chains, bags, top tube pads, pedals, anything and everything coloured and anodized to within an inch of its life that you could possibly want to put on your very first fixed wheel dream machine. The shops range from the old school, one man and a back room full of bits such as: Punch Cycles up past where I was staying in Kuramae, whose owner would say in accented English with a smile “not for sale” everytime I would point out a frame I liked and guessed was in my size;
PUNCH CYCLE Google maps
1-5-10 Kaminari-mon, Taito-ku, Tokyo.
TEL 03-3841-5080
Open 18:00-23:00 (Tue to Fri), 13:00-21:00 (Sat,Sun)

or Dreamworks down in Shibuya round the corner and I do mean literally round the corner from Sexon Super Peace, whose owner was much more welcoming and whose frames were priced to sell.


1F Eden Bldg. 11-11 shinsencho Shibuya-ku Tokyo
Tel 03-6416-1050

To the boutique cleanliness of Sexon Super Peace, all shiny new bits, colour co-ordinated with a price to match, whose owner was friendly and pointed out that Max Leonard’s lovely book Fixed – insert URL to Amazon here – was owned by pretty much every fixed rider in Tokyo and probably Japan;

Sexon Super Peace Google maps
New store 01/11/07
22-5 Kamiizumi Cho Tokyo Shibuya Ku
Tel 03-3485-5506
OPEN 12:30 – 20:30

or Carnival, further along in shibuya, on your way to Shinjuku, above WBase a skate/BMX shop, specialising in vintage European frames and bits, a one room operation, but nicely laid out, with t-shirts that I liked but wasn’t willing to spend fifty notes on;

CARNIVAL Google maps
J-SIX BLDGS 2F. 6-23-11 Jinguu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
TEL 03-5485-8581
Open 13:00-21:00

or Blue Lug which was up past Meiji Jingu, with their more reasonably priced t-shirts, one of which I did purchase alongside a wallet and chain bracelet. Which was filed to bursting with merchandise, clothing, hubs, forks (they seemed to be importers/distributors for wound up as there were plenty hanging up there), cogs, grips, saddles, and a couple of frames;

Blue Lug Google maps
New Store 03/11/07
1-58-7 Down town Shibuya Ku
Tel: 03-6662-5042
Open from 14:00 – 22:00 (closed Wednesdays)

or Depot Cycle and Reycle which was out in Chiba/Ichikawa, run by the lovely Seiyo who was packing up to move into new premises when I rode down there, and was kind enough to invite me back when they opened the new store down the road the following Monday. Its was wet, I was soaked and coughing and spluttering, but I was offered a warm welcome, by him and his family.

TEL 047-322-2210
Open 12:00-20:00 (Sat 11:00-19:00)

or Gira Gira down in Minima Horie, Osaka run by an Australian guy called Rene, who I was going to buy a lovely un-decaled Panasonic frame from, who explained that Keirin frames are built by small groups of men, with Panasonic being the largest with like twelve, who spend their days welding and brazing, bringing that well known Japanese devotion to quality to the frames they construct. How having NJS stamped onto a product is a symbol of years of hard work and development to get it past the ruthless and all seeing eye of the holders of the NJS flame;

Or the three or four other bike shops I found, either by chance or with the help of some local forum knowledge, that were repositories for good bike stuff, that went above and beyond the usual fare to make sure that those thagt wanted to go a bit above and beyond the normal could build a bike that they would love for a long long time.

Thanks go out to Jason/Build for creating the original list of bike shops in Tokyo, which allowed me to go and visit all of the Tokyo shops.

If you want to, and aren’t all bike shopped out there are more photo’s on the Flickr

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