The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fixed gear bikes in Tokyo

It's been awhile since I loaded up some pics of bikes spotted on the streets of Tokyo. Enjoy...

This is one of the best looking Level's I've ever seen. The Tokyo-based atelier run by Shiko Matsuda has been building frames since 1975 and has been an NJS-approved frame-builder since 1980. He's a nice guy too.

This frame is a smoked grey over chrome, finished off with Sugino 75 cranks, a pretty nazzy Shimano 1/8th inch oval plate chain and, of course, Matsuda-san's signature.

The bars are Nitto RB-021 matched to the very rare Nitto badged stem from 1983 (?)

The Level had an Araya ADX-1 rim on the front. A great rim. Very narrow - just 19mm wide, it weighs 330 grams. This was the rim used by Koichi Nakano for some of his world championship wins.

And on the rear, a Wolber Profil 20. A rare rim in that it's made of a magnesium alloy. These weigh somewhere around the 300 gram mark. They were released in 1985.

This bike is a bit of a mess, but the frame is a killer - a Katakura Silk, handbuilt by Tadashi Arai, one of the gods of the frame-building world.

Sugino Super Mighty cranks - nothing wrong with them.

An old Bridgestone frame, obviously an ex-racer's bike, it's sporting Araya 16B rims laced to Dura-Ace hubs, a drop stem and tubs, but...

It's got a pair of mad Nitto B617AA "moustache" handlebars on it.

Don't know much about this bike - I just liked the chainring

What's this frame? An old San Rensho? A lugged Makino?

Nice chain too - hollow pins?

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At 3:09 pm, Blogger Mark said...

I've always thought Level make some of the nicest looking frames around. I didn't realise Wolber Profil 20s were so rare, I have 2 sets of tubular rims just hanging up in the shed

At 2:43 am, Blogger GKK said...

Mark, the rims themselves aren't so rare (although they're not easy to find) - but by rare I meant the production method. By using magnesium in the alloy blend Wolber produced a light, stiff rim. Though I've seen the result of riding one up a kerb too fast - not nice, they snap rather than dent.

I've got some Wolber Profil A's by the way - even lighter than the 20s.

At 4:08 am, Blogger Alex Hendren said...

I've got a Katakura bike I'm looking to sell in the SF Bay area. Email me if you're interested in the frame or other original parts.


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