28 November, 2006

ALPS to Close


A few days ago I learned, through a private e-mail, that Hagiwara-san is closing the ALPS frame shop. I see that the announcement has now been made public on his web site.

As you may know, ALPS has long been one of the finest constructeurs in Japan, and in the world. Hagiwara-san stopped taking orders from outside Japan some years ago. He wanted his bikes ridden, not admired.

I think the photos of the bikes have been removed from the web site. I'll try to find a link to some additional photos later. If you have some please post them in comments. The photo is from the Classic Bicycles site, where there are lots of other special bikes to be seen.

Interestingly, the very last ALPS frame to be built is going to one of our friends and customers.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Sorry to see another frame builder stop.

Ron

Anonymous said...

It's a shrinking market. People get old and retire. The Jonny Coasts of the world replace them.

david_nj said...

Boy, I think that little flashlight bracket hanging off the lowrider boss is really cool. Huh. Well done.

peter weigle said...

I've looked at that flashlight mount for a while now,,, and wondered if the curved piece isn't a Simplex, or similar chainring adapter, that you then bolt the flashlight clamps to. What do you guys think? What ever it is it very sano!

Anonymous said...

You said: "Hagiwara-san stopped taking orders from outside Japan some years ago. He wanted his bikes ridden, not admired."
He thinks non-Japanese don't ride their bikes??
I've wanted an Alps Passhunter ever since I heard about them!
(To admire AND ride!)

Chris Kulczycki said...

Peter, I was thinking of trying to cut a flashlight holder like that out of sheet aluminum. But it may be a chainring adaptor. The light might just be bolted to the holder, hard to tell from the photo.

Anon. I assumed he meant that he wanted control over who the bikes went to, that is not to collectors, but that's just a guess on my part.

Paul said...

Very sad to hear of Alps closure.

Regarding why no sales outside Japan. I once asked the proprietor this, and he responded that he didnt feel comfortable 'supporting' bicycles sold to owners out of Japan. Even in Japan, a personal visit was (normally) required prior to ordering. I am not sure he wanted to control anything, other than ensuring his customers had adequate support. As a one-man operation, his ability to do so to overseas buyers was limited.

At the time I asked about this, the proprietor had a letter, written in capital letters on crumpled lined paper, asking in English only to send over two bikes ( address was overseas ). I understood his level of difficulty in dealing with this. I hoped it wasnt typical of approaches made from outside Japan.

Some pictures of Alps bicycles, recent and older, in the link. Sad news indeed.

Fumi said...

Dear Mr.Kulczycki
I read your interesting logs about the Randonneuse. In this time, Espetially for the ALPS passhunter. I feel glad then comment this. I feel sad to hear the shop closure, too.
The feature of the Alps is that there is a pump behind the seat tube. As a result, the frame can be easily shouldered. I heard this feature is respected from other japanese frame builders (ex. "CHERUBIM" ) .
Other feature of assenbly is a rear centerpull brake. Recently, it is difficult to be supplid centerpull brake , so Hagiwara-san use canti-brake on F&R.
I am living in Japan. I got the bent ALPS frame, then restored it in my student days.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I have 4 ALPS at home.
Rover, mixte, pioneer, and quick ace models.
All of them are well design with great feeling of riding them.
I love them so much and still looking for other models of ALPS also :)