22 January, 2007

Japanese Frame Builders


The quality and range of bikes being built in Japan today is very impressive. Here is a partaial list of Japanese frame builders. There are probably a few you were not familiar with. Most of these are links, a few are just shots of frames. There are a few that need links if you can provide them. I'll add to this list today and in the future.

Akamatsu
Amvna
Amanda
Arrow (Nice city bikes)
Baramon (Scroll down for the detail shots.)
Bicicletta Noko
Bridgestone
CS Cherubim (One of the best)
Crafted (Nice workmanship and an interesting site with photos of cyclo touring.)
Hirose (A true constructuer and some lovely city bikes. Explore this site)
Dobbats
Elan
Emme Akka
Ganwell
Georama
Grand Boise
Iribe
Kajiwara
Kalavinka (Who also makes my favorite lugs.)
Kiyo Miyazawa
Kusano
Lightning (very cool)
Maeda
Makino
Matsuda
Nagasawa (Possibly the best frame builder working today.)
Nakagawa
Norton
Ono
Panasonic
Pie
Quark
Raizin
Rap
Ravanello
River One
Shimazaki
Silk
Toei (One of the worlds great builders)
Toyo (the folks who may build our production frames.) And you must see this!
Watanabe
Zunow

28 comments:

neil m berg said...

Two or three years ago Richard Sachs either purchased or traded with Nagasawa. If a premier builder like Richard is recognizing him as a master, he is obviously a great builder. http://new.photos.yahoo.com/bobbesrs/album/576460762315868600

neil m berg said...

Sorry, try this:

http://new.photos.yahoo.com/bobbesrs/album/576460762315868600

neil m berg said...

576460762315868600

Anonymous said...

It's a shame to see plastic fenders on that grey Toyo.

Michael

Chris Kulczycki said...

I fixed the Nagasawa link. The first link was to the Nagasawa club.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any, but I prefer the black chrome plastic fenders (at this point in time). Black chrome color matches almost any color nicely with black tape, seat, and tires. They also seem, if mounted correctly, as good as any of them. But that's just an early opinion. Fiberglass fenders may be best, but plastic and extra mounts are my second favorite.

AN said...

Geez, Neil; I thought you were giving all of us your Mastercard number!

neil m berg said...

I am. It's a Visa. I'm committing financial suicide. It cheaper than bicycles. Chris sent me a discrete note with a link to the tiny url site...and wasn't even sarcastic about it.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Nice new front VO handlebar bag. Classy!

Michael

nv said...

Nagasawa is certainly at the top of the craft - that said, in my humble opinion, I have never seen a finer frameset than those built by JP Weigle.
nv

Anonymous said...

neil m berg,

FYI, IRD Freewheels Center to center for 5 speed is 5mm, and your 7 speed was 5mm, so its safe to assume 6 speed is also 5mm.

5mm IRD freewheel space between rear forks was 122.5mm, so 6 and 7 speed would 'require' 127.5mm and 132.5mm. Of course different hubs, wheels, dishing, ...

The puzzle has an answer.

In effect, all IRD freewheels are Ergo 8 compatiable. Just got my Centaur short rd last night, and just have to get 9 speed pulleys now and 9 speed chain for ergo to work with Ergo 8, which I will (for ANY campy rd 1999 and up).

Except don't know if I'll ever get (right side) ergo with my Suntour Power rachet shifters on top in my Profile Century aerobar cockpit via Profile Swift Shift. Another ergo option for using rachet friction shifts not seen as of yet (its allot of work though converting).

No spam, but am proud to figure this puzzle of gaining two hands control on one bar or both for controlled shifting. Safety first! :-)

Just keeping my options open. I've also found some unique control factors in aerobars that are not widely known elsewhere, so will report those when get everything fitted in next few weeks (every custome interface has a leadtime/$$ 'catch').

e-RICHIE said...

the messengers and singlespeeders ate doing more than most in keeping the light shined on handmade japanese frames. here are just two threads that give the builders props:

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=262079

and

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=260233

paste the links in your browser should the lines break.

e-RICHIE said...

sorry -

make that:
the messengers and singlespeeders ARE doing more than...

neil m berg said...

Richie,
Now that you have perfected your craft, do you have at least one French style constructeur bike in your future?

e-RICHIE said...

yeah - the new RS model:
Rene Singer

yohei said...

Chris,

I am a fan of your blog from Japan!
I want to introduce the following great builders to you.

Nakagawa Cycle Works
http://www.nakagawa-cw.co.jp/

Arrow
http://www.arrowtr.co.jp/

CHERUBIM
http://www2u.biglobe.ne.jp/%7Echerubim/

Zunow
http://www.zunow.net/

enjoy international bike order! :)

Joel said...

Thanks Yohei.

Nice links.

I really like the Arrow designs' practical simplicity.

I am really starting to get into this Japan/US bike connection going on.

Last Fall, Outside had an article on the many out door recreation opportunities in Japan. The article said some good things about Nippon bike touring. I am mighty tempted ...

Chris Kulczycki said...

Yohei,

Thank you for those links. I've added them tothelist.

I also looked at your cool photos.

Do you know if Ganwell still makes frames?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Can most frame builders check and correct correctable frame angles on any frame, like an old Raleigh or do they need specific frame fixtures they build only?

Seems like a good check to have made on steel frames after some years.


Thanks!!

Brian said...

Thanks Chris. Good job of gathering the Japanese builders together on one list.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon, Any good frame builder can check the alignment of any frame.

chuck Schmidt said...

Chris,

http://www.businesscycles.com/ganwell.htm
Euro-Asia Imports is currently importing the Gan Well Pro.

Top of seat stays on the one pictured on Business Cycles says "Euro-Asia."

Brian said...

I remember a 'Business Cycles' in Miami when I lived there in the 1980's The fellow had just relocated to South Miami (seems like ages ago), and I used to smile at his union of bike and computer. He was computer savvy before most South Florida people knew what DOS was. Wonder if it's the same Business Cycles?

chuck schmidt said...

Business Cycles web site said they started in 1983.

Picture of owner and his best friend at:
www.businesscycles.com
Click on "About the shop"

Brian said...

That's the guy alright.

yohei said...

>Do you know if Ganwell still makes frames?

oh... the answer is No.
They stopped frame production now.
maybe you know the reason...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pawls/189359782/

chuck schmidt said...

Very sad to hear this news, Yohei. They were very nice frames I though.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/61/189359782_0fda43ad07.jpg?v=0

Lorne said...

I was glad to see AMVNA listed as one of the Japanese constructors. I live in Sendai, Miyagi. That's a city of about 1 million in north-eastern Honshu. Matsumoto-san, the owner, has a small but well-equipped workshop on a busy business street in the Nishi-taga district of Sendai. Matsumoto is a very warm, friendly man who is quite willing to drop tools and help out the local housewife with her 'mamachari' — despite the obvious specialization of the place. He makes frames to order using braze fill or lugs. I've seen crashed keirin bikes being repaired there. He's done some work for me — aligning an old Trek racer, and I'm thinking of asking him if he will build my wife a mixte. Whether you are into competition or recreation, this skilled man can do what you want. — LORNE