29 December, 2006

Weigle-san builds Alps Pass Hunter

You may remember this post from a few weeks ago about ALPS cycles of Japan closing with the retirement of Hagiwara-san. Peter Weigle styled his latest bike as a tribute to ALPS.

Of special note is the flashlight bracket on the fork blade which Wiegle-san made and is a copy of the one on this ALPS pass hunter. You may also notice that it holds a Velo Orange Retro flashlight. The frame-mounted bag and carrying strap is also neat and very practical.

Peter wrote this about the bike:

"As a custom builder I was saddened to hear a comrade would no longer be lighting the torch. I felt inspired to show my respect and pay some sort of tribute to Mr. Hagiwara's work.

This bike was in the works for a good friend, and customer from Boston when the blog entry, Alps to Close went up.
My customer had spec'ed many of the details for this bike like the brazed on Mafac centerpulls, the geometry etc., but also wanted the design details to flow as I was building it. He did not want a hand in the color choice, or the exact way I would do each piece,,, "surprise me he said".

When I saw Alps to Close it all came together. I brazed on a light boss,built the flashlight mount, ordered a light from Velo Orange, and scrounged a shoulder bag from E-bay.

I took the shots in a field across the street from my shop, and Chris was kind enough to put them up.

My customer will use this bike as a commuter, Sunday rider, and will get it dirty at next years Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee.

In other words, this bike won't be a wall hanger! It will be used and cared for the way Mr. Hagiwara would want his Alps bikes to be used and cared for. It will be ridden hard and treated with respect. Thanks for all of your great work."

Coincidently I just received a genuine ALPS flashlight bracket from Ernest in Japan. The photo doesn't show how beautifully made it is. I guess we'll have to build a pass hunter around it ;<) . Since we're talking about things Japanese, I wanted to share a web site: http://www.kimkaz.com/ , that Ed Braley found and posted on the 650b list. Unfortunately this site might not work perfectly with Firefox browser (so you may need to launch creaky old MS Explorer). And don't forget to turn on the sound and look at the randonneuse. It may take some time to navigate this site, but it's worth it.

Ed also found this link showing a 1975 Bridgestone Grand Velo Randonneur.


Anonymous said...

Weigle-san is truly a master of the frame building torch. An acquaintance of mine in Boulder has one of JP's framesets (and custom racks). It's a lovely blue/white color with artistic lugwork, that oh so cool rear light and all the other touches that JP puts into his work. Every time I see it I'm tempted to offer my Alex Singer in trade. Guess I just need to start saving and buy my own JP Weigle "pass hunter" some day. (

John Price
Aurora CO

Anonymous said...

As it usually is, Weigle's work is graceful and understated. I've been looking at pictures of his work for years and it's interesting to see him growing and progressing toward the French and Japanese philosophy of bicycles. It is at the point where the pupil probably has surpassed the master. I tend to buy local, which here in Minnesota, means Kvale and Goodrich. They both speak very highly of Peter, and if I ever go national, he's it. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

Also, I wanta talk about front racks. This is perfect. Shiney, low, has a fender mount, is far enough forward to have nice rear access. How how Nitto's has them mount so high? And how come Velo Orange doesn't make a nice small, light rack similar to this that mounts to the fork hole and brake bosses?

Anonymous said...

Lovely craftsmanship on the frameset, however the stem seems very wrong for this bike. Perhaps it was fitted only to provide a view with the handlebars mounted?

Anonymous said...

Could I have some help Gents?

I got some nice Suntour Power rachet shifters on ebay:


They racheted 'back' beautifully, maybe too far back, and then they are stuck. Do they require spring tension the other way, and maybe all the way back is past their working range?

Thank You

Dad said...

Agree with Neil. Now THAT bike has a really, really beautiful front rack. That's precisely the type that I, at least, want.

Anonymous said...

I think the stem is probably paying homage to the French bikes of the 50s rather than the modern threadless stems. Taken in that context, I think it is appropriate.
And beautifully done.

Anonymous said...


"Also, I wanta talk about front racks. This is perfect. Shiney, low, has a fender mount, is far enough forward to have nice rear access. How how Nitto's has them mount so high?"

Well, when you go custom (or build it yourself) you get exactly what you want. But my Nitto M12 has all the features you desire. Shiny (in a satiny kind of way), low enough to use the fender mount, and forward enough to use with my big bag. This all on my Kogswell P/R. You can see its build procession on flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/30405788@N00

And having said all that, when I mounted it to my Cannondale tandem it was much higher than the fender. So it obviously doesn't work for all bikes.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly right on the Kogswell. I think you're right about fitting, or not fitting, all bikes. I suppose the fork offset, trail and all that stuff impacts the fit. By the way, I really like white bikes with matching fenders. Good looking bike.

Anonymous said...


Very nice bike. The Sycip single speed I am building will be pretty close in color and general set up. I have a lot of Velo-Orange product waiting for the frame as well.

I toyed with having the honjos (from V-O, natch!) painted to match the frame but decided the aluminum finish was too fine to cover up.

The shifter looks like you may be using a Rohloff?

Oh yeah, on point: Mr. Weigle did a fine job with the pictured frame. Beautiful bike and admirable customer. Let the master make the frame, not the customer.

Finally, if you haven't already, follow the other link to the Japanese frame builder. It is a little difficult navigating, but there is some excellent work there. Pretty cool to see a frame builder in Japan finding some classic Simplex for his product.

Anonymous said...

Neil and Joel. Thanks for the compliments on the bike. As for the frame colour an the matching fenders, that was all Matthew Grimm of Kogswell. Well, and the input of the teeming tens that are the KOG group. It was fun to take part in discussions of the build and details of this model.

Joel. This being a "budget" model, I've built it up with a Shimano Nexus 8 sp (red band) hub. I love having the wide range with no derailleur and the ability to shift while at a standstill. I think there is a Rohloff in my future, but it may come on a different frame where I will have modifications made for the shifter and dropout concerns, or a custom built around the hub.

Make sure you guys share your pics of your rides.

Anonymous said...

will there be any more VAR#64 tool kits again?

Anonymous said...

Nice closeup of the front rack. It looks like you need that mid forward front fork hole to mount it. Darn, new fangled bikes. I really was planning on that one in the future. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Yes, that white Kogswell front end is excellent hardware and composition. A real goal of perfection for novices to shoot for. I don't think anyone would disagree that's a perfect front end. Nice job Greg.

Anonymous said...

wondering if you might pursue developing a product inspired by the ALPS flashlight bracket?...As for Mr. Weigle a true artist!

Velo Orange said...

I don't plan to offer a flashlight bracket like that right now, but perhaps in the future.

VAR 64 tool kits are no longer made, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Just how were front racks supported before v-brakes supports and mounts on the front middle forks? I don't remember any so maybe there was nothing as elegant as a Velo Orange front rack solution.


Anonymous said...

What's that behind the seat tube (on the Wiggle)? A bell?

Anonymous said...

A tail light