I had a little time on my hands to visit two bike shops in the same area of Tokyo that I had found on the web. The first was Tokyo Wheels, just a little east of Akihabara, near Asakusabashi station.
The first thing that I noticed was there were three unlocked bikes out front that I think belonged to the shop. Most notable was this Seven Ti mountain bike, again totally unlocked.
The tagline for the shop is “closet for cyclists and riders”, and that is more or less what it was, with a good selection of cyclist oriented clothing, ranging from a bit of racer clothing to Bradley Wiggins branded polo shirts.
Aside from some typical US brands such as Chrome or Mission Workshop, there were many Japanese brands, including an in house “Tokyo Wheels” Label. I almost went for a blue blazer in thin stretch fabric, but I was a bit put off by a zipper down the centre of the upper back that could be opened for venting. As an alternative, I’m going to take a look at the ultralight suite jacket from Uniqlo if I have the chance.
I also liked this small wheeled ebike with drop bars and brifters.
The second shop was Nois Bike which was oriented towards family cycling.
They have their own line of bikes that are based on smaller wheels, mini velo style, that makes a lot of sense in a city like Tokyo.
Here is their Nois Mama Retro model.
and an e-assist bike with one kid seat.
Inside there were lots of kid bike things such as the Yepp Maxi seat, and some nice stride bikes from Rennrad.
One of the main reasons I wanted to drop by was this photo that was posted to their FB page a while ago.
that links to a description of their small wheeled cargobike. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any in stock. The only thing they had was this picture on the wall.
Salesman Kenji apologized, and said that they were in the middle of a model change, and new frames would not be delivered until later in the summer. He said that the Gen II model would make it easier to mount a Yepp kid seat, it would come with generator lighting, and a few other refinements. From the pictures, there is a lot to like about this design, with the frame mounted front basket and the sturdy looking rack. Retail seems to be 97,000 yen, which is about $1234 CAN at Brexit devalued exchange rates.
Here is Kenji with his personal ride, a brushed aluminum Birdy.
I wish Nois bikes success in their cargobike venture. The Japanese market for kid transport is dominated lately by e-assist dual 20″ wheeled bikes, with two kid seats. These are more common now than the last time I was in Japan, two years ago.
It will be interesting to see if Japanese moms will spring for what is to my eyes a more stylish alternative. Hopefully this small company can carve out a separate niche in the market.