This morning, I had just enough time to pack in another bike shop visit (suggested by a comment on my previous blog post) to Cycle House Shibuya, which despite the name, was on the opposite side of Tokyo from Shibuya. I was told that it specialized in cargo bikes and folders so I was intrigued.
Getting off the train at Ohanajaya Station, I see a shopping street heading north, where pedestrians and cyclists freely mixed, and there doesn’t seem to be any car traffic. Woonerf in Japan!
This must be the place!
As you go in, a wall of Birdys to the right
and a wall of Bromptons to the left.
This one was dressed up with nice wheels.
Straight ahead, you see a variety of interesting bikes.
This is a ETRO 451 wheeled Reach by Pacific Cycles.
Note the really small disc brakes and the elastomer front suspension.
This is a Dahon with a vertically folding frame that folds almost as small as a Brompton.
However, the really interesting bikes were displayed outside. Here is a mini velo that almost looks like a kid’s bike.
This is a very light Japanese model by Tyrell.
It has a rear swingarm with a brake mounted by the chainstays.
It also has a carbon fork, but I was surprised when the salesperson folded it for me. Closer inspection shows that the carbon blades are bonded to an aluminum crown. Beautiful workmanship. Price: roughly $2000.
Most of these bikes won’t fit in a suitcase, but I guess the motivation is to throw them into a car trunk, or to fold them so that don’t take up much space indoors.
This is his personal ride: a Cherubim mini velo version of a Mustang (Stingray to you Americans).
Very sweet, with a coaster brake, and a Schlumpf speed drive.
The things that originally caught my eye on their website were the OX bikes. They have a form factor similar to a Strida, and are meant to fold into a train luggage locker. The shop had several models to try including this 8 spd version. Mini disc brakes and a derailleur. I was told that there was a 27 speed version (with the 3×9 SRAM hub).
Here it is folded, and check out the cute kickstand. Also, my favourite quirk is that it appears to have braze on mounts for three waterbottles!
It was surprisingly pleasant to ride. I can’t really compare it to a Strida as I’ve never ridden one of those, but I could go at a fairly good clip, and it felt rigid enough that you could stand on the pedals for short distances. The brakes were also very effective. Very quick fold as you can see on this video from OX bikes website. A credible solution to the last mile problem.
Around the corner, they had another branch that was supposed to have bikes to carry kids, etc. I was hoping for cargobikes, since they had a pink Bullit parked by the folder shop, but it turned out to be a shop selling much more conventional bikes.
A Bridgeston Picnica folder in front of a row of mamachari.
They also had a wall of minivelos sold under various labels.
Out front was a bike that I was told could be a cargobike: a Bridgestone “Tote”. I didn’t want to bother the owner to pull it out of the row, as it didn’t look very interesting. He said that I’d be better off with this Louis Garneau model, which had an aluminum frame, integral rack, and frame mounted front basket. This seven speed model was 74,000 yen. This would be a direct competitor to the Nois cargobike at a lower price point.
All in all, the visit was totally worth it to see the variety of folders at the first branch. In particular, if I was a Brompton enthusiast and I spoke more Japanese, I probably could have spend another hour geeking out at all the stuff they had.
As I walked back to the station, I was struck by how much space this lone car took up as it parked to make a delivery. The JDM Honda Odyssey is not a large car.
This brings my bike reporting from Japan to an end. Here I am riding a bike share bike to the train station with all my luggage as the first step in my trip back to TO.
Signing off from Haneda!