Japanese bike shops do it up proper Part II
On our last visit to Japan we met a lot of dealers who have done well with Surly and continue to raise the bar for the rest of the world for what it looks like to do insanely cool custom Surly builds and how the brand is co-opted into the culture of that particular shop. As we have stated in previous posts about Japanese shops; they take it to a different level that really impresses us. This time around we also got to meet some brand new dealers, some prospective Surlyphiles and maybe even some skeptics (not really sure about that but we gave this kinda formal presentation to a group of dealers at our distributor’s HQ and some weren’t all teary eyed with adoration. I promise we will work on that next time around) to whom we were able to explain over the course of an hour; what our main brain malfunctions are and why this crazy shit that we make is the way it is. Most walked away happy (a keg of beer and cooler of Chu-hi help) and I think are now harboring a deeper understanding of the brand “essence” (which smells a lot like dead fish and fermented cabbage).
Dave scans the crowd and calculates information arrangement for optimal brand essence penetration. He also pinpoints potential trouble makers for later recourse.
New OD crank is field tested for maximum chicken wing delivery efficiency.
Snacky in mid brain freeze while our drinking buddies discuss something I'm too drunk to understand.
We were told by the MX-Intl Boss Lady, the infallibly insightful Rie Okamoto San, that we needed to check out this new shop in Inuyama . We were told that it was “very unique” and that they were very excited for us to stop by. These omens were easy to wrap my reptilian brain around but the reality of the shop was a whole other mind blowege wraped in a nerd-gasm. In short this was the first Surly “Concept store” ever successfully birthed...whatever that means.
Started in startlingly recent months by bike nerd brothers Yasuhiro Kawaguchi and Kawaguchi Michiharu, Wakka almost exclusively deals Surly bikes; mostly Omniterra, 29+ and rando builds. There is a well chosen selection of components and accessories from all over the globe, all seeming to circulate around Immaculate Surlys hanging off the walls like sparkling chandeliers or poised like vintage sports cars in their small showroom. The rest of the bikes spill out into the deck and driveway in an array of builds sure to stoke ones appetite to ride off into the woods or simply inspire a custom build of your own.
Shiny bits and leather adorn a British racing green Pacer: Vroom/Meow/Splitch!
Fozzie says: Wakka, wakka!
As I inspected each build carefully I am humbled by the time spent considering the overall aesthetic as well as the care taken in the details to make sure overall function is flawless. These are not flimsy parade bikes, you could drag these things to hell and back and trust every thread, cable and pivot wouldn’t fail you even if Baphomet himself was sucking your wheel in a all out race to save/enslave all mankind.
Consider this raw Moonlander, no really…Do it:
Totally high polish Phil Wood 135mm fix/disc hub, gloss black Clown shoe and silver fabric rim strip:
Retrotech w/ DA 7900, Hope V-Twins and internal cable routing via Ragley Luxy dirt drops. *Ah hem, uhhh…WOW!
So to top off their amazing unique view and representation of Surly “oh my god that bike is Hawtness” and integration of our weirdness stirred lovingly into their creatively spiced and unique rich broth….they happen to be super nice and not at all self conscious or smug about what they have done here. Not meaning to stir east vs. west sentiment but honestly if this shop were situated in one of America’s great cycling cities, the shop would be rife with attitude, exclusivity and self congratulatory nausea. Don’t be butthurt dear reader, I don’t mean to injur your delicate feelings here but you KNOW this is true.
Also consider these scrumptious details:
There is a coffee house (Maru Bistro) in an old British double-decker bus!
(Notice the Bill trailer mobile coffee station)
We had a chat and became facebook friends here. Kawaii desu ne?!
Michiharu San fabricates custom frame packs from high quality leather.HAWT!
We didn’t see any Harleys parked in the lot but this is still rad
Thanks again Wakka for having us and we can’t wait to come back and see what crazy shit you have been up to next year.
This is the most sober picture of the three of us…ever.