Japanese bike shops do it up proper part 1:
Last modified: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
(Photo credit: Kinoko Cycles)
Located in Nagoya also home to our Japanese distributor Motocross INTL, this shop is often our first stop on our visits to the always delightful and always delicious nation of Japan. This is a good place to start as the shop is very welcoming and comfortable sort of environment to land in after a long wearisome journey and given their history with the brand the staff are like old friends at this point.
The thing that always strikes me about Japanese Surly dealers is how great our bikes in their shop look. They aren’t merely built up with all the fancy latest and greatest high touch components, they look more like the builds curated by an artist… who has access to all the latest high touch shiny bits. Every little detail so well thought out and expertly executed in a way that sort of lends our bikes a more custom or even exotic flair. Completes are sold but it seems that most customers that come in requesting a Surly have a vision of something special in mind and thus the process starts: which model (this is very interesting to me to see what people choose considering their intended riding style. Often the guidelines are bent and really cool hybrid builds emerge), what color paint, and of course the component spec…All of this can take up to a month( or so I’ve heard) of deliberation, pouring over parts catalogs and whatnot before the build actually starts.
Customers at Circles are treated to the option to get custom paint done in house up on their third story studio.
All models of frames in non-stock colors adorn almost every shop wall/ceiling we visit. It’s something I know our domestic market would love to be able to get their hands on…where it logistically possible for us to offer of course. I have seen only a couple of shops that offer this service in house and wonder how well that would go state side.
I always feel proud to see our stuff displayed alongside an assortment of great small batch and custom built steel brands. It reaffirms me that a great bike starts with a sturdy frame on which to hang your parts; be it flashy or decidedly not so. It’s fun to see Surly frames lovingly coveted and bathed in jewels, so to speak, as it is a far cry from how most of my dirtball friends build and ride their Surlys. Nothing against rat bikes and the gonzo bastards who love them, I got plenty of love for that view too but yeah…all sorts of folks ride Surlys I guess is the message.
Circles even has a custom bag and accessory shop. Yup, so you can get the custom mess-bag to match your new tricked out Steamroller. Well Done indeed!
Not to mention a pretty dazzling selection of cycling fashion vintage, neuvo vintage and tons of fancy shit I have even heard of before.
And if you aren’t impressed with the all encompassing awesomeness of this shop yet, perhaps the addition of a small café offering all day “western style” egg breakfasts and local beer on tap will. Early Birds: we drank there but never got to dine, turns out we aren’t early birds …so to speak.
Check out the tap handles. Picture is about as in focus as it’s operator at that point.
And who manages to wrangle this wild circus at Circles while also running a very cool collaboration with Nitto called Sim Works making totally sweet “retro” bars and stems? Why Shinya Tanaka of course, who is not only fun to talk to about bikes but also all sorts of interesting topics not fit for print. Thanks for the good time Shinya-san and Circles! Check out their blog on our ride with them HERE.