About a year ago I started riding in earnest. What I mean is that I had not actually ridden seriously for more than 20yrs and just decided based on circumstances to get back on the bike. Alot had changed in those 20yrs – material sciences brought us carbon and other composites, exotic metals were affordable and workable, techniques improved, bio-metrics evolved along with a major advancement in technology. Alot has not changed either. We still use the same basic drivetrain and more importantly, the ‘engine’ itself is the same. And underneath the skin, there is still the same driving forces of passion, innovation, competition and conditioning. As for me – I just wanted to get back on the bike and recover my body from some past injuries and feel the wind again in my face. A little gentlemen’s ‘king of the hill’ now and then wouldn’t hurt either.
Along the course of re-training I came across the TCC (Tokyo Cycling Club) and read their spirited posts about cycling in the mountains of Japan, winning races and overall passion and somewhat obsession for all things cycling. In particular I was drawn to the challenge of conquering a few of these famous ‘toge’ or passes in a slightly different way – on a fixed gear. Why? Other than the fact thats what I happened to be riding at the time – it raised a new challenge to me. Personally I had raced and toured all over the US and Europe and no longer wanted to assume the tortuous regime required to raise myself to an elite level. However – this fixed gear challenge was of a different sort. A very pure and natural challenge based on the simple mechanics of bike and rider. A strong connection to the road and the mountain which presents itself as the insurmountable object. So, somehow, the tortuous regime of training became one of necessity to meet the challenge of the Toge rather than the mass hysteria of the Peloton. It was something I could do on and by myself. With results being the simple satisfaction of ‘I MADE IT’.
Now then, humans are social creatures and I’m no different. I like to ride with people as much as alone. And through these jaunts (and taunts) I discovered that a few other brave souls were indeed similar minded and experiencing the same things as I especially regarding the fixed gear on the road (hence RoadFixie). We pondered and pained our way up thousands of kilometers of roads and meters of climbs. During those times, I formed the basis for the frame delivered today. Something that would be a kindred spirit and tool for these rides and also a result of my experiences cycling through the years. So it was born. The ‘Toge Warrior’
Here are a few pictures from the first ride – I’ll let them speak for themselves!
The ‘rear set’. As you can see – we fitted it with a Chub Hub / Mavic CXP. I love this combo and it works very well on this bike. The slightly heavier wheel helps to reduce skipping and stutter under seriously hard sprints – especially uphills. And the Chub Hub gives noticeable improvement in power transfer. Note the gorgeous dropouts – shamelessly inspired by the Kalavinka, what can I say?
Ready to roll on the first climb up Wada. For the proto build we just slapped on some generic reversible pedals and Daeda cockpit. The Thompson Elite seatpost will stay and probably the Fizik , though an upgraded Aliante. Crankset is a SRAM 300 – which seems pretty good for the moment and use a standard NJS chain by HKK.
There she is sitting pretty at the top of the mount. Notice the brushed finish and you can just barely make out the couplers. I placed a couple of oba^san arm warmers over the tubes to protect them in transit – and to somewhat camouflage the frame.
I’ll be posting more pictures as we go along farther in this evolution and journey of the perfect frame.