Big In Japan - Japanese Cycling Culture
We have a soft spot for Japanese made components. Attention to detail that displays traditional craftsmanship at its finest. Even in a world of mass production, there are a few small factories in Japan producing some of the finest cycling components available. The phrase "Often imitated, never duplicated" seems fitting.
The reliability of Nitto products is testament to their passion and skill. This video nicely sums up the companys ethos.
Crane bells are made in Osaka, Japan. These traditional designs are timeless and have beautiful clear ring tones. The most popular being the E-NE bells and the Riten bell, which is my personal favorite as it has such a strong mechanical sound.
Since 1945, Honjo-Koken have been producing mudguards. They are the best ever bicycle mudguards produced. As Yukio Shimamura, President of Honjo, says: "Our goal is to provide people "great cycling life"". They come from a small factory where a few members of staff work on these very labour-intensive items.
It's often unique for many companies to own their own factories these days. Panaracer has done that since 1953. Design and quality come from one place. It's the best way to create and produce the best tires available today. The tyres we stock have been made to the strict specifications set by Compass Cycles (USA) & Grand Bois (Japan). The most comfortable and fastest bicycle tyres in production.
MIKASHIMA INDUSTRIAL CO. moved into producing bike pedals in 1946 and never looked back. MKS pedals spin so smoothly, which is a result of the quality bearings and polished bearing races. Their NJS approved track pedals have been labelled 'the worlds best pedal'. Check out this vintage MKS advert from 1980.
In 1979, Michiaki Tange, one of Yosujirou Tange’s sons, formed Tange Seiki Co. Ltd. in Osaka Japan and focused on making headsets and bottom brackets. Seiki means “Precision Machining” and that is exactly what Tange Seiki set out to do – producing headsets and bottom brackets to precise Japanese machining standards and the highest quality possible. Over the course of the next 34 years, Tange Seiki became known as one of the most innovative headset and bottom bracket brands in the world.
In 2012, Junzo Kawai, former President of SunTour Japan, returned to bicycle component manufacturing with a new company called SunXCD,
Junzo felt the time was right to re-enter the bicycle component business. As he put it “the market is too race-centric; carbon fiber, electric shifting, full suspension, 11 speed, doesn’t really enhance the enjoyment of cycling. In the 1970’s and 80’s we cycled to be closer to nature, for the environment, for our health, for the simple beauty of cycling.” For these reasons SunXCD will focus on touring and randonneuring components which were the focus of SunTour during its heyday.
SunTour boardroom in the old days. Junzo is third from the right.
Japanese chain specialists. Producing some of the strongest track chains available. NJS approved for Japanese keirin racing. Keirin racers have strong legs, they need superior chains! Just check out this great video below.....
Tanaka is a metal fabrication company in Japan. They produce bicycle mudguards, decauleurs and a particularly lovely copper finish bottle cage.