21 July 2010

AOYAMA = AKIBA OF BIKES ?

Tokyo's Hot Spot For High-End Bicycles

Specialized of the U.S. opened a concept store in Aoyama in 2008 - its first direct-run store in Japan.

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Akihabara district -- or Akiba for short -- is the place to go for electronics in Tokyo. For high-end bicycles, however, the city's Aoyama neighborhood is where it's at. In fact, people are calling this posh area in the center of the capital the "Akiba of bikes," as it is home to about 10 shops offering upscale models.

This spring, bicycle shop operator Nalsima Friend closed two smaller stores around Aoyama in order to open a plusher, larger one in the same neighborhood. The new outlet offers an extensive lineup of bikes as well as components ranging from tires to wheels to drivetrain parts.

Most of the staff are cyclists with racing experience. The shop even has a courtyard decked out with tables and chairs where visitors can relax and talk about their two-wheeled steeds.

Nicole EuroCycle Co., a dealer of high-end bicycles, last year opened a shop in Aoyama that focuses mainly on Italian road bikes, offering such brands as De Rosa and Colnago. Models priced at about 200,000 yen sell especially well there.

Before being converted into a bicycle shop, the store was a Nicole Group dealership for luxury import cars. Yoshinori Sato, who heads the shop, says sales have grown 100-200% since opening.

Bridgestone Cycle Co. opened its first-ever showroom in Aoyama last year. At Bike Forum Aoyama, visitors can test ride the company's latest models.

Specialized Bicycle Components, a California-based manufacturer of high-end bikes, launched a concept store in the area in 2008. The outlet, Specialized's first directly run shop in Japan, offers a wide range of models for men, women and kids.

So why has Aoyama become such a popular spot for selling high-end bicycles? "The number of people who ride such bicycles is increasing particularly sharply in Aoyama, because of the high concentration of wealthy people and foreigners here," said Sato of Nicole EuroCycle.

Another likely reason is that because Aoyama is home to scores of fashion- and design-related businesses, there is a larger number of people there who are attracted to products that are en vogue, including fancy racing bikes.

(Source : The Nikkei July 21 morning edition)

4 comments:

James said...

I would have to say the only relavant fact in the whole article is the last sentence.

Japan is going through a cycling boom, it’s cool to ride and what with 3 Japanese riders in Pro Tour Teams this year more people are following the races.

They have money spend regardless of the so called recession just to stay cool and be hip. Guarantee come September, metropolis magazine and used bike stores will have a whole load of used 3 month old bikes in it.

I would love to know the ratio of road bikes versus fixies that have sold in the last year in Tokyo alone!

David L. said...

Today I paid my first visit to the new Nalshima shop. Lots of nice gear, much of it discounted from list price, and mobbed with people. The Bridgestone/Anchor shop up the street, on the other hand, was pretty much deserted.

Anonymous said...

You are right Tom. The market is growing very fast, especially the high price bikes are selling very well. Running & trail run are booming too (Lafuma +22% between 2008 & 2009, +140% for woman products.

Your company should invest this field!

Th.

motionid said...

Thanks for mentioning Nicole EuroCycle. I forgot the name of the shop but went looking for it and they moved. Thanks to your write up I was able to track them down again.

http://www.nicole-eurocycle.co.jp/
Cheers.