06 January 2015

Vintage Bikes & Restoration in Yutenji, on Komazawa Dori

In Japan, there are shops and restaurants that seek customers from the general public passing by, and those that do not.

Those that serve the general public will have bright lights, neon signs, music blaring, even flags flapping in the breeze along the road in front.

Those that do not will have tiny signs, or be hidden on upper floors (or basements) in the back of buildings.  If you do happen upon one of these, you get the sense it would almost be invading someone's personal space to enter the shop or restaurant.  Better to go with an introduction.

So perhaps it is not surprising that I have been riding down Komazawa Dori at least once most days for many years, and noticed many bike shops come (and some go) in between Kan-nana and Yamate Dori, but had never noticed EX-bicycle, Seiichi Eguchi's shop.  Seiichi is not serving the mama-chari crowd that needs a tire flat fixed or some air pumped, or a rusty chain oiled.
A Banesto Pinarello from the early 90s, raced by Miguel Indurain and autographed more recently.
When I rode with Eric and Seiichi to Miura last month, I was incredulous that the shop could actually exist and be ON Komazawa Dori and I would never have noticed it.  But it is.  The front door opens directly onto the sidewalk along the North side of the street, just at the crosswalk/signal a few meters west of Denny's in Yutenji.
This Cinelli track prototype guards the entrance at EX Bicycle.
Now that I know the shop is there, I can even (barely) see bicycles and frames inside as I ride by.

I stopped in for a chat (and a cup of coffee) yesterday evening.  Seiichi specializes in restoration of vintage road frames.  Colnago, De Rosa, Pinarello, Cinelli and a few other "proven" European (well, mostly Italian!) brands.  He does some work himself, and has regular welders, painters and others with whom he cooperates.  I had not heard the phrase "re-chrome" before, but it describes the process that results in glistening polished shiny lugs, stems and other exposed metal on a 30 or 40 year old racing frame.  Each frame is a custom job, and takes some time.  It reminds me of my university friend whose wife is an art restorer in New York.  This is definitely "the bicycle as art".
Cinelli -- chrome so bright sunglasses are recommended.
Beautiful wood rims from Cerchio Ghisallo.  Probably not a good choice for a 95kg+ rider like me. ..
Very nice.

UPDATE: I stopped by again in the daylight recently, and the signage outside the shop is more noticeable.  Guess which maker of groupsets Seiichi prefers?

1 comment:

mob said...

Sometimes one is simply blown away by the stuff that Japanese shops and connaisseurs own and do. It would be nice to investigate that in more detail, visit a few shops and write an article for an European cycling magazine about it.