TOKYOBIKE - UNDERSTATED, UNDERRATED, CLASSICS
There is one bike (well, two bikes really) that we find ourselves more often than not recommending to both first-time bike buyers and N+1 nerds alike, and that is the humble, classic, inimitable Tokyobike. Some might be put off by the quill stem, the 26" wheels, the 7- and 8-speed drivetrains, but those three things are some of our favourite features on these two bikes that have proven themselves time and again to be the perfect bike to get around Adelaide on.
Quill-style stems make adjusting handlebar height to tweak your ride as easy as turning a single bolt, and the 26" wheels make for super easy acceleration to cruising speed without sacrificing much (if any) top-end speed. Smaller wheels means shorter spokes means less broken spokes - and as any Tokyobike owner will tell you, broken spokes are very very few and far between on these bikes, even on those from years and years ago. 7- and 8- speed chains are a little (read: less than a noticeable amount) heavier than the same length 11-speed chain, but as the late, great Sheldon Brown once said, "the fancier parts aren't always the most suitable, in the same way that a Ferrari, while it is a great racecar, isn't at all as good for daily transportation as a Toyota -- there are practical issues of cost, reliability, serviceability and durability."
There's a grassroots push from many small bike business here and abroad toward sustainability, an attempt to create products that cut through the ever-complicated online market but allow them not to have to turn inside out to reinvent themselves every year to keep up. Alongside that push comes a sense of safeness perhaps, for better or worse, as the big brands seem to be the ones pushing the boundaries of innovation and adding proprietary features that will make your commute fifteen seconds faster and 2 percent less sweaty. Tokyobike doesn't so much thumb the nose at innovation as smile knowingly at it from across the room, proud of its own balance of comfort, speed, ease of use, and style.
Tokyobike was born of a combination of two things - Tokyo Slow, a concept that can be distilled down to change in perspective that happens when you ride through a city at anything other than break-neck speed, and a love of great design. Both of these things are clear when you look at a Tokyobike - a comfortably upright riding position coupled with simple, subdued colours and that excellent logo! In addition to creating great-looking bikes, Tokyobike are responsible for some of the most visually enticing collaborations the bike industry has known, from the simplest screenprinted tote bag to Otto, Makr, Moonstar, Evolg, Casa Project, and countless other brands that have collaborated with Tokyobike on projects, the brand's keen eye for aesthetic has never been more evident than in opening their flagship NYC store not that long ago - the sister to our very own Tokyobike Shop Melbourne.
I think it's safe to say we've seen all manner of commuters in our nearly seven years here in the East End. From flat-bar conversions on Italian steel roadies that would be just at home in a museum of cycling as they are covered in road grime and locked to a tree on a uni campus, to touring bikes built to endure 6-month, several thousand km trips in the wilderness, each bike that gets commuted on qualifies as a commuter. In our eyes, The Tokyobike Bisou and Classic Sport are as good as any at getting you and your precious belongings around town reliably, quickly and comfortably and doing so for many years to come, and we're excited to see more and more shops worldwide step away from the new-bike-every-year model and back a bike that doesn't date immediately and feel like it needs upgrading all the time!
Tokyobike Bisou, CS, SS and Mini Velo bikes are available from us in store at Treadly, on our webstore, or from Tokyobike Australia direct if you're not in Adelaide. Loads of accessories from fenders, racks and baskets to hand painted bells and leather trim goodies are available for these excellent bikes as well!