It was a rainy day in Suginami, a special ward in western Tokyo.
My goal while visiting the area was to visit Ishizuka Cycle Bicycle Service, one of the few long standing family-owned bicycle shops in Japan.
And it was great to meet with Hiroyasu Ishizuka, the son of the founder of Ishizuka Cycle, which was opened in the 1940’s.
But part of what I enjoyed the most about visiting the store, was getting to know about Japanese bikes, what kind of bikes are people tend to ride and more.
Hiroyasu taught me about Maruishi and Araya bikes.
One of the bikes that caught my eyes were the Maruishi Emperor.
In Japan, I noticed how big touring bikes are and it’s no surprise as the mode of transportation in Japan is primarily by public transportation, walking and riding bikes. While you do see people driving cars in other prefectures, in Tokyo, public transportation, bike riding and walking are what you are accustomed to seeing quite often. While most cars are typically for businesses, taxi, etc.
So, you often see bikes that are created for the purpose of holding wheel bags, etc.
I was looking at the Emperor Touring Master with its Chromoly (Chrome Molybdenum) Steel frame and fork. This is lightweight, strong steel that is responsive and a true workhorse.
650A Panaracer tires on SHINING rims, brakes are Shimano and Ishizuka really has a great price for the Emperor Touring Master.
Primary differences are the tires and rims, the Emperor Touring Master features three frame sizes, while the Emperor Touring Conductor offers two. But both are priced the same, it all comes down to color, frame size and tires/rims.
As for Araya, this is the top Japanese bicycle sold at Ishizuka Cycle.
Araya RAN Swallow Randonneur is a beautiful bike. According to Araya, since 1967, they have adopted European parts, while the frames were made in Japan. Because of this, the price of the Araya Swallows were expensive back in the day, but the company felt confident in their product. As people spend more for a sports car, people spent more for Araya bikes.
The bike comes in three sizes, three colors, Cromoly frame, Sugino Alpina chainwheel, Brooks brown leather saddle, Nitto fender. The bike features Araya 840F rims and the bike can be easily customized. Such as adding screw set for fenders, HONJO fenders and NITTO Campy Front or Rear Sets.
In fact, Hiroyasu has been featured on publications for his cool customization of touring bikes!
While at the shop, I also had the opportunity to learn about Panasonic motorized bikes, Bridgestone Bikes (while the Bridgestone is mainly known for its tires, in America, Bridgestone had a good run with bicycles from the ’80s through the ’90s. But the Japanese company continues to sell their bikes in Japan and still attracts loyal consumers).
For chain lube and other chemicals, Wakos is a popular brand in Japan.
Ishizuka Cycle also sells a variety of bikes to suit one’s budget, one’s preference and bikes for all ages. Hiroyasu is very knowledgeable when it comes to the bikes, the products and for the most part, this is what I had to see upfront and personal as other cyclists have told me that Ishizuka Cycle is one of the few long-standing family-owned cycle shops in Tokyo.
I definitely had a great time visiting the store, learning about Japanese bike trends but also the wealth of information that Hiroyasu taught me while at his shop.
Ishizuka Cycle Bicycle Service in Suginami! Check it out!