My First Bike explores the life and work of professional frame builders by going back to the start and looking at the first bike they ever built. Todayâ€™s My First Bike features Yoshi Nishikawa, a production welder for Seven Cycles who recently launched his own company, Kualis Cycles.
Give me the short rundown of your first frame: when was it built, where, materials, any special details about it, etc.
These two frames were almost built at the same time. One of them is for a C1 racer on the Rapha Japan team. The other one is also for a C1 racer.
I had an order from the customer directly through my blog and website. The customer wanted a bike which made him win in a cross race.
When IÂ design a bike, when I decide what tubes to use for the customer, after checking the customer’s information, I always imagine a frame in my head beforeÂ it is built. Maybe this way is from my past experience as an architect. I make a little story between the customer and a bike.
I follow all the processes from touching a tube, to adjusting the alignment by feel after welding. I imagine clearly about the tubing character and the stiffness, softness …
This bike was also built through the process for only this customer. Â I design and build each bike with each character. Every bike is different even though I use the same tubing.
Kualis number one in action in Japan.
How did you learn to be a frame builder?
I first learned for 4 years in Japan about Keirin frame building from a Japanese frame builder who has more than 30 years experience, LEVEL.
Did you go into it planning to make frame building a career, or did that come later?
I was going to keep being an architect, but I changed my thought to design and making something smaller. Bikes are one of the beautiful industrial products.
What career would you want to have if you weren’t working as a frame builder?
I would want to work as a material engineer.