After years of ogling the wares of Jitensha Studio from outside the window, and after a couple of months of talking with builders, I decided to have a brevet bike designed by Hiroshi Iimura. I talked a lot with Ebisu owners (Franklyn, Lee, Nathan, Gabe, William), dialed in the details and visited Hiroshi in February to place my order. I hemmed and hawed over wheel size, but decided for a sprite and classic 700c.
During the process, Hiroshi asked me its intended use (randonneuring), and how much weight I’d carry on the front (mainly a handlebar bag). He customized the geometry around my intended use for the bicycle. From there, we just went over details like eyelets and the racks. Hiroshi has a “blueprint” for the Ebisu, which is open to customization within some limitations. For example, if you want to have internal wiring for a generator-powered rear lamp, or if you’d like to fit 42mm Hetres on a 650B bike, a Toei is in order. But within the general parameters of the Ebisu, he’ll customize to your needs. Hiroshi’s been designing bicycles (made by Toei!) since high school, so I wasn’t interested in micro-managing every little design detail like an armchair brazer informed by Bicycle Quarterly and Velocipede Salon (with iBob, I would clearly be looking for a $50 frameset).
The bike has Kaisei 019 standard-diameter tubing, which provides for a lively ride. I had detachable low-rider racks built with the bike, after reading Jan Heine’s review of Dan Boxer’s machine in BQ, they sounded like a good idea for lightly-packed bags when I’d want to do a quick overnight or ride to a brevet. No tents, just clothing and such.