Ebisu 700c from Jitensha Studio


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.

I finally picked it up a couple of days ago.

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21 comments

  1. Chris

    Congrats on a truly lovely machine. I hope you many pleasant journeys on board, and am looking forward to your detailed impressions on ride quality, handling, and general accommodation of loads.

  2. AC

    Beautiful bike, congrats! I’ve got an Ebisu on my short list. I have a couple of questions. First, what made you go with 700c vs 650B? The trend nowadays for these sort of builds has been 650B. I’m still unable to make up my mind. On the one hand, I think for me, being shorter, the smaller diameter wheel makes more sense (and leaves more room for a front rack and bag with the lower fork crown). And I’m all giddy over the Hetre, just based on most of what I’ve read. In a perfect world, I’d get 650B in a heartbeat. But on the other hand there just aren’t a whole lot of other great options out there for this size, and who knows how long Hetre’s (and the other similar tires) will be imported? I’m a little cautious spending all that money for a custom bike frame (which I intend to ride for a decade or two, at least) designed around a “boutique” wheel size so I’m having trouble making up my mind.

    The other thing I was wondering is what you meant when you said that certain customizations will mean “a Toei is in order”. Doesn’t Toei make all of the Ebisu bikes? Or am I misunderstanding?

    Thanks! Looking forward to more pictures and comments on the bike.

    • Esteban

      Hi, AC – thanks.
      I have a couple of 650B bikes (and a custom 650B randonneuse on the way), so I thought I’d want something sporty for this one dedicated to distance road-only riding. It is an “All-Purpose” after all, so according to Hiroshi I can take it on dirt. But gingerly.

      I wouldn’t hesitate to get 650B. Hiroshi’s designs for that size just nail it. He’ll only fit you a 38, though. Some owners have fit Heteres into the Ebisu, but its a tight fit. Hiroshi will be happy to design you a Toei with a 4-6 month wait – one of the best built bicycles in the world. Hiroshi has a builder or two that he trusts. The main fellow was the one mentioned in BQ – I think its Mr. Hakuda. He does NJS in a one-man shop. He’s clearly a master builder.

  3. Perry

    Hiroshi was working on this bike last time I popped into Jitensha, it is even more beautiful in person! Absolutely love the front rack. Want.

  4. Esteban

    Yea, I had a baptism – seemed like a great ride. I’m doing Pt. Reyes Lighthouse this weekend – pics posted next week!

  5. Dan Boxer

    Glad that bike was inspiring to you. I loved having the detachable low-riders on the bike – easy on, easy off and way versatile.

    Your Ebisu is lovely and what a color choice. Bravo!

  6. Pingback: Ebisu bicycles | Sfmlsdeals

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