Tom's Custom Steel Kalavinka

August 10, 2018

This is Tom's stunning custom steel fixed-gear bike, custom designed and built by small Tokyo based frame-builder Kalavinka. Tom lived in Japan for three years working for Japanese mega company Mitsubishi Industries. He lived near the the Kalavinka workshop and walked past it daily, peering in on the display of beautiful hand-built bikes.

 

The sound and sights of the intricate activities of flashes from the brazing process and sound of clinking metal being filed and pieced together from inside the workshop led him to the decision he wanted to own one of these magnificent frames. It was to be a memento of his time in Japan and something to connect him to a country that he became so attached to during his time there. The waiting list to have one built was 6 months and it took one month to build and finish. The frame is entirely fitted and built to Tom's geometry and uses Japanese Kaisei 8630 steel tubing.

 

The real stand out feature is of course the paintwork, which is also done by Kalavinka and features a different colour on either side, which seamlessly fades together down the centre. The reason for having two colour's on either side of the bike? Tom couldn't decide between the two so went for both, the outcome is a pretty special design. As I was shooting the bike two little girls walked past as I turned the bike around, one of them whispering "did that bike just change colour?". 

 

Subtle Japanese words adorn certain parts of the frame. On the chainstay's it reads Sayonara Tokyo (Goodbye / Farewell Tokyo). The top tube is Tom's name. The motif on the back is from a trip to Kagoshima island and the sticker on the seat tube is the Kalavinka brand logo. 

 

The build is comprised almost entirely of Japanese componantry with the exception of the newly added basket on the front and the Chinese rims, which are laced to Shimano Dura-Ace hubs. Panaracer Race Evo 25mm tyres complete the wheelset. 

It's a Shimano Dura Ace chain and crank-arms with a Sugino Zen chainring, the gear ratio is 44 x 17. The front brake is also Shimano Dura-Ace. The cockpit is comprised of a Nitto handbar and stem and the perch is a Kashimax Aero Saddle, which is used throughout the famous Japanese Keirin racing. 

 

Check out Tom's Instagram to see some photos of his time in Japan and see more of Kalavinka Bikes on their website