Titanium-framed bicycles and Samurai warriors are both things that a lot of people admire. So, what happens when you build an example of the former that's inspired by the latter? You get the striking Japanese-made Samurai road bike, which we spied at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
Conceived by Tokyo-based Miyake Design and produced by Kyoto-based Futaka Precision Machinery, the Samurai incorporates three different titanium alloys. One is used in the main part of the frame, another in the "truss" at the bottom, and another in parts such as the bottom bracket, headset, steerer tube and seat clamp.
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Aside from its bizarre appearance, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the bike is the use of the Ebikan welding technique in its construction. This means that instead of simply bending the titanium tubes to create curves, those curves are made by incrementally TiG-welding together a series of fan-shaped pieces of titanium. The resulting segmented look is said to be an homage to the aesthetic of traditional Samurai armor.
The curvy frame design, on the other hand, is reportedly meant to express "the curve of a katana" – the shiny rims are also inspired by the legendary sword. On a more practical note, the frame's raised chain stays are said to minimize heel rub while pedaling.
Other features of the Samurai include internal cable routing, a Gates belt drive, a rear hub transmission and TRP mechanical disc brakes. The whole bike weighs a claimed 22 lb (10 kg).
And while it isn't priced quite as high as the Sarto 18K, it's no budget bike either. If you'd like a Samurai of your own, be prepared to pay US$12,500 for the frame only or $17,000 for a complete bike.
Product page: Samurai BikeView gallery - 11 images