Bicycles

Japanese all-titanium bike evokes the spirit of the Samurai

Japanese all-titanium bike evo...
A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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Conceived by Tokyo-based Miyake Design and produced by Kyoto-based Futaka Precision Machinery, the Samurai incorporates three different titanium alloys
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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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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
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
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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
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
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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 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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The resulting segmented look is said to be an homage to the aesthetic of traditional Samurai armor (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
The curvy frame design is reportedly meant to express "the curve of a katana" (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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The curvy frame design is reportedly meant to express "the curve of a katana" (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
On a more practical note, the frame's raised chain stays are said to minimize heel rub while pedaling (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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On a more practical note, the frame's raised chain stays are said to minimize heel rub while pedaling (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
Other features of the Samurai include internal cable routing, a Gates belt drive, a rear hub transmission and TRP mechanical disc brakes (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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Other features of the Samurai include internal cable routing, a Gates belt drive, a rear hub transmission and TRP mechanical disc brakes (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
The whole bike weighs a claimed 22 lb (10 kg) (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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The whole bike weighs a claimed 22 lb (10 kg) (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
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A Futaka rep with the Samurai prototype at NAHBS 2015 (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
View gallery - 11 images

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.

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 resulting segmented look is said to be an homage to the aesthetic of traditional Samurai armor (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)
The resulting segmented look is said to be an homage to the aesthetic of traditional Samurai armor (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag.com)

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 Bike

View gallery - 11 images
5 comments
Milton
Dang.
This thing is so awesome looking.
David Lewis
While this is not a competitive bicycle, I must say I am impressed with the welding techniques used. If they can do this, they can weld titanium into anything!
sk8dad
Gorgeous welds and workmanship hands down!
I don't see the resemblance to anything samurai. By the description, anything with a slight curve and shiny could be construed as samurai-esque--even say a polished Schwinn beach cruiser? This design evokes more of a re-purposed retirement home bathroom accessibility fixture vibe.
It's been proven over and over again that the standard dual triangle is the most efficient design in terms of rigidity, material manipulation, and cost. What's with the useless seat tube? Might as well just weld the seat post directly onto the frame. Should I mention the prudence of a chicken wire head tube?
As a showcase for welding prowess, A++. As a design project, meh. As a bike, it's an utter fail. Surely there are better platforms for demonstrating the technique where it's actually a benefit.
David993
Interesting design, but at 10 kilos it is a klunker! If you want a titanium bike that weighs at least one kilo less, buy a Litespeed and save more than $10,000 ! Or save over 2 kilos and buy a Pinarello!
Jay Finke
Should have named it Kamakaze, it's soo fast, you're going to kill yourself on it.