Few frame builders have influenced the world of the custom bicycle as much as Koichi Yamaguchi. His unconventional designs both shock and impress, but they have been proven at US Nationals, World Championships and Olympic Games. Yamaguchi imparts his knowledge through his frame building school in Rifle, Colorado, to which students traverse the globe to attend. Doug Low travelled from Sydney to do so, and while he was studying, placed an order with the master. This is the result.
Koichi-san offers a stem building course as an aside to his frame course.
There are nuances of Yamaguchi’s experience of building frames for 3Rensho in his logo.
Fillet brazed frames are a specialty of the Yamaguchi school. It’s not hard to see why.
Doug requested a similar colour to Cinelli’s Lazer frame for his. The Japanese were not ashamed of imitating the Italian maestros.
The Yamaguchi fork crown allows for a shorter head tube and a sloping top tube, increasing aerodynamics. We’ve seen this crown before on a Yamaguchi-built frame for George Hincapie’s Olympic attempt.
Koichi works exclusively with True Temper tubes that he has designed himself. Doug retold the story of how Yamaguchi provided a prototype tube set to True Temper that was bent by hand.
Another trademark feature is the crimped seat tube that allows for a shortened wheelbase. Doug’s brief to Koichi-san was to build a frame that incorporated all his UCI-banned innovations.
This frame took over a year from order to delivery, but Doug assures us it was worth the wait: “Easily the best bike i’ve ever ridden, especially on the flats.”
The Yamaguchi logotype is just as funky, individual and recognisable as his frame building style.
Koichi-san built a time trial bike for Lance Armstrong that features the same bottom bracket foil.