For a country so enamoured with custom bicycles and cycling of all forms, it’s surprising that we don’t see more work from Japanese frame builders. I can only comment from the perspective of a gaijin, but perhaps it’s their fascination with all things American.
There exists within Japan, however, some of the world’s most respected craftsmen, both young and old. Vladimir Balahovsky belongs to the former, despite the sound of his name, and was taught how to put a frame together by Ohtaki, an NJS-qualified builder for over 25 years.
Vlad had been restoring and riding vintage racers for a number of years before he met Ohtaki, who tutored him in the art of framebuilding. Ohtaki inspired Vlad to open his own shop in East Tokyo, where he has been crafting some highly refined track, CX / commuter and road frames of his own.
This is one of them, fillet brazed from Columbus MAX with a 44mm integrated head tube. Making a well-assembled road bike resemble a billiard cue, at the customer’s request, was a challenge won by a highly talented local painter named Zen-san at Z-Works.
Equilibrium Cycle Works can be requested for any custom frame or parts, like an adjustable track stem, for example. Contact Vlad through his website and keep up to date via the Equilibrium Cycle Works Facebook page.