Sophie’s Zunow

Sophie's Zunow

A rare bird, is a Zunow. We’ve only seen one before on the pages of Cycle EXIF — plumed with characteristically garish paint — but this example is the real deal. Owned by Sophie Ballo and it won the award for Best Japanese Bicycle at the 2013 Bicycle: Art Meets Form show.

This is Sophie’s pride and joy, and it’s no wonder. Kageyama was an eccentric Japanese frame builder who worked from the mid-60s to the early 2000s. Apparently, Zunow translates to ‘genius’ — an apt brand name — and this, one of Kageyama’s early frames, is a fine example of his work.

“This bike is from the 1984 Interbike display that Mr. Kageyama made; this was one of the show bikes, Sophie tells us. It pre-dates the famous investment cast Zunow lugsets, but features details the master builder felt were superior, like inset cable tube routing and pentaglia chain stays.

The rear brake is mounted inside the rear triangle and the shifters are mounted on the top tube, as opposed to the down tube. The pantographed rear mech is also an interesting decorative touch, as is the branded headset, handlebars and exclusive embossed saddle.

According Classic Rendezvous, Mr. Kageyama retired from frame building in the early 2000s to take up pottery. I reckon those pots would be works of art, too. Special thanks to Sophie and Ken Toda for the photos. Head to the Zunow page on Classic Rendezvous for more.

Sophie's Zunow
Sophie's Zunow
Sophie's Zunow
Sophie's Zunow
Sophie's Zunow