Japan’s Blue Lug bike shop have been building up a lot of bikes lately: numerous All-City, Affinity and Fairweathers, as well as the custom fare from Retrotec, Soulcraft, and Hunter Cycles. But one brand dominates the shop’s floor: Surly, whose steel frames provide a versatile platform for Blue Lug’s creativity.
The Long Haul Trucker is a more-than-capable world tourer, perfectly comfortable when chewing up fully-loaded miles along foreign roads. Blue Lug are happy to build such a rig for requesting customers and, given Japan’s love for bicycle touring, there are many. But they won’t baulk at assembling an inner-city runabout from the same frame.
Portland Design Works Bar-ista™ cup holder? Sure. Ostrich-skin Kashimax aero saddle. Why not? Blue Lug aren’t strangers to eccentric assemblies. The Japanese market is huge, and in certain aspects, completely unrestricted by convention. Can you imagine the snickers from the staff at your LBS if you asked for something similar? Hubbard.
The thing is, despite a lot of Blue Lug’s bikes looking like two-wheeled platypuses, all components are top-shelf. The chain is kept on the Sugino cranks by a Paul Component Engineering Chain Keeper. The cockpit is comprised of their proprietary handlebars and stem — made by Nitto — which twists on a Chris King headset.
An LX rear mech will keep shifting for years, while Fairweather ‘For XC By CG’ tires reinforce the retro MTB vibe. Most everyone loves gumwall tires — especially in a 26×2.1 size — and the hoods on the Dia-Compe Gran Compe levers are a perfect match. What else is left but to install a kickstand and wrap the bars in a harlequin tape pattern?
The customer wanted an ‘everyday bike’ — a daily commuter and for the weekends, an adventure mobile to accompany his son on urban antics. As usual, Blue Lug delivered.