Monday, May 9, 2016

The Japanese Italian

The last couple of years saw the rise of interest in bicycle touring. You can see them everywhere, from brand new builds that you can literally take wherever your minds set you or the classic, timeless setups from decades ago that haven't lost their relevance. You can tell that this adventure cycling bug is here to stay when a popular blog skipped their yearly Red Hook Criterium coverage in lieu of more backcountry cycling features...


As we've once covered many times before, some of the used or old bicycles from Japan are sold abroad as scrap and ended up here—there are people whose business is to import these scrapped bicycles, swapped or salvaged parts if necessary, and sold them as good, functional bicycles here. You'll never mistaken these born-again bicycles from the stickers that are sometimes left intact, whether from the parking building subscription registrations or bicycle shops. Case on point, this Hattori Italian Road.


As many domestic Japanese bicycle brands, the information on this particular bicycle is unbelievably scarce. All we know is that Hattori Trade and Industry is Osaka's oldest bicycle manufacturer, and recently well known for being the distributor of Wilier bicycles.




All the original parts are mostly intact. The only clue as to why this bicycle was scrapped on the first place was the bent seatstays and chainstays, probably from an accident; but these were already repaired before the current owner paid for the bicycle.
We were given the task of rebuilding the wheels with new hubs and spokes, replacing the 5-speed cassette with 7-speed unit while we're at it, and generally giving the bicycle a once over it deserves after all those years. The original stem was seized shut, so we have no option but to cut it to gain access to the headset. But as luck would have it, we found the exact same Nitto Young stem to replace it. All we have to do is to machine the stem stub that was left inside the steerer to make the new, repolished stem fit just fine.

New bar wrap and brake cables, polished brake levers.



Hattori-branded Sakae/SR crankset.

Viale rear derailleur, basically a rebranded Shimano 400FF.
One interesting feature on this bicycle would be the shape-shifting Bridgestone rear rack, where you can make the top platform wider or narrower.




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