We caught up with Neil from Tokyo Bike at their European flagship store in East London. He told us all about how the collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger and the Tokyo Bike company came about and the story behind it.
Can you tell us the history of Tokyo Bike.
The company started about 10 years ago in Tokyo, as the story goes, the owner actually came up with the name first, then started going about designing a bike for Tokyo. A bike suited to going around town, so it suited people’s lifestyle. Before that you would have mountain bikes and racing bikes, this was all about designing a city bike.
There were lots of town bikes, like dutch bikes, but they were big and heavy, much like the Pashley bikes here. This was a light to nip around town with, and to carry up to their apartments. Perfectly designed for the city.
So, that’s how it started and it grew and grew, then a few years ago they started looking to other cities, with the view that if it worked in Tokyo it would work in places like Berlin and London. The London store is the largest outside of Japan, it’s the European flasgship store. So we sell bikes, obviously, but lifestyle products too and we serve coffee. The idea being that it’s not all about the bike, but as the bike being a way to enjoy your city and that the philosophy with the way the store is.
Are there other products that come from Tokyo Bike?
At the moment other products come through the collaborations we do, but the bike is the main product from Tokyo Bikes.
Why did you choose this location in east London?
A couple of reasons, one it’s the bike capital of London, most bike friendly part of London. It’s also the base for design and creativity which fits well with Tokyo Bike.
What’s your most popular product?
The most popular model is the Bizzou, the step through frame, it’s the most casual bike that we do. I would say that half of our customers are women.
How did the collaboration with OT come about and can you talk through the design of the bike?
It started in Japan with Onitsuka Tiger working directly with Tokyo Bike over there and carried over to the UK. The bike is a take on a single speed bike which is a clean design. The colours are simple mainly white with pops of colour which took inspiration from the classic colours of an Onitsuka Tiger shoe but the design came directly from Japan.
Do you have any collaborations on the horizon.
We have some exciting things in the pipeline, we are working with a new hotel that is opening in East London supplying bikes for their guests to use. We are working with a fashion brand called Swash too.
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