Nobuyuki Tani’s Bicycles Worthy Of Kiki’s Delivery Service

Image: Courtesy of Ishinokura Shoten

Years ago, Nobuyuki Tani was working at SONY making cassette players, telephones and TVs when he left the business behind to take over his father’s bicycle business. Over the years, he’s made a name for himself as an artist. In his shop (appropriately named “Cycle Boy”), Nobuyuki leverages both vintage and modern parts to create completely custom pieces of functional art. A bike like this could even be nice enough to get me back on the road once in awhile.

Tokyo Art: Nobuyuki Tani’s Handmade Bicycles
Image: Courtesy of Ishinokura Shoten

The shop gained international notoriety when the makers of the live-action remake of Kiki’s Delivery Service needed someone to build all the bikes. For a film like that, they needed someone with an original vision and technically capable skill set (enter: Nobuyuki). 

He kicked *ss, and even figured out how to create the otherworldly signature flying bicycle. Whether you agree with them adapting that film or not, this is the type of thing that can make live-action adaptations of fantastical stories possible; when normal people can create timeless works of art.

Tokyo Art: Nobuyuki Tani’s Handmade Bicycles
Image: Courtesy of Ishinokura Shoten

Japan is a country that actually embraces bike travel more than most. In Tokyo alone, 85% of the citizens own bikes and use them to navigate the bustling metropolis. It’s estimated that over 100 million Japanese citizens are cyclists and many use them for day-to-day travel. To those people, bicycles are looked at the same way as cars are for many other countries; not just essential to getting around but also a symbol of status. So when bikes are that important, you definitely want a reliable one, right? (By reliable I mean cool looking and original, of course) This is why shops like Nobuyuki’s can stay open doing expensive custom work and providing bikes to everyday citizens… Not just movie studios.

Nobuyuki has also collaborated with Ishinokura Shoten to produce three brand new models that are made in large quantities to be sold for more of a public market. Older, traditional parts were brought from around the world and custom pieces were designed to craft different distinctive rides. Unfortunately, the bikes cost around 158,000 yen per cycle, and we have no idea how to get one outside of living in Japan.

If you had access to a custom bike shop like this one, what kind of cycle would you order up?

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