I’ve been corresponding recently with Kurato from Aichi, Japan and talking, of course, about fat-bikes. He is a big fan of fat-bikes and owns a Salsa Mukluk with a Maverick SC32 on it as he trys to build the ultimate all-mountain bike and he believes the 4-inch fat tire is the best for both descending and ascending! We couldn’t agree more!
Kurato told me that there are quite a few fatbike fans in Japan and that most of fat-bikes sold in Japan are Surly Pugsleys at this time while other models are rarely seen at this moment.
He has several friends who enjoy riding fat bikes and they are already and planning a “Fat-bike Meeting in Japan” sometime this year. Ideas include riding on a beach, camping and/or fat-bike downhill runs! Stay tuned, we will get more info as it becomes available.
In addition to his love of fat-bikes Kurato is also actively promoting MTB riding in his area. Though he is employed full-time, he and his wife decided to build mountain bike trail parks in Aichi a few years ago since legal trails for mountain biking are very limited in Japan. They spent weekends and holidays negotiating with land owners near camp sites and with the forest guard associations to obtain approvals from everybody and spent several months to build each trail park. They built their first one in August 2010 and built another one in August 2011. The parks have many fans from 3-year old kids to semi-pro enthusiasts who have enjoyed the trail parks. They named their trail park system “26ism” and you can find it on the web www.26ism.com. (Sorry, Japanese only at this moment…)
A couple of YouTube videos you can check it out.
- Riding fat-bikes and trail building : http://youtu.be/lfaWDCZiljk
- Here is a 26ism 2011 summary video: http://youtu.be/zU_4SRxNFpc
Kurato and his family also welcomed a new baby just a couple of days ago. Good Luck, Kurato and we look forward to more fat-bike reports from Japan!