As eagle-eyed BikeBiz readers will already know, London bike store Tokyo Fixed has recently upped sticks to a brand new shop and changed its name in the process. In truth it’s been a busy few years for the rising brand. Tokyo Fixed started as a web-only shop in 2006 and opened a two-floor physical store back in 2009, on the corner of Peter and Berwick Street in Soho, London.
Since then the Tokyo Fixed bike brand and retail business have both gone from strength-to-strength, resulting in the move to Golden Square, Soho, and a name switch for the retail business to Kinoko Cycles. The new shop stocks Tokyo Fixed bikes (of course) as well as custom and artisan bikes from Tonic Fabrications, Cherubim, Donhou and Independent Fabrications and upscale bikes from Cannondale, Trek and Focus. Likewise smaller brands like Vulpine and Paul Components are retailed alongside the likes of Castelli team kit and Shimano groupsets.
But why the move? What about that name change? BikeBiz speaks with owner Max Lewis…
Why the rebrand?
We’ve got some nice brands like Enigma and De Rosa, but the name of the business pigeonholed the shop as a fixed gear shop. We didn’t want to have the same problem again, particularly with the investment that we’ve put into Kinoko. We didn’t want to get it wrong.
Fixed gear bikes are still around and it’s a really good seller for us. Recently it has been outselling everything else, but that’s perhaps because we’ve spent years building it up.
It’s actually a lot easier for me this way, having Tokyo Fixed and Kinoko separate. I can concentrate on pushing the brands, continuing to design the bikes and expanding the distribution network.
What led to the recent move?
It’s about more space. Tokyo Fixed was such a small footprint, limiting what we could do. It meant we were turning down a lot of customers who wanted other stuff. We started the search for a new space quite a while ago and now it’s all come together.
What was the look of the new Kinoko store down to?
The last shop looked pretty good, but it was very small. The product was all on top of each other. It has that old USA shop vibe – lots of stuff piled high.
Like the old place, Kinoko has a natural look, with wood floors, white walls and lots of artwork. I squeezed in as much artwork as I could in Tokyo Fixed. Now there’s so much more room there’s no need to pile it high. We’ll inevitably get more stock in as the years go by, but hopefully we won’t end up piling it all up again! Now we’ve now got somewhere that’s modern, fresh and clean.
Why did you decide to include a cafe?
It’s not a full cafe, but yes we have coffee on offer. Coffee has a big connection with cycling, especially road cycling. That’s been pushed along by the likes of the Rapha cafes – they’ve taken that European trend and made it mainstream.
Another aspect is the fanatical cyclist – they spend a lot of time on their bike or like to spend time near bikes…and then shops are naturally looking at opportunities to keep cyclists around their shop, so they’re organising sportives, etc, and offering coffee or a café is a way to keep customers on the hook.
What’s your take on the strength of the bike market at the moment?
I’m relatively new to cycle retail, so I’ve not got a long-term perspective on the market like some shops, but I do see – in the new shop and also back in the old one – businessmen who are happy to spend whatever it takes to get a performance bike. They will buy it because of the brand, or how beautiful it looks. To them, three or four thousand is seen as a relatively small outlay.
It’s the new golf as far as I can see. You just have to see the kind of clientele the likes of the Rapha cafe has having meetings in it. Cycling is somewhere to splash the cash without it being what they see as big money. That’s what I see.
Plans for the future?
Right now I’m working really hard on Tokyo Fixed, getting more infrastructure behind the brand. We’ve got the demand for it. We’re also just letting the dust settle after the shop launch.
Opening Times: 8–19:30 (Mon–Fri), 10:30–18:30 (Sat), 12–18:30 (Sun)
Telephone: 020 7734 1885
Fax: 020 7243 6088
Location: 10 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JA