What is the allure of Cartel's bikes? 

 

I am sure you all have your own opinions as to what makes our special, but personally speaking, it's the size of our frame's tubes; in that, they are all slim, which we believe a level of simplicity and class to all the frames:

 

 

The above custom 'Avenue Lo' in gun metal gray, demonstrates the simplicity of our frames then adds some custom parts to add *that* character or the rider's individualism to itself.

 

Using our gutsy C.B.3+, the bike begins to cry out for its need for speed, since the carbon fiber wheel adds superior aerodynamics which allows for blistering acceleration and improved top speeds...

 

 

Not only that but it sure does take a load off the overall bike curb weight, while looking more like science than fiction:

 

Available now for ¥88,560

 

 

You'd have to follow the carbon fiber theme by of course including our bull horn handlebars...

 

 

So clean and of course LIGHT!

 

 

I've been using them myself for nearly two years now... and have not thought about going back to anything else:

 

Available now for ¥12,960

 

 

You put it all together and you have yourself a killer road machine for under ¥200,000...

 

 

You don't even have to do it all at once, but you certainly need to start with the gun metal 'Avenue Lo', ready for you at just ¥89,640 

 


It's quite ironic that our friend's at Diner were featured on 'THYNK':

 

 

In essence, this site should make you do exactly that with the contents they are curating, and aside from my 'Specular' and me being included in the shoot:

 

 

This is actually one part of a series of features, that really dig deep into the mysteries of the West, which has been our current theme here at W.A.C.C, since so little is known about this area and all the gems in contains:

 

 

They cover a great deal within the features, and through reading the articles I was definitely given a greater appreciation of the area you might like to start from here.

 

In our own way, we have also been capturing Nishi-Azabu, if you didn't know we've been posting our adventures onto our Tumblr...and mostly on 35mm film. 

 

 

The pace of taking pictures was much slower in June, but I manage to sneak in a few... with the idea of telling our story of exploration and uncovering the mysteries that lay within the West.

 

 

For me, the above bridge marks the point where Nishi-Azabu begins and Aoyama ends with the cemetery enveloping either side of the bridge, which makes this particular point even creepier, to think that there are some really old houses

behind the bushes on the right. 

 

One of my other gems is Kisobar... 

 

 

One thing that makes the spot so special is the fact that the owner Kiso-san, writes a speech every day, and I mean EVERYDAY:

 

 

In fact, Kiso bar is so good we took the first batch of pictures for W.A.C.C right there:

 

 

It's been fun to ride around exploring more, and riding less aggressively due to the nature of the 'Specular'; allowing it to make friends with others of its kind:

 

 

Like the skater's 'Specular':

 

 

And the cross-road 'Specular':

 

 

Check our previous blog entry for more on those... and from us here at W.A.C.C it's see you next week!

 

 

I wanted to take this post out to focus on ways you can customize the 'Specular'...we have prepared two for you this post to give you an idea of just what is possible.

 

We'll start with the simple custom that was made specifically for a skater, who would be using the bike for filming skate videos:

 

 

Essentially the bike remains the same but thanks to the 'Specular's sturdy frame we were able to add special pins to it:

 

 

That allows for the fitting of baskets... or other accessories like this skateboard carrier by Fairdale:

 

 

 

Complete is looked like this...also note how the split top tube allows for a D-lock (like this one by Knog) to be placed within it:

 

 

Ready to roll....

 

 

Another example we have prepared is more an of cross-country solution than an urban one, as we have been pushing on our Instagram...

 

 

It also makes heavy use of the color black for a change:

 

 

Not to mention these thick and heavy Cyclo-Cross tires by Michelin, this is what gives the bike that cross-country ability, look at the tire's treads:

 

 

The silver crankset comes as standard... which you knew of course!

 

 

This Brooks leather saddle adds that black impact to the cycle, a touch of class and comfort too, which you will need if you are going to be taking this baby off-road: 

 

 

And also the Black leather grips which I would hate to see getting covered in muck though:

 

 

Not forgetting a very small but important detail which I also have installed on my bike...is these brake grips by Paul:

 

 

Over you get this effect from the profile view:

 

 

Loved the overall look so much I even grabbed a film snap of it...

 

 

A similar custom to the front-end of my bike, as I also utilize Brooks grips and Paul brake levers:

 

 

The 'Specular' can be many things, but it's really up to your imagination as to where to begin...the starting point, of course, is here:

 

W.A.C.C 'Specular' Available now for ¥69,120:

 

 

 


Welcome back to W.A.C.C this being volume 5 of our journal here on Cartel's blog. 

We still have a few snaps left from the roll we shot on our travels around Nishi-Azabu, and this particular snap captures one of the most iconic buildings in the area, called the 'Wall':

 

 

You can be sure we'll be making more use of this place in the near future!

 

From it's inception W.A.C.C was always going attract like-minded people, and it seems the people who have been capturing on film wearing our 'Always Maintain' tee have been just that, like Watarude:

 

 

His Instagram is definitely worth a follow, even if it's just to check out his hashtag game...

 

 

The like-minded part begins at the passion toward music and playing records, and goes the further with our small and independent business models like his Smuggle Store:

 

 

Oh and he has been riding since the days where it was perfectly fine to ride without brakes here in Tokyo:

 

 

On the subject of bikes our 'Specular' will be featured on the next Cartel blog post to demonstrate ways in which you can customize these city slingers:

 

 

This one below is mine btw:

 

 

I've only been with this bike a few months and we are already making some pretty interesting memories together...

 

 

 

As for music, I am going to revisit this drop from Apron Records featuring friend and artist JMS KHOSAH:

 

 

The second tune on the record is 'In & Out' and is definitely a dancefloor heater, a few weeks back I heard it being dropped by the likes of Mark E at Vent, and the tune definitely gets plays at both Funktion and Water Works... my only real question is which version of 'Nights Over Egypt' did he sample?

 

 

Hmmm

 

 

On the subject of Apron, Greg Beato was recently in London and stopped by NTS (twice), I take my techno and obscure music in doses and ALWAYS select the correct DJ to administer it:

 

 

We'll be back next week to provide you more insights and food for thought and maybe with an answer to my Egyptian mystery?

 

You may remember a few weeks ago I blogged about a new series of very limited bikes we've produced actually so limited that we only have 1 of each colour (Metallic Blue, Gloss Black and...):

 

 

Including this metallic red model that we letting go for ¥89,640...unless, of course, you want to customize the bike and really bring out its full potential? Say a bit like this:

 

 

Take the idea of having a one-off bike, then following up with strong customization, will definitely set you apart from the others...

 

 

Here we are emphasizing Diner's Carbon 3-Spoke wheelset, for improved aerodynamics and explosive acceleration (unless you pedal like a pansy).

 

 

Add this classic saddle from Selle Italia... I love the Turbo font.

 

 

The handles bars also get special treatment by removing the bar tape and fitting them with some Nitto bar ends:

 

 

Which makes for a decent match to the metallic red of the bike frame:

 

 

Hmm the rainy season has me thinking about that time we went to Kansai back in 2015 (click for full story)...

 

I took a set of both Analogue pictures:

 

 

And the standard iPhone shots too:

 

 

A lot happened during those days but I really had a great time....

 

 

Riding and Cycling all the way...

 

 

Experiencing the road...

 


It seems the W.A.C.C continues to just unveil itself, this week which is because of our friend and 'Specular' rider Yukine from Dajac Speaker:

 

 

She was recently interviewed on Houyhnhnm where she showed the world our 'Specular', we are very grateful for this, and if you did not know Yukine-san is making amazing speakers from skateboard decks:

 

 

Like the above, she made for Prime Skateboards!

 

Back to our 'Specular'...

 

 

I took one out just to grab some clean pictures to share with you all this blog post:

 

 

You may notice the copper/brown coloring of the wheels a nice final touch we made just before production:

 

 

Not forgetting the logo we use for the bike's decal...

 

 

Get your 'Specular' now from ¥69,120:

 

 

Ah, you may have noticed from our Instagram that we've been sharing snaps of those who have been representing us via our long sleeve Ts, the question is why? 

 

Well simply, W.A.C.C, of course, has a passion for cycling just like our homies, however, the mutual cross-over lines do not stop there as we are also connected by our love of MUSIC...

 

 

Above YO.AN from Hole and Holland; DJ, artist, label owner and cyclist:

 

 

 

 

 

Long time homie MARS89; DJ, artist, and cyclist:

 

 

Expect more... our family is really about it!

 

 A good read is definitely a recreational activity we recommend, and the books I have a leaning toward are usually of the mystical side of both Fiction and Non-fiction. Recently I have reverted back to the graphic novel format, as I was captivated by the artwork from the Moebius chronicles:

 

 

Again the idea of adventure and exploration are central to the stories plot, as it ours!

 

I am going to sign out by giving thanks to everyone for making my birthday week special, you all know who you are.

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

Thank you!

Been following our Instagram?

 

You would have seen this fine example of our Gun Metal 'Avenue Lo':

 

 

I guess the main stand-out features are the long riser handlebars, which in recent times have been proving very popular I guess since they were featured heavily in Mash's last film drop...:

 

 

The other part you may notice is the rear carbon disc wheel...

 

 

Carbon disc wheels have been used extensively on track bikes for a while now, obviously for the improved aerodynamics and weight:

 

 

Since the 80's there have been several medal winning bikes that have taken advantage of the disc wheel:

 

 

 

Transferring the aerodynamics to the street? Then this custom might be for you, though I must state disc wheels are not really for beginners however if you are a seasoned fixed/single gear rider why not give try the combination of the long riser handlebars and carbon disc wheel?

 

 

Matched to our Gun Metal 'Avenue Lo' frame.

 

 

The starting point? Our Gun Metal 'Avenue Lo'¥89,640 Available now:

 

 


The many mysteries of Nishi-Azabu or "the west" as I like to call it - this building is now known as the Hotel-S:

 

 

It's actually a residence as well as Hotel... but I've heard stories that the building is a bit haunted? Either way, it's a self-proclaimed hideaway for adults, that I am hoping to try one day.

 

 

The joys of film photography...another medium and expression for us here at W.A.C.C, which allowed for this shot: 

 

 

You can get your 'Always Maintain' Tee now too, and if you know me personally I'll offer a very special mates discount:

 

 

Next our 'Specular'...

 

 

I recently performed some maintenance on mine for the first time which including greasing the chain and tightening some parts: 

 

 

I also had to make the tires firmer...

 

 

10.9 PSI:

 

 

The W.A.C.C 'Specular' is really the ultimate city explorer, and it has been taking me places like this spot Boogie Woogie in Ginza:

 

 

Some OG vibes going on there:

 

 

Like this Harmonica selection...just tight:

 

 

On those vibes, I'll leave you with this...

 

 

 

 

If you have been following Cartel Bikes for a while, you'll know that our fleet has always had its staple colours that we also add variations: Aqua Blue, Mint Green, Matte Red...and now Blood Orange. I have never posted a custom version on our blog and courtesy of our friends at Diner I can share this one with you all today:

 

 

For me, this bike has the classical base of our 'Avenue' but due to its orange coloring and polished parts; including these riser handlebars by Nitto, add to it a cosmopolitan touch that is made complete by Brooks leather grips

 

 

Once you start placing Brooks parts on your bike; it's nice to follow up with what Brooks are renown for in the first place saddles:

 

 

Add Michelin's Dynamic Classic tire...

 

 

The orange of our frame and the black of our logo.

 

 

And then you get your perfect city companion:

 

 

Of course, before you can customize your bike, you need to have our blood orange 'Avenue':

 

 

 

Available now for ¥59,400


Seems the pace is really picking up over here at W.A.C.C, making your world real to the rest of world does take effort and time, none the less 3 years ago we were in the same place with Cartel Bikes until people started to really notice...just like now with the likes of Eyescream.JP once again picking up on our movements:

 

 

I am hoping that this article will encourage even more people to get onto our 'Specular' and the idea of exploring your own world. The 'Specular' has some features that while a little coincidental are useful whilst out exploring...

 

 

I can store my camera in the handle bars which is awesome in case I have to snap something real quick, even though I just stick things in the middle of the handlebars because I can (Drinks can work too) :-)

 

However getting out there and capturing the neighborhood (in this case Nishi-Azabu) has proven a fun and rewarding task, just look: 

 

 

It's quite hard to imagine such a residential area in any other city.

 

 

 

Neither the random buildings within them like the above Church. The complete photoset you can find on our Tumblr...

 

On the subject of God, what do you know about the American kind?

 

 

Well that new Net Flix show 'American Gods' has me hook line and sinker, but only because I read the book first and just had to see how those captivating words would be translated to the screen.

 

 

You'll notice that it has a foreword by Phillip Pullman, author of the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy; which unfortunately really made for bad cinema (but the books were amazing). That is a lot of reading to do but I'd definitely suggest getting stuck in straight away.

 

 

I will leave you with the gracious music of A TAUT LINE, definitely the record of the week here at W.A.C.C; his latest album 'Distraction Provisions' - and I'll embed my favorite cut from the record:

 

 

Till next time