Chengdu Fashion #2
Already discovered this gem a year ago but as I have been taking a ton of time to get my act (design) together, I really never had anything to share. Times they are a-changin'!
Natooke is a bike shop you can find in both Beijing and Chengdu. Although they're sister stores the owners are different giving the shop a very local attitude. This attitude translates to numerous events hosted by the shop like Friday night rides and bike polo. All very much fun if you manage to survive the local weather and traffic. And like the events.
I don't necessarily think cycling in Chengdu is for relaxing but I'm not writing this to talk activities. I also think bike polo looks a bit stupid so should probably stay away from the topic all-together. This post is about building a custom bike. Don't want to get it dirty.
It's relatively cheap, in time and money, to get a custom frame with Natooke. I basically just made a digital mock-up, walked in the door and did a sanity check with my new favorite "bicycle repair man" or "bicycle engineer", Jacob Klink. I know he really likes bike polo so will never be in his inner circle. But I did really enjoy working with him on my bike and he told me it was mutual, multiple times. Natooke outsources custom paint jobs but if you do have the patience, say 1 month of waiting, it's well worth the investment.
In total, costs of just the frame are a bit below 250USD, 3 e-mails and one visit to the shop. This gets you the best the market has to offer, customized.
Once the frame got back to the shop things went quickly! We basically pasted wheels, spokes, grips etc. together in 1 hour. Another Chengdu success story.
Edit: It's a Chengdu success story but avoid remote contact with the guys at Natooke if at all possible. I had a lot of difficulties getting my bike shipped over which basically made the whole experience a lot less enjoyable. If you're in Chengdu, do it. If you're remote, maybe not.