by Greg Evans
Yu Takenouchi is no stranger to the European race circuit. When we first met up with him in Nobeyama back in 2011, he had already competed in several World Cup events through an extended European stay. Since then he has gone on to win numerous Japanese National Championship Titles in the Elite Men's category.
We saw Takenouchi race aboard a hand-built Toyo frame back in Nobeyama, and he still races for the small Japanese outfit to this day. The Toyo factory has produced steel frames since 1973, building both under its own name, as well as under contract to major bike companies. Today, we are looking at his World Championship bike.
Takenouchi was among the many racers at the start of the Elite Men’s race in the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships in Heusden-Zolder. While he didn’t fare as well he would have liked—finishing 55th—his custom steel rig definitely stood out in a field dominated by carbon bikes.
今日はワールドカップ最終戦。自分のせいで不安ばかりですけどシーズンも終盤、深く考えすぎず思いっきり走ってきます。#ライブストリーミング配信 での #応援よろしくお願いします。日本時間の本日23:00スタートです。 http://buff.ly/1Qjh6T7 Cyclocross Worldcup series,Final round #hoogerheide #ucicxwc #toyoframe #YuTakenouchi #flogyuinocean @bon.voyage.bks with @repostapp. ・・・ 試走中の全日本チャンピオン竹之内悠選手。ヨーロッパに挑み続けているからこそ掴めるのでしょうか、試走をみていてもヨーロッパ選手のように流れるようなスピードを感じました#bonvoyagebikes #uciworldcup
The custom Toyo Carbon Cr-MO Hybrid CX bike that Takenouchi rides has a pretty self-descriptive name. The frame brings chromoly steel and carbon tubing together to form an eye-catching bike that certainly outshines all other bikes in the pro field. The chrome finish suggests stainless steel, which Toyo does use on some frames, but this one is chromoly with a chrome finish.
Welding&brazing Tig,Lug,Fillet!! #toyoframe #handmade #brazing #tigwelding #steelframe A photo posted by TOYO FRAME (@toyoframe) on
The mirror-like chrome finish of the frame caught our eye under the overcast skies, casting reflections in every angle. The frame features a tapered head tube, dropouts for quick release axles, and a traditional integrated seat binder bolt.
The frame features a carbon top tube, which is produced for Toyo by Graphite Designs, a Japanese carbon manufacturer that got its start making golf shafts, but has since introduced a cycling division. The fork and stem are also made by Graphite Designs.
The remainder of the build is mostly Shimano components, a logical choice for the Japanese National Champion. Dura-Ace Di2 9070 levers are wired to Dura-Ace 9070 front and rear derailleurs, and the bike is propelled by a Dura-Ace crank. Takenouchi has opted for a set of Shimano BR-CX70 cantis for stopping duties.
In order to conquer the muddy course at Zolder, Takenouchi fitted his bike with a pair of 32mm A. Dugast Rhino cotton tubular tires. The narrower-than-normal tires were adhered to a set of Shimano Dura-Ace C35 carbon tubular wheels. Additional components include a fi’zi:k Volta R3 saddle and Time ATAC XC pedals.
Yu Takenouchi's World Championship Custom Toyo Carbon and Steel CX Spec Highlights:
Frame: Toyo Carbon Cr-MO Hybrid CX, custom
Fork: Graphite Designs
Shifter/Brake Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-9070
Brake Calipers: Shimano BR-CX70
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000
Pedals: Time ATAC XC
Stem: Graphite Designs 10 Round
Saddle: fi’zi:k Volta R3
Wheels: Shimano Dura-Ace C35 tubulars
Tires: A. Dugast Rhino, 32mm
More info: www.toyoframe.com