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Old 11-09-2015, 08:39 PM
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Tomii Cycles

Gerard from Eleven Velo has been at the front of the Paceline for a monster pull but now its time for Gerard to peel off and let Austin, Texas based builder Nao Tomii of Tomii Cycles come to the front and take a pull. So, this week keep your eyes open and watch Naos wheel...

Quote:
Hi, my name is Nao Tomii and I am the owner and builder of Tomii Cycles in Austin, TX USA. I was born and raised in Japan and since childhood I have always loved to draw anything that has wheels, bikes, motorcycles and cars.

A sculpture that can be appreciated both aesthetically and functionally as a bicycle. Sculptures that I can custom build as a beautiful bicycle for my customers.

I would like to especially thank my family and all the bicycle frame builders and shops and friends, all those who have made this dream possible for me.

http://www.tomiicycles.com
Nao was kind enough to take a moment and answer a list of questions for us that are a mix of standards and member contributions...plus a few off-the-wall thrown into the mix. Our hope was to convey the builders love of their craft, hard details, and offer a few questions that bring out a bit of the human element that that helps them create the works that we love.


Q&A With Nao Tomii of Tomii Cycles:

How / why did you decide to become a frame builder?
- I used to be a sculptor and started to be interested in bicycle frame building after meeting some of the bicycle builders in New England.


What influences the artistic side of your designs?
- My background is Sculpture and Fine Arts. Geometry / fit definitely are important, but also proportion of the bike is very important for my build.


What is your method to determine fit?
- From customers' body measurements, their current bike geometry, tubing size / shape / weight / strength, and my experience.


What is it that keeps you passionate and focused?
- The great thing about making custom bikes is that I can meet and talk to each customers. So I get to know what they need and want for their bikes and I can individualize and focus on building their dream bicycles.


Can you tell us about your first bike? What did you love (or love to hate) about it?
- I made my first bike with Ian form Icarus frames. I loved using torch and shaping metals.


How many times have you burned yourself?
- Haha.. I get frustrated sometimes. Usually fine after a little break and a cup of coffee.


What's your favorite beer?
- Oh no... there are so many good beers here in Austin!


Heard any cool music lately?
- Not lately but I love music especially old school soul / funk stuff. Silent is also great music especially when I am welding or brazing.


How did you meet your spouse or significant other?
- I met my wife before graduating college through our mutual friend.


What's there to do for fun in your town?
- Austin is great city to stroll around. Cool buildings, old cars, custom motorcycles, local markets... I always get inspirations. We also go see local bike race sometimes. My kids loves fun kids race.


Do you put barbecue sauce or ketchup on your _Hot Dog_?
- Soy source. (Just kidding.. haha) I guess ketchup. I never tried BBQ sauce but that sounds good.


What type of bicycle is requested the most for you to build? Road,
cross, track, fixed...?

- Cross and Road, but I love all kinds of bikes.


Who would you want to build a bike for you?
- Umm.. Currently I don't have my bike, So I like to build one for me.


What is it about your approach to building/designing bikes makes you unique, or separates you from the other builders out there?
- Since I have my back ground as a Sculptor I like to also see the art/beauty in all the bicycles I build.


Through your growth and progression as a frame builder, can you share a high point, and a low point that you feel helped shape who you are as a builder today?
- I mentioned before, but it is great that I can directly connect with my customers and build their bikes they dreamed. It has been my passion to work as a frame builder. As for the low points there can be many, but I only think positive everyday!


In any line of work, there is always something in the process that people feel they really excel at. What is that part of the process for you?
- Heat control for both brazing and welding


How long is your wait list?
- Current wait time is around 3-4 months.


How long have you been building frames.
- I have been building bicycle frames since 2011.


Is there any type of bike, or request that you would decline to build?
- Tandem. I can't make tandem bikes but I can make two cool bikes :-)


What does the future hold for Tomii Cycles, where do you see the business in 5 years? Any top secret innovations on the horizon?
- As a frame builder I want to continue to make my customers happy and build their bikes that fit Tomii Cycle's standard, quality, and satisfaction. There are many secret ideas floating around, so maybe some of them make it to be real fruition in the future.


Do you have a favorite part of the building process?
- Welding and brazing joints. Sharp details. Smooth joints. Drawing for paint ideas. I guess everything. haha.


What is the most unusual / unique bicycle you've ever built?
- I built a small MTB for my son. Kids grow fast. I didn't want to build a bike every 2 years. I designed to fit 20" to 26" wheels, so he can ride at least for 6 years. He loves the bike and I always tell him "Good products last for long"


What is your favorite non-cycling obsession?
- Family fun activities like camping and road trips. I also like old cars. Me and my son have rusty old car project and it's going to be rat style fun toy! I think nice to have non-cycling projects, So I can take a break sometimes.



Many thanks to Nao for taking the time to answer our questions! Please feel free to ask him any questions that pop up while admiring his work.

William


PS: In case you missed it, the previous Builder's Spotlight can be found here...
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Last edited by Keith A; 03-08-2017 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Dang apostrophe software bug...
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:22 AM
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Last edited by William; 12-04-2015 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:22 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:23 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:23 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:23 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:24 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:25 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:25 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:25 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:52 AM
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Old 12-04-2015, 10:05 AM
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Last edited by William; 08-24-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:32 AM
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:32 AM
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:40 AM
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