The “Friend”, an Affordable Touring Bike

Old School cool AND Hand-Built… now this is a machine for the ages…

Off The Beaten Path


During a recent cyclotouring trip in Japan, we stopped at an onsen hot bath. As we locked up our bikes, I noticed an interesting touring bike, chained to a lamppost.

“A few decades ago, a bike like this was every boy’s dream,” my friends remarked. Looking over the bike, I can understand why. It’s a smartly designed, yet affordable, campeur in the French tradition. As a teenager, I would have dreamt of a bike like this, too.


The frame looks nicely made, with Nervex “Professional” lugs. The seatstays cross over the seat tube. This is intended to stiffen the frame at the seat tube, useful when you carry heavy loads on the rear rack. The seat tube is less likely to act like a hinge that has the bike flex in undesirable ways. The lack of logos is a marked contrast to the mountain bike next to it.


The seat tube sticker reads “Friend – since 1933 –…

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2 thoughts on “The “Friend”, an Affordable Touring Bike

  1. I’m telling you, I haven’t found many blokes or sites like Jan’s. He is one of very few who is knowledgeable and insightful about bicycles and the industry. With a plethora of know-nothing, slip-shod analyzing blowhards, from velonews to cycling news…he is a beacon of light.
    I usually take his word over anybody’s. Former pro’s, so-called expert coaches, and so-called expert managers…(especially one massive wanker who shall remain nameless…er ah, Sir)

    My best guess is that more than half in the industry are ill-informed about many a subject. Mostly due to inaccurate narratives in cycling. It’s amazing to me how many people will jump on a bandwagon and NEVER question everything or anything, just because a pro or a insider said it to be… ugh.
    It’s like life…statist mentality and blind followers.


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