Nitto’s 100th anniv.
Text & Photo: Ryota Kemmochi
Earlier this month, February 11, 2023, marked Nitto’s 100th anniversary. SimWorks and the larger Circles family would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations.
The first SimWorks product, SW-01, was a John B CrMo drop bar with a 31.8mm bar clamp based on the famous B-123 keirin drop bar, back in 2009 or so. A focused article describing that new relationship and all the thoughts swimming in our mind at that time was published 10 years ago.
We are forever indebted to Mr. Yoshikawa. He was always willing to accept the wishes (or fantasies) of bicycle enthusiasts like us, and we were able to accomplish countless memorable products as a result of his vision and hard work.
I remember fondly the anecdote that in the early 70’s when he was working for Shimano, Mr. Yoshikawa went around the U.S. with a freshly made Dura-Ace group set in his suitcase, which nobody knew about yet. With this long history in the industry, it is no wonder that he is so knowledgeable about U.S. bicycle culture. With an emphasis on durability and safety, Nitto’s products are designed so that even larger riders in a large country like the US with such a diverse landscape, can enjoy bicycling with peace of mind.
When fixed gear bikes became popular like a fever, it was a moment when the Nitto brand was suddenly exposed to a strong light, and a younger generation of riders. Because of this strong light, there were deep shadows. That is when President Yoshikawa invented the EC-01 bar-end cap. It has become one of SimWorks most popular and recognizable products. He was concerned that some young riders might get hurt. Drop bars without bar ends can cause serious injury in the event of a fall. So he thought, “If Nitto makes functional and attractive bar-end caps, people will use them.”
It’s a great anecdote and just one example of Nitto innovating even a small thing to improve rider’s bike lives.
How many SimWorks original products have been made by Nitto? In the near future, the model numbers are likely to reach three digits. It may only be a short history, but we are so very fortunate to have maintained such a good relationship with Nitto.
When developing products, there is the concept, and then there is the engineering to make it a reality. At the intersection of the two, there is design- which feeds back into the idea through sales and marketing. I believe that it is precisely because we have been able to create such a circular cycle that has resulted in quality products and the satisfaction of so many riders. I am very grateful to everyone involved in this cycle.
At times, it’s important to reflect back on our shared history and the progress we’ve made together. However, because we and Nitto are both focused on the present and the future that awaits us, there is often little time to look back on the distant past, or to commemorate anniversaries. But this is a mark worth celebrating.
The world has endured a heavy mood for the past few years, but it looks like we will have a blossoming spring in 2023. It is going to be a very important season for us, so we are excited to unleash the culmination of our efforts. Just a few moments ago, I had a phone call with the executive director of Nitto to discuss our new product. Preparations are progressing steadily.
I would like to ask for your continued support for Nitto and SimWorks. Once again, congratulations on your 100th anniversary. Long live Nitto!