Roc D'Azur 2012: Yasujiro Speedbike

Oct 12, 2012
by Matt Wragg  
 
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Sometimes at a bike show something just grabs your attention, stands out among everything else. In this case it's something that bought a smile to my face, a huge childish grin and I can't help giggling every time I look at a photo of this bike. Ok, it's not the normal kind of thing we'd feature here on Pinkbike, but bear with me...

Yasujrio Speedbike with creator JC Charrier.
  The Yasujiro speedbike, with its creator, JC Charrier.

What is it? The best answer is a cross between a child's push bike and a 1970s street racing motorbike. It's purpose is simple: to go down hills as fast as possible. Sure that will be on tarmac, but speed is speed and this is built to find as much of it as possible. To really understand this bike, you need to swing a leg over. Paddling around a flat field you feel like a child again, but once you get enough pace to tuck into the bike you realised how aggressive the riding position is and the potential of this bike for going scarily fast. A few people tried to make bikes like this in the 1980s, turning BMX frames upside down and fitting drop bars, but they were garage-made bodges, this is crafted out of Tange's finest steel and finished in sexy black and chrome.

Yasujrio Speedbike details 1
  To understand this bike, you just need to look at the brakes: Shimano Saint with big rotors. You don't put those brakes on a bike for show, there are lighter, prettier brakes out there if you want to make a bike to look at. They are there for trying to stop a bike moving very, very quickly. The tyres are as close as you can get to a full slick in a 24" size.

Yasujrio Speedbike details 3
  The contact points are minimal and functional. The saddle is just enough to brace yourself against and the footpegs are part of what makes this bike so hilarious. Pedaling would make it too serious and compromise the aero-tuck position, they also give it that wonderful childhood feel. Because you can't pedal, apparently you need to learn to corner with it, carry your speed through the apexes without compromising your tuck.

Yasujrio Speedbike details 2
  I'm a sucker for the black and chrome, it just does it for me. The tubing looks weird at first, but as you spend more time around this bike it becomes incredibly beautiful. Don't ask how or why, it just does...

Yasujrio Speedbike in action sort of...
  JC, showing how it's done. If the thought of trying to hit 50mph in that riding position doesn't bring a smile to your face, then you have my sympathy...

JC organised this short film this summer, to show off what the bike can do. The fact the rider is wearing full Moto GP style leathers says enough for us.



We can feel a roadtrip coming on next Spring to head up to the Pyrennes to try this out on some big mountains roads...

www.asphaltgravity.com
Must Read This Week

129 Comments

  • + 18
 Guy Martin at 2:15?
we had a customer order a DK trail frame an Whyte forks for an upside down 20inch build couple of years ago,it was soo rad
  • + 3
 Yea does look like him!! lol I think we need to get him on one of those though!!
[Reply]
  • + 9
 cafe racer! i've hit 42mph down a hill that wasnt mega steep on my road bike, I'm sure having a drive chain would be better... not that it doesnt look mega fun and well cool. wish i had it in morzine for the twisty roads back.
  • - 45
 if you want to go down hill fast do it on a long board
  • + 7
 There's a few hills around me (in Mid Wales) where 50mph freewheeling is easy on the road bike. I bet on one of these beauties 65-70mph would be on the cards.
  • + 19
 awkward momnet when u need to go up a hill
  • - 5
 tell me when you've hit 61 mph on a road bike
  • + 2
 I've gone over 50mph on my mountain bike (hardtail) on and off road on a 1mi downhill so bfd. I do think this concept is pretty cool and the road he chose was way cool but that bike did look pretty sketchy at times... How about some larger wheels?
  • + 5
 60 on a road bike is very doable. I did 59.3 two days ago app.strava.com/rides/24605336. I also had spots of over 1000 watts so I don't think that this could truly be faster because aerodynamics is almost as good on a road bike plus road bike tires have less friction.
  • - 2
 a 10% grade over the course of 3 miles ..... ofcourse you hit 59.3

and you only rode 9.7 miles on a rode bike .... stop bragging hahahaha
  • + 1
 Damn, that thing looks like fun!!!
  • + 0
 Reminds me of the batmobile bike thing
  • + 6
 road pros are routinely hitting 65mph in a pack... someone was clocked at 72mph during the Giro d'Italia a couple years ago. This bike is just a fashion statement. Not about performance at all.
  • - 10
 Scooters like these are not bikes, and are therefore LAME!!!
  • + 4
 went riding first thing (7.30am) on my brand new Specialized Allez (road bike) this morning before motor traffic builds up,

part of my ride has got a steep (-5.5% grade) road hill 1.2km long

according to Strava I hit 55 km/h on this downhill run, and certainly had not run out of gears by the bottom, could go faster with more practise

road bikes feel amazing on fast downhill road runs Wink
  • + 2
 Scriz, I think that you're getting mph and kph mixed up. There's a big difference between the two.
  • + 1
 Scriz is not mixing up mph and kph. Road bikes fly downhill. and In a pack you can go even faster than generally possible because of decreased wind resistance.
  • + 4
 everyone stop bitching about how fast youve gone and how many miles youve ridden. this guy was like hey, im going to be a kid again. full size push bike...thats dope. stop hating just cause you havnt gotten the chance to have fun. go ride a bike
  • + 2
 Hampsteadbandit, 5.5% isn't steep and roughly 35mph isn't fast. Time Trialists often average 35mph on flat ground.

As for the people who seem to think a road bike should be faster than a gravity bike, I don't think many of you fully appreciate the added aerodynamic advantage a bike built specifically for that sort of riding gives you. This thing wouldn't be competitive in those races and neither would a roadie. These guys will reach 70mph+ on the same grade that most road bikers would only hit 60 on.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Nice video. Cool bike. Great idea. but like others have said, I think a bunch of us have gone faster in lycra on roadies after also riding up. And then riding up the next hill. And has also been said....I still want one.
[Reply]
  • + 10
 All of you saying that you can do this on a road bike (and lycra). Maybe you can, but it will be never as badass as this bike!
  • - 17
 Really? Going 60mph on 1/2" wide tires isn't as badass as this? Try it...

Oh, and don't hit the brakes too hard or you'll heat up the rims so much that skinny little tire will just roll off the rim. Yeah, not TOO badass.
  • + 7
 Nope, "not TOO badass"
[Reply]
  • + 2
 when we were kids, we would ride our bmx bikes down the hill, both ways, between our community and the next. Mckinley and fairview. in the coast mountain range in oregon. the thing was that we would be pussies if we touched our brakes. my brother caught 47mph drafting a jeep once. no helmets or anything on knobby tires. the hill was 2.5 miles on one side and 1.75 on the other and a blast. ever since, i look at hills in this respect. i find that having my weight balanced on the contact patches front and rear is important. and dragging is simply the biggest rush. coming out of really aggresive turning, i find the front sometimes comes off the ground. what is up with that?
  • + 0
 how do u know he went 47mph if u were just some kids on bmx's with knobby tiers
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Reminds me of the 80's downhill "coaster" bikes... take an old BMX frame, take out the cranks, weld on pegs or blt them to the reat axle and put little "kids bike" handelbars flipped upside-down to get you into the "tuck" position... GO find a nice several mile, twisty downhill road (the steeper the better) and just go for broke. Best part about this is now they have actuall BRAKES (imagine an old 80's BMX rim brake attempting to stop you after a sustained downhil like that and you can see why it was such a scarry endevor aye Wink ) The bikes were also really SHORT wheel-based so this would be even faster and more stable... I'd throw a leg over it and have a great time, don't care if it is on the bitumen aye. This is MY kind of "road-biking"...no Lycra and wanna be Lance's to deal with, just blow past them on the way down Smile
  • + 3
 you would never be able to blow past a road bike on the way down on that bike,,,hell, I'd be surprised if it could even keep up !!!
  • + 2
 Yeah watching th vid I was REALLY surprised at how relatively SLOW he seemed to be going. With the full leahers I'd have liked to see him laying it down in the corners a bit more.
  • + 1
 me too, I was surprised how slow and sketchy it looked approaching those corners...it feels like the rider was just happy to keep the rubber side down, lol...probably did not feel like laying it down too much...cheers
  • + 1
 sissy... HAHAHAHA I think they were trying to get good ad footage not show him as some blur ripping past. With tires that wide, it's not like it won't lay over well aye... But yeah, even WITH leathers it's sketchy as fuck to lay ANYTHING down at good speed, espesciallyion the bitumen... TA
  • + 1
 I had one of these in the mid late 80's. Diamond Back Silver Streak. I put the seat pole in the small triangle by the back brake and the seat tube held the front of the seat, with hose clamps connecting the post to the seat post tube. Lay back seatposts where perfect for this. Just ran pegs on the axles. Had some 7 inch rise bars that were flipped over. Crossbar ran about 3 inches off the tire. A big Zeronine number plate to tuck behind. Ran Tioga slick tires. I ran plastic capped Rector knee pads and would drag my knee. I was in Michigan on vacation and my Grandpa dropped me off on the top of a twisty long steep decent. He tried to keep up, but I was going so fast in the corners I disappeared. On one stretch, he told me he hit about 53mph but was worried if I carshed he'd run me over so he slowed down. haha Hit the same road this summer on my mtb with semi slick XC tires, only 44mph, tucked.
  • + 1
 HELL YEAH!!!!!!!! That sounds awesome mate!!!!

We have this AWESOME road here in Portand called Dosch that is just WINDY and steep and like 2 miles long... we used to rig our BMX bikes for speed-running and get just RIPPIN down those hlls. I clocked out at lik e49 on one straight.

I had t rip down Hoghway 26 off Mt. Hood here few years back when a riding buddy broke his eg and we needed to get his truck bac to the top. I was fully tucked on my old Norco 4x4 on 2.35" Nevegals pumped up to max PSI nd I was passing cars going over 40-45 down the hill... I was SO gad to have those disc brakes and that full-face helmet. The suspension was kind nice too. THere is NOTHING like laying a bike over going that fast and just trusting the tyres...not even on a moto on a race course have I had that much fun. I'm going to do this again now... this has gotten me all nostalgic and itching to go see how fast I can get going if I TRIED!!!!!

Cheers

Dave
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This is a very pretty but not particularly functional version of a gravity bike. The real thing has 20 wheels, much, much lower seating position, and usually some barbell weights thrown on to increase terminal velocity. For those people who say road bikes are faster, I can tell you with certainty that they are not. I have passed cars on a freeway on mine (around 75mph), and I have a super shitty one based on a bastardized BMX frame. I know a guy with a much nicer one than mine who broke 85 coming down Mt. Hood, according to his GPS. These things also can carry speed through a corner much better than any road bike, assuming you have decent tires (Maxxis Hookworms are one of the better tires availible for 20"). There is simply nothing on two wheels without a motor that can touch a gravity bike.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 really neat to see people being creative but considering the road it didn't seem that fast. Also I think it should have steeper head angle, not slacker = shorter wheelbase = more weight on the front end. High performance motorcycles have pretty steep HA s. Try riding a chopper around a corner fast.. doesn't work
  • + 2
 I agree, he look like he had some wobbles coming out of some of the corners.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i can imagine the novelty of it, would be plush with some air forks and a shock set up nice, ive hit 47 on my roadie and was able to cycle up hills.. seems a lil pointless if your only going that fast. sure it would be great on steeper hills though!
  • - 4
 Why put a shock or fork on it...?
It is so beautiful like it is!
  • - 1
 to smoothen the ride.. you cant live with the form over function ethos on everything.
  • + 1
 Um. Artists do every day, but that's tangential to the primary point. It's a novelty, so let it be novel, I say.
  • + 2
 I agree - a small amount of suspension will make it less twitchy and flexible
  • + 1
 dont take that so generally.. i wasnt on about art.. more bike building as were are on pinkbike.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 HOLY CRAP!!! this thing is wicked faaaasssttt he made that guy on the motorbike look like he was parked up, that is one sick slick bike and strangely nice to look at? I know one thing for shure..... I want a go!! Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 4
 NICE!!! Its not a scooter you wingnut its a shuttlable project bike ya weiner, dont hate ona mans vision
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Would have loved to see what Guy Martin could do on that thing.
  • + 0
 The TT racer ?
  • - 2
 He's actually in the video.
  • + 0
 no, no he's not!
  • + 2
 He's not in the video. The guy looks nothing like him - he's just got side burns !!!!! and why did my question get neg proped Frown
[Reply]
  • + 2
 G-Bikes are rad! I've hit 65mph on mine and raced at Maryhill. Truly a f*cking blast to ride. My friends at SIN Cycles have made a few sweet custom jobs if anyone is that interested: sincycles.blogspot.com
[Reply]
  • + 0
 how about a specialized fatboy cruiser, slide the forks down on triple clamps a bit, add clip on bars and a new seat set up to move body weight forward, pegs through the bottom bracket. this bike has a 6" wide rear tire and a 3" front, disc brakes and aluminum frame.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 By the way that is Serge Nuques from MotoJournal video magazine on YouTube. He's a mean supermoto rider. Fast on superbikes too. I know its not mtb related but if you see the way he rides, you'd appreciate too.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I personally feel if I want to speed down a hill, I'd pick a longboard for the sheer terror you'll experience while heading down. But cool bike nonetheless, love the motoGP style leaning!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I have a gravity bike made from a 'heavily modified' Super 8, adding travel makes it way more fun. He needs to move the pegs back, get the seat up and narrow the bars. You need flat backed attack position for max speed. I've cracked over 50mph, and that was before the new shock and Hopey steering damper (a must on a bike like this). I'll try to get some pics up soon.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 i think the point of this bike isn't speed but getting to wear full leathers
[Reply]
  • + 3
 It's a cool concept, but you've gotta drag a knee! Need a mate with a motorbike and a tow-rope.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Why would you need this when you can do 50mph on a normal road bike?
  • + 3
 So true, I've hit 40 on my XC bike with nobbly tires before.
  • - 1
 Agreed. That and the road bike will take you up the hills a gain as well. It looks reet uncomfortable. As an object it's very attractive though. Good choice in brakes too. Plus to echo what other people have said, a 700c wheel will attain a higher to speed and roll better over those few terrain difficulties you may or may not find on european roads.
  • - 1
 I've hit 40mph on my dh bike before!
  • + 1
 I hit 40 in my car everytime I drive it ! oh wait....
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Guess what Red Bull will be organizing in the next month?? Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The Hopey should eliminate the death wobble. I didn't even know they still existed until I searched it!!

www.hopey.org/default2.php
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i hit 55mph on the snake pass in sheffield over taking cars on a mtb hardtail, and about 41 mph off road down Alpe D huez... can't really see the point...just my opinion..
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i think i saw some speed wobble at a point. i wonder if a steering dampener would be a good idea on that thing.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Haha...cafe racer are coming back!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 From the movement of the bike on the video it really gives me the impression this awesome bike would benefit from a short travel front suspension
  • + 1
 And a slacker head angle...
  • + 3
 I would have to disagree with the slacker head angle. What this bike needs is a Hopey steering dampening device. That should eliminate the death wobble.

www.hopey.org/default2.php

Yes they still make them. I was actually surprised when I found this just now.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Not even good for anything. On a road bike you can crouch lower and pedal if you want to, then go up the hill and do it again. Just get a motorcycle if you want to wear leather and a full face helmet.
  • + 4
 A lot of people are not getting it....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have two of the bodged in a garage ones MOST FUN EVER

www.pinkbike.com/photo/4839526
[Reply]
  • - 2
 This is nothing new, what so ever!!!!!!
people have been racing gravity bikes for years, in organized leagues all over the world. Usually its restricted to 20" wheels, but people have made 24" & 26" grav bikes before, this guy just spent a lot of money on his bike instead of using an upside down scrap BMX frame.
  • + 3
 i had one of those upside down BMX abortions back in the 80's with no brakes, im amazed that non of my friends died racing each other down hill on the roads. Pavement hurts at speed, cured me of ever wanting a road bike before i even knew what spandex was...
[Reply]
  • - 1
 honestly I do not see what it is for ?
is basically a motorbike without engine
if you want to feel the pleasure of the speed on tarmac on something quite agile buy a 125cc 2-stroke
not a bike without pedals
to strange for me
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That is super cool. I love how its set up like a crotch rocket. Too bad it cant go 175 like my rocket can though.
  • + 1
 not many places to go 175 tho (mph im assuming, kph wouldnt be hard)
  • + 1
 Maybe in canada...Here in Montana it really isn't hard...and yes mph.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 With knee sliders on seems like an ideal opportunity to drop it to the floor, but alas, not even trying.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looks kind of ridiculous and I'd never use it, but it doesn't stop me from wanting one.
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  • + 2
 The only road bike I'd ever ride..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ....and then they wanted a challenge so they took them offroad, pretty soon downhill was invented!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ready for the Red Bull Road Rage...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what is the song in the video?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd definitely buy that if I had a lot of excess cash.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 it looks just as fast as road bike
[Reply]
  • + 1
 a new type of downhill riding
[Reply]
  • + 1
 doable on a road bike albeit alot more sketchy....
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Serge Nuques (moto rider) as a test rider ! Nice !

The mountains around Iraty are super nice !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 this man is crazy... i want his bike!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That thing looked way too squirrely!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 That's one HELL of a push back up :-)

Therein lies the problem for me but cool niche bike anyway...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wonder if a cop can give you a speeding ticket
  • + 1
 they can... it blows
[Reply]
  • + 1
 pretty cool bike, got the gears turning...
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Just when you thought you had one of everything in your garage, along comes this. "Honey, I know what I want for Christmas this year...."
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This looks like so much fun! I want one!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Lol they probably take the bike completely apart after every run and regrease EVERYTHING
[Reply]
  • + 1
 To each, its own... Good on ya, but keep the leathers on!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What are the tires!? Any one know?
  • + 1
 They look like Schwalbe Marathon-something... They also make some 26" semi-slick touring tires that can be used on MTB rims on the road.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This is nothing new. Type 'Hutch Downhill BMX' into Google.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I bet tha's a white knuckle ride. Sign me up!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Slack it out another ~10 degrees and drop the whole thing down 10"... and while you're at it rebuild around roadie wheels and high psi pizza cutters.
  • + 4
 only problem with road wheels is you wont get enough contact patch for the riding position. i do agree with dropping it more and making more slack though.
  • + 0
 I disagree, I don't think it should be slacker, but a bit longer by pushing the back wheel back a foot or so...
  • + 0
 that would help too. but slacker and lower CoG would mean less liekly to speed wobble like he nearly did in the vid.
  • + 0
 needs more weight up front, the way it is the front end has less lateral grip than the rear, if you push it too hard through a corner it's a unrecoverable slip.
  • + 1
 A longer wheelbase like a drag motorbike would be cool. just imagine going dwn a mountain road in a stretched superman position at 50 pius a foot or so from the black stuff, thats gota be fun. this would be fun dwn a steep welsh mountain road
  • + 0
 Notice the foam zip tied to the frame so he could get more forward, actually in front of the rear axle.
  • + 1
 slacker head angle would allow much better lean angles in the corners and stability. he cant lean it over enough right now cause the headangle is razor sharp
  • + 1
 Run 20" tires, and drop the seat until it is just barely above the rear wheel. Throw pegs on the rear axle for your feet and pegs further up for your knees. Drop the bars a few inches (run a shorter head tube if possible), and strap 60lbs of barbell weights low down on the frame. Find a really, really big hill.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 And no nasty freehub noise as i'm guessing it'll be 2 front hubs ? ...
[Reply]
  • - 1
 why don't you just buy a motorbike its properly more cheaper than this bike and you can go much faster Smile
[Reply]
  • - 3
 This is a scooter.
Scooters can have seats.
If there are no cranks and drive train then it is a scooter.

G*y scooter luge in street bike gear while going slow!
Why did this make it to the home page?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I really like it Big Grin looks sick Smile
[Reply]
  • - 1
 A bike like that. is it even a bike? a scooter like this should have a speedo
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wanna go fast.
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  • + 0
 I hit 43 on my bmx the other week!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i like, i like,..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I want one very much.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Cafe Racer Bicycle!!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Faster than a usual road bike? Don't think so...
  • + 0
 (but this bike's so sexy...)
  • - 3
 yep a road would whip that,just save your money and buy a chopper if you cant be bothered to pedal!
[Reply]
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