I have found that there are many reasons to avoid jumping into some hobbies: the price point, the time sink, and the availability of practicing it. When it comes to road biking, a hobby that I have always been interested in, there seemed to be even more issues standing in my way. The prices on bikes good enough to ride around were crazy!
Then, even if I could afford the bike, I’d have to deal with the constant maintenance that came along with it. I was never super skilled with those kinds of jobs so I sort of felt like the hobby was closed to me. Then I moved to the big city and saw how useful a bike could be. I had to try something. I ended up finding the Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike and I couldn’t be happier.
What Is A Takara Road Bike?
Takara is a bicycle manufacturer that has been around the block more than a couple of times. Their specialty has always been sort of hard to nail down but it looks like they have come into their own with their production of entry-level commuter bikes. This Takara model, the Kabuto, is ideal for those looking to get around town without having to struggle with heavy bikes, overbearing steering, or constant upkeep. The Takara Kabuto is one of the premier commuter bikes on the market but it is priced at a point that most entry-level hobbyists can afford.
At a Glance
I’ve always grown up with the idea that ‘first impressions mean everything’. So when I saw the Kabuto for the first time I was more than pleasantly surprised. You can get the bike in two different color schemes. There is the sleek black and yellow bike which will definitely pop at night and then there is the green and blue.
The Nitty Gritty
The frame of the bike is made of steel so it has quite a bit of weight to it and the rest of the model is put together with alloy. Schematics show the Kabuto weighing in at almost 30 pounds but it feels much lighter. A glance at the components of the bike reveals a mixture of quality and frugality that will leave you content but desiring just a little bit more.
The handlebars on the bike are 42.5 centimeters wide. The rest of the bike has a standing over clearance of 31 inches. I’m 5’10 and the bike fits like a glove for me but I’m probably on the low-end of the height requirements for this bike. You can probably get away with being a little over 6 feet tall and still be comfortable.
The tires on the bike are labeled ‘Kenda Yellow’ and they are 700 x 32. I’ve found that the most comfortable riding pressure for these tires is around 100-110 PSI. At this PSI you feel the grit of the road but you still have full control. This is a personal preference and likely to change with the rider.
Who Is The Kabuto For?
While the specifications of the Takara Kabuto may make it seem a little more intense the reality is that it fits just about any burgeoning rider. The Takara Kabuto, like it’s brother the Takara Sugiyamaa, is a single speed bike which means that you won’t have to deal with constant adjustments.
When you don’t have to deal with all of the maintenance and riding nuances related to different speeds you are free to relax and enjoy the ride. I’ve found that my most enjoyable riding sessions have been unplanned trips around the city.
It’s nice to have the flexibility to use it as a leisure bike but know that it has the power behind it for a bit of heavy road biking.
The Little Things
With a bike like the Kabuto, you are really banking on the little things about the bike popping out as it doesn’t exactly have a whole bunch of features. It’s easy to point at the Kabuto and say that it’s just another bike but I feel that would be a naive way to look at what is truly a potent piece of machinery.
The Kabuto itself needs to be assembled once you have it in your possession but the whole process is remarkably streamlined. You only really need a set of Allen wrenches and a 6″ adjustable wrench. You won’t need to be wrestling with a tool box in order to get the thing assembled. In fact with a little bit of time spent on YouTube or any other tutorial website you will be able to get the Kabuto road ready in under an hour.
How to Assemble the Takara Kabuto Road Bike
I’ve had a few friends remark to me about the color of the bike. It seems that the color schemes aren’t for everyone. If you hate the colors of the bike then I’d advise you do a few simple modifications instead of passing on the bike altogether. If you don’t want the color on the bike you just need to change out the stickers, tires, and handlebar tape. After you do that you can add whatever color modifications that you want.
Past that, the only other major adjustments you might want to make would be to upgrade the tires. If you want to be able to get up to a higher speed or do a little more gritty riding then keep an eye out for 700c tires. They’ll put these stock tires to shame in comparison. If you don’t want to make the investment to new tires that is completely understandable. At the very least the stock tires will supply you with enough time on the asphalt to get familiar with the bike and all of the things that you might want instead.
In Summary: The Takara Kabuto
When I first got my hands on my Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike I was pretty determined to never really use it too roughly. A $200 bike didn’t scream durability to me. I was mistaken, though, because after a few months of hard riding I have found it to be extremely durable.
The steel frame holds up, the cables and brakes are solid, and even the stock tires are alright. There are a few adjustments you can make to get the bike to an elite level but, even just out of the box, it will do wonders. This is not a professional road bike but it definitely feels like one.
I would suggest this bike to those looking for a gentle commuting vehicle as well as the entry-level roadster. With proper care and maintenance, you can use the Kabuto for many years to come.