When the makers of the live-action remake of Kiki’s Delivery Service needed bicycles for the film they turned to one man: Nobuyuki Tani. The self-proclaimed cycle artist, after a stint at SONY designing cassette players, telephones, TVs and audio devices, left his job to take over his father’s small bicycle business. There he made a name for himself designing custom bicycles and is now the proprietor of Cycle Boy, where he claims to be Japan’s only maker of customized casual bikes.
In his studio in Chigasaki, a coastal city in Kanagawa an hour Southwest of Tokyo, Tani hand-assembles all his bikes. With a careful attention to detail and an emphasis on materials, Tani sculpts his unique creations into functional, ridable works of art. He was commissioned to create all the bicycles for the live-action adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014). Tani created the fantastical flying bicycle but also the bread maker’s bicycle and Tombo’s regular bicycle.
Tani also collaborated with Ishinokura Shoten to create 3 models that are produced at larger quantities. Vintage parts procured from around the world come together with custom-parts to create 3 distinct rides that are both beautiful to look at, but entirely functional. With just the right amount of whimsy, these bikes look like they’ve come right out of some imaginative fairy tale.
Pictured above is the “Matiere” model (158,000 yen). It’s a geographically neutral city bicycle that is all about materials: wood, leather and iron.
Below is the “Apollo” model (158,000 yen). Vintage lights, grips and handlebars are combined with original crank chain and cover it’s the perfect mix of old and new.