Japan is not the easiest country in which to establish oneself as a custom frame builder, but Vladimir Balahovsky is making headway, thanks to a most singular style of fluid and non-traditional designs, like this aero Supernova racer.
Vlad was tutored in the craft of steel frame building by Masami Ohtaki of Ohtaki Cycles, a perfectionist in his own right and former NJS-approved builder. Ohtaki instructed Vlad in the traditional way and encouraged him to establish Equilibrium Cycle Works.
Equilibrium operates out of a tiny workshop in Tokyo, which has proved no hindrance to his production of innovative frames. The Supernova, for example, was built for Tong Liu, a friend and photographer, just in time for a 300km group ride back in March 2017.
Vlad built the frame out of Columbus SPIRIT steel tubing with reinforcements in the front triangle for added rigidity and an aerodynamic profile. It might make the frame look weighty but the gussets only added an extra 150g to a total weight of 1.8kg.
The seat tube cluster is a feature that Vlad has incorporated into a few previous frames. The seat stays were dropped to increase vertical compliance — necessitating extra reinforcement with a sleeve.
The paint scheme was conceived by Vlad and expanded upon by Cook Paint Works, who also added a metal flake on Tong’s request. By all accounts, Tong loves his Supernova and has already put hundreds of rapid kilometers on the clock.
Head to his Smoked Out thread on Velocipede Salon for more of Vlad’s background.
Equilibrium Website | Facebook | Instagram
Big thanks to Tong Liu for the photos.
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