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 Shinba Iron Works

"The dream factory in the tea fields."

When we began designing the frame, finding a cooperative company for its production was extremely challenging. We were on the verge of giving up when we made one last call to a company called Shinba Iron Works in Shizuoka. They were a company that manufactured motorcycle parts, not bicycle frames. After seeing their website and their extensive expertise in bending pipes, I hoped they might be willing to apply their skills to bicycle frame development. It was a desperate hope, but I held onto it.

The person who answered the phone was Mr. Goto, a sales representative. After listening attentively to my explanation, he said, "Our company listens to every customer's story. Let's meet and discuss it in detail." I was surprised because until then, I had either been immediately rejected or received negative responses. After meeting with Mr. Goto and conveying my thoughts and showing him the design concept, he said, "Mr. Yamada, I will take this back to the company for consideration." Later, I was introduced to President Shinba, and we decided, "Let's give it a try!"

I have never been so impressed by the culture of Japanese craftsmanship. As I was accustomed to working based on the contract culture of Europe and the United States, it was a delightful surprise. However, once we started the development, we faced a series of hardships. It was because my design was a challenging one that went beyond conventional norms.

The frame of populo ONE is an unprecedented, innovative design. It features a shape that allows easy mounting and dismounting without lifting the legs too high, a beautiful finish that complements any fashion, and a high level of reliability for long-term use. Making the frame low for easy mounting and dismounting affects its strength, but we didn't want to add any unsightly reinforcements. The engineers at Shinba Iron Works continued to explore trial and error to achieve this. Never once did they say, "Mr. Yamada, this is impossible." Each time they encountered a wall, Shinba Iron Works tirelessly sought new solutions. They repeatedly improved the design, created prototype frames, and conducted vibration tests. They never gave up. Just when I began to think that this design might be impossible to realize, the responsible engineers, Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Yamashita, presented an astonishing proposal. It was a breakthrough idea that turned the impossible into possible.

The proposal was to create a double tube structure. While appearing as a beautiful single tube from the outside, an additional tube is overlaid inside for areas that require greater strength. It was a groundbreaking idea that produced strength while maintaining beauty. It was a breakthrough that applied the manufacturing technology for motorcycle parts.

The elegantly bent tubes are precisely cut with lasers and welded by robots. By the way, the welding masters at Shinba Iron Works teach the welding robots after establishing the welding method themselves.

Combining their expertise in bending and skilled welding techniques with the latest production technology, the frame of populo ONE is completed.

Even today, surrounded by beautiful tea fields, skilled craftsmen at Shinba Iron Works continue to create unprecedented and innovative frames. -Atsuhiko Yamada, Founder of populomobile Ltd.

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Goto-san, Sales Dept.


Watanabe-san, Engineering Dept.

Shinba-san, President Shinba Iorn Works


Watanabe-san, Engineering Dept.


Yamashita-san, Engineering Dept.


Suzuki-san, Production Engineering Dept.

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Together with the populo ONE prototype disguised for test riding

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