Interview: Effraim & Takuji Kasahara.
Translation: Takuji Kasahara.
Photos: Takuji Kasahara.
So Day 2 of the Flatmatters 4 years anniversary, and today an interview with one of my favourite current riders, Shuichi Osada!
The task of interviewing someone you quickly realise you know nothing about is an interesting puzzle to start with, you could say well thats everything to learn, but in reality where do you start? The following interview with Shuichi Osada is the result of a few months going back and forth with my friend Takuiji Kasahara in order to find out more about a rider I admire so much.
In 2011 as I looked through in access of 2,000 flatland videos. Shuichi’s riding stood out like a breath of fresh air. I had to know more about him, so I sent a few questions, and asked Takuji to chip in with a few questions that would help the flatland world know more about this amazing rider.
Thank you Takuji and Shuichi for putting the time into making this happen.
I’m really stoked what Shuichi has to say about his combos, and the concepts behind them. Hopefully you learn a lil’ something about this japanese shredder! I cannot wait to see his part on the new Zai DVD! Read on…
Firstly introductions, your age, how long riding, whereabouts in Japan are you from?
Shuichi Osada, 29 years of age, been riding 12 years is from Kisarazu, Chiba.
How did you get into flatland riding?
Back in the days when I was seventeen, X Games was big here and flatland got featured on magazines often that’s what got me into flatland. There was not much information about the bikes and I knew nothing about BMX so I bought my first BMX was for street and I was practicing flatland on it at first.
How is the riding scene where you live?
Not many riders and riding spots here, not so good.
Has the riding scene got bigger since you started riding where you live?
The scene was bigger when I started riding, since then it had been getting smaller and smaller and it hasn’t changed past five years.
Tell us about your new company, Buoyancy, what does the name mean? What’s the company all about?
I wanted to name my company something related with fishing. Of course I’ll produce BMX parts other than that, hoping to organize enjoyable contests or events for riders.
Do you have any riders representing Buoyancy?
Takumi Matsumoto, Takuji Kasahara, Naoki Watanabe, Yorimitsu Miyata, Shinichi Kiba (Russia), Hiroki Iwata (Tang meng) and myself.
Are you only selling Buoyancy in Japan, or will your products be available worldwide?
So far it’s only handlebars and basically available only in Japan, but if there is a demand for the products hopefully it will be available internationally.
Your riding really catches the eye, tell me about your riding style, what’s your vision for flatland?
The originality and riding-styles are very important things in flatland and that is what has been attractive to me. In the past few years I’ve been working on switches with swinging a frame and pivoting on the pegs at the same time because I wanted to create switches which is impossible to do with back wheel tricks.
The contest and the result are given a huge weight in current flatland scene in general and riders take difficulty in the first place, due to this, a lot of simple and cool tricks or unique tricks have been slept in our mind so I want to enjoy flatland with free thought.
Are you into contest riding, or more about pushing yourself outside of the contest environment? You compete as an Expert rider right?
I’m not a good contest rider. It’s hard to get a motivation for the constancy, also I get nervous at a contest. I normally ride without caring about a contest. I compete as a pro.
What inspires your riding?
My favourite riders and music.
What do you do besides riding?
I like fishing and lately been into candle making.
What if anything provided the hook to keep you riding flatland?
It’s like a cycle of that the images on my mind get realized then new images/ideas derived from it, this continues endlessly. I’m not the kind of riders who pick up tricks instantly, all my difficult tricks hasn’t come up suddenly, those came slowly from passing through the repetition of the cycle. I feel I’m enjoying flatland more than ever because I have a special feeling towards on my tricks and new ideas on my mind. Even though I’m getting aged and suffering from chronic pain on my body but it’s still ridable so I will continue to ride for a while.
What in your eyes is a pro rider?
The riders who compete pro class that doesn’t mean they are pros. Pro rider is who earns money from riding and makes living off from doing something related with BMX. But in my opinion, doing demos/shows are different it doesn’t require high skills or it requires different skills I say. They are making money as performers. The definition of the pro flatland rider is a rider who makes whose living from the income from sponsors or making money from making parts or other BMX related things.
Who are your favourite riders in japan?
It’s too many to list though. I like riders who has originality and own style or silhouette on their riding. Takumi Matsumoto, Takuji Kasahara, Naoki Watanabe, Yorimistu Miyata, Shinichi Kiba, Hiroki Iwata. I asked to them to use my handle bars because I like their riding. I also like Takuma Kawamura and Hirokazu Miura and Yosuke Shibuya.
Tell me about your bike set up? What are you running besides the Buoyancy bars?
Frame: St.martin FOOT JAM 18.8″
Fork: Magic Fruits Straw V2 Fork
Stem: Camacura makuross stem 35mm
Headset: FSA Impact
Crank: Profile mg crank
BB set: ARESTIC SPANISH BB
Sprocket: Magic Fruits Jellyfish V3 25T
Pedal: Primo balance Mag pedal
Seat: We the People Bel Air Pivotal(short)
Post: S&M Bikes_Long Johnson Pivotal Post
F Peg: Hommage P38
R Peg: Hommage P38
F Hub: Nankai 500AFS
R Hub: Nankai 9T
F Rim: Odyssey 7KA (36H)
R Rim: Sun Rhyno Lite
F Tyre: Ares A-Class 1.90
R Tyre: KHE Mac 1.5
Grip: Deco logo grip
Bar end: Odyssey Par End
Grip Stop: Hommage ring grip
Who are your favourite riders worldwide?
Martti Kuoppa and Stephane Royer and others.
What kind of music are you into?
I like instrumental rock bands such as “Soft” and “Special others” and others. I’m choosing the songs according to my mood of the moment while I’m riding.
Interesting concept (about your riding style), do you see yourself ever riding back wheel as well? It seems like in japan, riders are either front wheel or back wheel? Why do you think that is?
Even if I try back wheel tricks it’s going to be just the moves using my front wheel skills, that is a deterioration in the quality of my front tricks. In the other words, it’s possible to create new front moves with taking new ideas from back wheel tricks done by others, so I don’t think I will try back wheel.
Like you said, you see a lot of riders here in Japan limit ourselves either front wheel or back wheel, I think it’s because of the bike setting. It’s simply the best bike setting for front and back is far different. Also I think originality and style are important things in Flatland so delving deeply into single subject is more suitable for flatland, rather than being just a jack of all trades or master of none.
Do you have a winter spot for riding?
It doesn’t snow often in my town. It won’t be a big problem although daylight hours gets shorter and my night riding spot isn’t so good and I have my knee and elbow pain. I take it slow and I’m thinking to go to the gym to fix my body in this winter.
Do you put a concept on your combo? If so please explain how’s it like.
Yes, I put a concept on my combo.
My combos I created a while ago was inspired by Yammar’s tricks. I was impressed with his smooth combos which is linking a few tricks without loosing a momentum. It’s not interesting if I do same things as what he was doing so I came up with the idea which is linking many tricks by using pivots with a good tempo to make it looks like one single trick.
I thought if I could do that it would be greater. And these days, I like laid-back style music and clothes and been thinking if I could express these kind of styles on my riding. So I’ve been working on around the world style tricks with pivots these days. They are still in the works and need some time to combo them up although I think I can show it to you next year.
Getting towards final questions. Any plans for the new products?
Yes, I have plans to produce products other than handlebars. For instance rail-seats, these days the pivotal seat is the standard and it became hard to find rail-seats even a lot of front wheel riders still prefer to use it.
I’ll keep on riding and do my best for my brand at my own pace.