Does anyone of you know of any good bike shops in Kyoto, Japan? Any suggestions are appreciated! I'm currently visiting, and I can't figure out the japanese signs, so websites in japanese are no good..
Unfortunately, you're probably going to need someone to help you.
Second, you're going to see some pretty bad sticker shock in Kyoto, although not as bad as Tokyo/Yokohama.
If you're thinking about buying a bike, when I was thinking about buying a bike I was advised to purchase the bike online and I was very pleased with the results. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Most Japanese bike stores stock primarily commuter bikes.
2. Japanese bikes stores with MTBs, etc. will usually only carry them in one size. If you're a big guy, you'll probably do what I did...visit 7 stores, and find one that will sell you a catalog if you want to think about order a bike your size.
3. Shipping in Japan is remarkably, remarkably quick and effective, and most bike stores will ship your bike free. I purchased my bike from Cycle Life Shop (http://www.cycle-life.com/), and it arrived at my door the day after I confirmed the order, and was ready to ride out of the box.
You may not be comfortable to purchase a bike this way, and understandably so, but I don't have any better advice for you, because you're probably not going to be able to walk into a bike store locally that has what you want.
FYI, the Japanese for "Mountain Bike(s)" is マウンテンバイク. If you visit Cycle Life Shop, it's one of the menu items on the left. Assuming you get that far, there are pictures to guide you and specs are usually 50%-80% English brand names and model numbers.
Good luck. Sorry I can't help more.
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