Tyrell’s Founder Gives a Talk
Who is Masahito Hirose? Without doubt, you’ll wonder when you first hear this name. Fans of the small-wheeled bike Tyrell might also wonder. This soft spoken, average-built Japanese man is the brainchild of Tyrell.
It was Masahito Hirose first time in Singapore, and it was also his first time in My Bike Shop talking about the Tyrell line of bikes which had a long history. According to the former architect, after fourteen years working in Tokyo, where he attended college with majors in street/city planning and architecture, he decided to go back to his hometown and start a new life.
Masahito Hirose enjoyed cycling, and he wanted to make a bike for himself. There was, initially, no intention of creating Tyrell. It was all for himself. So in 2003, the first design was hatched in his home. But because of the one-man aspect of this, Masahito Hirose took two years before his first design was complete. In 2005, the first complete design and prototype was created, and the first Tyrell was born. It bore the same characteristics of a typical Tyrell – the top and bottom tube that are intersected by a diagonal reinforcement tube, and the 20″ wheels favoured throughout Tyrell’s line-up.
Masahito Hirose decided to show his brainchild to his friends and acquaintances, and they all gained marked approval. This was when he decided to create a brand called Tyrell. The name has strong references to a few things Masahito Hirose liked. He mentioned that he was a fan of sci-fi novels such as Blade Runner, where a company of the same name existed. Also, at that time, a similarly named Tyrrell (double ‘r’) came out with a new race car, the P34, that had four wheels in the front. Taking these as inspirations for a name, it is then that Masahito Hirose decided to come up with the name “Tyrell”.
My talk with Masahito Hirose elucidated the aspirations that he had for his company. Masahito Hirose mentions that he builds his bike to be light, fast and customizable. The first two characteristics are immediately evident when you view the bike. Most of Tyrell’s bikes come with single integer weights, ready to ride, and often, you’ll see Tyrells with dropbars or bullbars. As for customization, there are also a large range of colours which you can choose for your Tyrell.
And while Tyrell breaks ground with his unique design, he has bigger aspirations. He hopes that one day he can sponsor Tour de France pro-teams with his line of Tyrells. It is uncertain when that would happen, if ever, but it would be a milestone for a company such as Tyrell, where his bikes are still mostly developed by him, unlike most bike companies that sponsor teams in the Tour.
Lastly, Masahito Hirose brings one of Tyrell’s most exquisite bikes to the talk. An evolution on previous Tyrells, the FSX brings with it the same proportions that give a Tyrell frame its strength and stiffness, with some improvements such as a tapered head tube, CNC parts that allow for weight savings. The FSX in alloy and carbon configuration adds up to 8.3kg, while the titanium version of the same biek weighs 7.9kg. A true move forward in terms of “fast, light and customisable”.