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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-26-07, 12:42 PM   #1
SamHall
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NJS, why????

Hi folks,
I don't know if this question really has an answer, but recent picture threads have kindled my curiousity- so I must ask. What makes the NJS track frames (Kalavinka, Samsen, et all) so desireable?
To be clear, I'm not trolling with this- I love the look of the lugged, tight clearance frames- but since I've never seen one of these in person, much less ridden one, I don't see why they are better than a Cinelli, Walker, or any other quality frame.
It can't be the geometry, track is track pretty much. I doubt they are super light, you don't need/want that in a bike intended for serious track racing.
So is it just, as I suspect, an "it's NJS so it's cool" thing?
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Old 01-26-07, 12:44 PM   #2
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NJ(esu)S
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Old 01-26-07, 12:46 PM   #3
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if you don't know then nobody will tell you.
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Old 01-26-07, 12:46 PM   #4
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because you can't race professional keirin without it.
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Old 01-26-07, 12:54 PM   #5
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I don't know if it was ever said that they are better than cinelli's or whatever. I suppose it's a matter of preference. NJS frames are built to adhere to strict rules of keirin racing. They are very high quality frames, much like cinelli's and the like.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:00 PM   #6
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Well let's see. NJS stuff is generally more vintage / purist oreinted - nothing carbon, no aluminum frames, very nice lugged construction and old school looking. They're pretty aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:04 PM   #7
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Status symbol.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by humancongereel
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Old 01-26-07, 01:08 PM   #9
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I don't know. Why is anime so popular?
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Old 01-26-07, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andre nickatina
Well let's see. NJS stuff is generally more vintage / purist oreinted - nothing carbon, no aluminum frames, very nice lugged construction and old school looking. They're pretty aesthetically pleasing.
More vintage than what?
The examples he listed in other nice bikes would be nice, lugged steal frames as well.
Although some may or may not be "ultra vintage".

The thing I think was left out so far is no matter if its a De Rosa, a Cinelli, a Walker, a Witcomb, a 3Rensho, a Pogliaghi, a Raleigh, a Serotta, a Colnago, or a Kalavinka (and the list goes on), we all cream our pants. Nice frames are nice frames.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:15 PM   #11
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<smarmy arsehole reply>
Because everyone beats off to oldschooltrack.com/messenger rhetoric of "If it's not old, then it's not cool". Kinda like how if you have a brand new skateboard, it's not cool until you bash it up and pretend you can actually do nose slides down the entire hand rail.

Keirin bikes sort of branched off from that because they're still made like the old school bikes (street cred +1) and sort of formed their own little cult of 6'3" tall hipster anime nerds with too much money for 52 cm sized bikes (it's got that compact geometry, yo!) that are frankly technologically inferior in every possible way to bikes made since 1990.

</smarmy arsehole reply>

Fetishization comes in different forms.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:21 PM   #12
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Old 01-26-07, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andre nickatina
Well let's see. NJS stuff is generally more vintage / purist oreinted - nothing carbon, no aluminum frames, very nice lugged construction and old school looking. They're pretty aesthetically pleasing.
I agree. I was just wondering if there was a concrete reason why keirin frames had such a cult following in the US (and away from the track).
To put it another way: Would a US made frame (all to NJS spec, Japanese lugs/steel) be as well received by the cult members?
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Old 01-26-07, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHall
I agree. I was just wondering if there was a concrete reason why keirin frames had such a cult following in the US (and away from the track).
To put it another way: Would a US made frame (all to NJS spec, Japanese lugs/steel) be as well received by the cult members?
Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how open they are. I know they wouldn't shun a Yamaguchi.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:29 PM   #15
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enu-jei-esu
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Old 01-26-07, 01:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by SingleSpeeDemon
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ha ha! yes!

to be more serious, i dunno. some are pretty nice, though i like italian bikes better. as far as why they're huge...fashion. sparkly purple track bikes are fashionable. i think the fad aspect of njs bikes and the flashy paint jobs are what turn me off...i can be an arsehole about njs sometimes, but i will concede that many are very nice, well-built frames with classy understated aesthetic values and sharp geometry.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:35 PM   #17
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I don't know. Why is anime so popular?
YES!
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Old 01-26-07, 01:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryand
More vintage than what?
The examples he listed in other nice bikes would be nice, lugged steal frames as well.
Although some may or may not be "ultra vintage".

The thing I think was left out so far is no matter if its a De Rosa, a Cinelli, a Walker, a Witcomb, a 3Rensho, a Pogliaghi, a Raleigh, a Serotta, a Colnago, or a Kalavinka (and the list goes on), we all cream our pants. Nice frames are nice frames.
Vintage as in you can look at a picture of this bike (circa 1959):

swap out the Brooks for a Kashimax and the stem for a Nitto and you pretty much have the same aesthetic as an NJS bike. Okay, you're right though, it's exactly the same as a nice old Cinelli too, so you have me there. But I was talking about an NJS bike in comparison to say, a newer school US track bike with threadless stem, anatomical drops, carbon anything, etc etc etc.

So in conclusion I guess I didn't really answer the question well above, my apologies. I would say it's a combination of aesthetics, status, high quality construction, and cheaper than obscure Italian frames with full Campy components. A genuine appreciation or obsession with keirin racing in Japan could also tie into it, and a desire to want to be riding what they're riding over there.

Well I've got an NJS bike in my basement waiting to be built up, and for me it was like I wanted to go from road conversion to track frames for a higher bottom bracket and steeper angles, and ended up finding Stratton and realizing I could afford the frame I got (NJS Bridgestone Grand Velo) for just slightly more than a Pake (or about the same if I threw a nice headset on that Pake) and less than a Soma Rush, AND have a genuine track bike as opposed to an entry level bike built with entry level fixed gear riding in the city in mind. Plus it does have beautiful lugged construction

Last edited by andre nickatina; 01-26-07 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:46 PM   #19
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and tighten up that wheelbase too...
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Old 01-26-07, 01:47 PM   #20
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don't forget the fact that they're handmade by talented frame builders, but they're PLENTIFUL and, aside from some of the ebay absurdity (notably 3rensho, samson, and some other huge names) and some boom/profiteering, many are fairly affordable.

i was actually surprised by this piece on keirinculture.com, the website of a guy who's been importing and selling through his myspace and ebay for quite a while now. a nice little write up of why he likes keirin bikes.

of course there's a fad element to it all, too, but people who can't stop talking about it are as much to blame for perpetuating it as anybody else.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHall
Hi folks,
I don't know if this question really has an answer, but recent picture threads have kindled my curiousity- so I must ask. What makes the NJS track frames (Kalavinka, Samsen, et all) so desireable?
To be clear, I'm not trolling with this- I love the look of the lugged, tight clearance frames- but since I've never seen one of these in person, much less ridden one, I don't see why they are better than a Cinelli, Walker, or any other quality frame.
It can't be the geometry, track is track pretty much. I doubt they are super light, you don't need/want that in a bike intended for serious track racing.
So is it just, as I suspect, an "it's NJS so it's cool" thing?
A) It leaves little doubt about the quality if the product.

Stamps of approval are very useful when you aren't familiar with where a product came from or it's level of quality. They also keep the manufacturer honest, meaning that the manufacturer will be careful not to let sub standard parts make it to the market even though they lose money by throwing them away.

Some common stamps of approval that we use every day:

- DOT
- USDA
- Bachelors Degree
- Kosher
- Made in the USA

B) It's a little more exclusive because some of the parts are hard to find. And a 100% NJS bike is possible, but rare. Some people are perfectionists and will strive for that in a project bike, like people will strive to build an All-Italian or all-Japanese bike. Sort of like having an all AC Schnitzer, Brabus, or VW Motorsport car.



So, depending on what you are into NJS can mean different things.
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Old 01-26-07, 01:59 PM   #22
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It's fashion. Wait a few years and you'll see a bunch of rich kids selling off their NJS stuff to clean out the garage.
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Old 01-26-07, 02:18 PM   #23
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it's like my grandfather who had to make sure the car he was restoring was 100% authentic. he even hand sewed cloth covers for the each spring in the seats because that was how it was done on the original. it's just one of those things. the retro guys are the same way & i think it has a little bit to do with this whole njs thing. i'm considering building up an njs in the distant future (years & years away) just because i think it would be an interesting build, not for any superiority complex.
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Old 01-26-07, 02:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andre nickatina
Vintage as in you can look at a picture of this bike (circa 1959):


. I would say it's a combination of aesthetics, status, high quality construction, and cheaper than obscure Italian frames with full Campy components.
Well said, that's exactly the conclusion I came to, in that same order!

carleton- I agree the stamp is nice to assure a degree of quality- but it seems like andre's first two reasons are the reasons the stamp is so revered.

queerpunk- thanks for the link, reading it now.
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Old 01-26-07, 02:33 PM   #25
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from keirinculture.com- "NJS-approved frames and components are truly special. Every used keirin frame has a unique history that you’d find nowhere else. At one point the frame was raced and cared for by a man whose family’s livelihood depended on his ability to race it. That little stamp symbolizes a history tied into the rebuilding of postwar Japan, but that’s another story.... "

Thats it! They got soul, baby.
Maybe they even file their lugs by pulling instead of pushing? edit- Sorry for the obscurity of the reference to the Japanese craftsman.
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