I've asked a lot of questions and promised to post pics and a short review.
Thanks for all the advice.
Rims- Velocity Deep V's w/ Velocity hubs and DT Swiss double bladed spokes are the bomb. The blade is twice as wide as my old bladed spokes, and are razor sharp on the edge. Dangerous. Only drawback is crosswind stability/drag, but I haven't had time to test it because...
SRAM TruVativ Omniums - the non-drive side spline was loose from day 1. I rode for a few days before going back to the shop, and then called SRAM. It wasn't an installation issue. They're sending my bike shop a new left arm. I'll admit that I wish I got Sugino 75's. I even saw Dura-Ace track cranks with Sugino bb for less than what I paid, so in the long run it's worth it to wait. I'm still limping the bike around but it's annoying with that jacked up crank arm... it's all loose and does not inspire confidence, and if the replacement is like this, will I get my money back? The non-drive side crank puller bolt is RAZOR sharp and when you ride, your ankle bone WILL lose its first layer of skin. I've repeatedly hit my ankle and it sucks.
Dimension double toe straps suck. Don't get them. Soma Double strap toe clips are cool, and MKS flat pedals (don't know the name) are good... the sylvans would sort of hurt my feet when wearing all-stars, because all of your weight is pressing on the thin cages... the pedals I have are flat and with the toe clips are still very secure. The weigh a tad less, too.
Nitto Riser bars are great, extremely light, and no complaints thus far. I have bullhorns (came with the dawes) and a set of Nitto Randoneur drop bars that I got for $9 plus shipping on ebay (stamped!) that I might try when I get some grip tape... The brake has nicked my top tube a few times so until I change the bars I've got an inside-out top tube protector on there. I know it doesn't match but I don't care.
The bike weighs about 20.5lbs, and that's with carbon forks, lighter crank/bb, etc, and slightly lighter wheels/tire combos... but with a heavier seat. I'm guessing the 58cm Dawes is about 22.5lbs out of the box. Sorta heavy. It'll do.
The Forte Axis Carbon fork was $80, has a 40 degree rake which is more aggressive than most of the track bikes out there, and weighs less than a pound. It's the best bang for the buck upgrade I've tried.
I took the stem from my Fuji Track.
The DAWES stem, seat post and clamp are absolute crap. Heavy, cheap, soft metal. The headset comes in second place in the crap awards, but a good headset is not that expensive. And for that matter, if I HAD to replace parts on a good bike, those are the parts I'd choose. I knew I'd be replacing them, along with the pedals, cranks, wheels, bars, seat, and so on. All that's left from the original bike is the frame and front brake.
But I sold the Alex R500 wheelset w/ tires, tubes, freewheel (wobbley out of the box- bikesdirect needs to true wheels!!) for $100, FSA cranks and bottom bracket for $80, fork for $40, and so on, so the 58cm frame and front brake cost me about $110 shipped... and a lot of time. The cool thing about Bikesdirect bikes is that you can find a good frame/fork and basically sell the rest, with the fixed gear boom going on right now, and upgrade from there.
For $329, the SST is a great buy, but I would go with the Windsor or Mercier if I did it again... My friend got the Windsor and it's a better Fixed Gear platform to work from, i/m/o, as it IS a Fuji Track, re-badged. It's the deal of the year as far as I'm concerned.