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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 10-05-08, 12:00 PM   #1
genericbikedude
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Keirin Bikes

I'm thinking of buying a nice steel bike to replace my soma as my daily rider. I've always though that keirin bikes are classy and good looking, but I don't know too much about the different makers and characteristics of the bikes. Idon't care at all about NJS, I just like the way keirin frames look -- way less flashy or garish than most continental european track frames, and without some 34-letter framebuilder name that seems to come on most british bikes. I also like the tight geo for round-town riding in traffic and such.

So I have a bunch of questions that yŠll might have some insight on.

How durable are the loose-ball bb's that most of the frames seem to come with? If it is a sugino bb, does that mean that it'll only work with 75's? Or are there other crank options with the same spindle? S75 takes ISO taper, not JIS, right?

How about Hatta headsets? Will a winter's-worth of riding destroy them? The durability of the headset will make a lot of difference as I decide whether to get one of those clamp-on brakes or swap out the fork.

What about different makers? Who uses what tubesets and what's good? I know nothing about, for example, Ishiwata. And what's the deal with 753 again? I talked once to a guy who totally fetishized it, but I forget why. Something about needing a special brazing process?

There is obviously a premium on 3renshos and makinos. Is it just because they are cool, or are they nicer in terms of riding qualities? Probably a bit flashy for a daily rider anyway. I'm looking for something a bit more understated. Are there any builders that I should look for in particular that do nice understated lugwork, but that don't carry the premium of 3rensho and makino? I'd love to have a bike that doesn't look like much until you get close to it and examine it. And that is light enough, durable enough, laterally stiff and vertically compliant.

And what is a fair price? Looking at those blog websites that sell frames, it looks like they range from about $550 for the smaller size Vivalos to a couple of G's for larger 3renshos. What is a fair price for a 54-56 frame? Any particular sites with particularly fair prices? How much worse are prices for Gaijin-size frames?

Thanks to the gurus in the forum!
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Old 10-05-08, 12:25 PM   #2
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ur going to pay alot more for frames that are bigger.... supply and demand
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Old 10-05-08, 12:31 PM   #3
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you said you don't care about njs? so why bother trying to get a keirin frame if you don't know the first thing about them?

the only reason people buy keirin frames is because you used to be able to get a really nice steel frame for under $400 but now that everyone wants one, it's impossible to get a deal on one, even in japan. it's just silly.

just keep the soma, what's wrong with it? no lugs?

get an alien. even though the soma is a nicer bike.
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Old 10-05-08, 12:51 PM   #4
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its amazing the contrast in answers that one gets on bikeforums vs local boards.

doug: may I help you with your confusion?
jdms: duhhh
beatfik: why do you have to be such a jackass? I live in brooklyn too and there is a good chance that we know each other in real life. yes, I'd like a pretty, lugged bike to add to my stable.
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Old 10-05-08, 12:57 PM   #5
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Not a fan of looseball BB's in the rain... I'd rather just not worry! I've done it before and got minor pitting after 2 days.

NJS = ISO taper BB / cranks, and Octalink.

Hatta headsets are fine if the come on the bike you're getting but there's no real reason to get one otherwise, unless you're just going for all NJS. Chris Kings cost around the same if you want the bling, but a threaded headset for 1/3 the price should be fine.

Your reasons for not liking European vintage track frames are not valid at all by the way. 34 letter framebuilding companies? Yeah, who?

PS Look into Bridgestone frames. They're nice, understated and cheaper than just about anything else besides Vivalo since they're one of the biggest builders. Still very, very nice frames and I loved my Anchor when I had it.
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Old 10-05-08, 12:59 PM   #6
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Hey generic, if NJS isnt your goal, but you want a classic trackbike that looks like a kerin racer, take a look at kazane bikes. they are less costly and still beautiful in my opinion.

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Old 10-05-08, 01:12 PM   #7
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Not a fan of looseball BB's in the rain... I'd rather just not worry! I've done it before and got minor pitting after 2 days.

NJS = ISO taper BB / cranks, and Octalink.

Hatta headsets are fine if the come on the bike you're getting but there's no real reason to get one otherwise, unless you're just going for all NJS. Chris Kings cost around the same if you want the bling, but a threaded headset for 1/3 the price should be fine.

Your reasons for not liking European vintage track frames are not valid at all by the way. 34 letter framebuilding companies? Yeah, who?

PS Look into Bridgestone frames. They're nice, understated and cheaper than just about anything else besides Vivalo since they're one of the biggest builders. Still very, very nice frames and I loved my Anchor when I had it.


Bridgestones are NOT on the cheaper end unless they have dents all over them. From the knowledge Iv gathered, dented frames arnt worth bothering with. Panasonics are definitely on the cheapest side of things. Death_hare on these forums and alex japon on ebay have the best deals on new panasonics. As far as used frames go, the cheapest ones are the lesser known ones. Things like bomber pros that nobody seems to want. Eimei and RAP are also pretty cheap. NJS export has some really cheap zunows that are not NJS that dont look too bad.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:14 PM   #8
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The reality is you will probably end up paying $700 for a crashed frame that doesn't fit perfectly. Why not support a local builder and get a custom? You can get a classic track style that fits right and as a result will ride much better. You will not notice a different ride quality between a soma and keirin bike but between a custom and anything else, you definitely will. that being said, everyone likes japanese track bikes so people who are too critical are probably just jealous.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:20 PM   #9
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You can definitely find ones that arnt "crashed", they are the ones that are expensive.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:29 PM   #10
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Get an Alien if you don't care about the NJS stamp. It's lugged an understated.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:31 PM   #11
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Get an Alien if you don't care about the build quality or tubing quality or resale value. It's lugged an understated.
.*
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Old 10-05-08, 01:32 PM   #12
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Wait that came off wrong, aliens arnt bad bikes for the price Im sure. If you just want a lugged bike for lugs then yes its not a bad idea. But if you have the money and want to spend it, they really arnt comparable in quality. Thats bigbris logic.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:37 PM   #13
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Wait that came off wrong, aliens arnt bad bikes for the price Im sure. If you just want a lugged bike for lugs then yes its not a bad idea. But if you have the money and want to spend it, they really arnt comparable in quality. Thats bigbris logic.
Expound with Brvn logic then.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:54 PM   #14
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NJS frame: Kasei, Tange, or higher end columbus tubing
Alien: Double-butted Cro-Mo steel

NJS frame: Hand built by skilled workers who enjoy building bikes.
Alien: ??? factory workers, most likely working to feed their children, not to make a bike you love.

NJS frame: Hatta headsets, sugino/hatta/shimano/ BBs
Alien: From what I gather either none or cheap ones can be installed.

NJS frame: Much larger variance in fitting options, differnt seat stays, differnt fork crowns.
Alien frame: Seat tube size changes in increments of 2cms

NJS frame: Can be resold for nearly the same price you paid for it if you dont thrash it.
Alien frame: Probably pretty worthless if you dont want it anymore.

NJS frames: Scrutinized by a panel of judges on quality, historical significance, years of experience already built up behind all of the brands.
Alien frame: Brand new start up, albeit made in a factory that makes lots of other frames that have been around for awhile if I recall.

I dont want to get into an arguement or anything, I hate doing that especially HERE, but if you really think alien is on par with the master NJS builders, more power to you man. Is there an 800 dollar definite feel difference to them? No, Im not the kind of person who believes that, but they are certainly nicer bikes. If you have the money and want to spend it on something, better a nice bike than a new television amirite.
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Old 10-05-08, 02:00 PM   #15
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^this is Alien's own fault for not marketing their bikes better. They never broke out of the "Mom's basement" feel of their biz. They took forever to get their first bikes done and never developed their website properly. It feels like a 1-man opperation. You can't argue with any of the above points.
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Old 10-05-08, 02:38 PM   #16
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Ha. Pabst budget. Champagne taste.
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Old 10-05-08, 02:55 PM   #17
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I also like the tight geo for round-town riding in traffic and such.
Is that Soma too hard to steer? I don't get it.
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Old 10-05-08, 03:33 PM   #18
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Is that Soma too hard to steer? I don't get it.
soma's also have relatively tight geo. parallel 74.5s or something light that. I also have a fuji pro, which is a bit longer and with slightly more relaxed angles. I can tell the difference in handling, and I like a more responsive feel for trips in the city under 10 miles or so -- dodging imperfections in the road surface and generally being fun to ride.

how is that for a straight answer to an obnoxious question?

thanks to all others for the input.
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Old 10-05-08, 03:37 PM   #19
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I just like the way keirin frames look -- way less flashy or garish than most continental european track frames
I like NJS frames for their flash and not in spite of it. You don't see euro track frames coming with an extra 100 grams of metal flake sparkle.
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Old 10-05-08, 03:40 PM   #20
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I like NJS frames for their flash and not in spite of it. You don't see euro track frames coming with an extra 100 grams of metal flake sparkle.
yeah, I've always been more attracted to things like nagasawas and kalavinakas and panasonics -- without the sparkle, in one or two colors, and with understated logos.
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Old 10-05-08, 05:16 PM   #21
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gbd,
winter of 07, i rode a lot on my pogliaghi's looseball bb. not so much in gross snow, but lots in rain. it did okay. you're pretty good with tools and maintenance, so you'd want to keep an eye on it. alternatives would be just getting a sugino or campag sealed BB, depending on your cranks.

S75 - i seem to be the only one who remembers reading something about how S75s have a taper that's actually between ISO and JIS. seems like three years ago everyone said it's JIS, and more recently folks say it's ISO. i'd say you'd be fine on either - that it's overtightening, and switching tapers, that could be a problem.

IIRC, 753 is special because the thin center sections of the tubing walls stretch further toward the ends than other tubesets - which is to say, the thick end sections are short; builders need to be qualified in order to use it (they braze a frameset, send it back to reynolds, who test it) because it requires a lot of heat control so as not to expose the thin sections to too much heat. Reportedly makes very nice, very stiff framesets... that should not be exposed to reheating (as in, repair).

Ah, you know, fair price these days versus fair prices five years ago... who's to say. But with regard to builders and sizes, I'd say keep an eye out on those blogs as well as the more appropriately-priced venues for something in your size and in a decent price range, and make decisions based on that. But that's my way of things that's not always satisfactory. Sashae could have some more info on fine frames that haven't made it into internet popularity yet. Seems that every now and then I used to see him selling some keirin frame whose name I wasn't familiar with.
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Old 10-05-08, 05:19 PM   #22
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Wait that came off wrong, aliens arnt bad bikes for the price Im sure. If you just want a lugged bike for lugs then yes its not a bad idea. But if you have the money and want to spend it, they really arnt comparable in quality. Thats bigbris logic.
& you feel the need to be a spokesperson for me, why?
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Old 10-05-08, 05:21 PM   #23
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I love the loose ball BBs.
Ive ran them in the rain without issue. Just should service them from time to time. Its not hard at all and I like how they look.
Of course, theyre slightly faster they say but I doubt you'd notice a difference.

As far as frames, NJS frames are basically the same no matter what the logo IMHO. Tubing changes things, of course but, the build quality is a 10 on all Ive ever seen.
Theyre all built to very high standards.

Last edited by deathhare; 10-05-08 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 10-05-08, 05:26 PM   #24
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& you feel the need to be a spokesperson for me, why?

http://www.bikeforums.net//showthrea...igbris+3rensho
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Old 10-05-08, 05:30 PM   #25
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Theyre all built to very high standards.
'cept for that whole issue with Vivalo forks breaking...
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