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!