Yup, you read the title right. A Panasonic NJS certified Keirin / Track frameset made with Tange Double Butted Tubing and most importantly with the sizing & color of your own choice - even a BIG frame, delivered directly from the factory in Japan to your home door, for only 1000USD.
Deathare & Koteigear have set up a blog shop ('blogshop', did I just invent a new word?) http://www.pistoposeur.blogspot.com/ where you can make your specific order, hand over your hard-earned dough and they'll take care of the rest. Just like that.
Here's info from the site:
"Here you can order a new, semi-custom NJS Panasonic frameset at a great price. $1000 delivered to your door in the USA from Japan. (For delivery to other countries, please contact for a quote.) Only PayPal payments are accepted. All questions should be directed to email@example.com
What do you get for your money? A new Panasonic NJS track frame in the exact size you want. You can choose from 23 different colors, 4 different logo colors and even have your name put on the frame, in a variety of fonts, if you so desire. (Japanese Hiragana is also available.) The frameset includes a Tange Vantage NJS headset and has chromed, forged track and fork ends. All this comes straight from Panasonic in Japan.
Steps for ordering: 1. Choose a frame size from the chart below. 2. Choose a frame color from the color chart below. 3. Choose logo size and color from images below. 4. Choose font for your name on the frame if you desire this option."
So basically they're using the Panasonic's POS (Personal Order System? I don't speak Japanese...) from which anyone can order these frames but ONLY in Japan and ONLY in Japanese. So that's pretty fair deal, I guess. And as an additional bonus the color choices available are super fresh, aaahh!
So if you're ordering from them, tell them where you read about their blog and if there's eventually enough of you coming from here, maybe those guys will give me one for free? The power of teh Interwebz network marketing and all that, right?
Anyhow, after this it's kind of a matter of opinion whether you should order your frame from these guys or whether you should get a custom Ocean street track frame made to your measures. Ocean offers bit more options, even cooler colors but is also costs a little bit more. It's also a smaller company than the National/Panasonic conglomerate so some could choose to rather support them instead.
Or, if you are in Europe like me, you could get a Bob Jackson custom frame made for you, or, or, or... well, you know.
Here's a low quality scan of the Panasonic color chart to those of you who are interested:
In a way Yksivaihde.net (as in 'OneGear' in english) takes its place besides the older Helsinki Messenger Association forum BC-Hellsinki, and basically the 'messengers' got rid us 'hipsters' and 'n00bies' and we got rid of the oh-so edgy messengers & cyclocross/MTB hard-guys, all in good spirits. Everyone won, basically. BC-Hellsinki people keep on organizing AlleyCats, Bike Polo and other stuff but they want to keep their activities bit more off-the-radar and low-key which is cool.
The new forum's been pretty active from the day one and the most concrete proof of things happening was the first Wednesday Skill/Tricks Session (pictured above with yours truly in the pic too, looks bit ridiculous, yes. Thanks to Pistaboy Jii for the photos) by the Swimming Stadium. The idea is that the Wed Session will happen every week but with location changing between couple of spots. Everyone's welcome to join, of course. Yesterday's first session was nice, we did some trackstands, tried to learn to do backward circles, drank some beers and it was good to meet all the new people. Thanks to everyone involved so far.
Here's another cool riding clip. More BMX tricks on track bikes and general cruising around in, yea, you guessed it, Tokyo. Some of the dudes on the movie got some serious skills too. The aerowheels and especially 650c wheels (for barspinzzz...) in the front are apparently still hip with Tokyo kids and there are girls riding too, which is always nice.
Pretty bad picture quality though. Also, I've no idea whether this is a trailer for a full movie or just a mini movie in itself, or what. Enjoyable anyway.
A new single speed & fixed gear specialist bike shop 'Kumiluoti' opens in Kallio, 'a gentrifying former working class uptown district' of Helsinki next week. Nice surprise here as I hadn't even heard of this before. I've no idea about who is behind this or what will be in their selection but it the shop is located very near where I live which is cool. If this is the spot I am suspecting it is, there used to be briefly a MTB/BMX shop Hi5Bikes before this.
EDIT. No, it's actually not that spot. This is a space where used to be (is?) a tattoo parlour or something like that.
But oh yeah, 'Kumiluoti'? It's Rubber Bullet in english, another Finnish lesson here for all of you out there.
There's actually a real concentration of bike shops in Kallio now within couple of blocks radius, there's Cycle Centre which I consider as my LBS, Kallio Pyörä, and a bigger chainstore name of which I cannot recall right now.
I'll probably go the opening to check the new place out, get some photos AND some free juice (without the Gin?) and biscuits they are promising to offer on opening date.
* * * EDIT 2. * * *
I need to add that there are already other bike shops in Helsinki carrying FG/SS parts and which have the expertise and have supported the scene for a long time, these being maybe the best examples, although they're located not-so-centrally unfortunately:
So if you're visiting Helsinki and want to check out the bike shops, all of these places, including the Kumiluoti shop, are very much recommended.
Since I've noticed that lot of people are reading this and Googling up info on Kumiluoti, I need to add that there's a rumour going around that they are getting 'a shipment of NOS parts and stuff from Germany...' before the opening, whatever that will mean.
The other day I had lunch at the Olivia Unicafe student canteen in University of Helsinki Behavioural Sciences building. I had a nice chicken breast filé at a reduced price and all that but what did I see outside? This sign:
WTF? People have been parking their bikes by that wall to left of the sign for about three year since the building was opened and NOW they make it forbidden. And not only that but what was the dimwit who made the sign thinking really?
I mean, "PYÖRIEN PITO KIELLETTY" actually means "HAVING (or 'keeping') BIKES FORBIDDEN". They obviously meant that 'keeping bikes by the wall is forbidden' but just like in the english translation, in Finnish it really says 'HAVING BIKES IS FORBIDDEN'.
Pretty funny, yes, but f*ck whoever made the sign all the same. We, as cyclists, need to fight this kind of stupidness. In addition, smoking by the wall, behind the sign and outside of the building main entrance is allowed but not parking your bike there? Right.
I visited Tallinn the capital city of Estonia on business for two days last week and as a result of my trip here's the first part of my admittedly rather limited Tallinn Fixed Gear Scene Report.
So to cut to the chase, apparently there are no fixed gear bikes in Tallinn, period.
I mean, I didn't see any during my stay and when I visited the city last time and spent five days there last September I didn't see any fixie bikes or stuff either.
No disrespect to my Estonian sisters and brothers but it kinda looks a little like the Tallinn people have been all too busy making money-money during the recent few years' credible economic boom that cycling trends such as this hasn't really registered over there.
I did see, though, lots of people on boring supermarket mountainbikes and one bike messenger but he was riding a geared MTB/ATB bike. I also saw one hipster/art student-ish looking girl who was riding an old men's coster brake bike (didn't catch a photo, sorry...) with fenders and shit taken off and the bike had been very recently painted bright red so obviously she was trying at least a little bit.
On the other hand, I did see several roadies all clad in spandex and riding nice looking and very expensive road bikes, so at least there's some serious cycling thing going on there. This also fits nicely to my hypothesis about all the money-making and the cultural yuppie-aspect to do with that.
I did also see a bunch cool old old Soviet-era single speed coaster brake bikes like the pic at the top but as I said, no fixed gear bikes whatsoever. I visited two local bike shops (Velo24.ee & RattaPood) but didn't see one single piece of equipment that could have been considered fixie/track specific. There were some BMX parts, though.
I also visited the Velodrome (YES!) but I'll save that for the Part II of this report.
However, despite the disappointingly non-existent FG scene, Tallinn does have something cool there bike-wise. The traffic sign design for cycling was super fresh, just look at this nice sign, racing bike, or is it actually styled on a proper track bike(?!), with drops and all, instead of standard bike that most of us are used to in our traffic signs. Well done!
But hey, if there are any Tallinn or Estonian people reading this and I got it all wrong, please correct me. However, just to strengthen my argument, when I returned home to Helsinki and took a 10 minute tram ride home from the harbour, during that time I randomly saw three fixed gear bikes. So even if there really aren't THAT many FG bikes here, compare that to the time I spent hanging out in Tallinn.
I said it before, blogging about stuff for sale on 'bay is kinda boring but, again, this bike is so perfect that I cannot not do this.
It's an original Nakano Red Nagasawa Keirin bike, made by one of the most respected framebuilders alive today, the number '8208' indicates that it was most likely made in August 1982, it's full NJS, with classic SunTour Superbe Pro parts and all that yaddayadda,but just look at it.
And yes, it's just like the bike legendary Koichi Nakano, one of the best Keirin and Sprint track cyclists of all time, always rode, just like when he won the dramatic World Pro Sprint Final in 1982 against Gordon Singleton. It was his 6th Sprint Championship, by the way. You really need to watch all three rounds, here, here and the final one here. The Super Makuri, yeah!
But whoever ends up getting this beaty, just lose the hideous brake right away, ok?
It looks like the venerable CINELLI of Milano, Italy, is coming out with a new bike model. So what's the fuss about that? Well, it's kind of a street fixed gear bike AKA Tarck Bike AND apparently it is called 'MYSTIC RATS'.
"Single speed, switch from free wheel to fixed gear for unforgettable mystic emotions on road and track, thanks to the exclusive reversible 16 teeth flip flop rear hub.
Columbus light alloy compact super frame, fork rake 35.
Cromoly special track"
Basically the bike and the component set-up doesn't look half bad, except that it's made out of aluminium alloy instead of proper Columbus steel tubing and the parts have funny names like 'Bootleg Mystic'. In fact, the whole bike looks a lil' bit too much like last years' matte black Cannondale Capo to me.
Cino Cinelli must be turning in his grave. Or, is he even dead yet? I dunno.
You want those cool double straps for your pedals but don't want to sell your kidney to get Toshis (which are the best BTW but you all already know this...)? Or Erribi Sprints or even just MKS?
You don't really trust Soma double straps because people on forums say they're no good? IMO there's nothing wrong with Somas, I use them myself but I gotta agree that they probably won't last that long.
Anyhow, check out the picture for a solution of getting the benefits of double straps for almost no-budget. Blickblocks drew the nice illustration (thanks!) and it's really easy as you can see.
Just get a pair of those cheap resin/plastic MTB cages, which are great for riding in bigger sneakers too, and two pairs of cheap nylon (or leather if you prefer) straps and set them up crossed like in the picture and you're good to go. These won't be as cool & fancy the more expensive real double straps but Blickblocks' DIY solution will work just fine.
I've almost forgotten about this but here it is now:
He-Maney Cat AlleyCat Race happens in Helsinki next friday, the starting place is the mysterious "mound" in Kaisaniemi park. Go there if you're in town, I won't be so I won't be there either, unfortunately. Beers & hijicks are on program too, as usual.
Are you often thinking about buying a cycling helmet, after all those years of riding without one, but somehow find it very difficult to actually go and buy one? Maybe you even have a cycling helmet in your cupboard that you bought on one of those weak moments but you never use it because they always look like shit?
Yeah, I feel for you.
Better yet, I found a perfect solution for you. Mario from Holland has for sale on Ebay this super cool fixed gear hipster head accessory. NOS vintage Cinelli leather old shool helmet like these simply cannot be resisted, especially if you're riding a classic Italian track bike, right? And as everybody already knows, Italian vintage Pista bikes are the new Keirin bikes, right? And if a helmet looks this hot & sexy, who cares if it probably doesn't even protect your head that much in case of collision with something hard.
And if the 1980s- styled black & neon purple color combo is not your thing or it doesn't match your bike, he has this, and this too for sale. And they're not very expensive either, IMHO.
But seriously, I've actually bought some stuff from this Ebay-seller in the past and he was a good dude and he does have some nice parts for sale at all times so check out his selection.
Anyhow, while the debate whether it is real or a mere trick video still rages on several online forums, I'm starting to think the whole this is bogus as the only hints towards proving the existence of this marvelous wonder of human engineering skills my extensive detective work is a sole hint towards the Fondriest Carbon Lex high end carbon road bike frame. However, there's absolutely nothing on the company's site about any wheels they might have been manufacturing at any point.
So, Tynan/Leeww, I think you got us all fooled. Congratulations.
Ok people, just forget about any LexCarbon Monospokes and concentrate on sawing off those extra spokes from your HED3/Arrospok/Spinergy wheel.
But, if Sheldon Brown had a Citroën Monospoke Wheelset (pictured above), I simply cannot start dreaming about this, could the Mythical LexCarbon Monospoke be really real after all...
This what you get when a certain trend reaches saturation point, like what has apparently already happened over there in Nihon. On the other hand there was another and much cooler Japanese TV ad with a bunch of real Keirin racers riding on city streets but I cannot seem to find the link anywhere right now.
Arrospok, HED3 and Spinergy are all yesterday's news, this is apparently the new hip thing, LexCarbon monospoke. Now quickly, surf to Ebay to get yours before everyone else gets in on these.
In fact I must admit I first questioned whether this thing is even real or just a spoof but I guess it exists - since it is in teh Interwebz, right? But yeah, the technological innovations and progress the road cycling brings and feeds on seem to be pretty much limitless.
And apparently this thing costs about £1200. Convert that to your own currency and weep silently by yourself.
But wait, there's more. Apparently manufacturing of these was finished already in 2003 and there was a weight limit of how much they would carry safely.
But is this all just bullshit? Honestly, I cannot tell.
Still remember when I blogged about Fausto Coppi? Despite being very likely THE greatest cyclist ever known, he was also true hipster forefather (see pic below...) and the picture above proves this even further.
The picture depicts is of Fausto, his brother Serse (who very sadly died young in 1951 in after falling mid-sprint during the Giro del Piemonte) and some other dudes out on a leisurely training ride.
Take note, all yo'all fixie hipsters out there!
Now, if only roadies todat would dress like that instead of all that scary spandex kit...
If, and that's a one huge IF, you're not already completely fed-up with all the MASH SF nonsense, and I personally am, here are some MASH themed, yet quite elegant desktop images for you. I though some of you might actually like these. No pics of the bikes this time, though.
Courtesy of Whalesalad, Honolulu, Hawaii. Thank him/her.
This news was so awesome that I just had to steal it, like this:
"Last Friday, Crimanimal Mass took their second bicycle ride on the freeway during drive-home rush hour. Whizzing by gridlocked cars, the demonstration, albeit illegal, raises questions. Good questions. One of the group's organizers, Morgan Strauss, 29, was quoted in the Santa Monica Daily Press (.pdf) this weekend saying that he “just wanted to raise questions about the transportation infrastructure. In a city ruled by cars, why is it that you can get places faster on bikes?”
Many photos were taken of the ride, which included nearly 30 bicyclists, but also three rollerbladers."
At the same time the other stolen bikes I've blogged about here, and here, have not found their way back to their rightful owners, unfortunately. Someone even reported somewhere on http://www.londonfgss.com/ that Emma's black Vivalo was actually seen somewhere near Brick Lane ridden by some chavvy youths. Fuck that, some serious D-lock justice is really needed if things go like that.
Anyhow, to celebrate Emi's victory over the lowlifescumbagjunkiebikethieves, I posted above picture of his other (previous?) bike, a super tarcked-out Bianchi Pista Concept, which looks at least to me waaaay nicer than the Leader.
No matter what you think of all that trickz stuff on fixed gear bikes, at least I will admit that the stuff shown in that short trailer for the second Bootleg Sessions DVD looks pretty hot.
More people doing more BMX-style and straight up BMX tricks on track bikes (and probably pretty much wrecking their nice bikes while they're at it), and there's def some evolution happening if you compare this to the previous batch of fixed gear riding movies like MASH SF etc.
Yo! Check this out. It's the latest incarnation of my old XB3 Soviet fixie, in a new totally cool tarck bike mode. With a poor-man's 650c Aerospoke in the front and all.
This bike will be only ridden to get me from my HQ in one gentrifying former working class inner-city district of Helsinki to a bar, coffee house or a club in another even trendier and already pretty much gentrified former working class inner-city district of Helsinki.
Required accessories: as big as possible Chrome Messenger bag, a mini D-lock tucked on belt, one pant leg rolled up, expensive sneakers and a 70s retro cycling cap. H8ers need not apply.
I'm still looking for that red toptube pad, though. An old school 1980s BMX one would be preferred, let me know if have one and are willing to part with it, ok?
The bike, the trispoke wheel and all the parts have been sold ages ago, ok?
This local news flash has noting to do with FG or SS bikes as such but still, here we go:
The Espoo Police Department is looking for people who might know something about a 20-something dude with a black hoodie who was seen riding the pictured Kuwahara MTB in Kauniainen last saturday.
Why, you might ask? Is it because those cheap 1990s MTBs suck, or because being a 20-something dude with a black hoodie, he should have been riding a tad bit more trendier/contemporary type of bike?
No, that's not the answer. It's because he rode the bike to a Jewellery store at the Mall in Kauniainen's centre, went in, threatened the staff with a hammer, robbed the place by grabbing dozens of expensive gold chains worth of thousands of Euros and ran away.
And yeah, he ran instead of riding the Kuwahara which was left behind. And of course the cops have no leads on the stick-up kid, only the blue bike.
But maybe he needed cash to buy a new Bianchi Pista?
Thanks to Tim, my #1 Blog commentator, I'm also there.
If you're wondering whether or not you should bid on the Arrospok on teh 'bay or get those lime green non-machined Velocity Deep Vs, or put a pink riser bar on that Bianchi Pista Concept, and end up thinking, 'What the f**k, I'll do it anyway...', I think you should join too.
While I'm not the biggest fan of anodized and color coordinated bicycle parts (because they mostly remind me of the 1990s MTB style), I must admit that the full range of anodized Sugino 75 cranksets and chainwheels pictured above in all these colors looks so nice.
I'm dedicating this post to all our banned brothers & sisters.
Stay Strong & Gear Up!
* * *
On a more positive note, on friday I went to check out our local Velodrome which has just opened for the summer and raced a good couple of laps but since I was so excited that I forgot to take any photos, I will blog about the Helsinki Velodrome later.