Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fixedgeargallery: NJS Nightmare

With the fixed gear explosion has come a proliferation of "vanity bikes" I find maddening. The weekend warrior on his USPS Lance Armstrong replica sporting a helmet mirror and posing at the coffee shop was one thing; the all-NJS keirin bike spending its life being ridden around Brooklyn (or SF or Vancouver or Portland or wherever) at 13mph is quite another.

This entry on Fixedgeargallery is exactly what I mean:

The owner brags that it's "all NJS except Velocitys, Campy BB spindle Phils and saddle." Well, good thing, because I'm sure this guy will be throwing down at the velodrome. That Brooks saddle (at a jaunty 45 degree angle, I might add) screams pure speed.

Perhaps the seat angle is to compliment the angle of the stem--the steep drop certainly does suggest aggressive riding. However, this is completely countered by the fact that he's running grips on the bar tops (uh, pretty sure riding the bar tops is not allowed in a keirin) and has the hooks completely bare. Of course, it's not necessary to tape the drops when you don't ride fast enough to use them, and in a vain attempt to gain style points you've set them too low to even reach them.

The whole ride is tied together by the now-ubiquitous powdercoated Deep-Vs. Yes, quite an original statement. We're all so impressed that you have a powdercoated braking surface which screams to the world that you don't use a brake. I suppose you wouldn't want to complicate the simplicity, light weight, and aesthetic virtue of a track bike with a brake. (Yet you would want to put on a three pound saddle comprised of a Rube Goldberg-esque series of rails, taut leather, and springs.) Then again, I'll cut the guy some slack, since something tells me this bike rarely travels fast enough to require a brake anyway.


sumadis said...

out here in los, all the bev-hills kidz on lafixt(dot)com are up in the njs like flies on shit. old steel kirin framesets worth maybe 200$ are going for 800+ in backroom internet buys and fistfights break out over sugino cranks. meanwhile for the same money any one of three dozen custom builders around the country could build a better rig. the rest of our wheeled population seem to be buying up the half-pound specials, the 500$ 'starter' track bikes that every frikin' company dumped on the market.

sumadis said...

oh and colored velocities are the new white pleather rocker belt too.

john said...

The grips crack me up - usually I laugh at the fact that these bikes all have the bars taped sprinter style (drops only), but then the riders are never in the drops because the bars are too low. The keirin grips on the tops are just a hilarious mix of stupidity and practicality.

Rob in Queens said...

Looking at this bike makes my back hurt

RACER X said...

ahh i know this bike well. sure its a fashon build but hey , i know for a fact the owner rides , rides hard , and rides fast.
that said get off the powder coat deep v tip, there not after market powdercoated, they cost the same as machined and come straigt from velocity with non machined full colord p.c.
i myself would never ride a kierin frame or any vintage track frame in the city as its a disservace to it. but then again i dont care that other people do.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Racer X,

I am glad to hear it's at least being ridden hard. Though with no brake I hope it doesn't get ridden hard into something else... I also hope he takes that bike to the track! (With different wheels...)

Thanks for the comment, they're always appreciated.

On Your Left said...

Well many of his friends do ride at the track, so maybe he'll make it out.

Sumadis, sorry but you can't get a custom lugged frame for the same cost as an 800$ Nagasawa frame... try twice that and you still won't get hand made lugs or the amazing paint job. Many people get light weight, beautifully lugged kEirin frames with quality BB and HS for less than a KHS or IRO.

At least he didn't mount an NJS Kashimax ass buster.

Anonymous said...

Haters be hating.
Get off the computer and ride your bike.
bye the way are we in high school yet?

Will said...

The beneficial side effect of all this hype is that your so-called poseurs are pouring money into track bikes that will allow manufacturers to spend more on r&d and we'll see even better bikes made in a few years. Like you've said, there will be a new "hot" bike one day. Those tried and true track bike fans will enjoy the windfall of more innovative new bikes and a flush used bike market as the herds of wannabees (including me) sell their passe track bikes for something new. Stick it out and enjoy yourself.
Long may you ride.

Will said...

The beneficial side effect of all this hype is that your so-called poseurs are pouring money into track bikes that will allow manufacturers to spend more on r&d and we'll see even better bikes made in a few years. Like you've said, there will be a new "hot" bike one day. Those tried and true track bike fans will enjoy the windfall of more innovative new bikes and a flush used bike market as the herds of wannabees (including me, I admit) sell their passe track bikes for something new. Stick it out and enjoy yourself. Long may you ride.

Anonymous said...

In your blog you said not to slope your seat forwards, and on this one its too straight??45 degree angle??
Which one is it??? Feels fine to me.
Maybe Im not a Keirin racer....sorry bro, my hunt was for a Nagasawa in my size, frame only, and I got the whole thing for a great deal. Maybe you see that as someone who is thriving on all NJs stuff, but I only used everything I could on the setup to keep me riding for the cheapest possible. The hubs were ruined. I listed " all NJS" for the people who got off on that. If you do, thats cool, if you dont, thats cool too. No, I dont ride in the drops, unless I have a nice flat stretch with little traffic, and since I am 6,1 this bike rides just the way I feel comfortable .
My Araya & Ambrosio tubulars are just waiting for the track, and the powdercoated rims you think that I am powdercoating, are you average deep V rim( cheapest for the quality actually) are used with the high flange hubs to get some strength and long lastingness.
I have been commuting on a bike for quite sometime now, and decided on a 70s tenspeed to deter crackhead theivery. This bike served me well for a few years. Through time the interest of racing bikes and simplicity got me keen on peoples fixed gears, single speeds, track bikes,bla bla bla. So this is the build up to my reason.
I love this bike, I earned it with hard work and have ridden peices of shit for a long time, but to me this is as good as it gets. Its obvious that there is a huge over popular sub culture of fixed gears/track bikes on the street, but just like something such as skateboarding, all the people who jumped on the bandwagon, jumped off after a few years. All the people who loved to skate( including myself) continued to do it.
As for your write up on my bike and your presumptions of what Im all about..... I love it, Im quite flattered that you actually took the time to write it. Its obvious that you dream of smelling the nagasawa in your dreams, and wake up and ride you B.R.C. mountain bike to your office job......and just rant rant rant

keep up the great work bud.

BikeSnobNYC said...

6:31pm (bike owner),

Hey Man,

I really appreciate your taking the time to post here. I figured it was only a matter of time before a proud parent came by here and got angry.

Your bike is a head-turner, you're proud of it, and you definitely should be. Sadly I was born with one meager talent, and that's writing satirical critiques on bikes. I intend only to amuse myself and others in doing so.

When you put anything out there in public (a movie, a book, a pic of your bike) you have to expect some critique. It's nothing personal. My comments don't change the fact that you and lots of other people rightly drool over your ride (it's obviously a nice bike), and I know it won't diminish your joy in riding it.

I really do think it's cool you came here and posted. Just think of my site as one of those "celebrity roasts" where someone sits in the seat of honor and gets busted on. In this istance it was your bike. It's all in fun.

Keep riding the shit out of your bike.


Anonymous said...

everyday and everynight.
Like I said... keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Thank god for starter track bikes. I'm in Boston and have been a racer for over 10 years. I've got friends from all over the bike culture spectrum, racers, commuters, shop monkeys, welders, messengers, bike advocates, chopper gangs, you name it. Anytime someone is on a bike it's a good thing. That dude on the Lance replica just dumped $5000 into the bike biz. And let's not fault someone for having the dough for a dream bike. As for the kids on the cookie cutter track bikes, bring 'em on. From Boston it's a 5 hour drive to a legit track (Queens or Montreal, take your pick) but over the last couple of years some guys put together some racing at a kart track up in NH, and now it's really taking off. And maybe, just maybe if we can get enough people involved there will someday be a real track that the area so desperately needs. And those posers might just be the push we need to get it. Let us not forget that it wasn't to long ago that Track racing looked like a dying sport.
But seriously, kids are paying way too much for heavy old Japanese bikes! I mean the NJS makes the UCI look laid back.

Anonymous said...

really feel that strong about some other guys bike?

Anonymous said...

Jeez, who cares! if this is what this guy likes, great! I'm sick of bike snobs acting as though there is a "formula" for a fixie.

WTF? I thought you could just build a bike and have fun. I didn't know there was a click for each type of bike out there.

You don't need to be a rock star or oh so tragically bohemian to ride fixie. Housewives can ride em'
My 7 year old rides one!

Relax, it's just bikin'

nathan said...

it's just a fucking bike dude. i've been a serious rider for 25years and i've always found people like you that complain about newbs riding nice bikes far more laughable that anythign else. you are a LOSER.

Anonymous said...

I really hate all these middle class hipsters with all their money, jacking up the prices!

They don't "pour money into the business". What they do is that they locking out working class kids, like me from the market, since the prices go rocketing. Our only chance of getting our hands on a decent bike or parts is nowadays to deal with stolen goods. Or start stealing our self. Hmm...

Why don't they go back to buying iMacs and 96 geared mountainbikes or whatever they did before it got trendy to stand outside Starbucks leaning over a bike and drink that horrid 'coffee latte'?

Cleveland cycles said...

As far as the Lance replica, don't forget that before YOU even knew what a fixed gear bike was, competitive cyclists used them during the off season to practice maintaining proper cadence. Lance Armstromg himself probably has a "Lance Armstromg" fixed gear. When I can afford the new Pinarello Prince that I lust after, I will turn my current road bike, a very nice Litespeed, into a fixie. By the way, I was a bike messenger until a year ago and the first road bike I ever owned was a pieces-parts ratbike singlespeed that I put together with garage sale mountain bike, bmx, and road parts for under $30.00. Currently I am on a bianchi(no, not a pista.) with record cranks, BB, and headset, surly/open pro wheels, nitto stem, njs mks pedals, Selle flight saddle, and profile tri bullhorns. I built it for $250.00. If you open your eyes, there are plenty of good deals. No messenger should ever be on a fixed gear worth more than $300. You can't be a career messenger if you can't afford to replace your Mercx track bike when it gets lifted or t-boned. I agree with bsnyc 50%. The drops do look dumb with grips on the flat. Brooks saddles are really comfortable and full of steez. The Lance replica fixie could be one guy's training bike.

Evil Genius said...

Put simply, I couldn't really give a crap how a person outfits their bike, or how long they've been riding. Once any person puts their leg over a bike and starts riding, my hope is that the simple joy of riding becomes self-evident.

And any scene needs new blood to keep it interesting. Even though fixies and NJS-obsession is a trend, for every dozen hipsters that get into bikes as a fad, I'd say we'll keep about a third of them for life.

What I really can't stand though is the macho pissing contest all of this inevitably seems to turn into — it becomes less about the joy of riding and the quality of said ride, and more about who's got the most brag-worthy parts, who's been riding longer, who rides the hardest, etc. In my opinion BSNYC isn't bagging on the specific rider of this bike so much as the ridiculous poser mentality that seems all too prevalent in the current fixie trend.

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Anonymous said...

i happen to know a one such so called old school cyclist who berates anyone on a fixed gear or track bike. seems like a feeble attempt to hold on to their glory days and makes them sound like more of a scenester the the folks that he puts down. any hardworking stiff who pours his bucks into a bike of his likeing should ride with pride. while old angry man shivels with envy and hate. being a messenger during the 90s hardly makes one an innovater. hated and proud.

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Bob said...

At least they haven't started putting TruckNutz on their saddle rails yet. hahahahhahahaha. Steel is real, and fixed is fun, but wow, if they don't want to wrap their grips, that's just nasty looking. You can make some really nice, grippy "tape" out of a dead tube.

Anonymous said...

I rode all njs in the 1980s in NYC for work. the parts were cheap reliable and available. sunshine flip flop hubs. sugino cranks. nitto cro mo bars. etc. I still have a bit of it along with 1" pitch campy drive line sets and old stock mavicgp4 rim sets. campy and Columbus and cinelli from the old school first. if it was for work the njs gear was good. reliable. I still like it. looking for a yamaguchi 3 rensho or a kalavinka or makino or Samson frame. so many to choose from. I for one appreciate the old school ethic and I can ride it still with drops and tubulars. I even have a stash of 80s concor saddles. used to buy them new for $20. Best saddle of all time. fuck the rest and rock with the best. screw the pseudo snob and posers. its all about my 80s anyway. I like seeing messengers on real work bikes and kids that understand all others can get put under a mack truck and watch their femurs crush into pieces. fuck the cabbies.

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