20150302

3TTT Pursuit Bars for sale!!

The Sanino I posted a few days ago appears to have been parted out, and both the frame and bars are now for sale separately.

Bars are here.  And the frame is here.

These are "Takhion Style" 3TTT bars (Takhion style meaning curvier, less angled than the more well known 3TTT Moscow bars) HOWEVER - 

I am 99% certain that these bars do NOT have a clamp area wide enough for a Takhion.

They can easily fit any mono-clamp style fork mounts, like Textima (or hey, like the Sanino listed) but for dual-clamp mounts like Takhions or some Rossins, I believe these will not work.  Just a word of warning.

They're really nice bars though!!
Anyway, I'd love to see these stick with the Sanino they came off of them, but either way I'm sure they'll end up on a lovely bike.  Best of luck if you've been searching for bars like this!

20150226

Something A Bit Different

My love for Takhions and Soviet era bikes extends far and wide, and always will, but that doesn't mean that I don't share a passion for other bikes as well.  There's another type of bicycle that I don't think I've ever represented on here, though it more than deserves it.  And, surprisingly, I'm not talking about Italian steel, though I do genuinely appreciate the ornate beauty and craftsmanship that goes along with it.  

Nope, I'm referring to the sparkling paint jobs, the tight clearances, and the history associated with NJS bikes.

What's so special about an NJS frame?  How is it any different from any steel track frame?  For some, the appeal of recently made steel frames in a variety of sizes that can be found used on a slightly less daunting price tag is the biggest draw.  Others argue that the ride quality is second to none, on the track or on the street.  And there's also the people that just appreciate the look and craftsmanship of them, which is enough to convince them to give it a go.  Sure, a few also care about that NJS stamp and take pride in having a bike built with full NJS components, but most of the builds I've seen sacrifice at least one or two things to keep them from truly being full NJS.  

A brand new NJS frame costs quite a bit of money, but many of these frames are used for a season or two and then retired, which has led to a bit of a surplus.  At some point, a few sellers in Japan figured out that there was a demand for these used frames over here, much to the joy of collectors, velodrome riders, and enthusiasts alike.  

A few months back I found myself more and more drawn to the idea of building up an NJS frame for the track.  Really, the last thing that I need is another bicycle, but that's never stopped me before, and well...I have a lot of bike projects, and the reason that these stay in the "project" state for so long is that finding adequate parts for something like a Takhion is no easy task.  Of course, I could also build myself a steel track frame, but I already have another frame that I plan to build for me in the works, as well as a few orders that I need to fill first.  And the idea of getting a pre-loved NJS frame and being able to easily find all of the parts needed to build it up was appealing - I haven't built up a bike in over a year, and have been itching to do so.  

Then of course I started looking at what frames were out there, and for me that's like going into a pet store and looking at puppies.  Bright, sparkly Makinos, sleek and elegant Nagasawas, flashy Panasonics and Bridgestones - these frames are all downright beautiful.  And I began to see more brands that I hadn't heard of before: Stratos, Presto, Eimei, Kiyo, Giro, and Iribe.  

There were hundreds, with frames coming and going every day, but one caught my eye.  And no matter how much I kept looking around, week after week I would always come back to the same frame.  The size was spot on, the price was unbelievable, and it was a brand that was catching my eye more and more as I dug deeper into the world of NJS: Iribe.  

There was a strange series of events that happened, and for a moment I set aside all plans to build or buy anything else.  But just as quickly as things changed for the worse, they changed for the better, and when they did I decided to bite the bullet and buy this little frame that I had eyed for so long.  

Really loving the logo work on this one.  
I actually ended up having really bad timing with this frame - I few hours after I bought it, I was on an online fixed gear forum and someone had posted a photo from the auction gallery for it saying that they were excited about the new frame they were going to get.  Oops :/.  I felt really terrible, but I ended up contacting that person and promised that I would make it up to them.  

The full album is here because Blogger now gets angry if I include photos taken in portrait and not landscape, but I'll include some highlights in this entry as well.  This was raced on for a season, so it has some "beausage" but is still in excellent shape.  




I'm working on finding out more about the history of its frame so I can do it justice with the build, and though it certainly won't be full NJS it will be pretty close.  It will be velodrome bike - no street riding for this one, or at least very minimal.  

A note here - while many of these frames are fine aside from some chipped paint and a small dent in the top tube where the handlebars swung around (referred to by some as the "NJS-special"), there are a few that come through questionable condition.  You have to know what you're looking for and be careful - only buy from known sellers, make sure there are plenty of photos of the frame that highlight any issues, and avoid rust.  Also keep in mind that many desirable names might seem like a good deal, but that Nagasawa might not be in as great condition as a lower priced, lesser known brand.  Many frames also have 110mm rear spacing, which is something to take into consideration.  

20150221

Takhion Crank!


It took me years to find one, and despite the fact that this one can only be used for display and is only the right arm, I'm really, really happy to have found it.  

After I polish this up a bit, it's going on the Aero.

20150220

Sanino Pursuit!

Wow.

Please someone buy this and give it a good home!

Here are some photos from the eBay auction:

What a beauty!
With special 3TTT bars and all stock components, this bike truly is one of a kind.

Close up of the bar mount.  Not like any other I've ever seen!
It shares the same sort of aero internal headset as Takhion or Textima, but has more of a Colnago type handlebar mount.  Very, very interesting.

So nice!
It seems to be in great condition, and talk about owning a true piece of cycling history!  

20150218

First Impressions: Rapha Women's Jeans

When I found out last year that Rapha had starting offering women's jeans I was on their site looking at them faster than you can say "Ciocc."  My male friends had always spoken so highly of their Rapha jeans, and I swear that one of them has worn the same pair every day since I've known him and they still look like new.  So I was excited, and then I saw the price tag and was sad, but hey, this is Rapha we're talking about.

So imagine my surprise when my Christmas gift this year turned out to be a pair of these (thanks Mom and Dad for fueling my addictions), and after a bit of a wait to get the proper size, I finally got them to try out.

The only jeans I have to compare them to are REI's Novara jeans, which I absolutely love.  I've been meaning to write a proper review of those since I've been wearing them for well over a year, but I digress.  I was also supposed to have a pair of Ryb Denim jeans to compare these against, but I'm 90% certain I'll never actually see those.

So, here's an awkward shot of me trying to take a photo of myself wearing these jeans while riding the Feaux-khion.


Not a real Takhion.  Not even close.
These are, by definition, skinny jeans.  Rapha's site describes them as such, and for someone like me who had never worn skinny jeans ever, there was a bit of a shock factor putting them on.  They're skin tight, but not in a constricting way, more of in a fit-like-a-glove way.  Admittedly, I was at first sure that I wasn't going to like them and that they weren't for me, but after wearing them for about ten minutes I was fine.  

One thing I do want to note here is that I tried two sizes: 30 and 28 (sizes are based on waist measurements).  I tried the 30 because I wanted the jeans to be a bit bigger in the legs, but to me it didn't feel like the leg sized changed at all from the 28 to the 30, just the waist size.  And the 30s were comically big in the waist, so I ended up with the 28s.  

The material is really nice, and like all Rapha products these are high quality and extremely well made.  Little touches like the reflective Rapha logo inside the leg, the pink stitching, and the lining inside of the pockets really make these feel like way more than just your average pair of jeans.  And, off the bike, they look great and are really comfortable as well - these are definitely nice enough to use for multiple occasions.

As far as on the bike goes, I was a bit worried at first because these jeans lack the seamless crotch that other companies sometimes use.  This is made up by the fact that because these jeans are a tighter fit, there's no loose fabric to bunch up and rub and cause friction, and these really do feel like riding in cycling tights!  The seams are also offset, so even if they are a bit looser on you there won't be a problem anyway.  Plus, there's no worry about catching anything in your chain, and the material isn't cloying so these can be worn on moderate as well as cooler days.


One foot on the ground because trying to take these while riding would have inevitably resulted in my death.
 I did notice that there didn't seem to be a lot of room in the knees when I was pedaling, and that the back of the jeans (which are mid rise and supposedly come up higher in the back) sat lower than I'd like them to.  Also the pockets are sort of wimpy - I can't fit my phone in the front, which is a bummer.

So far I've done only fifty-ish miles in these on three different bikes, so I really don't have a good idea of how they'll stand up to wear and tear or if there will be any sort of break in just yet.  Here's what I can say about these compared to Novaras:

Pros: Much better looking and much more flattering.  Skinny cut means no chainring eating jeans and no irritation from loose fabric.  Comes in black and blue (I'm wearing the blue here).  No blue dye residue. 

Cons: Three times the cost.  Skinny cut might not fit all body types.  Less reflective bits.  Don't keep you quite as warm as the Novaras (and difficult to layer beyond tights underneath).  Not as much freedom of movement.  

Both jeans are comfortable, that's for sure, and both are versatile.  I feel like the Novaras are rugged enough to wear camping, and the Raphas are nice enough for a night out.  My first pair of Novara jeans lasted over a year with daily use, so I'm curious to see how well the Raphas hold up in comparison.  The biggest let down for me on these is the price, but I do know that Rapha stands behind their products and does offer repair if something like a crash happens, so there's at least that peace of mind.  

I'm just really happy that there are starting to be more options for women.  Thanks for acknowledging us, Rapha!!

20150208

Finally, I Think

It's hard to believe it, but this frame is ready for paint.

Also, the wheel fits, which is nice.
I've been working on this frame for long it's definitely hard for me to fathom.  The alignment is checked, the finishing work is done - the last, last thing it needs is some tapping and facing goodness that I don't have the tools to do.  This is as far as I can go.  It's weird, and awesome.

I'll have to borrow the tools to do the BB facing and headset facing/reaming, and then this one is getting a nice green powder coat with some white decals.  I am really excited to see how it will turn out! 

Yes, I still have to make the fork, but let me enjoy the fact that I managed to finish the main frame for a while before moving on to that :]
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