Sunday, September 2, 2007

NJS -The Vanity Hipster

Japan Report: Fixed Gear Bicycles I'm starting this Blog off with a very well written article on "Bike Messenger Culture". Included is the following:

"Companies like Kalavinka, Nitto and Suzue, that produce relatively low-tech bicycle parts in today's high-tech bicycle world must realize that something's up because their products are selling out when normally they wouldn't be. The fact that these brands are enjoying success is definitely because of this latest trend sweeping Japan, but also because they hold the official NJS certification meaning that their bike parts are good to go on the Japanese Keirin circuit.

This NJS acronym has also enjoyed a newfound surge in popularity as they seem to be the gold standard for fixed gear riders; if it's good enough for Keirin riders, it's good enough for me, plus it's rare. You won't find a single NJS piece on Lance Armstrong's bike, or even keirin world champion Theo Bos's bike, but you will find it on every major street corner in Japan (as well as in SF and NYC), usually hooked up to a Kalavinka frame (also NJS and apparently one of the more popular frames), or on a Keirin track in Japan."

From my previous Blog "Why Single Speed #1":

In Japan they know how to be fanatics. They make rituals and religions about almost everything. There they have track bike racing called Keirin. It’s kind of a cross between horse racing and sumo wrestling. Check it out Every single part of the bike, every component, frame, wheels, spokes, chain, everything has to be approved with N.J.S. (Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai), the Japanese Bicycling Association, stamp of approval. The standard is almost the same as the Campagnolo ISO Track parts standard. There is another standard used by Shimano called JIS (Japanese Industrial standard). This standard has minor differences from ISO in the square taper interface between bottom brackets and cranks, and the frames have different size headtubes and fork races. This is different from the English/US Standard of ISO that Shimano builds for biikes here in the US. One of the primary reasons for NJS is so all the parts will fit together without concern for any discrepancies between standards. What a concept. Unfortunately it falls too short of this, but it does maintain a large margin of safety.

But NJS is so close. Imagine the holy grail of standards, where if the component has the standard stamp of approval, then interchangeability is assured. One seatpost size; 27.2 mm. Its the universal standard, why do you need 26.8 and 27. Seat rail distance, the universal standard is 44 mm and Keirin is 30mm, but NJS allows for both; choose one! But the worse is Shimano Octalink. It seems that Shimano no longer makes square taper DuraAce track cranks, they only come in Octalink; so now Octalink is NJS approved. Never mind that almost no Keirin will use Octalink, it just shows that even NJS has it's price. Still imagine NJS without these discrepancies(from Sheldon Brown).

1" x 24 tpi headset thread with loose ball bearings
1" (25.4 mm) handlebar/stem clamp diameter
1.375" x 24 tpi bottom bracket thread (left-hand on the fixed cup)
56 TPI spoke thread
1 mm axle thread
36 spoke loose ball bearing hubs
ISO square taper axles and cranks
144mm 1/8" chain rings
1/8" chains
1/8" cogs
9/16" pedal axle diameter
Loose ball bearing track pedals with toe clips
(27.7mm seatpost with 44mm seat rails)
(steel frame and fork).

Parenthetical added by me. There is of course alot more to NJS than interchangeability, but none the less it would be awful nice

From a couple of postings from fixedgeargallery; these were random photos taken in Tokoyo.

The next two are classic Vanity NJS bikes.

The Riddle Bike??

Quick rundown for the gear enthusiasts: 59cm c-c Jonny Cycles frame fork with a mix of Dedaccai OS steel tubing, Kalavinka lugs, fork crown and BB shell, and Jonny's signature track dropouts; Chris King 1" threaded headset, anodized Nitto Pearl stem (110mm) and Jaguar seatpost; Syntace Stratos 200 TT bars, Kashimax 5 Gold 4P Keirin saddle; Sugino 75 cranks (170mm) and 52t chainring; EAI 14t cog for the fixed/fixed rear hub (12t? or 16t? for the other side); MKS Custom Nuevo Pedals with Cinelli Toe Clips and Toshi Double toe straps; Izumi Model V chain; Blood Red 36h Phil Wood High-Flange track hubs laced to 700c Velocity Deep V's, rolling on 700c/23 Continental GP4000 clinchers; to top it all off the very elusive Green Tressostar cloth tape...

and the Jesse's Nagasawa

Nagasawa 56 cm all NJS except Velocitys, Campy BB spindle Phils and saddle. Seat post was signed by the Keirin rider. (Oooo!)

But this is what I want; an NJS Vanity is my next bike.

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