Dead Nagasawa! Jul 8, 2009

Sasha, we’re all super bummed for you. Sucks man! When’s the funeral service?


  • Trackcracka

    Wow that is terrible how did it happen?

  • stephen

    whats wrong? i only see paint chips

  • RnR Team
  • T-Rex

    Stephen, it rusted through from the inside from water in the frame. Sucks, but just goes to show you, use framesaver, pull your seat post and put the bike upside down after a wet ride, and consider drilling a drain hole in your bb shell. Most people are loath to do this on nice frames, but if it had been done in this case he’d still have a Naga with a pinhole in the BB rather than one with gaping holes in the stays.

  • prolly

    Sasha had Keirin frames before most people. In fact, he supplied most the US with them back in the early 2000’s for a great price.

    What happened was the loose-ball BB that he was using had a plastic sleeve covering the bearings. This sleeve didn’t allow the water to drain out of the BB…

    That’s what caused the chainstays to rust.

  • T-Rex

    Eh, not exactly. The plastic sleeve doesn’t cover the bearings, it covers the middle of the spindle to prevent watter that runs down the seat tube from getting on the spindle and then flowing out to the bearings. It does the same thing for water that comes in through the shell if there are extensive cutouts in the bottom of the shell like on a Colnago, some old Raleigh road bikes, etc… Personally I wouldn’t use the sleeve on a bike with no BB cutout that I kept the seat post well greased on, but Sugino puts one in the 75 bottom bracket box so people think you need it.

    It’s not the shield that prevented the water from getting out, it’s not giving the water anywhere to go that prevented it from getting out. A well-greased loose bearing rig isn’t going to let any significant amount of water out around the spindle, the only place the water can get out is a drain hole or out the seat tube once the post is pulled and the bike is flipped. I guess if the BB was really waterlogged the shield might trap a little water inside, but it would mostly evaporate or drain away. Might corrode the spindle a little, but for the stays to rust out it would need to be pretty soaked.

    So yeah, unsealed parts in all weather + insufficient maintenance/inadequate preventative maintenance = corrosion and failure. Especially if you live in NY or some other city with winter like Sasha and carry your bike from the cold into warm interiors a lot, you need to be really careful about this as you’re introducing not only rain water but also a lot of condensation into the frame. Riding a nice Keirin bike on the street is a lot like using a classic car as your daily driver, it’s a lot of fun but you have to be a psychopath about upkeep or you’re going to have problems. I’m not trying to bring the blame on him for not taking care of his shit, as I know he loves his bikes, but this is a failure that doesn’t happen without a certain amount of neglect.

  • sashae

    T-Rex, I appreciate your insight but I’m going to take a little bit of issue with it.

    My theory on the accordion causing the issue is that I believe the ingress for the water wasn’t through the seat tube, but rather through the vent holes in the stays. The accordion was EXTREMELY tight in the shell — I had to use pliers to pull it out, and was blocking the ends of the chainstays.

    Having only ridden the bike in the rain once, and having pulled the seatpost out to let it dry, I believe the problem wasn’t on my end, but actually due to the prior owner. The frame was fairly chipped/surface rusty (which I cleaned and touched up) but leads me to believe that there was already corrosion in the frame when I bought it.

    I stupidly didn’t pull the bottom bracket when I got it, as it was completely smooth. The amount of corrosion on the stays (I tapped both stays with a rubber mallet last night after pulling the BB, and huge chunks/flakes of rust fell out) suggests to me that the bike was compromised before I bought it. My loss.

    Part of my thinking is also that the accordion helped to prevent the egress of the water via evaporation through the other holes in the frame — headset, seatpost, bb cups, etc. Keeping the bike inside in a warm area post-wet ride with the seatpost out /should/ have resulted in any interior water evaporating out. The accordion, greased and tightly sealed in the shell as it was, would stop that, leaving the only egress point for water the brazing vent holes in the stays.

    At this point, I’m unsure as to what to do with the frame. It’ll definitely need both chainstays replaced, and possibly the BB shell and likely the chainstay bridge as well — the seat tube and downtube are both clean and rust free (not that that helps me at this point.) The question is, at that point, is that level of revamping worthwhile for the money it’d cost to do it. To be determined.

    For the time being, the frame is stripped and hanging in my closet.

  • T-Rex


    I apologize for assuming it was your neglect that caused the failure, I had assumed you brought this bike over from Japan and it had only seen track use before that.

    Re: where the water got in, it’s academic at this point but I wouldn’t be so sure the BB condom was actually plugging the holes from the stays — it would have to be rubber to actually seal there, and the holes to the stays probably meet at the accordion section anyway. So water could pretty much come from anywhere and end up anywhere. Having the stays take the worst of it is a little weird, though, so the vent holes may actually be the culprit.

    How bad is the BB shell? Rebuilding a Naga with a generic shell would be a pretty sad affair, but as long as the threads can be tapped clean I would be optimistic even if there is serious rust damage in the bottom of the shell. We’ve all seen bikes with insane amounts of cutout down there, it’s not exactly the most structurally important part of the bike. I think if you wanted to sell it after repair you’d get what you put into it in terms of repair and paint costs, but valuing the PITA factor is hard.

  • sashae

    No offense taken ;)

    It did come from a keirin racer in Japan, but it was one of those frames I suspect lived in someone’s garage (or shed, or back alley) for a while, unfortunately.

    I think the shell is salvageable. The threads on the shell are actually smooth and fine, with not too much rust. The only iffy spot is in between the chainstay sockets, and without really poking at it with a screwdriver or a pick it’s hard to say just how rotten it is. The driveside stay isn’t rotten all the way through, but did produce big flakes of rust, so it’s surely near the end.

    If I were to repair it, it’d be to keep, not for sale. I’m reaching out to Nagasawa to see if he’d be willing to repair/repaint it — he had expressed willingness to do so a couple of years ago for a different frame I had, so hopefully he’ll respond favorably.

  • sashae

    You can better see the inside of the stay in this photo:

  • m

    If you really want to save the frame Email to Mr. Nagasawa! It not cheap but he will do perfect job. He can replace the tube and repaint. Sending a frame to him about $80 via USPS, and he can send it back to you here NYC. It takes only 2 weeks.
    You can find his email address from his web ( and show him the picture.
    I’m not sure his English but if you need, I can help you.

  • sashae

    m —

    I have actually been in touch with Nagasawa-san, and he has agreed to fix my frame. I am planning on sending it off in the next week or so…

  • chris