John’s De Rosa Nov 3, 2009

Not much to be said other than “that’sa one spicy meatball”. Gorgeous early 1980’s De Rosa. It was in bad shape when he got it; paint chipping, surface rust but a professional respray, new chrome plating and 1970’s decals really brought her together.

Full Campagnolo Pista group and a Cinelli Pista cockpit. Great bike and lovely shots. Check out his other builds on his Flickr page. My favorite is the ’77 Colnago Super.

  • Again, it always amazes me the difference between the Italian and Japanese track bikes. I’ve never ridden an Italian, but it has to feel different. I made a post on my blog about this, just how much steeper the headtube angle is among other things. It is no doubt that Italian design reigns supreme. Have you ever seen a Ferrari?

  • the HTA depends on what the bike was used for. Sprint bikes had a steeper STA and HTA (Keirin for example) whereas longer events had a more relaxed HTA and STA. For instance, my old Casati had a 76* HTA and a 75* STA, it was a pain to ride. But my first Eddy Merckx was a 75* 74* and much easier. The Columbus SLX is an ideal tubeset for the street. It’s tough and strong.

    NJS bikes have some of the steepest STAs out of any track bikes sometimes. I’ve seen an 85* Panasonic and a 87* Samson. Never seen that in an Italian design. Sure, they do exist, but they’re less common. The Japanese tubesets are also less likely to withstand the abuse of street riding. A lot of the builders don’t want their bikes ridden on the street because they weren’t meant for the kind of abuse a paved road offers.

    The Japanese frame builders in the old days began their career working with Italian builders. Which is why all the Japanese components in the early years look like Campy knock-offs. When Italians went high-tech the Japanese continued to master the art of steel frames. NJS has helped facilitate this. Keeping strict restrictions on the frames, it requires the builders to be innovative with steel, something the Italians quit doing in the early 90s…

    That being said, the Japanese NJS Keirin bikes are disposable. Meant to be ridden a handful of times and then disposed of. I doubt the Italians looked at their bikes like this in the 70’s and 80’s.

  • chris

    Disposable, really?? I certainly know that some Keirin frames are used for a short time and then retired. Do you think Kalavinka, etc. think of their frames as disposable? I guess it is job security right?

  • I don’t think of Kalavinka’s frames as disposible, no. The times have changed, but there was a time when people raced a bike once and then threw it away. It still may happen…

  • chris

    Got it. Any idea where that keirin “bone yard” is??

  • travis

    …hmmm, i wonder, how one would go about soldering a lugged frame to make it disposable as opposed to making it last?

  • NJS tests frames and forks to ensure that they’re safe to race on. Remember when Vivalo lost their certification because of their forks breaking? The frames themselves are strong enough to race at the track, but not meant to be ridden on the street daily. Many Keirin racers train on track bikes, but with brakes and sometimes modifications made to them.

    Sasha’s Nagasawa was recently repaired by the man himself. In the process Nagasawa added gussets to reinforce the frame for street riding.

    Chris, believe it or not, Keirin frames used to be dirt cheap if not free in Japan…

    It’s like pro skateboarders riding a deck for one competition and then getting a new one. Disposible in the sense that when you’re making millions a year, you prefer to have a new frame frequently. Also, once your frame has a TT dent, you usually get a new one as a Keirin racer. Which is why so many people sell dented TT bikes. They probably got them / get them for free or next to nothing.