Nagasawa Keirin Bicycle
Not exactly ‘vintage’ but I think a classic example of a modern Keirin racing bicycle. The frame was made by Yoshiaki Nagasawa in 2009 for the British track sprinter Matthew Crampton, to take part in professional Keirin events in Japan during the 2009/2010 season. Nagasawa learnt the art of frame building in Italy, under the wing of Ugo De Rosa, and he built for top professionals including Eddy Merckx. After his spell in Italy he returned to Japan and for the last 30 years or so, Nagasawa has been one of the most highly respected makers, his frames being used by many Champions including 10 times World Sprint Champion Koichi Nakano. Indeed this frame is finished in Nakano’s trademark red metallic finish – Nakano Red. There are some youtube clips of Nagasawa brazing a frame here.
The frame is built to the regulation Keirin specification – a very strong lugged steel frame in heavy duty Tange tubing. All the parts on the bike are NJS certified, meaning that they are approved by the Professional Keirin Association of Japan, as being suitable for use in their races. Parts include Nitto steel handlebars and stem, Nitto seat post and Kashimax 5 Gold saddle, Dura Ace chainset and MKS Custom Nuevo pedals, Dura Ace hubs and Araya Gold rims fitted with Soyo Red tubular tyres. Matthew was very successful on this bike, winning many races and earning himself a great deal of respect, together with a well deserved chunk of prize money.
What impresses me about this frame is the crispness of the construction. The joints are all absolutely clean and sharp, the tidiest I’ve ever seen. The paint is nice and thin so this can be seen. The bands on the seat tube have the Japanese flag on one side and the Italian flag on the other, joined by the World Championhip stripes. Nagasawa’s workmanship similarly combines Japanese precision, Italian flair and World Championship standards.
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