Thursday, May 6, 2010

Korean Keirin

The keirin race is kind of an obscure track event. Not obscure in the traditional sense, but obscure in that, until recently, it was not very common outside of Japan. In fact, it would not even be an Olympic event had the Japanese Keirin Association not bribed the UCI $3 million to have it included.

Keirin racing is strictly regulated in Japan, a lot of state revenue is made off gambling on races. Frames and parts must be approved by NJS, a governing body which sets standards for equipment so that no rider has an unfair equipment advantage over another. When someone mentions keirin, I think of Japan and NJS bikes & parts because used keirin frames are popular here in the US.

To my surprise, I recently learned of a similar keirin racing organization in South Korea when I stumbled across a blogspot selling used Korean keirin frames. I'd seen these frames on eBay occasionaly in the past but didn't think much of them, just thought they were plain Korean track frames.

The blogspot has some sweet frames, but its hard to tell what exactly they are. This Corex for example is made of Columbus Keirin tubing and built with Nagasawa parts.

But its not really clear if they're made by Nagasawa, or if they're made by someone else building with Nagasawa parts, does Nagasawa even sell their frame parts?

This Cello Kalavinka looks pretty sweet.

This particular one has been repainted and had Kalavinka decals applied. You wouldn't know the difference if they didn't say it was a Cello. Is it a Cello or is it a Kalavinka? Does anyone know?

Even more confusing: Cello 3Rensho Now I really don't get it.

Can someone explain this builder-branding system to me?


seanrwc said...

so to answere the nagasawa thing im pritty shure nagasawa becides making frames also makes really nice lugs and dropouts and other companys buy them because there njs quality and as you may have noticed they also make the bike seam allot more fancy

Jason said...

Sean is right. Nagasawa, 3Rensho and Kalavinca all sell their lugs and shells to other makers. To me, its amazing how this very strong industry (in japan) can stay under our radar in the U.S., even with so many custom builders doing lugged steelies.