On buying and riding NJS bikes
In the somewhat hipster sub-culture that is fixed gear riding, NJS frames are a staple. In this world, NJS stands for Nice Japanese Shit, but it really means Nihon Jitensha Shinkōkai (Japanese Keirin Association). Exotic, imported, lugged and well-made from top to bottom, the bicycles used in the japanese Keirin association races are without a doubt great bicycles. But what distinguishes them from most italian or european frames and components is their accessibility.
Before, they were only available to Keirin riders, and that is sometimes still the case for bikes like Cherubim. Nowadays, if you want a new one, built for you, you can. You can contact Georama through the folks at NJS-Export and Panasonic through the guys of the Track Supermarket. Both those online-stores offer used and new NJS frames and you can find most NJS-Export frames on eBay too. I got mine, a Bridgestone, from another famous eBay seller called 8pilgrim8. He offers a lot of low-priced and fairly beat up NJS frames. If you’re more fancier, though, and you’re looking to have something like a Nagasawa, head up to Kinoko Cycles in London and check their custom ordering options. By the way, both NJS-Export and 8pilgrim8 are having really nice sales.
Of course, you can also go directly to certain manufacturers, including a favorite of mine called Kalavinka. They offer straight all-out custom NJS track frames, among other beautiful works of art. And if you think having the simple NJS badge on the bottom-bracket shell is not a street-cree necessity, ha, you can look into bunch of framebuilders. The first one that comes to mind is, of course, Kinfolk. You can also get NJS frames in hip bike-stores, I don’t know for Montreal, but there’s precedent in this notably in NYC with Chari and Co, and others like Saint-Cloud in France.
That said, most people we seem to stumble upon on internet or riding in the streets have used ones. But you have to be careful with them. Most NJS frames are known to be quite fragile, in fact a lot of them have dents or chips on the top tube and that is caused by the handlebars swirling around and hitting it. In reality, dent damage like this doesn’t really affect structural integrity, and the frame is still rideable, but it’s longevity is affected. It also speaks about the general light-weight tubing that may not be the best for the streets. However, we’ve seen the most beautiful of rat bikes sometimes being well-aged NJS track frames.
Finally, we’re planning some small photo session of NJS frames. If you have one and would be interested, holler at me.