Since my old ride is waiting for some repairs and I desperately need some seat time, I found a frame via Yahoo auction here in Japan. Now normally Japanese are fanatical about care and feeding their rides, so what you can get used is generally really great. And if the frame has been stacked or crashed, they’ll let you know upfront. Well, the frame that caught my eye was an early 90′s Akamatsu road. (http://www.kobo-akamatsu.jp/) According to the ad it was a 54cm size which is a little short – but doable for me. So I went for the bids. After a furious flurry at the end , I was a winner by 888 yen. Went down and picked it up. The frame was a little rougher than I expected – not bad, but not concourse either. Anyway I wasn’t buying it for display – I just need a solid ride for daily training.
Came home and started the build. I noticed the bike had personalized lugs and name – so probably it was a custom frame. Fine by me. Its straight, light enough and horizontal drops – so I could mount up my fixie wheels.
Started by replacing the BB. These are track bikes by heritage, so of course it had an English BB. I found one that accepted my old square axle Shimano 170′s at Y’s and slapped it in. Turned perfect and no issues with the threads.
After that, I sanded down the vairous nicks and whatnot and touched up with some nail polish. Then gave it a liberal does of CRC in all the tubes just as an added protection. The bike was essentially rust free, so its a good sign it was kept indoors. After that, transferred my wheels, cranks, seat and bar. Tightened everything and gave it a spin.
Here’s what it looks like built up as a typical muletto.
Not a bad looking ride. SO how is it on the road? Well, I’ll find out tomorrow. But compared to my Panasonic its far more responsive, crisp and tight. The old Panasonic was pretty sloppy and I could really feel it in the bottom bracket. Standing on it just didn’t have any snap. This bike has snap. On the downside, the owner’s measurement was wrong – its actually a 53cm (54tt) which is a bit on the short side for me. I’ll need to put an ape hanger stem and rack the seat rails all the way back to feel comfortable. Fine for the hills, but a little cramped for general road.
With that being said, this baby is going on the blocks. If you’re looking for a decent Japanese Keirin heritage bike (though not NJS) with some vintage appeal and good daily rider, here ya go. I’ll let it out the door for 70,000Yen complete.
Akamatsu Road frame (53/54) Fairly tight geometery
Some nicks and scratches and sign of general road rash.
Frame is eyeball straight and rides straight.
New Shimano sealed BB
Relatively new Rear Weinmann Track wheel (32) with dual cog threads.
Relatively new Front Campy (32)
Shimano oldschool crank (44 / 39) 170 BCD130
Shimano front brake (old)
Shimano SPD pedals (3mo old)
Generic Sakae bars.