En fixed gear sykkel (fastnav) er en sykkel hvor drevet bak er skrudd fast på navet uten frihjulsnav. Så lenge hjulet går rundt går også kranken rundt og omvendt. En fixed gear sykkel kan også sykles baklengs...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is Keirin?

During the early days of cycling, as far back as 1880, track cycling was popular in America and in Europe. By 1893 cycling had a large enough following to permit a World Championship. Just three years later bicycle racing made its way into the first inaugural modern day Olympic Games. By the 1920's indoor track racing had become one of the most popular spectator sports, drawing enormous crowds. Track racing reached the peak of it's popularity in the 1930s in the United States, when 6-day relay races were held in Madison Square Garden in New York, from which the track discipline "Madison", a relay cycling race, still takes its name. Interest in bicycle track racing declined during the late 1930's and early 40's, principally due to the rise of soccer and motor sport, and bicycle track racing lost its former position as the number one spectator sport. It enjoyed a revival in Europe after the Second World War, due to the reintroduction of 6-day racing, and in the late 1950's and early '60's, the European public's interest in track cycling gradually rose, though never again to the same level. However, far away from the traditional cycling nations and little known to the rest of the world, bicycle track racing is enormously popular.

Keirin, meaning "racing wheels" or simply "bicycle race", originated in Kokura City in November 1948. It has become a Japanese social institution attended by around 57 million spectators every year, who place bets amounting to1.15 trillion Yen annually. Keirin compares most closely with greyhound or horse racing in the West. Races are held almost every weekend at 50 tracks around Japan. The events are usually held over 4 days; entry costs only100 yen (90 Ct), there are 11 races per night with 9 riders per race. The crowd is mainly made up of older men who gamble on the races, there are very few women spectators. There are seven different types of bets, combinations of the placing of two or three racers. Picking the winner of a Keirin race is a complicated matter; the punters have to examine the background of each rider who is participating in the race. Blood group, astrological sign and thigh measurements in addition to starting position and seasonal form are only some of the factors taken into consideration when placing a bet. Form and information about the athletes can be studied in special newspapers, and for the punters having successfully analysed the riders is part of the reward when they win. Paradoxically most people don't watch the races 'live' but watch on the TV screens, even though they're at the track.

After the riders come out of the tunnel, "the racers gate", they ride slowly to the start, fix their bikes in position in the starting machine, and bow once before getting into the saddle. There are usually nine racers but six, seven, or eight competitors can start. They are clad in brightly coloured jerseys and helmet covers, to make them easy for the crowd to identify. The colours were standardized in the mid nineties, the numbers one through nine wear the colours , white, black, red, blue, green, orange, pink and purple respectively. The races are usually 2000 m (5 X 400 m), although some tracks are 333m or even 500m long. The track is steeply banked at each end making for a very dramatic racing atmosphere. The race starts slowly, the riders jockeying for an advantageous position behind the pacemaker, who goes off the track after 3 laps and a bell rings opening the sprint. During the last two laps the pace rises, and the riders begin a furious battle, fighting to get into gaps. In the final sprint for the finish line the racers reach speeds of up to 70 km/h.

There are four standard strategies in Kerin;
Senko, leading with high speed from the front.
Makuri, passing from behind in the final straight.
Mak, sprinting past from second place.
Oikona, coming out from behind the leaders back wheel to win.

All this is however only theory. There are a lot of tactics involved, and some riders will work together in a race to gain an advantage, so observing ones opponents is of utmost importance. A certain amount of pushing and shoving is tolerated by the rules and as the speeding riders manoeuvre in the fight for the best position spectacular crashes are not uncommon. The surface of the track is hard and rough to provide good traction even in the rain, so the racers wear plastic body armour under their jerseys to prevent serious injury should it come to a crash. The races typically require photo finishes, the riders who win going on to compete in higher-staked races the next day.

A Keirin pro will race 80-100 times a year, prize money can be upwards of 100,000 € for the winner of a large keirin event, the top riders earning up to 1.5m € a year. The riders all use similar steel framed bikes, specially built racing machines. They have some choice over the gear they ride, 12-16 teeth on the sprocket and up to 55 on the chainring, but only frames and components approved by the Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai ( Japanese Bicycle Association) NJS, are permitted to compete at Keirin races.mThe bikes are checked before each race by the "Kencha" the technical inspection authority , no flat spokes, disc wheels, carbon fibre, or aluminium frames are approved, meaning a whole industry of frame shops dedicated to building high quality racing frames has grown up around Keirin.

There are 4000 registered Keirin riders in Japan. The average age of the riders is about 35. It is not uncommon for a keirin racer to compete into his fifties, the oldest Keirin racer ever, Uemura San was 60 years old when he retired. In 1969 women racers were taken off the Keirin registers. Women's racing was stopped due to a lack of interest which resulted mainly from the lower level of performance, in comparison to men's Keirin. Prospective Keirin competitors must attend the Japan Bicycle Racing School at Shuzenji, in the Izu area. The only Keirin School in Japan was founded in 1968 and is dedicated to teaching the academic and practical skills the students will need to compete. The 10% of applicants fortunate enough to be accepted then undergo a strict, 15-hour per day training regime. During the 10-month period of training and study, the students aged between 18 and 22, learn the rules and tactics of the sport, bicycle mechanics and physiotherapy as well as riding technique, and endurance. The goal is to achieve harmony of heart, body and technique. The Keirin competitor is trainer, manager, mechanic, and racer. Those who pass the graduation exams, and are approved by the Japan Keirin Association, are then registered by the association as competitors and are eligible to take part in Keirin events. Every year 150 new riders are admitted, first to a four-month stint in the newcomer's league, following which they are assigned a ranking. Rankings are adjusted, based on a competitor's performance, every four months.

There are three 'S', four 'A' and two 'B' groupings.
S1 with 130 riders.
S2 and S3 with 150 riders each.
A1-A4 with between 2400 and 2500 riders.
B1-B2 with between 1460 and 1560 riders.
Only 'S' level riders are eligible for the Grand Prix events, 'Normal' events are the province of 'A' and 'B' class riders. The riders of the S class wear shorts with a red stripe and white stars, the A class a green stripe, the B class blue. Formerly the A and B class riders wore shorts with simple white stripes, the stars reserved for the S class athletes.

Although the Keirin stars are national heroes, they and their sport are little known outside Japan. One exception was Koichi Nakano, an expert sprinter, who won the World Championship Sprint title for ten successive years from 1977 to 1986, bringing himself much recognition, and attracting the interest of the outside world.
International Keirin races have been held in Japan since 1981, and the international series has become a popular event in the Keirin calendar. For the international series, held annually in April and May, the top international track racers are invited to compete against the local stars.
Until now the only countries to hold Keirin events outside Japan have been Korea, where events have been staged since 1994, and some South America nations.
Keirin was adopted as an official discipline at the Track World Championships in 1980 and as an Olympic discipline at the games in Sydney 2000. At these events the riders are paced by a motorized cycle known as a derny. Other than this the races are identical, just as exciting and unpredictable as the original. Keirin has become an established international track cycling event, enjoyed by fans throughout the world.

MiyataFixed ferdig II

Tok noen bilder av Miyatan idag. Var meget bra vær så jeg tok med kamera på en sykkeltur... Shot a few pics of the Miyata Fixie today. The weather was great so I grabbed the camera and went for a cruise...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The fixed gear purist cult mentality thing

Jeg fant dette stykket på nettet! I found this great story!

Deciding to ride a fixed gear bicycle seems counterintuitive. You give up a couple dozen gears for just one. You forever renounce coasting. You have to explain yourself to the abundantly geared the same way someone who listens to phonograph records has to explain himself to electronic enthusiasts. To an outsider, riding fixed seems like the rough and thorny way to heaven. Those who've ridden fixed, though, know that it is something that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Not coincidentally, those who do give it a turn often never go back.
First off, no one is so obsessed with weight as the cyclist. I’ve seen some compare different brands of bar tape hoping to save a few grams. One way to save not only ounces but pounds is to start ripping off any parts that aren't absolutely necessary. Take off the rear brake (or for some wayward souls, take off both brakes). Scrap all but one chainring. Derailleur and chain tensioner? History. Shorten up that chain. Rebuild the rear wheel with a new hub and a cog. Align the chain and then lift the bike and feel how much lighter it is. Going titanium will surely save you some weight, but if weight is a major factor, it is easier and much more economical to just start dropping parts.

On an abundantly geared bike, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Adjustments are often necessary. New parts are frequently needed. Every little part needs to be in harmony with every other little part. Little clicks, big clanks. All kinds of clunking and clanking going on down there. Fixed bikes have a need for a bit of oil on the chain every once in a while, and when something does go wrong, which is rare, spotting the culprit is instantaneous because there are only a couple of things that could possibly be amiss.

As the name implies, the rear wheel and the cranks are fixed together in their movement, which means no coasting. The bike is also fixed in the sense that there is obviously no shifting of gears. As long as the bike is moving, the cranks are moving. This gives the rider an intuitive sense of the speed at which the bike is moving because the cranks will inevitably be spinning at a speed in direct proportion to the rear wheel. On a bike that is able to coast, the rider can simply stop pedaling and when it comes time to start again, there is no guarantee that the gear the bike is in will be the right gear. This leads to a sort of tentative game of catch up and disorientation. Granted, the experienced rider will be able to adjust without much effort, but it is never as direct a connection as on a fixie.

For those who ride a bike primarily to exercise or train, there is another advantage. It is far more likely to get a damn good workout and get into good shape on a fixed gear bike than on its more popular counterpart. Because you cannot stop pedaling, it is like having a coach with you every time you venture out. If you try to stop pedaling and take a little breather, there is an immediate (and for the inexperienced fixie rider) sometimes startling reminder that no pauses in pedaling will be permitted. This is why at first it seems like you have an obnoxious drill-sargent on your heels, but after some getting used to, it becomes more like having a good-natured coach that you know is ultimately on your side. Fixed gear riders never have to think about how much or little they are coasting because it is quite literally not an option. Because your feet can be pushed off the pedals on the upswing of the cranks, straps or clipless pedals are a must.

When shifting from one gear to another, oftentimes there must be a tiny, sometimes imperceptible hiatus in pedaling so the gear can work itself into place, which of course detracts from the power of your pedaling. Once again, as with other aspects, this is an impossibility on a fixed gear bike. Because the chain never leaves the single chainring and cog, there is never a lapse, and pedaling can be continuous and without the slightest pause.

The mental and physical energy used up in operating an abundantly geared bike is often overlooked. Think about the steps. Say you approach a moderate hill. You assess the terrain, you think of what gear you need to be in, reach out and change gears, make sure the gears change smoothly by the time you get to the hill, start up the hill and think about if the gear is working well, change it if it's not thereby slowing down a bit while doing so, keep pedaling, reach the crest and then go through the same steps more or less to go down the other side of the hill and on and on. Granted, many of these steps become almost reflexes for an experienced rider, yet there is a significant amount of effort whether you realize it or not.

Now look at the same situation on a fixed gear bike. You come to a hill and you pedal the bike. That's it. Inevitably you are forcing your legs to become stronger because you've got no choice but to make the gear work, and the hills will become more and more fun because they will seem easier and easier as your legs get stronger.

Without a doubt, though, the most desirable thing about the fixed gear bike is the intimate feeling of being at one with the bike, as if it is an extension of your own body. It would kind of be like the difference between playing tennis with your bare hands or playing while wearing oven mitts. With fixed, you can feel every nuance of speed, balance, acceleration and deceleration, giving you that mystical connection that so many fixed gear riders speak of.

Which brings me to the cult mentality aspect. Upon seeing that other rider with that unmistakable chainline, there is an immediate knowledge that he or she understands. This is strikingly similar to the way, for example, that two hare krishnas might greet if they happened upon one another on the street. There would be an immediate and unspoken connection and bond. To the layman, a fixed gear bike and a traditional road bike look to be the same breed, so there is even more of an underground connection. Fixed gear riders don’t even need to have little pigtails and peach colored togas to spot one another. It’s just that single gear that’s needed. To be fair, too, I haven’t ever had anyone try to convert me to fixed gear in the airport, so, granted, the analogy has its flaws. Nevertheless, the cult mentality remains.

Another not to be underestimated aspect of fixed is the ability to slow the bike down without using brakes. You can rely on your own power to slow the bike down as well as speed it up. Subtle pressure on the pedals in a reverse direction slows the bike down, of course, because the cranks and the rear wheel are fixed together (this is why some ride brakeless, giving their legs total control over speeding up and slowing down).

(Fixed gear bikes do have cousins called single speeds, which are basically fixed gear bikes with a freewheel instead of a fixed cog. They possess all the weight and mechanical advantages of fixed gears, but they lack the continuous pedaling, breaking with your legs and of course that intimate feel.)

Walking in downtown San Francisco several years ago, before I’d ever even ridden a fixed gear bike, I remember seeing a messenger riding through slow traffic, weaving in and out, looking like a needle stitching all the cars together. This memory sticks with me for some reason, and I suspect it was because of the utter grace of seeing him work his way through the cars, unintentionally making a mockery of the drivers sitting in traffic. I’m positive that it was a fixed gear bike he was riding, not only because they are more often than not the choice of messengers, but also because I remember seeing him pedaling when he sped up and when he slowed down, which took me by surprise. the subtle adjustments he made in his speed and direction were like the subtle adjustments a bird makes in flight. If my niece ever asks me what grace means, I will take her downtown and wait for a messenger on a fixie to pass.

I realize that I’ve romanticized fixed gear to an extent. Needless to say, they are not the best bikes for all types of riding. If you plan on doing some major uphill and downhill on the same ride, it would be thoroughly impractical. For certain types of riding, though, like city streets and around town with moderate climbing and descents, now that I’ve tried it I would never think of riding anything other than a fixed gear.

By Scott Larkin
Reprinted with permission from

Monday, November 10, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

MiyataFixed ferdig (nesten)

Da nærmer det seg at MiyataFixie'n er ferdig.
The MiyataFixie is almost done...

Ribba en ProFlex MTB for styre. Et matt sort CrowBar som jeg kappet ca. 8 cm.
Funket bra sammen med den orginale sorte stem'n.
Stole a CrowBar handlebar from my ProFlex. Flattblack was pretty nice with the original black stem

Ville ikke montere de lange blå håndtaka ennå siden dette ikke er det styret jeg skal ha, defor så brukte jeg litt carbon-look styretape jeg hadde liggende.
Det fungerte egentlig ganske bra.
Did'nt want to use the long blue grips yet since this is'nt the bar I want to use.
Used a carbon-look griptape. That was actually pretty cool...