I tagged along with the bike shop owner Ichirou-san on one of his monthly visits to go buy keirin frames off of some racers in our local keirin dome. I thought it was going to be the usual routine where a racer brings out about 5-6 frames, some fully built, some just the frames alone, for us to inspect and bid on...
So once we get there, negotiations start, and surprisingly, one racer after another start bringing in their frames for us to look at. One of the racers asks us:
racer: hey do you wanna check out the locker room? we've got some cool frames (of course not for sale) just hanging out in there. its pretty cool...
us: are u kidding...
this is what racers see on the way to their locker room, or out to the velo.
"inoru!! kentou", which translated, means "Hope!! For a good fight".
And following are the shots i was able to take in the locker room.
So much keirin porn it almost blew my mind.
Next to this room where all these frames are hung is a room with about 3-4 rollers where there were 2 racers warming up their legs. Room smelled of mad body odor...but wut do u expect right.
And being the Kalavinka whore that i am, this particular (and very nice) racer brought out his newly built Kalavinka to show me. If you look closely, the top tube, seat stay, and fork are matt black, while the rest of the frame is gloss black. He was telling me that he was testing it out for a couple of races and if he doesnt get good results, hes gonna get rid of it. *Raising hand.
To continue my Kalivinka fetish...the stickers on the seat tube look somewhat old school...
The bank. Sucks for all the rain...one racer said they wouldve let me run the bank if the conditions werent so poor. SUCKS.
Rare lettering for a Baramon.
An "upper rank" racer helps a younger racer change out his cranks. Man check out those thighs...
This was another racers build. An "illusion" model by Samson.
The "illusion" is Samsons top model, costing anywhere from around $2500-$3000 for a frame.
Reasons for the high cost are the intricate welding of the lugs.
Kinda hard to see with my shitty photographing, but the lugs are welded so clean to the tubes, that when you touch it with your hand, you dont feel an edge. Its somewhat hard to describe, but if you ever see an "illusion" model in person, youll definitely know what im talking about.
The racer was telling me that Samson builder Harada-san might be one of the best welders of today.
Another rare photo. A racer (the dude who races the "illusion" above) prepares his bicycle to be shipped to another Keirin stadium.
A look into the bike case. They look custom made, with hooks for your fork and ends to make sure the bike doesnt shift and get damaged while being delivered.
Cases and more cases...
We came out with...15-20 frames? and a buncha rims and extra parts.
It was a tiring, but exciting day. I think ill go bum around the shop after work today and try to find some hidden gems among the parts. Ill also try to take some pictures of some of the frames we were able to get our grubby hands on.