I guess the original yellow paint job probably looked really nice when it was fresh and clean, but since the replacement of a few tubes and countless years of wear and tear the patina is really starting to shine through. I think the theme on this build is “comfort doesn’t equal fun”
 This frame was bought in the mid 2000’s by a former TCB rider, right at the tail end of the NJS craze that swept the American track bike scene. If I remember when I got it the bike had some NITTO bullhorns and a high flange Phil Wood x Velocity deep V wheelset, very classic. At some point the frame was crashed in an alleycat and both the top tube and the down tube were wrecked. Not wanting to give up on the dream the frame was taken to Bernie Mikkelsen of Alameda CA.
 So here in the Bay Area there are few frame builders that have the reputation of Bernie Mikkelsen,  he has been at it since 1974 (!!!!) and has created some of the most iconic custom bikes no one has never hear of ( the KAMIKAZE, probably one of the first purpose built messenger work  frames)  and is known at the guy that can fix just about any frame and bring it back to life.  I guess Bernie decided to keep it classic, because he kept the original head tube, seat cluster lug and BB, and just replaced the top and down tube.  This bike has some very stylish original lug work on the back and then some smooth as butter fillet brazing on the front, and the original fork!!
 KALAVINKA, 3RENSHO, NAGASAWA… these were the names that haunted my dreams like teenagers with pop stars. These were some of the most revered NJS frame builders in Japan, and their bikes were always just out of reach. So the NAGASAWA lugs on this Corex polish the proverbial turd to a lustrous glow. While the frame may have been built in South Korea the bones are undeniably of the finest Japanese lineage.
 The little details like the NAGASAWA stamps on the drop outs paired with these NJS tensioners (thanks Jake !!!) add to the over all NJSness of the build.. if you can ignore the massive carbon blades in the back ground.
 Somewhere along the line a NOS set of COREX decals were hunted down on the internet and applied to the frame. I think the choice to eschew a repaint and just throw a few cans of clear coat on the repaired frame was a solid one. Eventually most of the decals have fallen off and the quick clear coat has led to rust spots. But one of my favorite things about this bike is the contrast between the original paint and the repaired tubes. The subtle difference between the classic lug work and the smooth fillet brazes doesn’t catch everyone’s eye but when it does it produces confusion, slight disgust and sometimes and smile.
 In the late 80’s and early 90’s the cycling industry was inundated with new technology, carbon fiber!! anodization!! CNC machining !! the possibilities for speed and performance were unlimited!!!  With great power comes great responsibility.. the fine folks over at Spinergy forgot (never had to begin with?) their responsibility for the safety of rider in the pursuit of raw speed and power.
 These wheels were all the rage for a year or two in the late 90’s their 8 carbon blades promised an aero advantage over simple spoked wheels.  Unfortunately those same blades sliced off a few knee caps during crashes in pro tour races, and “MAYBE” exploded under a few amateur racers in tight turns.  So in their infinite wisdom in the early 2000’s the UCI banned the Spinergy Rev X wheels along with a few other carbon follies in an effort keep racers “safer".’  Since then these wheels have developed a reputation as DEATH WHEELS, un predicable and prone to epic and unexpected failures.  Not something I really worry about when compared to the stylistic and aero advantages they provide on my jaunt to the coffee shop.
 Even after the Rev X was torn from the quiver of the pro peleton they enjoyed a 2nd heyday in the continental and amateur racing scene.  Spinergy even made efforts to strengthen their fragile wheel (brand) but creating after market “stiffeners” dubbed the X BEAM to build up the wheels rigidity.   These were then proven scientifically to make the wheel LESS STIFF,  so Spinergy wisely decided to abandoned the Rev X project for the green pastures of SPOX…..  The thing that separates this wheel-set from most other Spinergy’s is the fact they are clincher, and came from the factory with a track hub.  Most Spinergy’s out there are tubular (performance wheels DUH) and those that ended up fixed usually got there from some janky conversion and re-spacing.  These are the real deal built for the streets and skidz Spinergy Track Wheels!
 One the real though these wheels are very sketchy, in a straight line sure they are super fast and once you get them moving they really do slice through the air like the aero knives they are.  But turning, especially at speed is a white knuckle experience to say the least.  Skidding.. yea no, factory track hub or not you can feel the wheels (or is it the frame…) flex like crazy.  So this is strictly a chilleur ride,  all show and no go.
 A few years back Mavic released a new carbon race wheelset with MATCHING TIRES!!  Yep that’s right they created a tire for the front and a tire for the rear of this very special wheel set.  Obviously to make the pro’s faster and the rest of use feel better about spending all that extra money for the matching tire set to our new $$$$ wheels.
 I was digging through a box of bike parts in JT’s Paris flat in 2015 when I came across this matching set of tires,  if there was ever the even fancier matching wheel set is an even bet.  Since JT doesn’t ride bikes any more these made it back to my garage where they sat for a few years just waiting for the right wheels to gift their excess speed unto… . Finally this perfect wheel-set appeared and now they have a permanent home for their high technology.
 Sugino 75’s forever,  the most solid, the classiest, the iconic crankset of NJS racers from the beginning.  Paired with a loose ball HATTA NJS BB this is a set it and forget it combo.  The original finish on the crank arms has been polished to a high sheen by years of Vans rubbing against it, truly a timeless combination.  unless someone has some Superbe Pro 165mm….? anyone?
 ZEN was the tip top, buy it once and use it forever chainring.  Still used by NJS and UCI pro level racers at a cool $150 USD these rings may break the bank but they will never break on the banks!!!
 Double straps are all the rage and rightfully so if you are going to hit the skidz and shred the streets.  But back in the day it was single straps or nothing, paired with the cheap MKS Sylvan track pedal this was the set up that i learned to skid on and still feel is the classiest.  Those Cadence Collection singles were saved from a super limited production run,  doubles for days, singles are saved.
 The coloration of almost a decade of jean shorts and cut off dickies being rubbed into this fine Italian leather is the definition of patina.
 For this build I opted to throw out my weight saving tendencies while still sticking with a classic saddle.  The Selle Italia SLR has always made my butt happy even it it looks like a torture device to some.  This particular saddle came off a messenger’s work bike, I wish there was someway to hold this in time and never let it change while still riding it daily.. alas I really need to get some super glue and fix the tear in the front before it gets worse..because there is no way I am gonna stop riding this saddle.
 Salsa stems were handmade in Petaluma CA for years,  bridging the gap between the Japanese and Italian classic stem style and a rougher and tougher handmade aesthetic.  I have been a collector for years and while there are a huge amount of riser stems finding an aggressive race stem is a diamond in the rough.  Almost as hard as finding these flat bars.. oh wait I found these in a box on the sidewalk, and is that an orange soda can as a bar shim.. ?
 These bars are precisely measured to the scientifically proven perfect width for shredding, my shoulders.. if the bars can make the gap then hopefully shoulders can too.  This is a huge step up from the previous method of cutting the bars to be as wide as my pedals… 2006 was a weird time.
 When a friend comes into town i am more than willing to give them a bike to borrow.  When a homie comes into town you bring out the Cadillac for them to roll around on.  Most of them left something for me after they were done with it.
 NTCB all day,  also upside down Chris King headsets all day, if you have to ask you’ll never know
 Truly a Frankenstein of style, the best (or worst) of a couple of different worlds, guaranteed to get some weird looks and salty comments.  I love this rat rod and couldn’t think of a better bike for my short trips to the coffee shop and bar.
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