In this post, I will document my current bike build, and other related things I am learning, or changes I am considering. I’ll add to this post as I make changes or research more things.

Current Build

Here is a picture of my current build:



  • Frameset: Kilo TT Pro
  • Wheelset: H+Son Archetype w/DT Swiss hubs
  • Tires: Continental Grand Prix 5000 (700 x 28)
  • Bars / stem: stock stem & drops. Brooks tape.
  • Crankset: Sugino RD2 w/48t chainring
  • Rear cog: EAI 17t
  • Chain: Izumi Eco
  • Pedals: forget name. Sometimes switch for clipless.
  • Retention: YNOT straps.
  • Saddle: Brooks B17

Notes on Changes

  • 5/2/24 – put on Brooks B17 leather saddle (black). Feels better than stock saddle straight away, though should improve over time.
  • 4/30/24 – put on new wheelset & tires (Archetypes + DT Swiss hubs + GP5000 28s). Changing a few things at a time here but generally happy with it. I think the biggest thing is probably moving from 23s to 28s which definitely seems to affect ride feel on bumpier surfaces etc.

Component Considerations

Listing components etc. that I find potentially interesting or want to learn more about. Or other questions that I want to investigate further.


Generally, I like traditional steel tube framesets. Some specific framesets I like or am interested in:

In general, want to learn more about the details of different geometries. How much variation is there? What are the tradeoffs? Similarly, want to learn more about different types of steels, different types of lugs. How perceptible are these differences, really?


The Kilo TT pro is made from Reynolds 520 Chromoly (Chrome-Moly) Steel. What is that? What is steel in the first place? From wiki. Some hyper basics:

  • Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon with improved strength and fracture resistance compared to other forms of iron.
  • Iron is always the main element in steel, but many other elements may be present or added

What is Reynolds 520? From their site:

With similar properties to our original 531 steel brand alloy. For cycling, these are mandrel butted for accurate profiles, and are available in a wide range of shapes. Weight savings from butting provide competitively priced, light framesets. The Reynolds “520” range uses the same alloy, made under license for us in Taiwan and subject to the same quality standards.

Here is a PDF with some details about this steel.

Seems that 520 series is based on their “4130 seamless and cold-drawn/welded Cr-Mo” which is made in Taiwan and China. 525 is a welded “Cold-Drawn Chrome Molybdenum Steel”. It has a “strength” of 800 MPa and stiffness of 207 GPa. I note that stiffness is similar across all the Reynolds materials in this list, while strength varies.

What is cr-mo or chromoly steel? Here is the wiki. It is a steel alloyed with chromium and molybdenum. These steels have “excellent strength to weight ratio and are considerably stronger and harder than standard 1020 steel, but are not easily welded”. Chromium is also what’s in stainless steel; but the percentage in CrMo is not as high.

What’s the deal with steel in bikes? Why do people like it? (“steel is real”) Here is one article. First there are some points about ride quality of steel:

Fans of Steel talk about “spring-y,” “lively,” “elastic,” and with an immeasurable riding sensation when they explain what it feels like to ride a steel bike.

Here is an interesting perspective from one steel rider:

It always felt important to me to know where my bike came from, to understand the design decisions – to see the hand of a craftsperson on these objects that bring us so much joy. At the end of the day, bikes are a vector for relationships: our relationship with the world, with ourselves, and with other people. I want to make the choice that enables and deepens those relationships. Steel makes that easier for me, it turns out

Sheldon Brown also has an article on frame materials. He emphasizes the difference between stiffness and strength. According to brown, “stiffness” is about how much a material flexes for a given level of force, and is what affects ride quality. Here is the wiki for stiffness. A key claim is that stiffness is mostly the same for any type of steel:

Anybody that tells you that a particular brand of steel (or aluminum, or titanium) is “lighter” or “stiffer” than another brand or model is blowing smoke.

Aluminum and titanium are both less stiff than steel in general; but when making a bike you have the option of e.g. how thick of material to use which also affects stiffness.

In general, Brown claims that stiffness really doesn’t have that much impact on ride quality. Brown says:

Much of the commonplace B.S. that is talked about different frame materials relates to imagined differences in vertical stiffness. It will be said that one frame has a comfy ride and absorbs road shocks, while another is alleged to be harsh and make you feel every crack in the pavement. Virtually all of these “differences” are either the imaginary result of the placebo effect, or are caused by something other than the frame material choice.

TODO: I want to learn more about Kaisei steel.

Frame Geometry

Geometry does matter somewhat for ride quality (from the same Sheldon Brown article linked above):

The frame feature that does have some effect on road shock at the rump is the design of the rear triangle. This is one of the reasons that touring bikes tend to have long chainstays – they put the rider forward of the rear wheel. Short chainstays give a harsh ride for the same reason that you bounce more in the back of a bus than in the middle…if you’re right on top of the wheel, all of the jolt goes straight up


Another thing I hear people talk about is different sorts of steel frame construction. On option is lugged construction. Which is a “method of building bicycle frames using steel tubing mated with socket-like sleeves, called lugs”. The other option is welding?

Why do people like lugs? One point is the aesthetic. But another interesting point from wiki:

Lugged steel frame can be repaired more easily than MIG or TIG welded steel frames; a broken tube can be removed by the application of heat to un-braze (known as sweating) its joints, enabling tube replacement.

Lugging is historically also the most traditional way of assembling a frame, apparently; and steel is the most traditional material.


In general, should/will probably upgrade to something 144 bcd soon.

  • Sugino 75 - standard. Worth? e.g.

I am wondering how much difference I will notice with nicer BB / cranks etc. My main priorities here are ride feel and durability.


  • Aarn – seems like these are a bit trendy, but the look is cool for sure and build quality seems good.

Track Bike Heritage

Japan / NJS


  • List of builders: Nagasawa, 3Rensho, Makino, Kalavinka, Level, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Samson, Shimano, Nitto, Hatta, MKS, Kashimax, and Sugino
  • “Since its beginning, the bicycle frames used in Keirin races have been made from chromoly steel.” (wiki)
  • Some notes in a reddit thread

Influential builders:

  • Nagasawa
    • Blog post:

      Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Nagasawa Special bikes gained prominence on the Keirin circuit. Moreover they were admired for their meticulous construction, responsiveness, and speed. Each frame is handcrafted with exceptional precision, showcasing Nagasawa’s mastery of steel frame construction. The signature characteristics of a Nagasawa NJS bike include a tight rear triangle and steep angles. Additionally they had a distinctive lugged steel frame, often finished with elaborate paintwork and chrome detailing.

    • Japan Times on Nagasawa
  • 3Rensho - “San Rensho”.
    • Founded by Konno. “taught himself frame building by dismantling Cinelli framesets. So, his early designs and builds were quite simular to the Italian brand. He then designed his own BB shells, fork crowns, fork ends and custom cut lugs.”
    • Makino was an apprentice to Konno.
  • Makino
    • “Mr. Makino built a reputation by constructing very ornate, precision fitting lugs”

Italy / Pista

  • Colnago Super Pista
    • Ernesto Colnago, one of the pioneers and most innovative manufactures of the cycling history. He maintains that he ”was born to build bicycles”, and as it happened – after an apprenticing period at Gloria’s factory and working as professional mechanic for several racing teams – Ernesto Colnago started producing high-end steel frames. Colnago was founded in 1952.
    • During the 1970s Colnago was regarded as one of the best builders of custom steel-frames. Many champions rode and achieved several winnings riding Colnago frames. In 1972, Eddy Merckx set the world hour record in Mexico riding a custom made Colnago.
  • Mario Rossin - “He worked for years in the Colnago welding department and knows all the secrets of tubes and welding. He’s a wizard at measuring the athletes and making individually tailored frames”
  • Cinelli Super Corsa Pista
  • Pinarello
  • Bianchi Pista / Super Pista.

  • Campagnolo components

TODO: Learn more about this.

Places to buy