I was majorly excited to snatch up a Duarte SLX frame on ebay last night, and it got bid up 2 seconds before the auction ended, so I missed the chance to ante up. I'm on the lookout for another but don't have very high hopes. But this got me thinking...
The main reason I would prefer a Duarte to any other equal or perhaps even slightly superior italian classic steel frame is that Duarte's position in cycling is pretty unique - a respected master frame builder from a developing country. That is extremely appealing to me, and has more allure personally than having something made within a sizable class of Italian masters from the heyday of racing on steel.
So I'm wondering, have there been any other highly skilled frame builders from the developing countries over the last few decades? I'm thinking Latin America, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia. Sometimes these places have vibrant artisan culture in this field or that, but no international exposure because of (1) an unfavorable currency exchange rate, (2) bias in first world markets, and (3) language barrier.
(for reference on duarte: http://www.cyclinginquisition.com/20...e-ongoing.html)