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  1. #1
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Can a Bike Have Soul?

    OK--here's the analogy: Some people might say that a home-grown tomato has a soul but a store-bought tomato does not. You might say that a coffee mug made on a potter's wheel has a soul but a plastic mug from WalMart does not. It could perhaps be said that a 1950s Ford truck has a soul but a modern Ford Taurus does not.

    So--using that (or any other) kind of mindset, could a bicycle be said to have a soul? (or maybe just soul as in rhythm and soul) And if the answer is yes, what makes it so?
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  2. #2
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    Every bike I have ridden with a Reynolds 531 frame demonstrated a heart full of soul. My '80's bikes with Tange steel frames also have a bit of soul, but in measured, polite amounts...not the robust soul of vintage British steel.

    Aluminum and carbon frames have all of the soul of the "high tech" factories where they are stamped out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Yes, I believe it can. It is a combination of the philosophy and passion that both the frame builder and the owner have towards cycling.

    55/Rad

  4. #4
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Rad 55 said it well...But my newer race bike has a special spirit I call upon when I am in the right mood...
    The memories my 11 year old road bike and I have been through...it has to retain those places/events as do I...I say yes.

  5. #5
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Soul, no

    Personality, yes!

  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    yah, I think so.
    A current De Rosa, Colnago, Pinarello etc. can have lots of go fast
    but a 1968 De Rosa Super Record, a 1972 Colnago super
    and for sure a 1974 Masi GC sure has Mojo!
    I do think it is in the tubes, the builders passion and whole
    gestalt of how the bike is put together.
    can I define it? no but here's a few components I think
    have soul.
    Brooks Team Pro saddle (or any brooks for that matter).
    Campy Super Record Gruppo with Ti bits
    Clement Seta Silks
    Suntour Superbe gruppo
    I just don't think that the modern stuff has the
    same "feel", its more precise (every Trek
    Madone will ride the same, every production
    bike gets the same treatment?)
    KOF builders have mojo, Baylis, Sachs, Moon, Don Ferris.
    Kirk Pacenti Lugs have mojo as do Sachs Newvex lugs.

    Ok, I've rambled and stumbled into retrogrouch land enough

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    I don't reserve a bike having soul to older bikes or custom or anything. I think it is all on the rider/owner. My Kona Roast has a soul. she has been screaming at me for the last year since I disabled her and pulled the parts off for a newer rig. I recently rebuilt her and she is back in action and better than ever.

  8. #8
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    ... could a bicycle be said to have a soul?
    Nope. Sorry. If there is any hunk of machinery that will eventually develop a soul it will be the computer. It's certainly not going to happen any time soon, but if Moore's Law continues it will eventually happen. Intelligent silicon based life crafted by the hand of man.

    Of course, Pamela Anderson had some silicon crafted by the hand of man (felt up by the hand of man too I suppose!) but it wasn't intelligent. That being said, her implants were probably much smarter than she.

    Edit: I should have stated felt up by the hand of men, many many men.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  9. #9
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  10. #10
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Ev My '80's bikes with Tange steel frames also have a bit of soul, but in measured, polite amounts...not the robust soul of vintage British steel.
    Not my Ritchey Tange tubeset.
    The bike leaps and claws up hills, kicking and spitting mud.

    The bike was red, red is the fastest color for a frame.
    I had to remove over 75% of the red paint just to keep the bike on the ground.
    But then I realized i had removed TOO much red and the bike was slowing...

    I added red peddles, seat, grips, cables, cages....even red hex skewers.
    I again have the perfect red\to black amount to have max speed and remain in control.

    I've probably hand picked most every stupid bolt on my fave bike, some of the bearings too.
    I fixed my friends bike and 'borrowed' his superior Sugino chainring bolts. Low...yes I told him.

    If you built it yourself..it's gotta have soul.

  11. #11
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Some of my bikes got soul.

    Some of my bikes are just superbad.

  12. #12
    Beausage is Beautiful Fugazi Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Aluminum and carbon frames have all of the soul of the "high tech" factories where they are stamped out.
    Boooo. Boo hiss. My Basso is aluminum and I'd say it has even more personality ("soul" isn't something I'll give a bike, unless I start calling myself God because I built it) than my old steel frame. I like it better. It feels better under me. But then, this is just a stock, unending debate that I don't think we need to really delve into again.

    Again, while I think maybe "soul" is the wrong word for it, I do think that there can be something more to something like a bike or what have you. To me, when it comes to manufacturered goods, that particular quality often comes out of the sort of process that produced it, as well as the intent behind the process. In my feeling, an injection-molded plastic cup at some local-economy-killing superstore isn't going to have the depth of personality and intrinsic quality to it that, say, one of these would.

    It's all so subjective, though. It's the kind of thing that you could argue about all day and never come to an agreement on (not that this is stopping me from arguing anyway).

    You can argue all day things like that steel frames and things like that have more soul than an AL or C frameset might, but I say that's bull. That deeper characteristic and value arent things that can be applied like a swath of paint to some broad category. So someone likes the feel of steel. That's fine. I like the feel of aluminum, and so it has more value, more "soul" to me. But even that's not enough to explain the personality of something like a bike. My bike has personality and value to me not just because it's light and responsive and such (though that certainly doesn't hurt), but because I built it myself and everything about it reflects me.

    So yeah....my answer is a conditional and slightly cranky yes.

  13. #13
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    The soul is in the ride and how the rider,bike and trail(or road) flow together.I watch water roll down the rocks of a river,that is how I want my bike to roll down the trail.There will be bikes that we love to ride but how that bike is ridden is where the soul comes from.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  14. #14
    Site ***** HaagenDas's Avatar
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    Go back to bed BB
    School years were the best days of my life. I used to get caned by middle aged women wearing high heels, stocking and glasses. Now I have to pay for it.

    1967-2005 Speargun Blue Malvern Star Boy's Bike - March 2005 Giant Upland

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  15. #15
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I find a couple of interesting notions floating around in this thread.

    First of all, I don't believe a bike has soul. I agree with others who say that it can have a personality. The perceived soul of the bike is IMHO the reaction one gets from riding it. It is primarily a byproduct of the rider's feelings for the bike.

    Secondly, I think that while there are many production frames which are robotically welded, that doesn't necessarily mean they are without personality. A bike's personality is itself a byproduct of what it's been through... and that's not just its production but also its use. Sure they may not all be different in the beginning but eventually they will attain their own uniqueness through the owner(s) and the "time" they've been subjected.

    Additionally, some of you need to read up on how carbon fibre bikes are produced. Many of them (especially the really high quality ones) are not "stamped out" in factories. Rather they are handmade and each sheet is layed up by a human being in an anologous manner to someone welding a steel frame. Fabricating a CF bike is kind of a combination of cooking/baking and dressmaking. A lot of manual skill and labour is involved in producing a carbon frame by hand and this primarily is why they are as expensive as they are. Just because it's high-tech does not mean there's no craftsmanship involved. As a matter of fact, the most high-tech pieces of equipment you'll find in the world are often produced with a very high-degree of manual craftsmanship. Many things that are technologically advanced are often handmade.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  16. #16
    Mind,Heart,Spirit Kokoro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius
    Nope. Sorry. If there is any hunk of machinery that will eventually develop a soul it will be the computer.
    If you have Windows installed on your computer then does that mean it's possessed?


    There are many cultures that believe that everything has a spirit, ki,chi,prana,force,whatever. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes you got a work at finding/melding with it. Sometimes a bit is borrowed from the craftsman that made it, sometimes a bit is borrowed from the rider.

  17. #17
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kokoro
    If you have Windows installed on your computer then does that mean it's possessed?
    No but Bill Gates certainly is. He's possessed by greed.

    There are many cultures that believe that everything has a spirit, ki,chi,prana,force,whatever ...
    Yes I know. And they're all wrong too. Rocks and trees don't have souls. What a bunch of hooey.
    Last edited by Doctor Morbius; 03-19-05 at 03:02 PM.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  18. #18
    don d.
    Guest
    My bikes have soul and former lives and future lives.
    Actually, all my "stuff" has to have soul.
    If it didn't, how could I possibly build an identity around it?


  19. #19
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaagenDas
    Go back to bed BB
    Me thinks he's been readin' some books 'bout spritual enlightenment lately. Some new age rubbish at that.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  20. #20
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaagenDas
    Go back to bed BB
    I can't find it. Can I borrow your GPS device?
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  21. #21
    Site ***** HaagenDas's Avatar
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    Tell me where you are and I'll post you directions.

    On a side note, if inanimate objects have souls then shouldn't they be accorded rights and priveleges?
    School years were the best days of my life. I used to get caned by middle aged women wearing high heels, stocking and glasses. Now I have to pay for it.

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  22. #22
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius

    Yes I know. And they're all wrong too. Rocks and trees don't have souls. What a bunch of hooey.
    To me, that negates yourself having one. Soul perhaps is a 'Term of choice' in that it has the ability to respond, or make choices.

    Why in the chem substrate does a Nautilus shell decide to make a perfect spiral?
    http://www.nexusjournal.com/Sharp_v4n1-pt04.html
    Trees respond to stimulus, rocks grow crystal lattices from matrix and vibrate.

    Life or 'animation' does not make something able to become aware of directions that an object can travel.

    Some objects are more animated than others, Existentialism dealt with this somewhat.

    Writer Sartre's 'Nausea' and 'Being and nothingness' are good works.
    Also, Buddism, Totemism and many 'occult' religeons impart a value to objects by the power they enable the culture that uses them.

    An
    + Icon for example.

    Bla.

    "Yes I know. And they're all wrong too. Rocks and trees don't have souls. What a bunch of hooey."

    In Japan you would be blind to order and chaos that makes the soul visable. Garden and you'll see.
    Rocks dislike being moved...plants too, unless a nicer position towards the sun.

    A plant can grow towards the light, but not direct the condition of it's seed fall. Chance.
    Metal grain is 'trained' to line up.

    I've met animals that were\are warriors. Not every animal\ plant has potential.
    Potential is cultivated.
    re: Buckmaster Fuller carbons and geo design.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 03-19-05 at 04:46 PM.

  23. #23
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    To me, that negates yourself having one. Soul perhaps is a 'Term of choice' in that it has the ability to respond, or make choices.

    Why in the chem substrate does a Nautilus shell decide to make a perfect spiral?
    http://www.nexusjournal.com/Sharp_v4n1-pt04.html
    Trees respond to stimulus, rocks grow crystal lattices from matrix and vibrate.

    Life or 'animation' does not make something able to become aware of directions that an object can travel.

    Some objects are more animated than others, Extra-extensionalism dealt with this somewhat.

    Writer Sartre's 'Nausea' and 'Being and nothingness' are good works.
    Also, Buddism, Totemism and many 'occult' religeons impart a value to objects by the power they enable the culture that uses them.

    An
    + Icon for example.

    Bla.

    "Yes I know. And they're all wrong too. Rocks and trees don't have souls. What a bunch of hooey."

    In Japan you would be blind to order and chaos that makes the soul visable. Garden and you'll see.
    Hmmmmm. When you get done with that pipe, could you pass it my way? I want to try some of what you're smokin' !
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  24. #24
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Tao. Good tea.
    Tondena rum and Barqs rootbeer.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    My Klein is newer but the frame is supposedly hand crafted in Wisconsin..That might impart soul.

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