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Preserving Vintage vs. Safeguarding Classic

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Preserving Vintage vs. Safeguarding Classic

Old 03-26-23, 11:23 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie

For example - I recently picked up a 1985 Serotta frameset for $350, which may have been a bit overpriced but I liked it. Now, who can build me something any better than that?
Originally Posted by squirtdad
Probably Dave Kirk, who built many of the custom Serrrotas.
what people don't always understand, is that design (even subtle) and tubing have kept improving

here is an interesting read that covers that subject as part of the overall read 753 vs. 953 | Kirk Frameworks
Yep, I'd agree with this. I mean it's subjective but over the past two years I've let my Serotta Nova Special and beautiful riding Serotta CSI bikes go. I've kept the David Kirk built Fishlips bike and the Kirk Terraplane. To me, they are better bikes.
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Old 03-26-23, 11:31 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
To hone my point it more effectively is I dispute the assignment of great skill onto traditional lugged frame building. The skill is very basic when it comes to metal craft, well established and extremely similar across the practice, wether homemade or batch produced as was done by the halo brands people fawn over. Lugged frame building requires very limited equipment easily obtained. I am not sure what you are looking to maintain as there is no shortage currently of frame builders, processes are clearly documented and easily reproduced by no shortage of individuals.

There are numerous courses available to teach complete neophytes how to build a frame in a few weeks. YouTube has tutorials and no shortage of dedicated suppliers.
https://www.framebuilding.com/
https://framebuildersupply.com/
https://www.bikefabsupply.com/
https://cycle-frames.com/
Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
There is no question that to produce something so detailed and for a reasonable cost is amazing and takes incredible skill. You are making my point though the art is not dying but rather evolving to an even higher expression of talent. I am a certified welder and tool & die maker it’s the creative eye, efficiency and patience which is on display beautifully with your bike which I don’t possess. All that said the traditional lugged performance bikes produced by the popular names back in the 70’s can easily be made today by whatever quantities the market can support.
Welding is well under stood technology, with many variations (stick, mig, tig, wire etc ) applying your thinking about building a frame, it would be easy for any one to weld, but I would bet your first beads did not like what you do now

Building a frame involves design, mechanical skill, torch skills, understanding what sequence to braze. Easy to build a frame, lot more difficult to build a well designed, well brazed and straight frame
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Old 03-26-23, 11:39 AM
  #53  
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years ago, the travelling titanic museum came to boston, and it was amazing to see for me. as a lover of old machinery, nothing is more thrilling that an engine room or operating gear of an ocean liner from that era with all the gleaming brass and exposed noisy machinery that today we call the steampunk look. in the room where the actually huge hand made forward section model (that was in the james cameron movie) of the broken vessel laying imbedded in the sand amid a debris field, around the periphery of the room were various actual artifacts recovered from the wreck, including the actual lifeboat davits. i snuck across the ropes when nobody was looking and touched the cool metal of the davit and imagined a connection to that night and the energy that was happening then.

so how does this relate to vintage bikes? amongst my herd i have a 1956 viking tour of great britian, a 1955 olmo, an early 60's torpado professional that was raced in canada, a 1959 frejus TDF that was acquired from the original owner who raced it, a 1901 gormully Jeffrey, a 1950 claud butler... and when i ride them, it goes to the space in my head that does something that is hard to describe in words. i'm 68 with a finicky knee, so hard riding is in the rear view mirror, but riding a very vintage bike just feels stately, connected to an era that i like. i can imagine all the riders who enjoyed those machines on the many years, the roads and scenery they viewed, the cars (or carriages) that they shared the road with. those bikes were there, functioning and alive in that time period. am i just being silly and waxing romantic? maybe, but you don't have to go very fast to get some breeze on your face, and a few snappy corners can reveal the old thoroughbred under your saddle... the flex and give of wooden rims.

Modern bikes are at the beginning of their stories, and i can respect the engineering and expertise that goes into new technology, but there is the energy of history in the elder steeds of yesteryear, and if you have the right amount of romanticism or sappiness cursing through your veins, it's the best therapy for the soul.

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Old 03-26-23, 12:29 PM
  #54  
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I believe the OP is making a distinction between protecting a set of objects (old bicycles) versus protecting the craft of frame building itself. I think a case of the second might be found in Richard Sachs collaborating with the late Dario Pegoretti to get a set of tubes from Columbus to support traditional brazed frames. I think Richard was again doing the second in working to design and hire production for a set of lugs and bottom brackets. If you let the tools and raw materials fall by the wayside, you're not protecting the craft of frame building. To my mind, Richard Sachs as well as Kirk Pacenti have worked to preserve material access as mainstream high end frame building has moved principally to carbon fiber.
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Old 03-26-23, 12:51 PM
  #55  
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@Kilroy1988 and all others.

I often tell people, those who already know, and those who don't that "framebuilding is where blacksmithing meets jewelry making" dirty, nasty, arduous to begin with and brutally tedious in the end, including paint whether done by the builder or not, all leading up to Picasso level art IMO.

So framebuilding having some of its roots in actual blacksmithing absolutely has cultural significance, again IMO.

Many cultures were shaped, advanced and forever changed by metal working that was both technological and artistic, thereby becoming cultural as well.

This is all mostly and obviously over my head despite my thinking that I think I think about this sort of thing.

That being said I would encourage you to consider Dave Levy at TiCycles and what Battaglin is doing again as well as Andy Newlands at Strawberry and Jim Merz who have over 50 years experience each, have seen a lot of social and cultural change in the world and business, two of the more current things affected by and affecting all of this.
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Old 03-26-23, 01:53 PM
  #56  
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I don't think we're far enough removed from the era when the 'classic' style of steel framebuilding was the only practical means of producing top tier frames (and later still the most practical means of producing custom frames) for us to consider it a part of anyone's cultural heritage. If 50 years from now people are still producing in the style of Herse, Pegoretti, Yamaguchi, etc. for the sake of tradition, then it could be considered something worthy of cultural protection, but realistically this art hasn't proven to be a durable tradition yet. Consider that framebuilding as practiced in the 1880's or 1910's did not (aside from specialist reproducers) survive as a tradition once the generations who could remember those bikes fondly passed away, so it's still far too early to know whether the bikes of the second half of the 20th century will remain of interest once the people who recall them with nostalgia are no longer around to support their continued production.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:07 PM
  #57  
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Good afternoon, all,

I'm afraid I can't answer everyone directly as I was busy last night and this morning and am preparing to make sixty dolmades using grape leaves that I cured last year, as this is the last day of my spring break before launching back into class work!

A few things I've already mentioned in scattered responses from yesterday seem worth emphasizing. Firstly, I am not trying to make an argument for any tradition of classic steel frame building, whether it is broadly categorized across national boundaries or narrowly defined within a specific region or style, as having merit for inclusion on such a widely recognized scale as the UNESCO Representative List for ICH. I am using the UNESCO model as an example to explain what ICH is generally characterized by, but my project will not in any way engage with the level of bureaucratic or institutional modeling required for the nomination of a tradition for that list or any others of that nature.

I am trying to define some kind of tradition of steel frame building which can be directly associated with the economic and cultural trend for collecting and riding vintage bicycles of the same sort. In other words, I want to distinguish some form of frame building that has cultural significance as a craft and also as a medium for creating social and cultural interactions like those that we enjoy engaging in on this forum and at events and especially among frame builders or between them and their clientele. I am leaning towards a regional focus such as the current classic steel frame production in the UK, where I will not face language barriers, and where several marques are still present which have historical roots going back to the mid-20th century, and where I personally know many serious collectors and riders of vintage bicycles with whom to engage on the "preservation" side of the scene.

All of this feedback, including critical commentary, is useful, because I am not trying to make an argument but to define something that can indeed appear nebulous - and which at this point certainly is. I literally started the project yesterday with this thread, for goodness sake! This is something that will take months or even years to accomplish, although I hope to have at least one facet of the project coordinated enough to use as the basis for my capstone research project in the MA program I'm enrolled in, which will occur during the fall semester this year.

Please keep the comments coming, but in particular, besides the debate about what kind of definition I am using and what I am meaning to safeguard, I would go back to the initial comments and a few that have occurred since then where individuals specifically stated their preferences for purchasing, maintaining and riding vintage bicycles as opposed to new frames (or vice versa). I started this project backwards, so to speak, as the opinions that will obviously be most important for the fomulation of my thesis will be those of the frame builders themselves, whom I have yet to engage. From the "community" perspective, my initial question about "vintage vs classic" is something that I think can be best answered in this forum, and I would appreciate as much additional feedback addressing that specific distinction as possible here.

Unless my ideas change dramatically (which they might) the general question being asked is something like "does the fact that quality steel bicycles remain serviceable for many decades and often gain cultural and monetary value with age decrease the likelihood that those interested in collecting or riding such bicycles will purchase new ones now or in the future? Is the maintenance of the tradition associated with historic brands diminished as more frames are produced and the used market continues to receive widespread favor among collectors?" The purpose of the study will be to assess past and current threats to this industry within the context of steel bicycle culture (i.e. excluding outside impacts such as the popularity of new materials like carbon fiber) and see if any light can be shed on potential future impacts or trends in the production of classic steel bicycles within traditional environments.

Thank you!

-Gregory

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Old 03-26-23, 02:21 PM
  #58  
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I, like a couple other folks here, am also involved in railway preservation. Steam locomotives haven't been viable since the middle of the last century, and yet, the traditions and culture to maintain these pieces still exists today. I help with a 1941 steam locomotive, which uses technology dating back to the 1830s. If we cannot find original parts, we can have them made (at often considerable cost). I suspect there are far fewer folks in the railroad preservation field than in cycling. And yet, the traditions of maintaining this ancient and obsolete technology exists today.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:27 PM
  #59  
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Like Dave Moulton suggests, find a used FUSO and ride it. That’s what it was built for.
Ah Joo, the collector, also says why not just ride them?

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Old 03-26-23, 02:37 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by smd4
I, like a couple other folks here, am also involved in railway preservation. Steam locomotives haven't been viable since the middle of the last century, and yet, the traditions and culture to maintain these pieces still exists today. I help with a 1941 steam locomotive, which uses technology dating back to the 1830s. If we cannot find original parts, we can have them made (at often considerable cost). I suspect there are far fewer folks in the railroad preservation field than in cycling. And yet, the traditions of maintaining this ancient and obsolete technology exists today.
That's a fascinating thing to be involved with - I love visiting railroad museums when given the opportunity (there are several fine ones here in California). The preservation of the technology as you are discussing it is akin to the "preserving vintage" that I am discussing from the perspective of the collector and rider of vintage bicycles. Where your example differs from that idea significantly is the fact that, as you rightly mentioned, the steam locomotive is obsolete as a regular form of transportation. "Safeguarding the intangible heritage" of steam locomotives is a ship that's already sailed, as that would have entailed the continued production and maintenance of steam locomotives for the sake of maintaining the original utility associated with that technology, including at least some fraction of the companies and handed-down traditions regarding all of the inputs and outputs involved in the process of their construction and functional use without relegating them to exhibit halls or looped tracks.

A good, simple example to contrast with the bicycle situation would be the production of copper coffee pots such as the džezva in Bosnia, of which many millions more have been produced over the past few decades than there would ever be need of. However, people in societies that use these objects on a daily basis simply expect to purchase new ones every now and then, and to gift them and to sell them in tourist shops, etc. The traditional craft of copperwork is thriving in the Balkans and Turkey and beyond for the production of household wares primarily because more value has been placed on maintaining that tradition and emphasis on purchasing new objects rather than assigning any kind of sentimental or special monetary value to old products. This is, generally speaking, what could be considered a high level of "cultural safeguarding" and is an ideal situation for the maintenance of any craft - sustainability through regular social expectations within the communities where the craft is being maintained.

-Gregory
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Old 03-26-23, 02:38 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by RustyJames
I have a history degree that I use 0.0% but I think I am getting the flavor of what is being proposed.

If’n I was going to write a masters thesis involving the craft and culture of steel bicycles I would start with the craft of building and narrow it down to 3 builders. If I was keeping it US focused I would pick a builder that is at least 2nd generation (Waterford?), 1 that has been doing it for at least 40 years and one that has started recently. Luckily, I live in city with a vibrant frame building scene so finding people with a lot of skill/knowledge would be easy-ish.

The cultural part would be far too broad for a thesis IMHO unless, for example, you focused on groups associated with a builder. FB would be the obvious go-to since there are many such niche groups.

Best of luck Gregory. My senior thesis (bachelor) was a grind and I was spent at the end but if you want to know about revival of traditional Hawaiian culture under King David Kalakaua, I’m your guy!
I know that song.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:42 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by lasauge
I don't think we're far enough removed from the era when the 'classic' style of steel framebuilding was the only practical means of producing top tier frames (and later still the most practical means of producing custom frames) for us to consider it a part of anyone's cultural heritage. If 50 years from now people are still producing in the style of Herse, Pegoretti, Yamaguchi, etc. for the sake of tradition, then it could be considered something worthy of cultural protection, but realistically this art hasn't proven to be a durable tradition yet. Consider that framebuilding as practiced in the 1880's or 1910's did not (aside from specialist reproducers) survive as a tradition once the generations who could remember those bikes fondly passed away, so it's still far too early to know whether the bikes of the second half of the 20th century will remain of interest once the people who recall them with nostalgia are no longer around to support their continued production.
Maybe so, but again blacksmithing which begat framebuilding is a huge part of the "advancement" of civilization so this is a far bigger topic than plenty of other things that already qualify and one that is not completely lost to the ravages of time, yet.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:43 PM
  #63  
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I get hung up on the application of the term culture here. I'm not sure there is a connected mass large enough worldwide to be considered a definable culture with regard to custom made steel bicycles.

When I think of the cultural relationships that bicycles have to groups, I think of the Dutch oma/opafiets bicycle within that culture. I think of the English three speed. I think of the Italian "sport/city" bike. French rando, maybe. They could be custom bikes, but certainly didn't need to be, and most of the time were not. Were those cultures not better served by the availability of product, than by the small-time local guy who couldn't possibly provide for demand? Bicycle racing is important within some cultures, but technology has moved on there.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:46 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by smd4
I, like a couple other folks here, am also involved in railway preservation. Steam locomotives haven't been viable since the middle of the last century, and yet, the traditions and culture to maintain these pieces still exists today. I help with a 1941 steam locomotive, which uses technology dating back to the 1830s. If we cannot find original parts, we can have them made (at often considerable cost). I suspect there are far fewer folks in the railroad preservation field than in cycling. And yet, the traditions of maintaining this ancient and obsolete technology exists today.
With great power, comes great responsibility, railroads are another thing that advanced greatly on the back of metal work.
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Old 03-26-23, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher
I get hung up on the application of the term culture here. I'm not sure there is a connected mass large enough worldwide to be considered a definable culture with regard to custom made steel bicycles.
This is a good point to address. Much of the recognized "intangible cultural heritage" across the globe is far from being homogeneous and connected - it's the microcosms with unique traits that are fragile precisely because of the overwhelming influence of trends towards globalization which eventually overwhelm and cause the extinction of ICH. The definition of culture has nothing to do with its size or widespread appreciation - The UNESCO 2003 Convention on ICH states that in particular circumstances individual people may be the sole bearers of recognized cultural traditions.

All of the additional ideas you presented with a regional basis would fit the regular criteria neatly. That's exactly what I'm trying to get at - I am interested in focusing in on the "sub-culture" of one tradition or set of traditions associated with classic steel frame building at a regional scale. I will not be taking a global perspective nor do I think there is one to take.

-Gregory

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Old 03-26-23, 02:55 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by merziac
With great power, comes great responsibility, railroads are another thing that advanced greatly on the back of metal work.
Lots and lots of metal! Steel, brass, iron…
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Old 03-26-23, 05:59 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988
This is a good point to address. Much of the recognized "intangible cultural heritage" across the globe is far from being homogeneous and connected - it's the microcosms with unique traits that are fragile precisely because of the overwhelming influence of trends towards globalization which eventually overwhelm and cause the extinction of ICH. The definition of culture has nothing to do with its size or widespread appreciation - The UNESCO 2003 Convention on ICH states that in particular circumstances individual people may be the sole bearers of recognized cultural traditions.

All of the additional ideas you presented with a regional basis would fit the regular criteria neatly. That's exactly what I'm trying to get at - I am interested in focusing in on the "sub-culture" of one tradition or set of traditions associated with classic steel frame building at a regional scale. I will not be taking a global perspective nor do I think there is one to take.

-Gregory
Something is really off here and either this is AI generated exercise in trolling or something else is going on. Of all the metalworking and localized crafts you are studying what must be the least innovative least diverse processes during what was the most homogeneous time in that product’s development. Various frame builders purchased outsourced materials and assembled them with virtually identical staid long established techniques? A few finished them more and painted them fancier but that was it. From Raleigh to 3 Rensho they all used the same basic techniques and materials what “sub culture” could you possibly be looking for?
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Old 03-26-23, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Something is really off here and either this is AI generated exercise in trolling or something else is going on. Of all the metalworking and localized crafts you are studying what must be the least innovative least diverse processes during what was the most homogeneous time in that product’s development. Various frame builders purchased outsourced materials and assembled them with virtually identical staid long established techniques? A few finished them more and painted them fancier but that was it. From Raleigh to 3 Rensho they all used the same basic techniques and materials what “sub culture” could you possibly be looking for?
Wow. The sub-culture that still exists today to carry on these once widespread, highly popular processes. If you don't get it, the entire point of the exercise is to discover the cultural significance that is still attributed to the craft among the greatly reduced number of builders that still exist today as opposed to during the heyday, and to use their opinions of the craft, market trends and the opinions of those who interact with the craft (i.e. such as in this community) to discover whether or not there are indications that the production trends shall continue to decline, reach some kind of stagnation due to the likelihood of holdout interest among certain groups, or perhaps have some kind of re-emergence.

This is not a historical study. It's a study about the present state of things.

As I will not be able to reach out to builders in several nations and speak to them and their clients and others associated with the craft (such as employees at Columbus and Reynolds where they carry on the raw material production) I would like to focus on one region to try to apply a more focused perspective which, in the end, may be more insightful than attempting to coalesce too many ideas, opinions and statistics.

-Gregory

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Old 03-26-23, 06:32 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988
Wow. The sub-culture that still exists today to carry on these once widespread, highly popular processes. If you don't get it, the entire point of the exercise is to discover the cultural significance that is still attributed to the craft among the greatly reduced number of builders that still exist today as opposed to during the heyday, and to use their opinions of the craft, market trends and the opinions of those who interact with the craft (i.e. such as in this community) to discover whether or not there are indications that the production trends shall continue to decline, reach some kind of stagnation due to the likelihood of holdout interest among certain groups, or perhaps have some kind of re-emergence.

This is not a historical study. It's a study about the present state of things.

-Gregory
To start off how have you validated that there are declining numbers of steel frame builders? Every major community in the developed world has them from Austria to Columbia custom steel builders are plying their trade. Absolute production numbers may be down but not actual individual builders. For every storied builder who retires numerous pop up to replace them. Still have no clue what uniqueness or cultural significance you are looking for. A person wants a custom bike whatever reason either personal satisfaction or unique geometry and steel is by far the simplest and cheapest method which requires the least proprietary tooling and supplies all of which are readily available. Skills are easily learned and transferable from numerous other disciplines. Lastly some people just want steel and there are off the shelf solutions for that across the full market.

Take a look at this outdated and massively incomplete list.
https://theframebuilders.com/list/

It seems you have no clue about the actual process of building steel bicycles and are caught up in some romantic haze not based on any form of reality.
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Old 03-26-23, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
To start off how have you validated that there are declining numbers of steel frame builders? Every major community in the developed world has them from Austria to Columbia custom steel builders are plying their trade. Absolute production numbers may be down but not actual individual builders. For every storied builder who retires numerous pop up to replace them. Still have no clue what uniqueness or cultural significance you are looking for. A person wants a custom bike whatever reason either personal satisfaction or unique geometry and steel is by far the simplest and cheapest method which requires the least proprietary tooling and supplies all of which are readily available. Skills are easily learned and transferable from numerous other disciplines. Lastly some people just want steel and there are off the shelf solutions for that across the full market.

Take a look at this outdated and massively incomplete list.
https://theframebuilders.com/list/

It seems you have no clue about the actual process of building steel bicycles and are caught up in some romantic haze not based on any form of reality.
It is like you expect to know everything at the start of a project yet you are making some wild-ass assumptions yourself. I love it when people self own.
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Old 03-26-23, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
To start off how have you validated that there are declining numbers of steel frame builders?
I already mentioned (in however many words spread out through this conversation) that I am focusing on companies/builders that have a heritage behind them with actual vintage frames with their names on them that are collectable for the sake of the quality that the company/builder had in the past - not start-ups or people who have no history attached to their names. Cinelli, Tommasini, Hetchins, Mercian, Alex Singer, etc., those are examples of the focus brands/builders.

The question is whether the collection of these historical frames in an overall enthusiastic community has been a cause for the notable decline in the number such frames build by these old marques (or their complete disappearance) and their cultural heritage - which is an acquired, respected trait associated with their particular traditions of frame building.

You really don't seem to care about grasping what I'm attempting to do, so I suggest you don't bother trying to.

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 03-26-23 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 03-26-23, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by iab
It is like you expect to know everything at the start of a project yet you are making some wild-ass assumptions yourself. I love it when people self own.
Honestly, it's great feedback, however useless it might seem on the face of things - I expect people within communities like these to be among those who might actually find the study useful, so I need to be able to address these sharp, irrelevant criticisms right off the bat to be able to focus on what's actually being studied!

-Gregory
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Old 03-26-23, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
To start off how have you validated that there are declining numbers of steel frame builders? Every major community in the developed world has them from Austria to Columbia custom steel builders are plying their trade. Absolute production numbers may be down but not actual individual builders. For every storied builder who retires numerous pop up to replace them. Still have no clue what uniqueness or cultural significance you are looking for. A person wants a custom bike whatever reason either personal satisfaction or unique geometry and steel is by far the simplest and cheapest method which requires the least proprietary tooling and supplies all of which are readily available. Skills are easily learned and transferable from numerous other disciplines. Lastly some people just want steel and there are off the shelf solutions for that across the full market.

Take a look at this outdated and massively incomplete list.
https://theframebuilders.com/list/

It seems you have no clue about the actual process of building steel bicycles and are caught up in some romantic haze not based on any form of reality.
Looks like you are confused again.
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Old 03-26-23, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Looks like you are confused again.
Rather than relying on religious dogma please rebut the points made.
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Old 03-26-23, 08:20 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Rather than relying on religious dogma please rebut the points made.
No need, you're doing fine on your own.
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