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Name that trend

Old 11-09-11, 09:42 PM
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Mercian Rider
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Name that trend

My entry point to cycling was the 70s bike boom. I haven't engaged in online discussion of vintage bikes for a decade.

Then I come here recently, and see here and elsewhere on the internet, a trend I never expected. It seems to consist of taking 70s-80s vintage lightweights, and customizing them in various ways that to me aren't part of the era I remember (not that that should limit annyone's creativity).

I'm talking about hammered fenders, shellac and twine on cotton bar tape, and the whole Velo Orange phenomenon. I have no problem with it--in fact I think it's great. It seems to express an attention to detail, and adding back parts and accessories that at least in the U.S. bike boom era would have been shunned (like fenders) or simply didn't occur in my experience (like shellac and twine), but are useful and/or beautiful. I see it as a blending of traditions of different eras--It also seems to include the elevation of working class bikes, like cargo bikes, to works of art-porteur? (I have no problem with that either) I see it here and on the EcoVelo and lovelybikes, etc., and it's even showing up in the central Ohio's urban bike scene.

I'm tempted to call it "Gentrified Vintage" but I feel that might be viewed as having a negative conotation, which I do not intend.

I think there's some utiliity in identifying the trend to distinguish it from the era when a lot these bikes were sold. I mean, when someone asks, "what are the correct fenders for a 70s-something Mercian" (a real question asked here), I have to ask, fenders--what fenders?--saw lots of Mercians in the 70s, none with fenders, at least not on this side of the Atlantic.

So wat do you call this trend?

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Old 11-09-11, 09:45 PM
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nouveau vintage
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Old 11-09-11, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
nouveau vintage
I really like that. Any others?
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Old 11-09-11, 09:54 PM
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Fundamentalist. As in a fundamentalist religion. Meaning an unreasonably strong hankering for an idealized past that never actually existed.
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Old 11-09-11, 09:59 PM
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Your view is totally US-centric though. In the UK and Europe fenders were used, and most riders were more practical about things like that.

I have to agree about the shellac and twine. Even though I think it is firmly rooted in the French cyclotouring going way back, I find it silly at best.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Otis View Post
Your view is totally US-centric though. In the UK and Europe fenders were used, and most riders were more practical about things like that.

I have to agree about the shellac and twine. Even though I think it is firmly rooted in the French cyclotouring going way back, I find it silly at best.
Yes, I'm aware Brits/French used fenders (mudguards) throughout the period.
As I observed in another thread:

"Let me illustrate the above point by quoting British cyclist/writer J.B. "Jock" Wadley, who rode the local double century "TOSRV" in 1972. He said the following in an article published in the British magazine Cycling: "The relucatance--indeed the refusal--of even experianced riders to use mudguards puzzled me, particularly since on the entry forms the organizers mentioned that there had been rain on every TOSRV so far." From The Mighty TOSRV by Greg and June Siple (1986)."


But is that to say the U.S. forum members are consciously aiming for a Brit club bike over the same bike as it would have been set up in the U.S.? Or is it, as I surmise, a blend of traditions for which there is no "correct" even though the question gets asked? And even granting that fenders were common across the pond, there seems to be a level of embelishment and accessorizing that I don't recall seeing in any one tradition.

Last edited by Mercian Rider; 11-09-11 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:30 PM
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Just read EcoVelo use the term "Neo-Retro" on facebook to describe some Paul cantilever brakes. Not far from "nouveau vintage."

Two apt oxymorons.

Last edited by Mercian Rider; 11-09-11 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:48 PM
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I think the blending idea is more generally accurate than an idealization of the past, though there is a certain "neo-retro" trend as well among manufacturers, making things in an older style but with modern improvements. Paul uses the term for their cantilever brakes, I don't know if they coined the term but I love seeing stuff like that on the market.

I sort of think of this trend as "taking back the bike" from the stereotypical narrow interests of various modern bike types. Using older bikes with some newer utilitarian add-ons is cheap differentiation. On the other hand, a lot of us just prefer the look and feel of older bikes, and some of that stuff ties in well with the older bikes aesthetically, even if not historically.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:49 PM
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I think there's a real element of Europhilia involved. Bikes in America were almost entirely 45 lb ballooners till the bike boom when we were too baffled by deraillers to notice that quality control at Worksop had diminished significantly since the takeover. And then it was back to balooners with the mountain bike thing. There never seems to have been many elegant bikes coming from America so we emulate what we think they were doing over there, which seems to be a little media distorted.
My vintage addiction began with Raleigh 3 speeds. They all had fenders. My 10 speeds tend to emulate my 3 speeds. Then again, I rarely ride in the rain so "embelishment" might be a good word for what I do. "Vanity"? Yeah, I take pride in finding fenders rusty enough to look like they might have come with the bike. The neighbors don't get it. I think my wife is catching on. Maybe she's just pretending.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Yeah, I take pride in finding fenders rusty enough to look like they might have come with the bike.
The slightly rusty fenders strikes a chord with me--I have a set of well-used painted steel fenders from an otherwise trashed Raleigh Gran Prix that are waiting for the right bicycle.

Last edited by Mercian Rider; 11-09-11 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 11-09-11, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Otis View Post
Your view is totally US-centric though. In the UK and Europe fenders were used, and most riders were more practical about things like that.

I have to agree about the shellac and twine. Even though I think it is firmly rooted in the French cyclotouring going way back, I find it silly at best.
It's politically correct bondage.
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Old 11-09-11, 11:07 PM
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I've also collected old stuff for years. Nostalgia, maybe but I tend to go for stuff that was made before I was born so it's not my childhood I'm trying to relive.
We have a small income and 3 kids so budget is a big consideration for me. I can build a pretty sweet old steel Raleigh for well under a hundred bucks. Or I could get a Huffy from Target. But then we live in a small house now so the stuff I have has to be useful. And the house is in the hills. So I need gear ratios never offered back then. The challenge becomes finding a crank with a good granny that doesn't look stupid on a 40 year old bike. Then finding deraillers that will deal with that kind of gear range, and the patina has to match. One shiny new black plastic thing will throw the whole thing off.
Maybe I'm different from the whole Velo Orange thing, though that stuff is really pretty. I do like twine, but that's leftover from my sailing days.
I don't have any ideas for a name but I think there's a relation to the steam punk thing.
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Old 11-09-11, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Maybe I'm different from the whole Velo Orange thing, though that stuff is really pretty.
I think the VO stuff looks good too, but I have no plans to spend that much when I can scavange most of what I want.

Here's another angle to this--has this trend started to cross from the niche market to the the mass market? Bikesdirect now has a lugged steel Motobecane, Raleigh reintroduced a lugged steel International, and the very nouveau vintage Clubman and Port Townsend, Pashley offers the Guv'nor, Trek has the Bellevillle, etc.

And most local bike stores not only carry Brooks, but several styles--not true 10 years ago.

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Old 11-10-11, 12:01 AM
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As a kid I always removed the fenders from various bikes that I bashed together from parts. Fenders didn't look cool to me then, and I was certain that the weight difference was important on these heavy steel-wheeled and gaspipe-framed bicycles Also, it made them minimalist and ten-speed-like.
Going forward thirty years, finding my early '60s Rudge three speed...without fenders...showed me how much my tastes had changed. Why in the name of all things holy would someone have removed the fenders?

I'll play the name game. Euro-Retro? SurvivorChic? RusticoVelocentric?
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Old 11-10-11, 12:25 AM
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Euro steampunk with high polish? Just kidding.
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Old 11-10-11, 06:09 AM
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Nothing new under the sun, they say, so it must be based on some sort of nostalgia I guess, like young kids these days bringing back the Hippie style, etc. There is a split here, however, perhaps worth noting. I have nothing against the upgrading and customizing thing, the VO and Riv phenom, but I personally prefer the old 70's bikes in their original livery with as-issued parts. That can present its own level of obsession of course.
What to call it? I have no idea.
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Old 11-10-11, 06:15 AM
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Practimizing.

practial
optimize
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Old 11-10-11, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Practimizing.
Robbie, very close, but you need another "t": Practimitizing
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Old 11-10-11, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Nothing new under the sun, they say, so it must be based on some sort of nostalgia I guess, like young kids these days bringing back the Hippie style, etc. There is a split here, however, perhaps worth noting. I have nothing against the upgrading and customizing thing, the VO and Riv phenom, but I personally prefer the old 70's bikes in their original livery with as-issued parts. That can present its own level of obsession of course.
What to call it? I have no idea.
^ proto-velo.
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Old 11-10-11, 06:21 AM
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I like it !
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Old 11-10-11, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I like it !
It sounds better with an Italian accent though.
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Old 11-10-11, 06:42 AM
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Mellow Velo
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Old 11-10-11, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
It sounds better with an Italian accent though.
Reminds me of a big brown Italian mushroom.

I never cottoned to the moniker "Retrogrouch", but I suppose I are one.

Mellow-Retro-Velo-Grouch?
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Old 11-10-11, 07:18 AM
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fenders always looked goofy to me as a kid. The stripe up your back was a sign of how tough you were to ride in the rain. I have never owned a bike with fenders but for some reason I find myself looking at bikes on here with fenders and thinking I kinda like them on certain bikes. I was thinking of adding them to my Centurion.

The movie term for it would be reimagine.
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Old 11-10-11, 07:29 AM
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Practissimo

or for the francophiles

Practisienne
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