Thanks for the kind words, which I have cut & pasted here,
just so I could read them twice!!!!!!!! (That's EIGHT exclamation
To state my case and to add to your post, I am a racer who happens
to build frames, and not the other way around! Because of the era I
began in, or in spite of it, my tubes are joined with lugs. To fast
forward, the idea is to join tubes at their ends. How it's done is so
much less important than that it's done well. No news here. It's
mostly a case of economics. But since I arrived at this earlier, my
interest in 'staying' with lugs is partially due to the fact that, as a one
man shop kinda' insulated from many of the geek trends that affect and
sway industry and consumer trends, I have never had to make some
changes just for the sake of change. I can't use the word, 'mystique',
as you did, but I believe I have a client base because people trust
my judgement and know that I have experiences to offer that the
average vendor down at the mall doesn't.
To address your point though, the average age of my client is
actually getting lower, NOT higher!!!!!!!! (EIGHT...). I'd venture a
guess that 25-39 years old covers the question.
Though I use lugs to join my tubes, I am not making replicas of
frames from another era. All the pipes are what are considered
oversize and thin walled. I don't use non-round pipes in the main
triangle, nor do I use carbon seat stay thingys. And I make my own
forks!!!!!!! All the frames weigh 3.5-4 pounds, a stat I offer up since
so much of the geek stuff is weight related.
My involvement in the sport, and sponsoring successful racing teams
through the years has helped as additional 'calling card', if you will.
I think the 25-39 year olds that come to me these days appreciate that
fact and realize that they are investing in a well-made and balanced
frame, and one with some added finishing touches that can't be found
on frames made en masse.
These days, frames made with lugs are oftened viewed as 'period
pieces', or made 'as they did in the good ol' days'. Worse yet, frames
made with lugs are almost always pigeonholed as 'art bikes', too
nice to ride, much less taken seriously in today's tech-oriented
environment. Embracing technology does not have to only mean
using the 'latest' or the 'newest', though mass producers may have
to because of the economics involved in successfully making and
marketing bikes aimed a the 'mall' client. I don't think independent
framebuilders have to dance to this tune. People on this list may
rethink their priorities and realize that making a frame with
'this year's flavor' material choice doesn't have to be the only
option for making the best quality frame possible.
Lastly, your words, "We should be taking it to the mass manufacturers
and not being put on the defensive by them", are extremely poignant
and worth repeating daily.
Typing over!!!!!!!!