From an upcoming interview in Vintage Bicycle Quarterly

(note: we were asked to keep ALL replies to no
more than three sentences. that was a tough one!)

VBQ:30 years ago, handmade bicycles were lighter and offered
more performance than mass-produced bikes. Today, superlight
(and very expensive) mass-produced bikes are available. Why
should somebody buy a handmade bike?

Richard Sachs: Industrial-made goods of any type are limited
in their quality. If one seeks quality, a hand-made bicycle is
a decent consideration, providing that the hand-maker has the
experience, set skills, and sensibility to get the job done.
Hand-made does not equal "better".

VBQ: Most people's bodies have similar proportions. How
important is it to ride a custom bike?

Richard Sachs: It's not that important at all. "Custom" need
not be about 1 mm here or 1 mm there, although it helps. "Custom",
a term grossly misused by the industry press, is about producing
to a quality level and to tolerances that cannot be met on an
assembly line.

VBQ: How about other materials, like carbon fiber or titanium?
Richard Sachs: They are all excellent. Bicycles of the highest
quality can be made using these materials.

VBQ: What "look" do you prefer in handbuilt bicycles? Should
they be as perfect as something made by a machine, or should
they show evidence of handwork?

Richard Sachs: I think it's up to the maker. There is no such
thing as a flaw, if it's in the original plan. However, most
artisans strive to produce "flawless." If they ever meet their
goal, they should quit; there'd be nothing left to attain. But
I have never seen a flawless bicycle.

VBQ: What do you think of investment-cast lugs (compared to stamped lugs)?
Richard Sachs: Unfortunately, some folks think of investment
cast lugs in a "use as-is" mentality. The process should be thought
of as a starting point to achieving excellence rather than a shortcut.

VBQ: Can you envision building fully integrated bikes with
custom racks, integrated fenders, designed as a complete unit
rather than a frame with "accessories?"

Richard Sachs: No. I trust the component makers
realize their part in the equation and can get the job done.

VBQ: Many of the old French cyclotouring bikes used very long
fork offsets (60 mm and more) with head angles of 72 or 73
degrees, to arrive at very low geometric trail figures (40 mm and
less). Do you think that is a useful geometry for long-distances?

Richard Sachs: My racing bicycles rarely have forks
with less than 50 mm rake, so my trails are less than most.
You could say that I agree
VBQ: What do you think of modern steels compared to the old ones,
like Reynolds 531 or Columbus SL/SP? And what about oversize tubing?

Richard Sachs: On nearly all levels, steel tubing for frame making
is exponentially better than it was in the Reynolds 531 or Columbus
SL/SP era. It's better quality, can be made lighter (you need less
of it to make a reliable bicycle, and there are no compromises in
strength or stiffness. All my frames, except for a few retro/reissues
each year, are made from modern OS thinwalled tubing.

VBQ: What is your opinion on silver vs. brass brazing?
Richard Sachs: This debate is one of the most ludicrous subjects
that's tangential to frame making: no one "brazes with silver".
There is/are a myriad of percentages with which silver can be
alloyed with many other elements in order to produce a filler
compound that flows, fills, and works at the temperature range
and within the tolerances set by the brazer. In all working environ-
ments, it is the skill of that brazer, rather than the brazing rod
he employs, that contributes to a well-made frame.

VBQ: Name one or two things we can learn from past craftspeople and their bicycles.
Richard Sachs: To surpass the master is to repay the debt.