I'm miffed at all this preoccupation regarding whether
or not alberto works on or builds any bikes bearing his
family name. i'll extend this to all brands where the
marque is renowned but the goods are made by "the staff".
why do we care? a mr. martin does not make martin guitars.
franke muller doesn't sit at a bench and make his own watches.
no one named hermes toils to make the fine leather
goods bearing that name. etc. etc.
alberto masi is the second generation owner of a near-fifty
year old family business in a very competitive industry. i never hear
stories about faliero making frames; he may once have. and
then as any smart businessman would, he probably had a
plan to have his notions and designs executed by various
staff members over the years. in many examples, the end results
may be superior BECAUSE of this. some people are better
as chiefs than as indians. you wouldn't expect the chef in a four
star restaurant to be cooking your meal. chef means chief. and
as the case may be the chef more likely will create a menu,
choose purveyors, teach underlings shortcuts...no different
than the namesakes of the frame making concerns whose
wares we all like to discuss. none of these guys EVER professed
to doing the work on the frames bearing their names. my guess
is that they can't understand why anyone would think they should.
these people manage their business like any of you who have
a staff working for you manage yours.
it's different for some of us in the usa because unlike our
european counterparts, NONE OF US was born into a
family whose business was bikemaking. we all chased after it
for a variety of reasons; i suspect many of these reasons overlap
for some of us. i have taken 5 trips to italy since i began my
business in framemaking. i have been at all the so-called great
shops: tomassinni, cinelli, losa, picchio, scapin, paletti, romani,
freschi, pogliaghi, derosa, and 3 times to the vigorelli where
alberto goes daily to do who-knows-what...what we do in the usa
bears NEARLY NO RESEMBLANCE to ANY of the shops. most
'framebuilders' i've met with over there can't understand why any one
would care to do all the work that is normally entrusted to the
people on staff.
i do all my work. brian does his. peter does his. and there
are likely others who may be added to this small list. but we're just
blips on the screen. and the screen consists of dozens-no, make that
scores of factories which, for decades, have built some really
nice frames in production environments that many of us have
mistakenly thought were hand made, or custom made, or made
one at a time...i doubt it ever was that way in the first place!
i remember my first trip to milan in 1979 when most of this
would sink in to my psyche for the first time. i couldn't believe
the contrast between what i was doing in connecticut and all
the 'industry' of it all that i was exposed to. however, the one place
that did have the fuzzy feeling was the atelier on via arona where
faliero and alberto went daily to 'give their orders'... unlike
all the others, except for maybe the suburban shop of gianni losa,
it felt like a 'laboratory for art', rather than a machine shop that made
frames-as the others all seemed.
i once thought that the person whose name appears on the frame
ought to be the maker. or should have made some of it. after that first
trip i realized i was projecting my own values on these people
i had never met and had little in common with, excepting that we
all were kinda in the same business.
thanks for bearing thru to the end of this long diatribe.
my question was: 'why do we care who does the work? ',
in case you forgot.