there was a fairly lively debate on the serotta forum
regarding the firm's discontinuation of a popular (sic)
lugged frame. here are some posts that i was involved in:

"don't lay this one at the door of advertising/marketing. we
in the biz certainly have our sins. this ain't one of 'em."

then expand on this thread...
why would an enlightened being think there is merit
in buying a really, really expensive consumer good
that is 1) made on a production line, 2) has no proven
record of lasting a generation, and 3) does not race
seriously? as far as the '3' goes, because i am "of the
sport", i understand the even-the-playing-field mentality,
but for a layer of retail consumers to be drawn into
this stuff? to me, it is a marketing coup. btw, i like
marketing and i do think it is good for a consumer
based society, but the essence here is: are folks
buying these newer bicycles because they think they
are better or because of hero worship. either way, as
long as they like the bicycle, it's win-win.
"1) but i think its unfair and misguided to say that steel is outsold by
other materials due simply to advertising. yes, marketing plays a role.
2) but so does what riders experience out on the road. and out on the
road many people simply prefer the ride of other materials.
3) but since serotta spends virtual zero on advertising, something other
than marketing must account for the ottrott outselling the CSi. the answer
lies, i think, in human nature, not in the power of marketing."
1) steel is outsold, etc. because it is no longer a viable
way to produce (as in "production") bicycles and maintain
a good margin. i won't even mention the level of skill that
the work force once had that no longer is called into question
since all parts of all bicycles are now produced to "be man-
ufactured". it is outsold because it is not there anymore!!
2) on the whole, there is no "steel" out there for folks to
ride so that a baseline comparison can be made. the industry
and its need to move forward has concluded that nonferrous
materials lend themselves better to ease of production and
ease of profitibility.
3) the mistake of this thread is lumping ben's decisions in
with the same type of cat that would make the same call
at, say, intergalactic bike inc.; ben has a boutique brand
and can hardly be lumped into the same world as the c'dales,
trek, giants, and others whose bicycles are the ones the
masses see on tv and in newsprint. like all the rest of us,
he is a pawn in the choices made by the sheep that follow
all "of this" and apparantly he has concluded that it is
time to draw a line in the sand re the "lug" frame thing.
someday he may do the same with steel too.

we all live in the same community and some, by dint
of their size, are immune from the inane trends that
shape the market. i think ben has more in common with
the framebuilders than he does with the suits that run
the corporates, but he still has to remain profitable.
"The lugged steel builders* have shot themselves in the foot. On
the one hand, they want to talk about "old world hand craftmanship"
and the "way things used to be done". Then they wonder why people
don't consider them when they want something modern and technologically
up to date."

that's not true at all. it may be true about vintage
hobbyists, but builders that use lugs do so because
it represents, to them, a more prudent joing process
(aftter, all, the pipes need to be connected) than
other processes available to industry. don't confuse
the detail work that is inherent in a small percentage
of lugged frames with lugged framebuilding. it is not
alway pretty. it is not always efficient. it is not a method
that lends itself to production building when juxtaposed
against other methods. etcetera.
but puleeeeze, do not say that folks that use lugs for joining
pipes are doing so for the sake "of craftsmanship". it just
happens to be an extremely high quality method of
getting the job done.
*ps this issue is not a result of lug steel builders; it
is a result of choices made by mass producers.

"Okay. Think of the consumer. He has X amount of hardearned money
to spend on a bike. If he goes with a tigwelded bike, he can buy higher
end components for the same price vs. getting a lugged bike with higher
labor costs and no benefits except for aesthetics."

you're not gettin' this. i'm with you. for mass market
bikes it is better to use the most efficient way "to
produce". i AM thinking of the consumer. but, again,
don't bring aesthetics into this. it is not about looks, it is
about construction nuances and incremental quality
differences. oh heck - i wasn't gonna do this, but
now i'm gonna paste some text from an email i sent
to climb that touches on this. here:

you also need to factor this in:

lugs are not lugs for the sake of beauty or touchy-feely conversing about;
they constitute a joining process. it is this joining process, coupled with
certain types of quality steel as well as with the "maker's touch" (stradivari's
varnish?) that produces the "incomparable" work that folks associate with
all lugged frames - but really should be associated with quite few.

yeah. i know that is self-absorbed drivel, but i don't
know how else to make this point.
"Remember, to most people, bikes are just toys, not objects d' art. They
want the most bang for the buck. To re-use my earlier comparison about

handguns. There is the aesthetic vs. the functional. Would I rather walk in
the local gunshop and buy a $525 plastic-molded, stamped steel, ugly,
perfectly dependable Glock or put in an order for a $2500 Colt .45 with
its forging and meticulous hand checkering that'll take 2yrs to get here?
I'll take the Glock and in the bike world most'll take the al/cf wunderbike.
That's just the way it is..."

we're on the same page for the most part.
the guys that (still) skillfully make frames using lugs
to join pipes are a blip on the screen and do not count
in industry and market flow charts. i/we are fine with
that. i/we do not exist for "the market". back to the
original point, ben does.

and again - this issue is not about aesthetics