this entry is a composite based on posts from two very similar threads about the framebuilding trade -

>>> I'm new to this forum, but have been involved with others and have spent countless hours

>>> looking at various custom builder websites the past month.:adore: There seems to be a lot
>>> of great, talented builders. How did you guys choose which builder to go with?

buy a frame from a professional framebuilder who has some degree of experience
and a history in the trade, the sport, or both atmo. the electronic era age has made
it possible for many who have short term work periods and outputs seem like career
veterans. find a way to filter through this.

>>> I've heard you say this before, and I agree with it. That being said, say I found a 'new'
>>> builder whose personality jived with me. They seemed to know what they were doing,
>>> and their work spoke to me.
>>> How would you objectively judge someone who's new to the scene?
>>> Thanks for the info.

i'd wait until they weren't new atmo. these are vehicles,
not macrame. i say that with respect and love.

>>> I agree, but playing devil's advocate...
>>> So if that was the way everyone went around doing things, how would they get their start?
>>> First working for a bigger parent company and then branching off and using their history to
>>> market themselves?

since there's no accredited house of learning nor apprenticeships as such, well - yeah, ya have to
learn somewhere before you operate. don't make me state the obvious because it tends to alienate,
and that's never the intention atmo. how do you choose others with whom you spend money? your
physician, accountant, home appliance contractors, etc? they didn't just "start working" without first
developing a skill set, a routine, some level(s) of expertise...

>>> Slightly OT, but going in this direction...
>>> Why aren't there more apprenticeships offered? Impatience? Lack of opportunity? I'm
>>> assuming that that's the right way to learn, no? When these guys get out of apprenticing,
>>> are they still "new," or are they established?
>>> I think I've read an answer on this before, but I can't recall it (or maybe it never existed).

there never were any to speak of atmo. the term is misused to the nines. and the reason we
have what we have now is because of the internet, and the fantasy that comes when looking
over the electronic fence and trying to appropriate a career when one has zeal but no training.
framebuilding has always (999999.9 percent, that is) been about folks wanting to do better,
or finer, or with less restrictions, or fewer managers, or simply wanting to tell the conventional
market and industry to get the eff outa' my face. most cats, at least at the front end, got sick
the eff of the routine of the workplace and left. what they began with was an experience level,
some connections, and a fresh attitude - and were now their own boss. but most importantly,
they all had been through the work stations, and the repetitive drills, and all things in between.
they didn't learn the basics in year one of their eponymous (i LOVE that word) firm's existence.
they didn't start a business with 20 frames under their belt. shut me up already. and they knew
how to make frames, period. they simply made them for themselves now rather than for the man.

these are different times atmo. industrial frames in the last 20 years have become so incredibly
well designed and made that any need for a trip to a frame shop is not for the same reason it may
have been a generation or so prior. in the pre-MTB era, it was unthinkable to get a good bicycle for
racing from the rank and file LBS because most of them (the bicycles) sucked. over the course of
20 or so years, while all of that did a 180, the number of folks building frames suffered as a result.
many simply vaporized atmo. the newer crop, those from the internet and forum era, have another
calling altogether. most have built and incredibly small number of frames, either before they went
commercial, or since. the business they are in is a unique model. actually, i don't know what it is.
no matter.

some of us do what we can to plant seeds and nurture a few bright lights. i believe the door is
slamming shut on the number of folks that can pull off the "...handcrafted frame" in this era and
still make a career of it. enthusiasm, blogs, picture pages, and the like can only sustain so much
atmo. i often make analogies to latin; an interesting language with some special needs that demand
a grasp of it. framebuilding is not unlike that. with the fine (and getting finer) wares being made en
masse, the road to a frame shop will be narrower and narrower as time passes, and only the best
and the brightest will make the cut. these are different times.

>>> I thought some of you might enjoy this, which just popped up on Competitive Cyclist;
"I worry that our industry is being polluted by inked-up indie rock kids who spent a week at the UBI (the framebuilding equivalent of the poetry workshop at your local library). With zero basis in anything measurable (be it something heartfelt, something visible, or something feel-able on a ride), they charge 80% of a Serotta/Sachs. Where are their stories of apprenticeship? Where is the evidence that they've had consistent reps on the jig with good results? Where is the admission that theirs is a craft that will improve over time therefore now, in the teeth-cutting stages, hey I'll sell you a frame for $800 since I'm new here and covering my cost of materials is a win-win?"

apprenticeships in the traditional sense never did exist in this trade atmo. what we had (or i should say
"they" had) was more akin to local boys doing day rate work after school or between race weekends.

>>> Of course this is all predicated on being single and debt free like I was when I started
>>> building but if I had it to do again, I’d beg for a job from IF, Seven or Serotta. Those are
>>> the three domestic builders I admire the most for quality and have the volume needed to
>>> really learn what you’re doing. I’d work for free if I had to sweeping floors and fetching
>>> lunch until I had a chance to prove I was worth paying. If needed, I’d live in my car while
>>> I worked my way into a paid position. In short I’d make whatever sacrifice and effort was
>>> required of me to get into one of those companies and work through the ranks. In my opinion
>>> there isn’t a better way to become a Framebuilder. Dave Kirk is the perfect example. Once
>>> you're a Framebuilder it's a whole different thing to become a small business owner.

we have to remember one thing atmo. the need to have a frame made (now) is not what it was
then. in the pre 90s era, all frames were made by hand, even the factory ones, and all the folks
who depended on the sport to earn a living raced on bicycles that were made by hand. since that
time, the shift to industrial made has all but supplanted the needs and markets that once existed.
there was a time that, no matter where you begged for a job, the units were made by real people
doing real hand work. whether they loved the job or could work at another station than the one
they were manning is another story. those types of places really ceased to exist once the mtb era

changed the industry forever. and forget about the branding and all the offshore stuff atmo; that
just puts the carrot further out of reach for a noob. as far as i am concerned, the market spoke,
and in this era, industrial made is more than good enough. prices are decent. bicycles are attractive
and in good supply. racers win on them. makers and lbs cats earn a living. i hate to keep saying
it, but the framebuilding gig is, for the most part, not unlike a dead language. it works for a core
group, but the need for it to grow larger really hasn't been there for a long time. atmo the thinning
out process has already begun. eyes wide open atmo.

>>> if the market has spoken then the noobs should respond. address it with modern materials
>>> and technique. modern doesn't have to mean crap. how do i put this delicately, do you wanna
>>> be a successful frame builder or to you wanna replicate antiques and art in a space already
>>> being thinned. no offense here but richie said thinning out has begun, why try and compete
>>> in a space as a noob that is being thinned? create a new space. get creative, take a risk and
>>> turn some heads.

atmo i believe the issue is not so much about materials and aesthetics, it's about being
in business as a noob rather than someone with some dna in the chosen vocation. bicycles
are not art and they are not craft. even the beautiful ones are vehicles used in traffic on
open roads. this discussion can't overlook the responsibility and liability that comes with
selling someone, anyone, such a vehicle atmo.

>>> so then i can only ask, when the market spoke, what did it say?

like i said (wrote) several times already over the years, it said that the
need to see a framebuilder for that bicycle that works well (enough), is
designed well (enough), and has a modicum of aesthetic flourishes that
allow the purchaser to feel like he's not riding a flat black painted ford
from the 1940s - that need is not what it was back before the industry
went so, well - industrial made. there was clearly a time when it was
impossible (and even laughable) to think that the bicycles at the LBS
were good enough and all one would need to fulfill a passion, do an aids
ride and achieve a PB, race, do a PBP, and, dare i use the word - etcetera.
a framebuilder once was the point man for high quality, better fit, and
personal attention. atmo that era started to vaporize when the ability
for manufacturing bicycles as well as they have been made for at least
15 years now supplanted our niche from being in the mainstream to placing
it in the margins. that's a lot of words, and a long-winded way for me to
say what i say each time this subject comes up: framebuilding as a career
path or as a viable commercial pursuit is more tenuous now than ever before,
and it's only because of the internet do folks think that there's more to it
than really is there. some can bring enough to the table to get a slice. most
can't and won't.

>>> i couldn't agree more. sounds like the bar is raised and the language is dieing because it
>>> fails to adapt. my point is that its a bigger challenge today. meet it with something that
>>> challenges the manufactured bicycles.

it fails to adapt because it's no longer relevant because it fails to adapt atmo...

whatever comes or happens next won't include a framebuilder. it will come
from a think tank thingy that attempts to deconstruct one established 'way"
and replace it with a hipper, unique-er, rarer version and sell it for more cashmo.

>>> IMHO this whole "explosion if U.S. framebuilders" will fizzle down in the next couple years,
>>> but by 2025 there will be a new revival of folks desiring a nice handbuilt product. Of course
>>> only time will tell.

atmo a framebuilder is and always will be someone who has come up through the industry and sport,
knows what goes where from working at various stations, and has spent time taking orders to file 200
of this and tack up 400 of that, yada yada blah blah when am i gonna shut up about this bsmo etc? a
framebuilder becomes what he is when he's finally gone through the motions, taken all the cues for the
sub-assemblies, and realized he's sick of working on the inside where his ideas are stymied and the man
is always on his case, and then leaves, skill sets and experiences in hand, in order to stake him claim as
an individual. atmo building a frame doesn't make you a framebuilder, and i am here to take heat for stating
this with such conviction. there are many, many beautiful, well crafted, over engineered, better-than-they-
have-to-be-made bicycles out there produced by folks who have gone through the learning curve systematically.
these cats are framebuilders atmo. and ps when my studio is finally done, i'll go back to being one too.

mined from this thread -

the organic nature of frame building - taking a pile of parts, some tools, experience,
and a vision - has always confounded me atmo. i'm way more
comfortable with it now
than i was when i started. but it often made me
squirm as i was trying to figure out the
no two are alike. and some parts of one can be so very right, while the rest of it
just good enough. getting it nailed from end to end isn't possible, and i surrendered to
notion years ago. in some ways it's like the accuracy of a quartz watch compared to
the idiosyncrasies of a mechanical one. i say
in some ways, because i really don't know
watches well enough to know why a drug store
example may keep more accurate time
than one labored over by a skilled
watchmaker. oh, and in many ways i don't care. but i
do know about frames, and no matter what you bring to the table, and
no matter how hard
you try, or how
on your game you are, no two are alike. alas, duplication and repeatability
are just dreams atmo.
is it okay to articulate these differences and even celebrate them?
since i
can't seem to get to that elusive other side, i reckon it is.

>>> so, i submit for your critique this dropout shot right out of the dunk tank. how much
>>> work would you builders do before checking this off the list & moving on?

i'll answer that by pasting in this thought - one that hit me so deep that i xeroxed it
and added to the cover of our handmade wedding invitations
back - what, 13 or so
years ago atmo!

>>> Even things made by machine are not perfect. It's all a matter of resolution. As is
>>> everything in life.

nails it atmo. and there's something to the routine of picking up yet another pile of parts
and making them fit yet another work order that, on one hand is
a chance to redeem
oneself for all past flaws, and on the other hand
realize that it's not worth the effort since
the material always tells you
what it will be. 'would make a good koan brothers film huh.

>>> Is that a double meaning/fruedian slip - the spelling or misspelling of the name "Koen".
>>> Koan -
>>> koan |ˈkōˌän|
>>> noun
>>> a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy
>>> of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.

yes - you get me like a book atmo. 'was intentional. ps and it's coen brothers iirc imho.

>>> then what was my slip?

hi - no slip. i was saying that you had me right with the double entendre. that means
two entendres
in french.

>>> Cool.........thanks for explaining that in a way that's not patronizing.
>>> That means not being talked down to.

is it okay to articulate these differences and even celebrate them? since i can't seem
to get to that elusive
other side, i reckon it is. well - i am not sure if there was thread drift,
or if the question was addressed
and i'm too obtuse to see the answer. but my reply to
my own post is that it's
okay to celebrate them. there. i said it.

>>> It's the result of that striving towards the ideal that is worth celebrating -

i'm a striving fool bro' atmo.
and i'm havin' a celebratin' situation -

>>> we say in surgery after we've fixed something but still have that desire to make it
>>> 'look perfect'. Not to say one shouldn't always strive to improve one's work, but you can
>>> really mess something up trying to make it look perfect.

agreed atmo - and in most cases it's the head that gets messed.

>>> watch a good pro mechanic work on a real team bike.
>>> bang, bang, bang done.
>>> works well enough.

>>> never confuse slow with good.

unless you're engaged in casual sax atmo.
thanks for all the replies to my thread.
that's a wrapmo.

mined from this thread -

>>> I have come to an epiphany- Give me lugs on my bike!

>>> I am quite sure there is a lot more into a great riding frame than just the method of
>>> joining the tubes but is there magic in lugs?

no atmo.

>>> Are not lugged frames generally constructed with steel alloys that do not tolerate well
>>> the higher temps associated with welding (tig) thus they are brazed at low temps whereas
>>> tig welded frames (853) tend to actually gain strength at the weld. This difference in the
>>> steel and buttings could contribute to the perceived difference? Hey, I'm only regurgitating
>>> what far more knowledgeable folks than I have stated, hope I got it right.

forget the stats and the jargon atmo. lugs are part of a joining process. if you
need them in yours, they serve a purpose. once the assembly is complete, they
do nothing and allow you to feel nothing - unless it's visceral atmo.

mined from this thread -

i'm a longtime effete elitist who clings to tradition and heritage, and when i read
shit like this
i cringe atmo. i remember when i was a junior at peddie and ruing that
my final year there would
have girls on campus. i was against the coed thing then
and there,
and believe some practices in life are the way they are because they work
well, are not broken, and don't need fixing atmo.

keep my ties, thank you very much...

>>> i couldn't agree more. the tie stays in the picture.

>>> David Brooks's
column yesterday was related, in a strange sort of way. It discussed
>>> individualism and institutions. Regardless of whether you love or hate him, Mr. Brooks
>>> always brings an interesting perspective.

gets it atmo -

"New generations don’t invent institutional practices. These practices are passed down and evolve.
So the institutionalist has a deep reverence for those who came before and built up the rules that
he has temporarily taken delivery of. 'In taking delivery,' Heclo writes, 'institutionalists see themselves
as debtors who owe something, not creditors to whom something is owed.'"

>>> Sorry, I couldn't resist a snarky comment. All you traditionalists might have a look at page
>>> 477 of A History of Harrow School, 1324-1991. Gotta love "Those who hope to rule must
>>> first learn to obey...".

learning to obey was an honor and a gift atmo.
and a privilege too.
no joke.

>>> I'd wear a tie every day if that would fix something.

the tie is a freaking metaphor atmo.

>>> Further, what the article originally described was the death of a ritual, ATMO. I did
>>> not read it, nor any of the initial responses of on this thread as a statement in favor of
>>> wearing suits and ties every day. Rather, there certain times and places where old rituals
>>> are important.
>>> Brooks sums it up well in the closing lines of the column I referenced, "Institutions (could
>>> also substitute the word 'ritual')
do all the things that are supposed to be bad. They impede
>>> personal exploration. They enforce conformity. But they often save us from our weaknesses
>>> and give meaning to life."

>>> However, the sense of belonging and common purpose stayed with me, and certainly
>>> increased discipline and scholarly endeavors through my life.

thank you atmo.
again, the OP wasn't about the tie it was about rituals.

mined from this thread -

>>> Is it counter productive to ask a custom frame builder to build around a certain pre-fab fork?

wars are fought over less important issues atmo.

>>> I know the introduction of pre-fab forks has a lot to do with cutting down on labor and
>>> imperfections for LARGE builders, but is it outrageous to say that carbon forks are - lighter,
>>> stronger, track better, and are perhaps more compliant? For all out race performance
>>> purposes, can anyone say that the best steel fork trumps the best carbon fork. And if so, why?

>>> All of Richards 'cross machines, for example, have steel forks. Is it that you believe steel
>>> has superior properties to carbon? I can't imagine your steel cross forks are some really
>>> odd rake that is unavailable, but maybe it's simply about fit, which is the highest concern.

i don't use CF forks for the same reason i don't use CF rear stay assemblies or
have my frames made by maxway - i'm the framebuilder atmo. forks-as-SKUs is
a fairly recent phenomenon and a true stepchild of the cycling industry's growth
into a subset of the sporting goods world. if i relinquish control of any part of
my manufacture, it's most likely due to market pressure and or manufacturing
costs. thus far i have set up boundaries which keep me immune from these.
i have often said that buying into the whole CF (or any material...) fork is like
sending up a white flag. thanks. but no thanks. atmo i'm steadfast in my opinion
that framebuilders/framebuilding lives outside the lines, and that making decisions
that result in forks as accessories is for others, not us. when i believe that someone
besides myself can do a better job of deciding where the front wheel should be
on a frame i make, or how it should ride (or even look), i'll turn the lights outmo.

ps i just lost 4 more friends atmo.

>>> Personally, I don't see the issue as black and white.

the issue isn't black and white, it's green atmo.

>>> I'm guessing you are talking Al Gore green are you?

i'm talking jerry mcguire green atmo as in, show me the money.

>>> Never again. As much as I enjoy holding Richard's feet to the fire...if I were to do it over,
>>> I'd never build around a fork on a full rigid bike again. Not saying it's wrong for builders
>>> that do, God knows I did it plenty, but I wouldn't do it now.

hey mister hindsight is 20-20 man if i were to do it over again i would have
pursued my education and not done a bike gig atmo. but like - whatever. so
talk to e-RICHIE about this " around a fork" issue you're posting about.
to use the OED's most appropriate diction to ax you: what the fuck are you
talking about, willis?

>>> It means they either used a fork I built or they could get their frame elsewhere.

Archipedia 3.18 atmo -

mined from this thread -

>>> I struggle with this every year as I prepare for NAHBS. Do I stop everything and build
>>> some crazy thing I'd never normally sell in order to attract attention. Or do I keep on
>>> building customer bikes and bring an examples of what I regularly build?
>>> I've decided I should be who I am and bring the bikes that are moving thought the queue
>>> at the time. I'm selling myself as much as I'm selling frames. Sure I'll put a nice build together

>>> and be sure to take a frame with a cool paint job but overall they are exactly what I'm selling.
>>> The problem is I feel like I get lost in the glare of a bunch of "concept" bikes.

>>> Anyone else struggle with this?

no atmo.

from day one nahbs was supposed to
be reality based. if others stray and
wanna pander to the please-look-at-me stuff, well - that genie is out of the
bottle. sad. the show, or maybe even the trade, is at a shark jumping point
atmo. it has grown to a point that its consuming its own and could possibly
get vegas-y in a new york minute. how to defend against this? listen to your
inner framebuilder atmo. i said this from day one - the awards thing and the
desire to individuate (these) are deal breakers. my ideal was a display, not
a competition of sorts. a museum atmosphere rather than a trade show one.
before anyone fires a salvo at me, all of what i typed here is consistent with
my atmos since houston nahbs one point oh.

>>> If Einstein would have just stuck to being a patent clerk because that's what he did
>>> everyday the world would be a poorer place for it.

let him go to interbike atmo.

>>> Get your genres straight.

i meant " interbike for patent clerks" atmo.

>>> What should a show bike be?
>>> Clean.

you want sex or love?
it's a rhetorical question atmo...

>>> The problem is I feel like I get lost in the glare of a bunch of "concept" bikes.

which came first - the best-of trophies or these "concept" bikes you mention?
yeah. ya' know where i'm headed with this atmo.

>>> Ive said it before and I'll say it again, the awards are a huge part of the show. The
>>> attendees love it. It caps off the entire weekend. Sorry all the builders hate them
>>> so much.

mebbe the attendees need a show atmo.
North American Attendees Who Like Awards Show
ps and before you go all hormonal, you know how i feel about you atmo...

>>> Any thoughts?

yeah - no awards atmo.

we are there as peers and equals, mutually supportive of each other and the trade.

>>> One other thing that no one has mentioned is the blatant campaigning on one builder's
>>> behalf, by another builder, to win an award. I know this happened in the past. One exhibitor
>>> goes to all his builder friends and urges them to vote for builder A because they feel he
>>> deserves some props in general. Not that builder A's bike is the best in that category but
>>> that the supporter feels it's time to have this guy recognized. Builder A didn't even know
>>> this was happening and certainly had no part in it. He just thinks he "won".

was this one of those track bike things atmo?

>>> I don't think it was competing in the 120mm class. Banana.

sure - make yet another joke about a serious issue, an issue i am invested in and
vocal about since the early days
in houston atmo. these awards are gay. and they
send the wrong message. we can talk about the chads, and the
cronyism, and the,
er - president's choice. but at the
end of the day, all you, dave kirk, want is the truth
huh. well
i have your inner framebuilder truth right here atmo: you can't handle
the truth! son, we live in a world that has walls.
and those walls have to be guarded
by men with guns. who's gonna do it? you? you, carl "
i am so" strong? i have a
greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. you weep for sacha and you
curse the itty bitty tricycle. you have
that luxury. you have the luxury of not
knowing what i know: that greg townsend's best of show paint award, while tragic,

probably saved lives. and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to
you, saves don't want the truth.
because deep down, in places you don't
talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. you need me on that wall. we use

words like alignment, stem angle, and atmo...we use these words as the backbone
to a life spent creating something. you
use 'em as a punchline. i have neither the
time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under

the blanket of the very entertainment i provide, then questions the manner in
which i provide it! i'd rather you just said,
"Just sayin'" and went on your way.
otherwise, i suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. either way, i don't
a damn what you think you're entitled to!

>>> If you have a "judged" category fine offer a playbook I think there will be folks who
>>> aspire to be the kings and queens of this aspect and will have followers.

ruff ruff atmo -

this crap is wearing me down and I don't like it.


>>> I'm really glad we can all find humor in it.
>>> me? not so much.

don't get all me me me personal about this and shit atmo. we appreciate nahbs and
the effort behind it. your decisions
are not always the best ones. we view the awards
thing as
a bad one, or at least one deserving of discussion - which is what we are doing
after carl started the thread. i have been
against these since day one, and have put my
money where
my mouth is by never allowing my bicycles to be judged once nahbs left
houston. the others can make their choices atmo.
the show isn't perfect. some of us who
care about it and have
accepted it into our daily routine are allowed to have strong opinions
and we are voicing them here.

mined from this thread -

>>> So with all the debate between the builders about the pros/cons of the NAHBS awards
>>> what do you Joe average consumer think of them? I know that awards don't always go
>>> out to the best bike per say, but sometimes to the hip "in" bike.

the awards are about attention.
folks who crave it, enter the fray and hope to get some.
the show wasn't conceived for this.
it was and is a vehicle for the niche.
shining a light on the individual is a distraction atmo.

this is my POV from day one, and it remains so.

i am one of the show's and DW's advocates and have
no second thoughts about having a dissenting opinion
once in a while atmo.

mined from this thread -

>>> On the 25Seven blog Rob Vandermark, founder and President of Seven Cycles, claims that,
>>> "a big number of US “frame builders” source their bikes from China." Does this claim have
>>> validity? If so, to which "framebuilders" is he referring?

define framebuilder atmo.

>>> I guess that's my question: is he talking about brands like Salsa or Felt that everyone
>>> knows are outsourced, or is he talking about actual builders, the sort who put their name
>>> on the downtube?

how would i know? i never even knew he had a blog. and why does it
matter? folks should be able to make money. subcontracting in my
industry is and has always been commonplace - the norm. whether
it's 2 regions over the appenines or in asia, it's still how business gets

done. otherwise no one would ever have bicycles to sell at the LBS atmo.

>>> In the big scheme, it doesn't matter. I'm sure outsourced bikes ride fine. Yet, honesty
>>> and transparency are at stake. If someone deliberately represents their frames as being
>>> built in-house when in fact they're made in China, that's a lie. I don't like being lied to.
>>> Paying extra for a lie adds injury to insult.

do you feel this way about everything or just frames? for instance, my
american brand jeans were not made in san francisco. etcetera. how much
emotion really needs to be attached? it's all just stuff. unless a company has
a sign or a tag line that says everything it sells that has its name is made in
the next room, what kind of information would be enough atmo?

mined from this thread -

>>> I talked with a builder who is weighing the wisdom of attending a show with its attendant

>>> costs (pun intended) when: the economy is scary, he has quite a wait-list already, traveling
>>> in winter is iffy, he will betaking time off from building and family.
>>> I know it's fun to get together at these shows for builders and fans alike. Les and I were at
>>> San Jose. I'm not sure that there is a sound business reason for some builders to attend if
>>>they already have all the business they can handle.

it helps the niche. we took that POV before nahbs 1.0 and just because
we have work doesn't mean we shouldn't work to support others who are
in need. without the support year after year, the trade might need another
jump start in 2017. folks forgot about some lean years. let's avoid them by
keeping nahbs nahbs, and supporting it atmo.

mined from this thread -

>>> Define 'best'. Most US bike riders would probably take one of those bikes over a
>>> hand made steel bike. Just saying.

the journalist couldn't, so i doubt anyone else can atmo.

>>> Agreed, including the 'experts' here. Why do people have such a problem with bikes
>>> that are built in Asia??? Carbon bikes are great, steel bikes are great. Some buy a bike
>>> for it's artistic value, some want cutting edge technology. It's personal preference.

did i mention anything about asia atmo?

>>> The reply to you was also a reply to the OP.

why to me? i didn't mention asia atmo. nor did the article iirc.

>>> I should have been much more clear so as not to confuse you, sorry. I guess my reply
>>> was to the OP's mention of Taiwan. Again, I can see how my post would have been
>>> extremely confusing. For the record, I have never seen eRitchie say anything bad
>>> about Asia.

yes - so, thanks, i accept your apology atmo.

>>> there isn't anything in this industry that is cutting edge. compared to the industrys who
>>> are doing real "cutting edge" stuff, carbon fiber and steel might as well be the same thing.
>>> you might as well call it "space age" or "defense grade" or...well take you pick of marketing
>>> term of the decade.

fuck all that shit atmo.
when the bicycles start pedaling themselves, it'll be cutting edge.
until then the playing field is almost always even.
we have one bicycle to climb the hill.
and another to descend.
and one for coffee runs.
did mancebo's bike even make that VN listmo?

reality sucks.

mined from this thread -

we set this place up so that builders could chat with builders and folks who
were interested in the thread(s) could also jump in and add some flavor (but
not steer the conversation off course). now that we've all prepped for, done,
and counted our money from nahbs, i thought i'd start a thread about this very
board. we have some several dozen professional builders who are signed in to
create threads, and legions of others who can read and post.

how can this board best serve your frame-ish needs atmo?

>>> i'm not sure..........honestly, not to sound elitist, but i'm not into telling people where to buy
>>> flux and silver vs. brass threads. what's left? bulk material purchases? insurance co-op? i
>>> hate to use the word but this would start sounding like things associated with a "guild".

eh i dunno - i'll tell folks anything and share almost any resource atmo.
i type quick, keep it brief, and get back to my pinball machine. all the
posts in the world can line up, but folks still gotta do their own work.
and - if it gets too repetitive or contentious, i'll make mention of the
search engine atmo. later - must start drinking now.

>>> Speaking of business, do the independent framebuilders prefer to run the whole show
>>> from end-to-end or would some prefer to just build and leave the business/selling/
>>> marketing side to someone else?
>>> Is the most enjoyable part the actual building, or perhaps the satisfaction a builder gets
>>> working with individual customers and incorporating different ideas (ie. planning/
or perhaps just seeing their bikes being ridden/raced?

i'm a loner and over the years have controlled everything. it's only in recent
times that i have conceded a project or two (as in, a print ad or similar) to
someone else. once a control freak, etcetera. and in most cases, ideas and
concepts percolate for months, even years, before they become reality. some
examples would include logo revisions, ways to run the teams, and terms of
business. at the end of the day, the framebuilding process is the easy part,
but finding ways to promote and sustain the business eventually became part
of the routine. at this point in my life, it's the sum total that gives me the
pleasure. i do consider all of it to be part of the creative process, not just
the time spent at the bench atmo.

>>> You could even pose questions to your customers about what they enjoyed about their
>>> experiences with the builders. That'd seem like good business for the builders.

that's true, but the general discussion boards usually have those
topics. that subject has some overlap issues and i'd rather
see more impersonal stuff talked about. the relationship between a
maker and a client is one that should be respected, and calling
them out, here, may cross lines atmo. no matter. we want more
builders talking with builders, and if it happens that clients chime
in about stuff, we'll see where it leads. thanks atmo.

>>> I'd love to see that discussed here and be a part of it if it came to fruition. I'm building
>>> frame number three and have an eye toward, perhaps, hanging out a shingle at some
>>> point. (Yes, I know three frames does not a competent frame builder make. I'm talking
>>> distant future here folks
>>> Presently, I make my living as an electrical contractor, actor and musician. My contractor's
>>> business liability here in North Carolina is less than $800 a year.
>>> Seems inequitable that I'd need to pay upwards of $1,500 or more to build a handful of
>>> frames per year for commerce.
>>> I feel that a co-op would be a godsend for those of us who might like to build at more than
>>> the hobby level, but not as a full-time occupation like our artisan friends here.
>>> What say ye?

i might be in the minority here (and there) but i'd rather see you make the
commitment and join "us" rather than find ways to appropriate some of the
professional needs of our trade and filter them out to those who are treating
it like a craft (note: that's me generalizing atmo). unlike some other handmade
goods that serve, shall we say, more decorative elements, a bicycle is a vehicle.
while no one has established minimum standards for framebuilders, having a
policy is one way to show a modicum of responsibility. i am fully aware that
some don't have the cabbage, and others think they make too few to matter,
and others say theirs never fail, and we also have the cat who simply doesn't
want to play ball with the man. no matter how you couch it, making a bicycle
that someone else will ride comes with a price. i can't see how the insurance
industry can come down any lower than $1500 per annum, and i don't even
think they should. there are not many full time pros and even fewer
hobbyists. no matter how many frames one makes, atmo the cost of entry at
$1500 a year for product liability seems reasonable. one can always elect to
fly naked and take the chances. i alienate many when i articulate all this, but
am committed to seeing the trade in a positive light. to me, insurance is part
of that equation atmo.

>>>I think Bill's point was that an electrical contractor pays ~$800 a year, and faulty
>>> electrical work can cause injury and death about as easily as can faulty frame building.

if there was as many framebuilders in the states as there were
electricians in my county, i am sure the rates would be spread
out further and hence lowered atmo.

>>> It would seem that lower insurance rates would be beneficial to all builders, unless
>>> perhaps established builders view such costs as a barrier to entry for potential competitors.

nah. i can't fathom that any professional (or anyone at all, for that matter) would feel that way.

>>> A larger number of builders should only cause the rate to go down if increasing the
>>> number of frame builders decreases the per-builder insurance pay-outs. I guess that
>>> would be true if either the additional frame builders did not proportionately increase
>>> the number of frames built, or they increased the average skill of the builders and so
>>> that the per-builder risk decreased. Perhaps there's effectively a surcharge because of
>>> additional risk due to the insurers' inexperience in the industry, but it seems to me that
>>> there's little difference from a liability standpoint between frame building and general
>>> metal fabrication. I haven't priced it, so perhaps metal fabricators also pay 75% higher
>>> insurance rates than do electrical contractors.

atmo if/when we are classified as welders, the premium is reasonable (or i
should say, others might consider it reasonable) but the cavaet is that the
liability extends to the frame. if/when it is altered in any way (as in, assembled
into a bicycle) all bets are off. i spent about 10 years in this grid and i was
warned against selling bicycles (as opposed to frames). atmo it simply is not
worth the anxiety involved because whatever we are assessed, there will
be those who say it's too much and it supports that barrier of entry POV that
you mentioned. it's a business, there are many ways to amortize the premium
over a 12 month period, and cats do it all the time. sometimes i wonder what
folks (not you harry) would pay if it were a donation amount to keep the wolves
away from the door, so to speak. insurance isn't for us, it's for the fellow who,
god forbid, may have lunch served through an IV tube. atmo in the big picture,
a grand or so (for liability) is chump change. and the ones who have their
agents combine policies with theft, homeowners, fire, and others can further
reduce that premium by having the local agent gang up all the categories.

>>> The fixed costs of a one-man factory do not lend themselves to much cost cutting or
>>> layoffs. While it may not be sustainable and it certainly affects other framebuilders, its
>>> not that crazy.

when things were slow-to-a-halt-like slow here i conceived my Strada Immaculata
frame line. i offered them through my dealer network, sold almost 40, and the project
resulted in increased sales and appreciation for my Signature frames atmo. it was a
true learning experience for me, and humbling as well.

>>> $1200 is not too little for a custom frame, in the least.
>>> Some builders may only be able to crank out 2-3 frames a week, but I know plenty of
>>> folks(and they are the ones with the $1200 frames) who easily build 2-3 frames a day.

agreed 100% but atmo the OP's point was about someone who is in the
2-3 frames a week category, not the other. therein lies his concern.

>>> No one man shop custom builder is building 2-3 bikes a day, unless they're pre-sized
>>> bikes. Interacting with the customer takes as long or longer than building the bike.

i learned long ago that you can be wholesale or you can be retail
but you can't be both, especially if you are making something by
hand and rarely are two items the same. and atmo in this business
no two clients are the same.

ps somehow the grammar at the end of that there first sentence
leaves me cold, but i hope you get the spirit of my point.

mined from this thread -

>>> OK - please discuss thoughts on/merit of types handbuilt bicycles: "stock", "production"
>>> "semi-production" "semi-custom" "bespoke" "limited run" and why not just "handbuilt"...

i'm not going to help things here and i believe the line will always
be shades of grey, but if you/your brand exists to fill orders that
precede the build, you are one of us. if you make stuff for the LBS
world (or similar), even if you do "offer" a one-off, you're one of them.

for the record, i have long been of the belief that most of the big
houses can make a higher quality unit, albeit with less of that love
and soul shit, than many who toil in cold, dimly lit workshops. atmo
the romance that's part of the framebuilding lore is misplaced. some
folks make some beyond excellent frames regardless. many of these
cats do it for themselves first, not for their clients.


mined from this thread -

>>> I was wondering how racing fit into the business models of various builders on the forum.
>>> For the purposes of discussion individuals have been categorized based on my perception
>>> offense intended.

my racing and sporting interests preceded my getting on a plane to
london and starting all this. nothing has changed. the racing comes
first atmo. framebuilding was something to do during the week atmo.

>>> I think everyone started out racing and moved into selling. What I wanted to try and
>>> spark was a discussion about how it fits in now. Your racing has to influence your product
>>> and it influences those who buy what you make.

they are inseparable atmo.
folks don't buy frames; they buy framebuilders.

no shame implied.

mined from this thread -

>>> It has to have support from all exhibitors and then it will grass roots outward...

speaking of roots, since we have 10-12 months to discuss it, i propose

trying to get some of the genie back in the bottle and making nahbs a
framebuilder-centric event, a retreat of sorts, as opposed to going the
other direction and becoming even more of a consumer affair and trade
show. but that's just me atmo. no need for convention centers, high
costs, and carpeted aisles. ps for the record, i'll go with the flow, and
am only expressing my personal opinion here. in short (yeah, right) let's
take it more to a museum aesthetic and away from the car show look.


>>> the "less is more" approach?
>>> I think the bar has been raised for the industry.
>>> I think the surroundings, i.e. the carpeted aisles, the pipe and drape, etc.
>>> have a professional appearance and help to keep the bar raised. Its a professional
>>> look for the attendees, one I think they appreciate. just my opinion tho.

then it's even so far.
one vote for austerity.
one vote for schmaltz.

>>> Define "schmaltz" please?

inconsistent signage.
3 color piping.
framebuilders pretending to be "industry".
bowling trophies.

mined from this thread -

>>> Seems like poo pooing the awards for various reasons is pretty popular.
>>> I'll feel a lot more convinced of the poo pooer's sincerity when one of them
>>> wins an award in NAHBS 2010 and refuses the award citing their principles.
>>> Personally I would be excited and honored to win an award and just just try
>>> to believe that I won because my work was judged as fairly as possible to be
>>> the best in that category at that particular time.

i won 2 awards at nahbs 1.0 without even knowing there were
awards in the works. as a result of that, and kinda sorta being
blindsided by the ordeal, i refrained from "entering" any bicycles
in any nahbs awards since atmo.

>>> Thanks so much for you insight, it's invaluable and I get what you're saying.
>>> After starting this post last night I started thinking about the judging process
>>> and started wondering how much involvement the builders themselves had
>>> originally in the criteria used for the judging. Maybe this is a discussion that
>>> could be had.

my belief system is that judging at all is inherently wrong.
not illegal, or unethical, or immoral. just wrong. build for
yourself and then judge. rinse. repeat. atmo.

mined from this thread -

>>> Inexperienced and unfit riders + ignorant and unscrupulous fitters = the blind leading the blind.

"I was equal parts racer, psychologist, best friend and worst enemy.
The last part because sometimes I needed to find a diplomatic way to
convince a zealous client that - of the two in the relationship - I knew
best with regard to what went where and how to accomplish it."

so, tell me about your relationship with your mother...

>>> how's this:
>>> sublime happiness is being with 2-15 other folks that ride beautifully, can ride an echelon,
>>> a rotating paceline, can take pulls at a consistent tempo, and that look gorgeous on the bike.

>>> after all, this among many other things, is an aesthetic experience...

there's nothing wrong with effete elitism atmo.
practice makes perfect.
E2 card carrying member here...

>>> Is it too much to ask for a fitter who can/will tell me if I'm sitting on the
>>> bike properly? Seems like that's often a missing piece of the puzzle, no?

be the fitter atmo.
yes, i am serious.
not everything is or can be tidied and packaged for consumption.
ride. make notes. what's hurts? do any parts wear fast or ache?
the saw, if it looks good, it prolly is good is more valid here than not.
but nothing replaces what and how you feel.

mined from this thread -

>>> Oh I know who Richard Sachs is, I just didn't know who e-richie is. Now I am embarrased.

that's silly atmo. we're a safety net for all of life's broken dreams.
i hope the cats here lit up the room for you, and shed some insight
re your original concern. meanwhile, the thread gave me some room
to work on new material. i thought the isis isisn't thing was some of
my best work ever. must run.

mined from this thread -

>>> I'm about the same size as E-Richie, and our saddles are 12cm lower than yours...
>>> 11 is right in the range for your size. That's why bigger frames should have
>>> shallower seat tube angles than small ones...

protractors are the tool of the devil and john schubert atmo.
lose them. go get a steel rule with millemeters. linear rules.