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  1. #1
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    Tansition frames are "hand-made" correct?

    I'm sure that a lot of you have noticed the great articles on the bikes from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show on this website. As a proud owner of a Transition Bandit and a Cove STD, I'm wondering why these bikes are not considered to by "handmade"? Are Transition frames really being welded by robots? I asked this question in reply to this article here: Soulcraft – Stock Custom 29er – The Tradesman | Mountain Bike Review and was quickly shot-down. If I'm totally out-to-lunch with impression that Transition frames are handbuilt in Tawain, please correct me. The welds on my Bandit look amazing and I feel it's insulting to discount the work of the welder who put it together. Seems kinda racist to me.

  2. #2
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    I would wonder if about any weld on a bike frame has ever been made by a robot in Taiwan. Thing is that robots don't easily work three dimensional on short welds. In automotive industry you have very long welds that makes sense for using robots. The workes in Taiwan are often simply that good to outdo many of Us/Euro frame welders.
    Very unlikely for your frame not to be hand made.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel-addict View Post
    I'm sure that a lot of you have noticed the great articles on the bikes from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show on this website. As a proud owner of a Transition Bandit and a Cove STD, I'm wondering why these bikes are not considered to by "handmade"? Are Transition frames really being welded by robots? I asked this question in reply to this article here: Soulcraft Stock Custom 29er The Tradesman | Mountain Bike Review and was quickly shot-down. If I'm totally out-to-lunch with impression that Transition frames are handbuilt in Tawain, please correct me. The welds on my Bandit look amazing and I feel it's insulting to discount the work of the welder who put it together. Seems kinda racist to me.
    Yes. Your Bandit frame was hand welded by (multiple) very talented welders with years of experience in one of the best bicycle factories in Taiwan. There are good factories and bad factories in the USA just like there are good factories in every part of the world. You can't make a blanket statement about quality of manufacturing in a whole country. I think often times people lump everything made in "Asia" together and try to use that as a sign of inferiority... which is insulting to business people that are developing new and/or proprietary technologies. A large number of new carbon technologies, tube forming processes, forging techniques, etc happen in "Asia" not the USA.

    I think a better term for bikes like the Soulcraft would be "boutique" or "craft" frames. Just calling them custom built might not be correct, since they likely offer off the shelf geo/feature packages. In either case, tradeshows like the Handmade Show offer smaller frame builders a chance to show off their "craft" in a "boutique" environment. People are doing really cool and interesting stuff, and people choose to buy a bike like that because they want something unique, "one off" or to feel a direct connection witht he person that has "crafted" their bike for them.

    Obviously our frames have numerous forged and CNC parts. A file is a tool, a TIG welder is a tool, a CNC machine or forging machine is a tool, but all those tools still need hands to operate them. The guy making frames in his garage in Portland may not have a big tool box, but you can bet that a lof of the larger more established builders aren't doing it that differently than the factories in Taiwan, etc.

    I think Landon Holt from Tonic Fab had a really good comment about the Handmade tradeshow back in 2008. Here it is...

    "The 2008 Hand Built Bike Show is in Portland this year, and less than a month away. I really don't like the term "Hand Built" because all bike frames are built with hands, and this title implies that bikes are built with something other than hands. Like feet? Armies of robots? Sometimes those hands are in a large factory overseas, sometimes those hands are operating a machine tool instead of a file, but all bikes, to my knowledge are "built by hand."

    I'd like to offer the name "Craft Bike Show." This is a show for small builders exclusively, and I think craft more accurately describes this end of the bike industry. Far more so than hand built or even "custom."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Bikes View Post
    Yes. Your Bandit frame was hand welded by (multiple) very talented welders with years of experience in one of the best bicycle factories in Taiwan. There are good factories and bad factories in the USA just like there are good factories in every part of the world. You can't make a blanket statement about quality of manufacturing in a whole country. I think often times people lump everything made in "Asia" together and try to use that as a sign of inferiority... which is insulting to business people that are developing new and/or proprietary technologies. A large number of new carbon technologies, tube forming processes, forging techniques, etc happen in "Asia" not the USA.

    I think a better term for bikes like the Soulcraft would be "boutique" or "craft" frames. Just calling them custom built might not be correct, since they likely offer off the shelf geo/feature packages. In either case, tradeshows like the Handmade Show offer smaller frame builders a chance to show off their "craft" in a "boutique" environment. People are doing really cool and interesting stuff, and people choose to buy a bike like that because they want something unique, "one off" or to feel a direct connection witht he person that has "crafted" their bike for them.

    Obviously our frames have numerous forged and CNC parts. A file is a tool, a TIG welder is a tool, a CNC machine or forging machine is a tool, but all those tools still need hands to operate them. The guy making frames in his garage in Portland may not have a big tool box, but you can bet that a lof of the larger more established builders aren't doing it that differently than the factories in Taiwan, etc.

    I think Landon Holt from Tonic Fab had a really good comment about the Handmade tradeshow back in 2008. Here it is...

    "The 2008 Hand Built Bike Show is in Portland this year, and less than a month away. I really don't like the term "Hand Built" because all bike frames are built with hands, and this title implies that bikes are built with something other than hands. Like feet? Armies of robots? Sometimes those hands are in a large factory overseas, sometimes those hands are operating a machine tool instead of a file, but all bikes, to my knowledge are "built by hand."

    I'd like to offer the name "Craft Bike Show." This is a show for small builders exclusively, and I think craft more accurately describes this end of the bike industry. Far more so than hand built or even "custom."
    +1
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Bikes View Post
    ... I'd like to offer the name "Craft Bike Show." This is a show for small builders exclusively, and I think craft more accurately describes this end of the bike industry. Far more so than hand built or even "custom."
    That's exactly what I thought. Good to know I'm not off-base. In every single interview from the "hand built bike show," Francis keeps on referring to "hand built" bikes and how nice it is to own a "hand built" bike as though all bikes that people ride aren't "hand built." Soulcraft's "Stock Custom" bike sounds like an oxymoron. "Craft Bike Show" makes a lot more sense.

  6. #6
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    l wont mention the brands here because it opens the door to too many MTBR bias comments ---

    what l will say --

    l had a number of people buy "custom made" "hand made" whatever you want to call it.

    One time, we waited for ever... and then some... got the frame and the drop-outs were too narrow and you couldn't fit a wheel into the frame.

    One time we sat for at least 150 moons --- got the frame and it was painted the wrong color.

    let's see, another time we ordered a frame and the braze-on's were not quite right -- too high or too low, l forget which it was, had to send it back because you simply couldn't fit brakes onto the bike.

    These were all very popular and expensive brands.

    Me, l have never been a big fan of the ol' custom made signature --- don't really care where the bike is made. If it rocks, it rocks ---- TBC's ... they rock. Don't care if Mr. Miogee makes it.


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