Totally agree w/ this. Rock Lobster content.
colker, colker , colker...the old "is bike art" discussion alive again!
Interesting post, I read it several times in order to understand the "anger". I see his point about collectors supporting current builders. Some do. Call Richard Sachs and see how many years his wait list is at. I think it's 8.
Perhaps if the builder did indeed consider his work a "matisse", others may also.
I like certain bike I own because the are no longer made. Worth more in the real world? Who knows. But worth more to me.
I was at the Independent Fabrication Factory in NH (Indy reboot) recently. BEAUTIFUL bikes, very nicely crafted, attention to detail is top shelf, some would say "rolling pieces of art".
And I would agree with that.
Funny.. cause i didn't get the same message from his rant. He made it clear when described his co workers going gaga over a an old masi when a Bruce Gordon, at the shop, was a better, more refined, hand made bike.
There is nothing about art, except the Matisse reference, a good one indeed.. it's all about wrong values. People paying 600 dollars for a Yo Eddy fork when Chris Igleheart will build you a heat treated, much better fork w/ the same design. It's moronic, perverse and .. wrong.
Colker, forgive me, I would expect the Matisse reference was your reason for posting.
Original Yo fork vs Inglehart: If you are restoring anything, you want original. You could build a 69 Camaro Z-28 with repo parts made in china, or search the universe for a set of NOS cold air induction hood..
It's all about choice my friend.
This is a retro section, no?
We choose to restore and ride old bikes, when it can be argued that a new, full suspension-29er-disc brake-riser bar-carbon fiber everything bike is "much better".
People with large bank accounts can buy anything for whatever cost. Free market and all that. If I had unlimited funds, I'd still search for the perfect NOS Fat ti made in Somerville over say, a "better" Ti Firefly (another amazing bike, no offense intended, just used for an illustration of the freedom of personal preference).
You say "moronic, perverse and wrong", I say "Lighten up Francis", put your money where you mouth is, sell all your vintage bikes for big money to collectors in Germany and buy New "better" handmade rides.
You brought up some bad examples. You made vintage go against made in China; why? My example is more complex: Igleheart built at FCC (although not the Yo Eddy fork) and thus carries the "spirit", soul, whatever when he builds such forks.
The original Yo forks were not heat treated, to save penies. They had gussets which is a bad design if done to compensate.. it's more material, instead of less.
The whole economy of scarcity, rareness when applied to something that has no other value other than being rare is wrong.
I ride a vintage bike because it rides different from the current ones, different geometry basically. I ride a vintage bike because i have an emotional attachment to an era which my bike expresses but it's more about creating differences in the consummer lanscape. It adds another angle to the bike scene. It's about being creative, not having tons of cash. I don't ride it because it's more expensive, on the contrary.. because it is less expensive. Less is more.
Riding an old design done better thru the hands of a guy who carries the torch of the vintage scene is even cooler than an old bike.
I would much rather ride a new Steve Potts than a vintage one. He still builds by the same code. He is not a chinese mass produced carbon worker.
The Old Masi and the New Bruce Gordon were not built by the same builder either, so your comparison of Inglehart vs Fat doesn't quite apply to the original story either, no?
If Chris Chance fired up the torches and built a new ChrisCross, yeah, I'd buy it before an older one...only if the new didn't have disc tabs!
Happy Holidays Colker!
i dont ride old bikes because theyre better than modern bikes. i build and ride them to experience another time.
if theyre more expensive, thats because of their rarity or demand. not all of them are. very little point in collecting stuff you can buy any day at the store really.
i do prefer my vrcs to have signs of use rather than pristine mint units, thats me.
I agree to point. I seen will people rattle on about this weld or that lug. I look and think, " That weld looks like crap and that lug is gaudy" Its subjective, just like art. Difference is, for the most part art is not functional. Some bikes get a pass on functionality based on a perceived value or rarity. I say perceived, because perception is what its all about. Case in point a local artist in my area. His work would sell in the 3k range prettty consistently. During one auction, 2 "Heavy Hitters" took an interest in a particular piece. A bidding war brought the final price to 25k. Now his work lists in the 10k-12k range.
The unfortunate side affect is its difficult to enjoy these things when you cant afford them. I like to buy vintage bikes piecemeal. Then spend time ferreting out the correct parts and assembling them. However if I had to have one bike it would be a new bike by one of the great mordern day builders
It's interesting to see different takes. I see the OP's point, thought I may not share, this niche of the sport has many facets.
I don't care for high prices either, but the it is sometimes comforting to know that energy spent acquiring, culling, restoring and riding fine vintage mountain bikes has value. It would suck to collect dozens upon dozens of small stuff, a few bikes, and to know that its all worthless and will go to the dump when I pass away.
So.. what happened w/ riding your bike into ground? That's what mountain biking is about.
Originally Posted by bing!
im not sure i understood you correctly, but if your suggesting to bring it with me into the ground, i might take one or two :)
Originally Posted by colker1
I don't see the point of his post though he seems bitter. I'd like a Rock Lobster though. In any case, my favorite builders are still alive, happily.
Well.. he has a rebellious disposition. He says on another rant he became a framebuilder out of being an outsider and bicycles were his passion.
Originally Posted by bushpig
The guy has a critical stance on humans and if there is anything that could bring cycling close to poetry (forget Art, bicycles as art is silly but cycling is close to poetry) is a critical, independent stance. And that comes along w/ anger, bitterness and a passion for bringing down established values.
On top of that, the guy can write... and weld a great frame.
After thinking about what Paul said for a couple of days I have a couple of comments:
1) Part of the reason that people (or at least "me") are willing to pay more for a frame from a builder that no longer is living or is no longer building frames is that the opportunities to do so are limited which drives up the price. There are some builders that I have always liked and wished that I owned a specific frame in my size. In some cases I may have been watching for that frame for 10 years. When I finally have the opportunity to buy that frame I'm often willing to pay more because this may be my only opportunity, or the next opportunity might be 10 years out. So yes, some of us are willing to pay "too much" for a rare frame because it's important to us. And yes there are likely better frames available from current builders.
2) Why don't we rush out and buy the "best" frames today? Part of it is (at least to me) is "why buy it today when I can buy it tomorrow?" There's no need to buy a frame right this minute from a builder because I can always get one in the future. The price is set and I can pay it in a year, or two, or five, or... There's little reason to buy one of these frames today - unlike the old frames which are a one time deal (see #1 above). If I knew that a specific builder were about to stop building, or had a limited number of crowns for a specific fork, then I'd be more willing to buy now.
What Paul says does make since. Is a Confente frame really worth what people are willing to pay? You could by 2 or 3 current frames that would be for all-intents-and-purposes better than the Confente. In mountain bike terms, why would you buy a Cunningham when you could by a McClung, a Rock Lobster, and a Soulcraft for the same price? (Not one of those frames, but all three!) It's a good question. However, the same issue exists in all collectible markets. Why buy a Matisse or a Picasso when there are many other great artists out there? In the end I think that if you attempt to apply ration to human decision making you'll find that it's not always possible, and that's the reason that those Confente frames sell for so much.
Originally Posted by laffeaux
People will pay a lot for something that will increase it's value while hanging on a wall. It's a calculated investment. Bicycles which are ridden, are bought based on desire, lust and other motifs which are far from strategical ways to deal w/ money and be part of powerfull circles.
Bicycle collections are removed from those circles of power and speculation.
What Saddoff is saying is that pretending they are in the same league is a wrong assumption.
People buy whatever they want and up to a certain kind of money you don't need to justify how you spend it.
Now.. when you start rationalizing it you end up playing into Sadoff's logic; Cunningham's aside, he can build you something that will feel, ride, exactly like the bike of your dreams but slightly better. So you are left w/ the charisma and memories of how you felt about that certain builder which no longer exists.. a collection os images, words that conjure a style. Fine... why not? From a builders POV, it's pure smoke and mirrors. NOthing to do w/ function, quality, money investment or art collection. How come a fine bicycle can be proved wrong by a fine bike builder? That is the question.
Paul said: "I didn't understand the significance as no matter how closely I looked at the workmanship, I could not distinguish one Masi frame from another. They seemed all to be built to a certain standard and almost boringly consistent."
To me that boring consistency is pretty dang nice, and no Mario had nothing to do with this bike as it was built in Italy after Mario moved to California.
I think you guys all offer very nice, well reasoned thoughts regarding this. I do feel bad for him because I think it's about his ego. He is well regarded among framebuilders but it is what it is. Are Klein prices justified? They are certainly nice bikes but what hype. What about Sasha White's Vanillas? It's economics. Not all the deserving get their due and not all the overhyped deserve it.
This is why I don't blog. I'd be embarrassed to read what I felt 2 years ago because it's probably changed by now. ;) Chin up, Paul.
Merry Christmas, gang!
I disagree. Not accepting established values is what drives us to be individualistic and creative.
Originally Posted by girlonbike
I don't read misery, envy or bitterness in his rant but rebellion, irony and intelligence.
Sorry GOB but you are wrong on this one.
There are lots of ways to read it and different perspectives on how it should/could be read. None are wrong. And as BOG implied, Paul may no longer agree with his article himself.
Uh....you can't be wrong when stating opinions.
Originally Posted by colker1
i just "felt" that feeling sorry for him wasn't the right thing to say. Nor is it about his ego but our values.
Originally Posted by girlonbike
Interesting. I've sold off all my vintage frames and and I'm now collecting Garro's cruisers. The next one will be here in a couple weeks. And then I'll order another once the frame presents itself in my mind. You can't always knock a couple back with the builder and crash on the couch when you get the frame second hand. But, if something like a Toad or Phoenix came along, I'd pull the trigger.
"Good artists copy, great artists steal"
I love Sadoff's blog. Colker's right - that guy can write. I've wanted a Rock Lobster singlespeed for forever - just not enough to pull the trigger, I guess.
I've never had a custom bike - i.e.: one that I've had built/built to my specifications - work out though and I won't play one-man R&D shop to some idea of perfection (or "one bike to rule them all") any more. Might be that I've drunk the Sachs koolaid, but I'd run a mile from the builder who said they'll build me whatever I want. Fcuk that! I've built a frame before - so anyone can do it - I'm buying an earned or intuited "good bicycle sense" that numbers alone can't reveal or describe. I cannot be trusted...
I remember back in the day feeling similarly re: Masis, Colnagos, De Rosas, etc. Storied brands, yes, but boring and plain (unless pantographed up the wazoo). One of my co-workers had (still has) an old Bruce Gordon. I'd be surprised if anyone reasonably familiar with bicycles wouldn't immediately and definitively choose the BG as the superior product.
I got a rock lobster story. After getting bitten by the vintage bug, I've progressed to the point that now I'm looking for something "more current" So, I look at Rivendell because they are close to me here in Nor Cal. But, I can't pay the new prices. So I check craigslist and see a nice Atlantis. Turns out it's too small for me. I ask the seller what he's going to replace the Riv bike with?
He says he's getting a Rock Lobster, and tells me I should too. :)
I see the custom market as risky. The custom might just be built for a single person. You get something you like, but maybe no one else likes it. Like they say about tract homes, "they are built for everyone, but fit no one." You are willing to put up with a little less performance or comfort because of the heard protection.
I've found a couple of builders that I'd use, but, those thousands of bikes that Grant built, that confidence, and market recognition, keep me comming back to the Riv.