Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nazis of all kinds

Any time a buider says ; " ****** is the only way to build a frame. " I take this view as a sign of a person who is either 1. Bitter old guy .2. Bitter young guy. 3. Bitter young or old gal . 4. Somebody who really sincerely has one unshakeable view. 5. Completely ignorant of the process he/she is dismissing. I say to these folks, good on ya.....more work for the folks who aren't so dismissive. There are those who unashamedly build in one style and do so with tremendous dedication and attention to detail. This does not mean that they have lots of customers even though their hard work is inspiring and a show of pure dedication. I'm not dissing these folks....they are my heroes. I choose to diss the folks that say " My way or the highway" about building for all of us. I fart in their general direction, or more aptly, aim my torch at thier rear parts to set thier pants on fire. In my mind, building something such as a bicycle is to respond to a need , although it can be a personal expression as well. For me, the expression is something I leave mostly to the end user.....they will express themselves on a ride, in a race or whatever. My expression is what I give them in terms of a tool for racing , training , enjoyment , commuting or just not having to fire up the car to get somewhere. Ironically when I build a bike for a show it will have to have some sort of 'hook' to get people to look at it. Shows are all about the visual......I have never seen an award at a bike show that has anything to do with the ride and/or fit of the bike or even the customer satisfaction. This is really something that drives me crazy but it can't be helped as the bikes are stationary in a show and with few exceptions cannot be ridden. This leaves the door open for folks to develope opinions and prejudices based on purely aesthetic reasons. Not only that, all sorts of structurally questionable practices are viewed as " Innovations" at shows.......I call them " Mistakes that will inevitably put a rider on his/her face ". Where am I going with this ? Probably nowhere's just this: If you want to make a living in this field you'll have to open your mind, but not too much. Consider all the ways that a frame can be put together and go with the method that suits your customers as long as it's sound. Put in your aesthetic but don't let it get in the way of the safety or enjoyment potential of the end user. Don't preach, unless you are a preacher by nature . Don't criticize another builder unless you have in fact walked a mile in his/her shoes, at least figuratively. The folks that diss tig welding probably haven't ever tired it. The welders that don't understand the validity of brazing and/or lugs are maybe too lazy to check that out. People who think that a sub 3 lb. steel frame is durable.......they are just nuts.

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