Not too long ago a very respected builder wrote that stainless is "The poor mans chrome ". I know what he's trying to say with this but as far as I know only really rich guys have bikes with stainless bits on the frame while I see homeless on old bikes with peeling rusty chrome. This brings me to my love-hate affair with stainless steel on bicycle frames. I love the way it looks, can't get around that.....I equate it with donuts-I used to wotk graveyard shift in a donut shop putting myself through the last year of college. Those donuts sure smelled and tasted great but they f%^&ed you up. Eat enough donuts and your face would break out, your colon would clog and you would need bigger pants. That's the way I feel about stainless-what you have to go through to incorporate it into a bicycle frame in terms of additional steps, difficulty and compromises to the simplicity of the structure make it a job I avoid. But what of the folks who gladly take on the mantle of 'Stainless-master" ? I wish them luck. They probably don't need or want my well wishes but they'll get them anyway-it's my way of saying thanks for creating a magnet for the work I don't want. A long time ago, before the internet and framebuilding classes there was a time when one had to learn by listening to the few builders of the day if you were lucky enough to , or by Fred Flintstoning your primitive way by yourself learning by trial and error......actually lots of errors. Some of what I see in current building styles are what we called in those days " Errors". Things like putting on seat-binders,seat stays, brake bridges, cantilever bosses, rear disc droputs with 56% silver solder. Hey, it's clean....it's low temperature.....".wow , the metal didn't even change color when I soldered on that front derailleur boss !" -All this is true but what is also true is that most of these attatchments will let go in time, sometimes in very little time. Imagine coming down a hill , applying your rear disc brake and the whole dropout rips out of the frame ? Not good for the rider or the builder. Where do the builders learn these errors ? Not from the old guard , not from the framebuilding schools......they learn it from each other on the frame forums . Heck, here I am spouting my opinions.....am I any better ? No ,but at least when I have made my mistakes it was from not asking questions - it wasn't from bad advice. Another thing I see is the preponderance of really beautiful " Randonneur" bicycles built in the style of the great Rene Herse. I love the way these bikes look and the work that goes into some of them is monumental.....but......after my years of randonneuring in the real world of endurance cycling I realized that my bike with nice lugs and lots of carrying capacity was laughable to the veteran European randonneurs. The Euros were riding stripped-down racing bikes with triple cranks and as little extra provisions as possible so that they wouldn't have the same burden as I and all of the rest of the American randonneurs. While I did complete two years of qualifiers and Paris Brest Paris , I still feel that I'm not a builder that folks would assosciate as a builder of reputable randonneur bikes-I guess all those miles don't add up to what you get from all that shiny stainless hardware and those hip wooden fenders. When you are deep into a 600K ride , you essentially become a caveman....none of the fancy trim means anything....it's not a parade-it's a long, terribly difficult rite of passage. All you want is a comfortable seat,handlebars in as comfortable a position as possible and a bike that won't hold you back. Yes, you heard that here. I guess all I'm trying to say is that the next generation of builders has to cut back on the fluff and be real about this craft . We have to remember who we are doing it for and respect that they have to be provided with a safe and solid product that won't let them down, hold them back and make them feel glad that they got it from you.