Friday, March 12, 2010

Listen to the pros and the bros.

While I drink my morning tea and eat my daily three pieces of toast at 7:30 a.m. I get a chance to read what framebuilders are discussing...or sometimes arguing about on the forums. That's right-while I'm no longer a part of these scrums I do check them out from a distance. The eternal battle seems to be framebuilders vs. engineers. The framebuilders have actual experience with tubes,lugs,brazing , etc. The way a framebuilder finds out if something dosen't work is if it comes back to the shop broken. The way and engineer finds out if something dosen't work is much the same except for the fact that most engineers do their work in labs and never get to actually build the final product themselves. Framebuilders see this as a disconnect. Engineers see framebuilders as primitives who by the seat of their collective pants put things together in sometimes a haphazard fashion that wouldn't cut it in the world of testing labs. The truth is that egineers and framebuilders benefit from each other and need each other for problem solving and real-world feedback. Where would framebuilders be without the engineers figuring out the best alloys and processes to make tubing ? Conversely, where would engineers be without framebuilders putting the torch to these raw materials and finding out if the engineering really adds up to a success for the end user , or if it falls short. Neither framebuilder nor engineer is immune from making a blunder but each of them are very sure that the other is missing something in the equasion of bicycle building. I read on the forum where a hobbyist-builder was asking if silver solder was better for attatching cantilever bosses than bronze as it melted at a lower temperature. Several experienced builders gave evidence that silver was a bad choice, to which the hobbyist replied : " I'm going to use silver, check the engineering data". Hey, mr. are ignoring the most important data-that of people who braze on hundereds of cantilever bosses , exactly what you are trying to attempt for the first time. While the engineers will tell you properties that are very valuable, the engineers are not actually building the bikes, brazing on the bosses and dealing directly with the results. Think about it-free advice from seasoned pro builders.......years ago when I started out, this advice was almost impossible to come by. While we as builders depend on the engineering community to a large degree it is we, the guys in sheds all over the world who really knows what works in the bike building shop and the advice to " Read the data" from someone with little or no experience is downright laughable. To Mr. "Read the data " I say : Dude, we live the data....hell , our frames are the data . We , as builders accept responsability for failures that could be ours, or could be the data . Maybe you need to check some data of a more real-world kind-Hey, it's free !


  1. Isn't Data the robot from star trek?

  2. It is....I'll bet he never held a torch-not in the bot programming.