Thursday, November 22, 2012

What makes for a special 'show' bike

My days-actually decades have been spent building bicycle frames. My fellow framebuilders regard my operation with wide ranging opinions-some newer builders might be envious of my seemingly well established reputation. Other builders might just dismiss me entirely as some sort of hopeless slob in a shed. I welcome all these opinions and don't disagree.....I'm truly a well established slob and not anxious to do much to change my status-I merely want to refine it. To display any advance in my quest to refine my slovenly methods would of course involve making a special 'show' bike. I have done this in the past. Some times with humor, some times with biting sarcasm, some times with the intention of artistry. My attempts to build a show bike have resulted in the following : # 1, A joke that almost nobody got.#2, A joke that might have damaged a friendship #3, A tremendous amount of labor yielding "The bike that hate built ".
Shortly after the last NAHMBS I got the idea for a guideline for the next show bike-I had intended to do a second annual 'Ficticious bike show awards' but was so busy during the show at my own booth that I had no time to walk the show and see what it was I had intended to write about. So, with those circumstances you will all have to settle for this: The 2012 Show Bike guidelines, at least how I see it. The categories will each have a set of standards, each more 'exclusive' and prestigious than the last.

Builder's waiting list:
1. Builder has a 3 month waiting list.
2. Builder has a 1 year waiting list
3. Builder has a 3 year waiting list
4. Builder has a 6 year waiting list.
5. Builder's list is now closed.
6. Builder's list was never opened.

Logo treatment:
1. Painted on logo
2. Hand painted on logo
3. Acid etched logo in tube
4. Stainless logo soldered onto frame
5. Removed material from tube in shape of logo
6. Neon logo
7. Small r.c. blimp with logo on side orbiting show bike

Sales points as to exclusivity of show bike:
1. Limited edition of only 5 frames
2. This frame would max out your credit card
3. Taking out a second mortgage would be needed to fund this frame purchase
4. Selling testicle would be needed to purchase this frame
5. Selling one kidney would be needed to purchase this frame
6. Selling both kidnleys would be needed to purchase this frame

Marketing philosophy:
1. This frame would be good for anyone
2. This frame would be good for almost anyone
3. This is a luxury item for special people only
4. This is a luxury item for one special person or less

Method of construction:
1. Hand brazed with an oxy-acetylene torch
2. Brazed with mapp gas
3. Hearth brazed with rendered fat from free-range chickens
4. Brazed with methane extracted from the anus of free range livestock

Materials selected for construction:
1. Good steel
2. The best steel
3. The very best steel
4. Slightly better than the very best steel
5. N.O.S. cryogenically stored steel previously owned by a succession of deceased framebuilders who never got around to using it to build a frame

Seat attachment style:
1. Brazed binder with fully adjustable polished seatpost
2. Seatmast with 2 c.m. of adjustment
3. Seatmast with 1 c.m. of adjustment
4. Saddle welded to seat mast ( no adjustment)
5. Bibshorts stitched to saddle welded to seatmast ( less than no adjustment )

With these guidelines, one can only begin to imagine what kind of incredible artistry will be gracing the halls of the next handmade bike show. Ideally, you won't be able to afford it and if all goes to plan, you wouldn't be able to ride it.......that, in bike show talk is a masterpiece.


  1. Good thing I'm not going - I have stickers & a bolt-on seat collar, and use really good steel.
    on a side note "the bike that hate built" was pretty damn nice.......

  2. At least the guy that bought the 'bike that hate built' does not hate it....

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. If you're talking about the bike in the pic, no, I don't hate it at all. It has taken me on long tours on the West Coast, through shifting sand and crazy-fun traffic in Egypt and across the mountains and valleys of Syria (before everything went to shit there). And it is still my daily workhorse. "Not hate" doesn't even begin to cover it.

  3. Show what you build, and don't show what you don't want to make more of.

    See you there this year?

  4. No shoe for me....too busy. It's a good problem. Maybe 2014......

  5. Hopefully we will start seeing purely ironic entries win prizes (in fact I'm suspicious that it's already happened).