[CR]Hellenic stays - Hilary Stone

(Example: Framebuilders:Dario Pegoretti)

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 11:24:52 -0700
From: "Chuck Schmidt" <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Hellenic stays - Hilary Stone

Another from the archive of interesting CR posts:

I did originally intend my reply to go to the whole group and haver now posted to everyone.
      I would agree that most of the British framebuilders building funny frames went out of their way to build something different but there was also a clear intention to build a better frame to. The British magazine Cycling in the 1920s right through to the 1950s was full of technical articles on improving bike design written by so called experts. Unfortunately very few of these had any engineering background. This was also true of framebuilders. At the turn of the 20th century many innovative engineers worked in the cycle industry. By 1910 almost all engineers of any quality had moved onto the automotive or aeronautic industries which were far more exciting.
      Some framebuilders called themselves engineers but very few actually were. When a top rider came near to the end of racing career he as often as not opened a bike shop and began building frames or at least selling frames he had someone else build though often on the premises. Selbach, Grubb, Southall, Lawterwasser are just some examples. Others came into it through family connections – Baines, Bates and others were simply entrepreneurs – Holdsworth, Claud Butler, Hyman Hetchins.But what they all shared was a lack of engineering knowledge. Framebuilding essentially is nothing more than slightly high tech plumbing – I can't remember who said that – it probably was Mike Mullett an English framebuilder who worked at Raleigh SPD and was partly responsible for building Zoetemelk's 1980 TDF winning frames and has also built until recently under his own name too. However it is essentially true. Wages were low so all sorts learnt to build frames. They all wanted a share of the market and so tried to build a better frame than the competition (in that they were egged on by ill-informed writers in Cycling) and one that stood out from the competition.
      Most of Britain's funny frames have already been covered in C+ Hetchins (not by me though), Bates, Baines, Thanet Silverlight and Paris Galibier. Taper tubed frames have yet to be done as have the Saxon short-wheelbase twin seat tube ones. But there are plenty more interesting Design Classics old and new to come yet. Hilary Stone