[CR]Hand-made vs Mass-produced

(Example: Framebuilding:Brazing Technique)

From: Jerry & Liz Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Classic Rendezvous Mail List (E-mail)" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <A5E72E8AE73AD311954A009027887CFFC38E6B@SLSERVER> <0e9101c29a6d$eb8993d0$efddfea9@mooshome>
Subject: [CR]Hand-made vs Mass-produced
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 20:28:37 -0600

We had a rather long recent thread about what it meant that Ugo DeRosa, Faliero Masi, etc. "built" a particular frameset, and how the Italian shops compared to true one-man shops like Baylis, Sachs, Bohm, etc. A related question, on a less elevated plane, occurred to me recently when a list member asked me offlist whether a particular model was hand-made or mass-produced. In pondering that question, it occurs to me that:

A) We are not clear what we mean by either "hand-made" or "mass-produced".

B) The two are not mutually exclusive.

Although I've visited small framebuilding shops, I've never visited a large bicycle factory. Yet I imagine that any lugged steel frame is to some extent "hand-made" in that they by nature require a number of manual operations by workers with a significant degree of skill.

Yet at the same time that "hand-built" frame, if it were say a top model from Raleigh, Peugeot, etc. in the 1970's or 1980's, might be considered "mass-produced" in that the shop was arranged to maximize the number of frames built per day, several workers worked on a single frame, and the frame design, fittings, etc. were standardized for a given model and size. In fact, by this standard, most Colnagos, Cinellis, Derosa, etc. were "mass-produced" as well.

Anyone else care to venture an opinion on hand-made versus mass-produced bikes?


Jerry Moos
Houston, TX