[CR]Re: British Frame Design

Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE
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Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 21:52:11 -0400
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: "Sheldon Brown" <CaptBike@sheldonbrown.com>
Subject: [CR]Re: British Frame Design

Another reason for some of the quirkier British designs is related to the cult of amateurism.

If you've seen _Chariots of Fire_ you have a bit of a feel for the amateur ethos that existed for much of the last century in That Sceptred Isle. While the defenders of amateurism had all manner of high-minded justification, the bottom line was the class system, and keeping sporting success the province of the leisure classes.

The governing body of cycling was very worried about sponsorship of riders by bicycle manufacturers, and enforced rules about how prominently the manufacturer's name could be painted on the bike. The idea was to make it impossible for spectators or viewers of newspaper photos to tell what kind of bike was in use. This was supposed to destroy the incentive for manufacturers to subsizze star riders.

Many of the manufacturers counterattacked by designing their frames to be distinctive. Hetchin's curly stays, Bates bulbous tubes, Helenic stays and other gimcrackery originated from this.

Sheldon "Rule, Britannia" Brown +----------------------------------------+ | Yes Britain set the world ablaze, | | In good King George's glorious days! | | --W.S. Gilbert | +----------------------------------------+

Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772, 617-244-1040, FAX 617-244-1041
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