[CR] Old & new

(Example: Framebuilders:Mario Confente)

From: <Sid_Smith@baxter.com>
Subject: [CR] Old & new
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 23:33:32 -0500

Guys -

I've seen a lot of opinion. We've got probably a half dozen on this list qualified to address this subject, and they, for the larger part, have been silent.

I'll weigh in as a practicing product design engineer. Good design is good design. It can be one-off, as in "Fallingwater", it can be in limited production, say a Confente or Sachs or Ford GT40. It can be low volume, such as a Paramount P-13, Dino Ferrari or Kestrel 200EMS. It could be mass produced such as an Eddy Merckx Century, or Porsche 944 or Omega Speedmaster. I'd consider any of these to be exemplars of their respective arenas. And, they all have cultlike followings.

Greg - Good design has an element I call "elegance". I think that is what you are referring to as "soul". Elegance is not determined by material or number made or era. Elegance transcends those criteria. Elegance is a design so adapted to its usage it acquires a element of timelessness. For most designers, elegance is an elusive quality that they never attain. Very, very few acquire a reputation for elegant design.

Steve - If a concept doesn't make it to market, the only thing "wrong" with the concept could be economics, and that can change in a short peroid of time. Aluminum is considered a very cheap material today. I've seen list members deride it frequently. When the Washington Monument was capped, they chose the most precious metal at the time - Aluminum. That cast aluminum capstone was worth more than an equivalent weight of gold. Imagine the reception the first proponent of an aluminum bike got.

Anyway - the opinions have been enlightening. Kind of like listening to people talking about lawyers.

Sid Smith
Senior Engineering Specialist
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Round Lake, IL