Re: [CR]Bike Marketing and Frameset Materials (long)

(Example: Framebuilders:Doug Fattic)

From: "Ed Braley" <>
To: "David Feldman" <>, "Andrew Gillis" <>, <>
References: <> <004301c2dc75$e75e5a80$b50885cd@hppav> <008c01c2dc90$29c9fd60$94b2b2d1@am> <001901c2dccd$7e969780$58053a41@computer>
Subject: Re: [CR]Bike Marketing and Frameset Materials (long)
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 11:14:07 -0500

I find it interesting that many Japanese companies produce modern race bikes with new materials and technologies, and yet they continue to produce very traditional touring bikes with lugs, non-aero brake levers, down tube shifters, metal fenders, etc for the traditional tourist.

Like this model from Maruishi which we discussed on the I-BOB list yesterday:

Unfortunately, I've never seen anything like this offered in the US.

Ed Braley
Falmouth, Maine

----- Original Message -----
From: David Feldman
To: Andrew Gillis
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 7:57 AM
Subject: Re: [CR]Bike Marketing and Frameset Materials (long)

> Amen, bro Gillis, you describe well the path of (to this bike business
> lifer's knowledge) intentional and deliberate consumer FRAUD that has been
> practiced by the "Big Bike Companies." It will be interesting to see if,
> with smaller but still visible brands like Surly and Gunnar selling
> practical road frames and bikes, the big co's product planners are dragged
> back to user-friendly reality in the next few years. CR relevance--every
> industry product planner should have to ride one of their un-fenderable
> jackhammers for three hours on Northwestern chipseal on a day when it's
> going to rain half an inch, and the next day do the same ride in the same
> conditions on a "classic" bike that has, like, fender room, non-aero wheels,
> and a compliant frame!
> David Feldman
> Vancouver, WA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Andrew Gillis" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 11:38 PM
> Subject: [CR]Bike Marketing and Frameset Materials (long)
> > CRs:
> >
> > About two years ago I read a couple of things that clarified my
> perspective
> > on frameset materials:
> >
> > 1. An article in European Car magazine that did a thorough analysis of the
> > VW/Audi 1.8T engine. The article described that in practice there was
> > actually fairly little in common between a passenger car engine and a race
> > car engine (besides internal combustion) because the design requirements
> > were so different.
> >
> > 2. A review in either Cycling Plus or Cycling Weekly of the UK based M
> Steel
> > framebuilding shop. The builders construct frames from almost any material
> > they like, and for their Brevet rides they choose to ride steel, because
> > it's the most comfortable, versatile and cost effective.
> >
> > So, since the Bike Biz markets bikes to the general public based on the
> > newest Tour de France designs, the 'relevance' of their bikes to the
> > majority of the non-racing public has progressively become less and less.
> > Too-low threadless stems, aero wheels and harsh-riding oversized aluminum
> > frames are three mass market items that immediately come to my mind.
> >
> > Within the CR time period, spending more money for a racing bike generally
> > meant getting a bike that was both lighter and more durable at the same
> > time. A top grade frameset was comfortable and lasted a good while, and
> with
> > it you also received much more durable running gear and the total
> investment
> > was generally well worth the $$. With a modest change of gearing and tires
> > the bike was usually suitable for the non-racer as well.
> >
> > Now, with 200g aluminum handlebars that must be thrown away after a year,
> > and $300 carbon fiber handlebars that must also be tossed if they are
> > scratched (along with carbon fiber cranks and carbon fiber brake levers
> and
> > carbon fiber seatposts that crack) and my local friend who has had two or
> > three Bianchi aluminum frames crack within a year of their use despite his
> > much lighter than average weight... well you now spend a lot of money just
> > so that you can throw it all away and then spend a lot more money after
> > that!
> >
> > Yes, the new bikes are lighter, and that helps a slight bit. I do prefer
> the
> > comfort advantages of more gears and Ergo shifting, but excluding
> > world-class racing where every gram and second count, the newest bikes
> have
> > little that is relevant to my needs. I'm not willing to sacrifice comfort
> or
> > durability to the extent that is 'expected' by the Marketing Guys.
> >
> > If I was buying another bike (and I'd have another steel bike made) I'd be
> > sorely tempted to email the major corporate manufacturers and point out in
> > specific detail why each of their top designs was irrelevant to my needs,
> > and since I could afford to buy any bike I wanted, I had a custom bike
> made
> > to MY specs, to suit MY needs.
> >
> >
> > Andrew Gillis
> > (the rain in Long Beach doesn't bother me, just marketing-created
> > 'obsolescence'!)