[CR]wasMojo;now JUJU. Looks bad, feels good?


Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 09:27:01 -0800
From: Brian Baylis <rocklube@adnc.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]wasMojo;now JUJU. Looks bad, feels good?

Hi everyone,

Having read a few of the recent posts regarding "What is Mojo?" I have some thoughts to share. First, tired of "Mojo"? OK, I'm calling it JUJU now! :-) Fact number one. JUJU is like opinions, everyone has one and they all stink! Oops, wrong line. JUJU is different for each person. For some, it's only about how the bike fits and rides. OK with me. Some require a pretty face in addition, still fine with me. Some require ONLY a pretty face; whatever floats your boat. I suppose there is someone out there that will only ride UGLY bikes; I would call that JUJU in itself, but that's only me. It's your opinion and you're within your rights to have it. Following are a few observations about JUJU from my personal experience.

First, an example of JUJU of high caliber, that is attached to a bike that I don't like the ride of. It is my 1962 Masi Special. To start with, it is my size, 50 cm, which is VERY rare to begin with for that period of time. It has original paint and decals and is in excellent condition and very low miles. Has a Spence Wolf modified GranSport Rear der. (fitted to Record top part) and almost entirely original parts, wheels may have been rebuilt once. Has JUJU from previous owner; the bike was a wedding gift from Albert Eisentraut to his wife when they married in 1963. The bike was probably in the first shipment to Velo Sport Cyclery in 1962. Albert traded Peter Rich some frame fixtures for the bike, which retailed for $170 at the time, I think. The bike has Nervex Pro lugs and BB shell, headbadge, chromed headlugs and rear dropout faces, rare fork crown, also chrome. This is probably the most significant bike in my collection. The only problem is that it has poor steering geometry and is a bit annoying to ride. I do not feel full confidence on decents with this bike and it's a real pain to ride out of the saddle. The head angle is too shallow and it has way too much rake, over 5.0cm. Still I love owing it. I would never give it up. But I prefer to ride my 1974 Colnago Super of the same size. The frame has been through the mill. Someone did a seat tube replacement on the frame and didn't do a super job of it. But the frame is straight (I made sure of that), has been repainted, and now looks great and rides and fits great. Nowhere near the amount of JUJU of the Masi Special, but a much better ride. To me, both bikes have the stuff, just in different ways. When I ride bikes I've built for myself, everything comes together. A perfect fit for the application, a VERY personalized and beautiful piece of equiptment, and a machine that becomes part of you and translates every thought and desire you have on the bike into reality. Icing on the cake for me comes from the satisfaction that I have been able to do this for myself with my own hands and a few basic hand tools. It really is amazing. I am such a fortunate man. I get a simular satisfaction from hearing my drumming on recordings. I'm sorry to say, it's something I never get tired of.

On another note. UGLY JUJU. I have an example. I bought this 70's era Legnano from Robbie Fellows a while back. Sight unseen, $25. I figure anything is worth $25 and it is my size. Turns out it has a little rust on it. Still has steel HS and steel crankset attached, also a little rusty; like it may have been at the bottom of the ocean for a while. NO worries, because the tubes are "genuine gaspipe". This is a very low end frame and is so heavy it could easily have been used as a anchor for a battleship! Cripes! So, what to do? Well the only answer is regrease the bearings, find some parts to finish it up, and ride the thing as a rusty hulk. Probably a 30 to 35 lb. rusty hulk. But like an "ugliest dog" contest, I love this bike. It has a type of JUJU of it's own. (Has anyone noticed how much easier it is to type "JUJU" as opposed to MOJO?) It's so out there that it's IN. I wouldn't try passing off this JUJU on eBay, but for me it is genuine. I have my pig in a poke now; so don't get any ideas of sending me all of your tired, worn, and useless scrap iron. I have a Gitane and a Schwinn in the back yard also.

So in closing, JUJU is adjustable. One mans' JUJU is another mans' NOJU. And it shall always remain this way.

Having reread what Art Smith wrote a long time ago about Mojo and who can see it, well I still maintain that as a framebuilder I might notice some detail of frame construction and design that may not translate as JUJU to you but I find really special. An example is the fork crown on the recent Moon frame. When it first arrived Adrian Arao was here in my living room when I opened the box. Adrian became familer with quality bike frames in the unpainted condition when I trained him as my helper in 1983; at the time I was painting Richard Sachs frames and frames built by Dave Tesch as well as my own frames. Adrian is a very detail oriented person, which is why he is such a good painter, and still he did not realize how incredable the work was on that fork until I explained it. I handed him the fork right out of the box. I looked at it for a few seconds and handed it to him and said, "tell me if this fork is anything special". He looked at the fork as I unpacked the frame. He said two things about the fork. He noticed that the dropouts were done nicely and were very sharp and crisp. He also noted that the tangs on the inside of the crown were very thin and the edges were razor sharp. True enough. But the details of the crown itself did not register. As much as he has looked critically at world class frames in the raw since the early 80's, he did not see what I noticed within a few seconds. I knew that Richard had flycut the custom chevron on the crown and that the three varying sized holes were milled into the chevron using tiny end mills. My mind was boggled by the setup time and precision it takes to accomplish this feat. He went further by sculpting the bottom of the crown at the same time that he closed it up. I remember Richard calling me several months ago asking how to go about finishing this type of crown. I told him how I deal with it and he did a magnificent job of it in his own style. It's really woody material; and I'll bet a nickle to a donut that no one would have really comprehended the whole thing unless I made an issue of it here. Now everyone can see at least the end results; but a few of us got to appreciate it's true magnitide. That's why I'm sharing this. But once painted you will not be able to look at the bare crown and see that the crown was milled as opposed to someone brazing a chevron with holes drilled in it (which in itself would be a piece of work) to the top of it. The difference in effort is significant. Wreaks JUJU in my book. We all see JUJU from a different perspective. So before we spend too much time arguing with each other, I feel it would be wise to recognise that JUJU is like an opinion. That's my opinion. And sometimes it takes a framebuilder to point out something that might have been overlooked otherwise. I don't pretend to dictate what is JUJU to everyone else, but I know it when I see it. But if you don't see it you can't know it.

Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA Another comment from the peanut gallery.