Re: [CR]Ann's pictures, and the Blue Bilenky's stem

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Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 07:17:28 -0700
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Ann's pictures, and the Blue Bilenky's stem

>It doesn't matter in this case, but I'd like to suggest that this
>stem, with its four parallel pencil tubes, is perhaps a triumph of
>craftsmanship over efficient design.

The multi-tubed stem is a design that has come up from time to time. Goƫland did a few of them, and so did Narcisse pre-war (see the Narcisse tandem in the image archive on the VBQ web site). I am glad somebody is trying it again, to see how it works and whether it has unexpected advantages - or simply no disadvantages! The shown Bilenky offers a host of innovative (or old-fashioned - depending on your point of view) solutions. Somebody is thinking outside the box. I think is very elegant. I am tempted! (And I am sure they'll make you a one-tube stem if you ask nicely...)
>To me, part of the beauty of the bike is that the solutions are
>worked out within a discipline of optimum function. To me, the real
>elegance of a Richard Sachs or a classic Italian bike is how the
>work shines through, because of this discipline.

Hmm, what about those horizontal dropouts on derailleur-equipped bikes - talking about Italian, here, not Richard's... those long-point lugs adding weight with no real functional benefit... the upside-down parallelogram of all Campagnolo derailleurs until the end of the CR timeline (and of all the Campy copies), which made the pulleys swing away from the freewheel as you go to smaller cogs.

Beautiful they may be, but optimum function? You'd need vertical dropouts, fillet-brazing or at least minimal lugwork in the English tradition and a parallelogram hinged correctly like the Nivex or the Huret Allvit.

I agree that a Flying Gate is pushing the laws of physics a bit further, but why not?

Disclosure: No connection to Bilenky, Flying Gate or any of the other makers mentioned. -- Jan Heine, Seattle Editor/Publisher Vintage Bicycle Quarterly