I disagree with virtually everything Peter says so one at a time.
Custom Bicycles- Bring your tape measure and know what you need is the rule for any bike purchase. Most custom bicycles are normal proportioned because most people are normal proportioned. Many "factory" bikes have very strange proportions also. I have often championed ordinary factory bicycles on this list but many customs are on a totally different plane. What factory bicycles equal a Wiegle, Sachs, Bayliss, Bruce Gordon, Pop Brennan, McLean Fonvielle? And that's just US builders.
The closest I could come is a California Masi or a Cinelli and those were not built in "factories".
Japanese Cycling Knowledge-What can I say- Keirin, 3 Rensho etc. Plus fantastic engineering and fabrication of cycling components.
Richard Sachs has written often about the reality of Italian cycle fabrication. It was about paychecks. So you could go buy a Fiat, Alfa or Ferrari.
Great Notch, NJ
<email@example.com>; "Bruce C." <BruceCumberland@comcast.net> Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 10:42 AM Subject: Re: [CR]Was: "E-bay Pog. - is it the real deal?"..Nowbroaderthoughts....
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Raoul Delmare" <Raoul.L.Delmare@worldnet.att.net>
> To: "C.R. List" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Bruce C."
> Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 10:12 AM
> Subject: Re: [CR]Was: "E-bay Pog. - is it the real deal?"..
> > And a large , "attaboy" on this one too !!
> > I hope it's not TOO contradictory that I admire , and find charming ,
> > both the inexpensive products of faceless and nameless factory workers .
> Well I hope not, too; a lot of us collect only bicycles that were so
> manufactured, although most of mine were not "inexpensive" in their day.
> I've always wondered about collecting custom-made frames... it's rather like
> buying used bespoke tailormade suits. I mean that's jolly good for the
> original owner but using it secondhand kinda defeats the purpose! I guess it
> could be argued that custom-made means better quality. I am utterly
> unconvinced of that.
> Of course in the "classic era" the "faceless and nameless factory workers"
> were usually nationals of the country that made them and when those
> countries, Britain, France, Italy et. al., defined the cycle "ethos" of the
> day. To me that makes a big difference. I never have accepted Japanese bikes
> somehow for the simple reason what do the Japanese know about bikes? I mean
> are bicycles part of their national identity, culture and indeed transport
> the way they were in Britain, France or Italy? Name some world famous
> Japanese cyclists. Or indeed Chinese ones. When I grew up the idea of a
> quality American bike was a joke since most Americans treated (and still do)
> the bicycle as a toy. Many still ride bikes on the sidewalk like children.
> It just seemed that would naturally translate into the bike itself. If I
> collected Masi, sorry but I just would have to have an Italian one. Maybe
> for no good reason, but there you have it.
> So, I can see why folks here would treasure an Italian-made lightweight,
> even one made in a factory by some faceless worker who, nevertheless, was
> Italian and cycled to work and maybe even followed the exploits of Coppi and
> others or dreamt of being one himself. If he didn't impart some of that into
> his job, I'd be mighty surprised indeed.
> Peter Kohler
> Washington DC USA