[CR]"prime offender" thread

(Example: Framebuilders:Brian Baylis)

From: "Tom Martin" <tom@wilsonbike.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <MONKEYFOODnRMWuLn5U00001178@monkeyfood.nt.phred.org>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 09:30:36 -0800
Subject: [CR]"prime offender" thread

The Kobe 'grown' T bone steak or fillet mignon is an exquisite cut of delectable beef for the person eating it. It is just a piece of flesh off a dead cow for the butcher cutting it.

The 5 star hotel room is the lap of luxury for the guest. It is just a room to clean to the support staff.

I heard these paraphrased lines in a sweet soul song on the radio the other night. I think it embodies the sentiments rather well; recognizing 'jadedness' but not drowning in it. And recognizing that the most beautiful work of kinetic art is still made by a person (or small staff) with a job to do, who is probably employing a few people, thereby supporting families on their meager salary. Art needs the creator AND the viewer to exist. it is a binary relationship.

Tom Martin Oakland CA trying not to sound too much like a philosophical art snobbe

I think there are two different subjects here. One is classic versus modern, the other is true art versus industrial production. I'm not a framebuilder, but we have many times had top US framebuilders recount how they visited the shops of the fabled Italian marques and were shocked at the lack of "art" in the construction of the frames. That is, the builders regarded it as just a job, not an artistic passion. Rather shattered their illusions.

Based on these accounts, I would conclude that the myth of meticulous detail work and obsession with perfect finish work on Italian bikes is for the most part just that - a myth. They did more filing 30 years ago only because they had only pressed lugs and couldn't avoid it. The Italians had flair and class, and occasionally innovative design, but meticulous hand finishing including hours spent thinning lugs is the hallmark, not of the Italian builders, but of the top American builders and perhaps the top tier of UK builders under which some of these Americans apprenticed. I suspect that obsession with a 26.2 versus 27.2 seatpost aside, a new Cinelli Supercorsa may be, by any objective criteria, built as well or better than one from the 60's. The same may be true for modern lugged steel offerings from the other famous Italian builders. I think the laborious and artistic handwork on top American frames is possible because the US market, unlike Europe, or even to some extent the UK, has a sufficient number of buyers who both want this kind of finishing and have are willing to pay for it. There are probably a number of builders in Europe and UK who could do work of this quality, and would like to do, but have concluded that they would starve to death if they tried.


Jerry Moos
Houston, TX