In a message dated 12/10/2004 7:20:11 AM Eastern Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
<< never hear much about Witcomb USA, which ought to be an equally interesting tale, since Richie and Peter Weigle were both there. Some time I'd like to hear the tale about how Richie apprenticed in UK (was Peter there also?), then how these two helped start up Witcomb USA, and the rise and fall of this venture. >>
I agree that would be interesting to chronicle and learn about. Certainly top notch folks were involved with that company. Richard Sachs, Peter Weigle, Chris (Fat) Chance, Peter Mooney....Someone mentioned Ben Serotta among those, which I do not remember being the case... Can anyone elucidate?
One clear difference, in my opinion, is that the bikes from Witcomb USA varied more widely in core quality than those of early Masi USA. They made some really wonderful bikes but also a few clinkers, quality wise. Very rideable but with little glitches that separate them from the Masi bikes of that era. There were some fairly rough Irish bikes I think? (Richard Sachs can tell us about these. He is racing today at the cross nats BTW) Maybe Masi was more consistent due to Faliero and Mario overseeing the production with a stronger hand.
I sold the Witcomb USA frames through my earlier business, Carolina Pedal shop, which I started in about 1972 and lasted until 1975 (When we started Toga Bike Shop which became cycles de ORO). But the Witcomb USA frames certainly were exciting products to sell and handle. I recall the East Coast salesperson (briefly) was Dave Chauner who was a racer but later became a big time race promoter who is still behind the scenes at the Philly Pro Championship, etc. He had a clear coated frame he showed off to prospective dealers to illustrate the brazing etc and a shop talked him into selling that sample to them. Once in use, it rusted almost immediately, those being the days before such products as powder coating being available on bike frames.
I guess every one knows that Witcomb USA decals are exclusively available from Peter Weigle who does beautiful restorations on these bikes (Usually repairing the odd blemish or unevenness in manufacture if there is one!)
Greensboro, North Carolina