Oh no - I do disagree. The main goal of a framebuilder is to build a frame that will not fail. An occasional brazing gap is no big deal, but when the brazing is very uneven it indicates the possibility of uneven heating - and possibly overheated tubing. That implies a greater likelihood of failure.
I had assumed that based on DeRosa's reputation his early frames would be outstanding. I was mistaken and the photo on the web site confirms my observation. And the story of the failed DeRosa does nothing to diminish my concerns.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO
> Hi Mike,
> Like Mr. Jackson sang, "a few bad apples don't spoil the bunch".
> As Italian production bikes designed for racing go, I'd say
> Ugo and sons don't have much to be ashamed of.
> I try not to forget that the vast majority of racing bikes
> (up until the mid 70's) where bought by racers, who didn't much
> care about the odd bit of rough finish here or there.
> I guess it's kind of like inspecting a hammer for scratches.
> To measure how successful a frame builder is, there has to be
> an understanding of their intent. What's the point of building
> their frames? How well does the builder measure up to what they
> are trying to make? If Ugo was building a frame for Eddy
> Merckx to win the tour de France, is it fair to criticize that
> frame for having a gap in the seat lug? Would it be nice
> if there were no gaps? Sure it would.
> So yes, we can compare and contrast the different marques for
> their level of craftsmanship and artistic value, but lets not
> forget how well they measure up to what the builder intended
> in the first place. De Rosa built frames to be used in races.
> IMHO, any builder who chromes lugs, paints on pinstripes, and
> hand paints their logos is begging to be judged on the finish
> level of their frames. I feel that it's fair to criticize
> that builder for their level of skill if the quality of the
> fishish doesn't measure up.
> Grant McLean
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [CR]Stinky DeRosa not Peroiod State of Art
> Precedence: list
> Message: 15
> I will differ with Richard on this one. First though, I would like to thank
> Richard for being one of the several elite builders who define
> state-of-the-art frame construction. His work helps us all put other frames
> into perspective.
> I believe that from the 1930's through the 1970's there have on occasion
> been frames built that are vastly superior to the DeRosa in question and
> which come close to the current standards of top level American
> Bikes that come to mind include the mid 60's green Masi track bike I
> previosly owned - the drop out attachment in particular was among the finest
> I've ever seen. This Masi was built to a much higher standard than any
> other Masi I have seen from the period.
> Early 1950's Rene Herse frames have a precision that is typical of current
> American builders or the wonderfully precise Japanese builders. Brazing is
> uniform and never a gap.
> A few years back I had a Seiber frame that, from the outside, completely
> embarased the DeRosas in question. The Seiber was pre-war.
> Also, the Pop Brenan track bike at the Cirque last year was again, from
> external appearences, built with superior brazing than the Stinky DeRosas in
> I've owned lots of 70's bikes, but the DeRosa was bothersome. I simply
> could not respect it and therefore I put it on the for sale block and it
> found a nice home.
> Mike Kone in Boulder CO
> > mikey, mikey, mikey...
> > this would be a tough thread - because the rose coloured*
> > glasses would need thicker and thicker lenses to really
> > disect CR era stuff in the vein that u r suggesting. i think
> > the derosa that is depicted is/was state of the art re "work-
> > manship" back then. otoh, when i stripped the paint from my
> > TWO italian 71 masis i was aghast at the level of heavy-handness
> > that was evident. i even wrote about it in my tome, Period Correct®.
> > i think the issue will become linked to our antenaes (sp?) going
> > up much higher now than they were able to go in the 70s. it's
> > an across-the-board problem when retrospecting. i like keeping
> > things within their respective eras. my opinion of the a singers was
> > based in a 2003 sensibility, but i think the derosa and others like
> > them were mighty fine for 70s work. the only builder whose frames
> > i saw (read: I SAW...) back then whose work and workmanship crossed
> > eras was w.b. hurlow.
> > e-RICHIE®
> > Richard Sachs Cycles
> > No.9, North Main Street
> > Chester, CT 06412 USA
> > Tel. 860.526.2059
> > site: http://www.richardsachs.com
> > pics: http://photos.yahoo.com/
> > rants: http://richardsachs.blogspot.com/
> > *i spelled in the british way because i'm feeling so
> > gay now that the UCONN HUSKIES KICKED BUTTKUS
> > AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS.
> > On Wed, 07 Apr 2004 19:09:18 +0000 email@example.com writes:
> > Hi CR folks,
> > If you go to the Japanese web site in Richards post you will see images
> > of a DeRosa which is one of the very rare early 70's ones.
> > The workmanship on this one like one I personally owned a few years back
> > is painfully weak - check out the braze globs at the seatlug for example.
> > The one I owned had brazing gaps of pathetic proportions. It was still
> > a very cool bike though...
> > After putting Alex Singer through the workmanship wringer a few weeks
> > back, it is time someone put DeRosa through the wringer as well. I
> > thought the one I had was an aberation. Apparently not.
> > Also on the topic of quality, I cut open an old Cinelli which was crashed
> > to examine. Overall way better than necessary, but some mighty poor
> > mitering compared with a top tier American built frame.
> > Mike Kone in Boulder CO
> > I have
> > > yup
> > > that's exactly how i remember the first derosas i saw.
> > > they were dubois lugged with the odd dipsy-do in the
> > > front of the head tube. pity - those frames never had a
> > > reinforcer brazed within the seat lug ears: all the crushed,
> > > mis-shapen, and distorted lugs.
> > > but i digress.
> > > i also have good news. in addition to saving on my car insurance
> > > by switching to geico, UCONN HUSKIES KICKED BUTTKUS AT
> > > THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS.
> > > gotta go...
> > > e-RICHIE®
> > > Richard Sachs Cycles
> > > No.9, North Main Street
> > > Chester, CT 06412 USA
> > > Tel. 860.526.2059
> > > site: http://www.richardsachs.com
> > > pics: http://photos.yahoo.com/
> > > rants: http://richardsachs.blogspot.com/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Wed, 07 Apr 2004 14:24:39 -0400 Grant McLean
> > > <Grant.McLean@SportingLife.ca> writes:
> > > Hi List,
> > > I noticed today that the japanese website for Yokoo cycles has been
> > > updated with some more fancy retro stuff. Note the nice derosa....
> > > http://www.cycles-yokoo.co.jp/
> > > grant mclean
> > > Toronto, Canada
> From: Richard M Sachs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: [CR]What did the old builders have in mind?
> Message-ID: <email@example.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Precedence: list
> Message: 5
> Dennis Young <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> "Would you care to elaborate on how workmanship was affected by period a
> as applied to bicycles within our area of interest? Are you saying that the
> makers of yesteryear had to work faster to survive, therefore the level of
> "quality" deemed appropriate by the top names was different than today? It
> seems odd that some bikes by a specific maker within a certain period were
> well done, and others sloppy. Not being a frame builder, I may be taking
> liberties here, but if the challenge of good workmanship is not a priority,
> the work would seem to be pretty boreing. The interest lies in the
> financial profits? I hope our heroes weren't wealthy and bored. I'd like
> to get a better idea of the mind set of the old builders."
> e-RICHIE: here it is:
> "...your extrapolating of my point is correct and on the mark. the flame
> we (all of us) are trying to keep burning is based in emotion and
> subjectivity. you're right to suggest that it may have never been lit
> to begin with.
> this is not cynicism on my part; it's an opinion based on real life
> experiences within the industry. i cannot speak for ???!??, but i once
> used the "iconoclastic" italian framebuilders as a role model.
> we all need to find something to aspire to. my aspirations were based on
> what i read, and what i "thought", and the fantasies i concocted when i
> was, uh, new. several years in the biz and 5-6 trips to italy later have
> exposed me to a reality that has little overlap with what i expected
> in my earlier days. these points have all been covered before and are
> in the archives. in essence, tho' we (the 'merican builders...) were
> trying to emulate and hopefully, one day, catch up to our euro counter-
> parts, we created something that did not exist over there. one-man
> shops, or small production artisanal shops were not the norm. they
> were and are anomalies. i'd say, to a brand, not one shop would fill
> the description that henry gave of, "a frame handcrafted by 'Luigi'..."
> the irony, for me at least, is that the products-all through the ensuing
> years-have been of a high quality, whether it was handmade, or lovingly
> crafted, or custom-made, or whatdeva!
> the mythology (bad word choice, but you get my drift) is something that
> we all attach to it. it is not something that these makers used to market
> their bicycles.