Re: [CR]Peter Kohler's remarks on American bike builder's qualitybeing ajoke

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From: <>
To: (Classic Rendezvous)
Subject: Re: [CR]Peter Kohler's remarks on American bike builder's qualitybeing ajoke
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 2004 05:59:46 +0000

Peter wrote:
> Well... I think what I was trying to say was precisely in the context with
> the CR period. We sometimes forget we are indeed supposed to be
> concerned with pre mid 1980s cycles and cycling. Not now or in the future.
> And as I was careful to state, my opinions were based on my personal
> feelings during this time. I simply didn't consider American or Japanese
> made cycles during this time and I said maybe"for no good reason". Well
> some of you are proving exactly that.
> Then again, I guess I am proven right when most of us seem to be into
> Italian, French and British bikes of the era in the question. Dare I suggest
> that most Japanese collectors seem to concentrate, too, on these countries.
> I don't think it's absurd or unfair or even a generalisation to state that
> these countries largely defined cycling (as we at CR seem to define to
> define it) and cycle sport during the CR Period i.e. 1946-1985. If I am
> wrong, where are the postings on great Chinese lightweights or I love my
> Fuji?
> Finally, my posting was more to put into focus the idea of famous British,
> French or Italian names being built in foreign countries. The name is the
> same but is it the same? Can a Vietnamese factory worker cannot put into his
> Bianchi or whatever what an Italian worker could when that Italian was part
> of a great national cycling tradition. Or is that an assumption on my part?
> If China, Japan, Viet-Nam and indeed the USA had a great and enduring
> cycling tradition c. 1946-85 comparable to Britain, France and Italy in
> terms of what the CR list is into (quality lightweight cycles and great
> champion cyclists), great. If it translates into great bikes, even better.

Let's get some facts straight here. Britain does not have a history of international success in professional cycling, and in the CR period never did. Try as you will, you will not be able to build a case to show that they did. Apart from a very select group of highly gifted individuals, Britian did not enjoy any deeply seated success. I know that you will bring up Harris, and likely Porter and maybe the poor deceased Simpson, but 3 riders over the 60-70 years of concern of the CR list do not show success. If you take the top three finishers at the world championships in the two premier events, namely road and track sprint, you find Harris alone from Britain. Less names than those of such powerhouse cycling nations like Japan, Austria, Luxemburg, Denmark, Australia and the USA. A British factory worker would therefore have every bit as much cultural kinship to cycling success as would anybody in virtually any other country in the world. Perhaps this explains why Britain was never successful at exporting bikes to the countries that did have successful racing history. The fact of the matter is that sales of British cycles were solely successful in commonwealth countries where preferential tariffs favored them financially or in racing backwaters (the majority of the USA included), or in markets where they had a presence through the purchase of local company.

When the Japanese became successful exporters of bicycles in the 70's and 80's, it did indeed parallel the arrival of numerous top notch Japanese cyclists on the world scene. Beyond the previously mentioned Nakano, there were also Tawara, Matsui, Kamlyama, Takahashi, Ozaki, Sugata and Abe who all placed in the top 3 in the worlds in the two premier events.

As far as China goes, their successful involvement in the field of lightweight cycles is virtually all after the period of CR concern, so discussion of their bikes would seem to be mostly offtopic.

A last little bit of trivia, in 2003 the nations with winners of UCI sanctioned races were the following:

Italy (61 different winners), Spain (53 winners), France (33 winners), Germany (25), the Netherlands (21), Belgium (20), USA (11), Russia and Australia (10), Colombia, Portugal, and Poland (9 each), Denmark and Switzerland (8 each), Czech Republic (7), Slovenia and Ukraine (6), Austria (5)

I guess using Peter's logic, we will continue to see Italian bikes, but will be seeing a lot of new Spanish, German, Dutch and Belgian bikes, and a resurgence of French bikes. Run out and do your shopping now and remember that you heard it here first.

Steven Maasland
Moorestown, NJ