re: [CR] (Inflamatory) Can a better KOF frame be bought?

(Example: Production Builders:Teledyne)

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Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:34:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: [CR] (Inflamatory) Can a better KOF frame be bought?
From: "Brandon Ives" <>

Mike I couldn't agree more. I've said it before, we're just a bunch of magpies 'oh, shiny' on this list. All we ever talk about is how nice something looks. When ever I go on a "classic" ride I see at least one person with a poorly fitting bike. Maybe the bike fitted when they were in their mid-20s, but now in their mid-50s it really doesn't.

In all honesty it's all the same on the framebuilders listserve. Very rarely do we ever talk about what makes a good riding bike. Mostly we talk about someone's special new paintjob or lug work, or how someone's first fillet looks. I've tried to start discussions about proper fit but everybody holds their formula close to the chest and everybody but clams up.

Bikes you want to ride until you die are the kinds of bikes I build. If you want pretty thin lugs and special carving with classic angles call someone else. When I hear about a bike that has a great ride I seek it out and ride it. A month ago I built up a Litespeed Ghisallo (sorry, Dale) and damned if that wasn't the best feeling racing bike I've ever ridden.

Now every classic bike I've ridden I've looked at the same way. One of the best things about being a pro wrench is that you ride A LOT of bikes. A while back I got to do a full overhaul on a very well ridden mostly original late-60s Raleigh International. Right after that I built up one of the new Scott CR-1 bikes. I took good long rides on both back to back just feel the differences I could. I also sent our 15 year old shop rat, Little Rick Dog, out to see what he could feel and then describe it to me.

When LRD returned from the rides I asked about certain aspects of the ride of each bike and how it compared to the other. I was able to explain why some of the less obvious differences were there and what purpose they served. My goal was to give Ricky the tools for critical thought. The main reason I love Jan's VBQ is because he reviews the bikes with a critical eye and isn't blinded by smooth paint.

This is also another reason why I think the KOF term is bunk. 99% of modern KOF bikes are nothing like the bikes built before '83. Even builders who built back before '83 aren't really making the same bikes they were then. At least not design wise. Sure they look similar, but that's really it for 99% of the KOF frames built today. this is what KOF is so damn popular on this list. Personally I really don't see any difference between those KOF bikes and the Litespeed Ghisallo except on the outside. They are both handbuilt custom bikes for a very specific kind of rider. The philosophy and thinking behind the bikes are the same. They both target the kind of rider they want on the bike and craft a bike to appeal to that rider.

OK, so now I'm just starting to rant, so lets sum up. I think folks on the list need to ride more, think more, and stare less. Pretty shiny lugs are just the icing, not the cake itself. Bikes are all about the ride. If the ride or fit isn't spot-on no amount of paint and polish will make the bike a good one. best, Brandon"monkeyman"Ives back in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for two more weeks.

> OK folks - I'm gonna push some buttons and I'll see some flame - but here
> it goes. And remember - this is a general observation and doesn't apply
> to everyone.
> Doug started the thread off right - by commenting on Brian's bike which is
> that start of the right direction. But KOF builders often crash and burn
> with the general public because the steel bike thing typically is focused
> on lugs and beauty and rarely on performance. How often have I heard in
> my conversations about how wonderful a certain tube set is, or how perfect
> the synergy of a given frame geometry is with a specific tire for a given
> event ride? Almost never.
> A fair number of KOF builders (but there are plenty of exceptions) have
> lost or never had the yearning to really understand what makes an awesome
> ride (really the match-up of frame to rider - its all about the match).
> So when I look at photos from the handmade show and I see fancy lugs,
> great paintjobs, it is all evidence that to some extent the movement is
> sealing its own fate. It raises the status of looks, but downplays
> performance. Steel has an amazing ride that for most potential bike
> owners is the magic ticket. But builders do a lousy job of conveying
> that.
> Many folks at the Cirque, I sensed, thought that Brian's bike was over the
> top - but he is trying to get a performance and function - so what if the
> bike looked crazy nice (or over done depending on your taste). Brian is
> trying to push the envelope. That is why I was so excited when I finally
> saw it in person.
> Lots of folks out there will pay whatever it takes for a bike that meets
> their performance needs. For many high income folks, the perfect match is
> steel. But they want performance and smart design - I'm no so sure about
> the need for dragons.
> Mike "about to get flammed" Kone in Boulder CO
> -------------- Original message --------------
> From: "Marty Eison" <>
>> Doug et al.
>> I think $10k frames/bikes can be built and that there is a market
>> for them, but from my limited point of view it is a currently a question
>> of
>> marketing that limits such a frame from coming to fruition.
>> For example, one esteemed ex-listmember sells reasonably
>> priced frames (in comparison to a $10k frame) and has a 4+ year
>> waiting list on delivery.
>> Serotta (at one time a KOF builder, alas no more lugs), builds
>> an $8000 plus carbon fibre frame, and the buyers were lining
>> up when it was first announced.
>> I truely believe the market is there, but for some reason
>> it goes untapped by the KOF builders (for the most part).
>> Get the word out (and I don't mean to already
>> existing enthusiasts, thats like preaching to the choir)
>> and like the movie says "If you build it they will come. . ."
>> Marty Eison
>> Frisco (not wine country), Texas