Re: [CR] can a better KOF frame be bought?

(Example: Framebuilders)

In-Reply-To: <>
From: "Steve Leitgen" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] can a better KOF frame be bought?
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 15:05:09 -0500
To: Doug Fattic <>
cc: "" <>
cc: ""

Behringer built one of those over the top bikes for a Saudi royal back in '75. Frame sold for $10000 back then. It was a fully lugged and silver brazed titanium frame. Ornately cut lugs, tapered chain and seat stays, Tapered fork blades, cast titanium drop outs and all the cute little silver brazed stops, hangers and bosses you could imagine. Thing was glorious. Took him hundreds of hours including one

failure frame and a third set of hand cut lugs. Each frame took between six and ten full sets of files. (gives you an idea of how long it took). Swore he'd never do it again. Unless it was thrown in a junkyard and is currently ridden by some Saudi worker that bike never saw more than three miles. So it depends on who you are willing

to sell your soul to. There are patrons out there but they probably aren't riders.

Steve Leitgen La Crosse, Wi

On Sep 14, 2006, at 12:55 AM, Doug Fattic wrote:
> Just recently I've been musing that in the upper end custom bicycle
> market,
> there are few "way beyond average" frames. I'm not talking about a
> typical
> great frame that Peter Weigle or other experienced builder makes on
> a daily
> basis. Those are "way beyond average" compared to production stuff
> and
> marvels in themselves. No, I'm talking about something that might
> be the
> ultimate that could be done if given a big budget. The closest
> thing I can
> think of is Brian Baylis's "Aerotour" that he made to show at the
> just loved that bike. It was a bit over-the-top for some (not for
> me) but
> it was Brian at his best stretching himself to advance what was
> possible. H
> e
> incorporated special features in lugs, braze-ons and paint. I never
> asked
> him how much time he put into it but I'm sure it was large. It was no
> ordinary job and I\u2019m sure he had to sacrifice to make it. That
> brings up my
> main question, is there some way for a framebuilder to be
> commissioned to
> build something that is extraordinary and not just what he usually
> does wit
> h
> variations?
> I own what I believe is the finest frame ever made by Johnny Berry
> in 1953.
> Note that I\u2019m not saying the best frame Johnny ever made, I\u2019m
> saying the
> best frame anyone ever made. That opinion could be challenged and
> it\u2019s
> status isn\u2019t why I\u2019m writing or care to defend. I\u2019m trying to
> discover if
> there are any circumstances that can bring out the full ability of a
> framebuilder. Johnny did it for some show. When his widow sold it
> to me
> (when I as getting the bulk of his framebuilding equipment), she
> said she
> keep asking him \u201care you working on that frame again?\u201d It takes a
> special
> effort to make a masterpiece. Personally I think this can only be
> happen
> with someone providing big money because it is unrealistic for a
> framebuilder by himself to have the resources to accomplish such a
> project
> on his own. It would probably take 2 or 3 months of work and who
> can spare
> that time at his own cost?
> The problem for such a project I think is that the bicycle market
> is cheap.
> Business plans for making frames are not based on costs +
> reasonable profit
> .
> If you want to play, your prices are connected to the competition of
> mass-produced high-end bicycles in the international market. It
> depresses
> what someone is willing to pay (or think they should pay) for even
> one-off
> stuff. I'm not here to whine about this but want to make the
> observation
> that the attitude that a frame costing more than $3000 is a rip off
> prevent
> s
> really special stuff from being made. I\u2019ve been asking around and
> a typica
> l
> custom paint job on a Harley Davidson motorcycle is around $6000.
> That\u2019s
> right, just the paint job. They certainly are not 10 times more time
> consuming or difficult than a paint job I do on a bicycle. We are
> just pai
> d
> on a different scale not related to talent, quality or difficulty.
> So the
> question naturally arises why are Hell\u2019s Angle types willing to pay
> so much
> more for their passion then their two wheeled cousins? The effect
> of this
> is that the best that could be made isn\u2019t being made (or maybe more
> accurately stated, made very often). I would really like to see
> what could
> be done.
> I was watching a PBS special about Frank Lloyd Wright. This program
> made th
> e
> observation that great artists need great patrons. In other words,
> their
> creative powers were unleashed because someone was willing to pay
> more to
> get something special. The implication was that the patron
> understood he
> was not getting the best deal but the best end result. I wonder if
> this
> could happen to bicycle makers. Millions of dollars are spent on
> unneeded
> but elegant luxury items. Why doesn\u2019t this happen in the bicycle
> industry?
> People will spend a half million or more on a car, why not $10,000
> on a
> bicycle frame? Am I the only one that ponders this?
> Doug Fattic - who drives a "98 Chevy Prism but wants more in a bike
> Niles, Michigan