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

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing)

Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 19:01:43 -0400
Subject: FW: [CR] Re: can a better KOF frame be bought?
From: "Doug Fattic" <fatticbicycles@qtm.net>
To: "classicrendezvous@bikelist.org" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
In-Reply-To: <C12F30AC.4609%dougfattic@qtm.net>

I started this thread without knowing where others might take it (or if in fact it would lead anywhere at all). I was sure someone would say that if a bike is made too nice it might not be ridden and therefore it has no purpose. And I was confident that someone else will say that it is more important to have good ride qualities then good looks. A discussion about what the ratio of function to beauty should be (however interesting the subject) wasn't what was on my mind. At the upper end of this scale I'm expecting the function to be as great as the looks. I was exploring the possibilities of how to make frames more attractive considering the limited resources of the makers themselves. I wondered if others had impute on how to do this.

It is a given to me that a bike frame should be beautiful. When I got my Hetchins from Alf in 1969 (with straight stays and simpler lugs) it opened me up to the joy of owning a frame that looks good. My earlier Italian bicycles got quickly sold off. Part of my motivation for learning framebuilding was to push the limits farther than what was then available. You can be assured every frame I build does have lugs that are thinly filed and shaped and joints contoured just so. I'll let others make the lesser stuff.

I wasn't fishing for a patron myself when I posed the question. I almost put a disclaimer at the end saying so but that seems silly if there was someone really wanting to explore the boundaries with me. I think what I had in mind was something like the Blue Guitar competition Peter mentioned. Something that could push resource strapped framebuilders into doing better than what they could/would on their own. I was thinking of the joy of looking at Brian's Aerotour. I spent a long time admiring it's various features and thinking what a nice job he had done. It inspired me. I'll bet that the Glen Erickson that Mark mentioned might do the same thing. My Johnny Berry certainly does that. I think it would be nice if this experience could happen more often.

I suppose I should add that I've devoted my efforts in the last 6 years to making practical transportation bicycles available to former Soviet countries. I've learned a lot about what works best to just get around on two wheels and that provides a certain joy and satisfaction to me too. In a broader sense the meaning of life isn't just how to make rich people happy but how also to help poor people through bicycling. Don't get me started on how stupid the American transportation bicycle market is, we need help too! I don't see an inconsistency between being practical and wanting beauty. I also understand that the value of expensive things can connect injustices to deeper emotions but that doesn't negate the desire of making something more beautiful and exploring any opportunities to make frames more so.

Doug Fattic, pondering the meaning of life in Niles, Michigan