Re: [CR]Cinelli Laser

Example: Framebuilding:Restoration
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 08:58:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Tom Dalton" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Cinelli Laser
To: gabriel l romeu <>
In-Reply-To: <>
cc: Classic Rendezvous <>

gabriel l romeu <> wrote:

Dear Mr. Tom Dalton, rider:

You and Brian sounds like every painter that I have ever been with going to a major painting show at a museum. They are not historians, but analyzing an object with their own legitimate and interesting perspective. In this case, Brian is deconstructing the bike just how i would want my builder to approach the consideration of my frame, and how i would expect a rider with some knowledge to look at the Laser.

Neither you and Brian are not looking at this from a curators perspective. The curatorial staff (specifically for the MOMA collection which would be obvious if you knew the collection) are not looking at how a design works for it's particular function, but rather how it fits the design legacy for the particular time, how it influences future design approaches, and how it integrates and reinforces their presumptions and hypothesis of their current collection (of course, politics) and writings...


First, you'll note that my posts are signed Tom Dalton, not "Mr. Tom Dalton, rider" or "Thomas S. Dalton, M.S., P.G." So, you are safe to assume that "Dear Mr. Dalton," or even "Dear Tom," is perfectly acceptable. When I sent my earlier post to another member I was using his signature as he provides it in all of his CR contributions. Poking fun? Yes, but I didn't just make it up.

I'm trying to decipher the language of your post, and I can't quite figure out what "would be obvious," to me "if (I) knew the collection." (You really should proofread your posts before hitting the send button.) Reading forward, I eventually reach a point where I'm given the sense that, if I knew the collection, it would be obvious to me that the MOMA staff doesn't give a hoot about function when selecting objects for the collection. I have a great deal of difficulty believing that any such gross generalization about a design collection is accurate or that it holds any real value. Frankly I think it is extremely presumptuous of you to assume that I'm not entirely familiar with the MOMA collection based on the fact that I'm criticizing some aspects of an object that happens to be in that collection. That's nuts. In fact, I am not familiar with MOMA, but I do know that it is a museum and I do know that design collections in museums are not assembled with road racing performance and ease of cable maintenance as important criteria, especially for toasters or vacuum cleaners. Where did I say that the Laser has no place in the MOMA collection, or was not worthy as a design object?

On the other hand, I think you may be romanticizing the Laser just a tad. You wrote:

The more I hear about the Cinelli Laser (and see it), the more it seems to fit with the current design collection in MOMA for using technology ahead of it's time (albeit needing refinement), for the aerodynamic approach, internally routing all the cables, composite non metal component construction, wheels (as you mentioned), oval tubing- many years before these things became off the shelf products.

Again, I'm not arguing the suitablity of the Laser for the MOMA collection, but the criteria that you cite as making the bike suitable for the collection, are not necessarliy accurate descriptions of the bike.

"for using technology ahead of it's time"

Honestly, and not trying to be picky, but is there any new technology on the bike? New materials, new techniques for manipulating those materials, new ways of configuring those materials. Specifically?

"for the aerodynamic approach"

A trend at the time. The Laser did not presage the trend.

"internally routing all the cables"

See pre WWII Rene Herse

"composite non metal component construction"

The only composite construction I see is the mixing of Bondo and steel. Or was there even any Bondo? No CF, not even any fiberglass. There was some fiber-reinforced plastic in the Kronos brakes, and off-the-shelf part of the era.

"wheels (as you mentioned), oval tubing- many years before these things became off the shelf products."

Ther WERE off-the-shelf products. Columbus was making Air tubing and selling it to anyone who wanted it. The Rovals were stock, the Kronos... I recall some modified Campy brake levers, and "Mexico" set of crankarms. Typical mods of the time.

Maybe, the MOMA bike is totally different from 007, maybe it is from the early 70's, and much more radical. Laser 007 is a cool, cool early 1980's bike, but we should not inflate either it's practical utility, it's performance, it's innovation, or it's significance in the development of the racing bicycle. It is Italian and looks fast, and in my view that's the begining and end of what warrants it's inclusion in the MOMA collection.

Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA

Don't pick lemons.
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