Dear Joel and List:
I can see both sides, but two things push towards "legitimate Herse" for me. 1st, one of the driving factors here is a Herse family member blessing the venture and wanting the name to continue. Certainly such a worthy sentiment should be encouraged, and we certainly shouldn't discourage anyone from buying a new Herse. Although there's no direct handing down of the knowledge from the original Herse builders, the family connection is there. Second, if a Herse isn't a Herse if not built by a Herse or by someone trained by a Herse, how many Colnagos are legitimate? At least Faliero came to California to oversee the Cali Masi shop, but how many Guerciotti's were built by Paolo? Bob Jacksons by Bob? Cinellis by Cino? Hetchins by Mr. H? Indeed, I understand the Cino, Hetchins and Paolo were never builders at all. So the "trained by" standard is shaky too, if that's our criteria for legitimacy in a marque.
The fact that Mark Nobilette wasn't taught to build by a Herse would only be significant if his "uneducated" work would be inferior to an original Herse. If someone studies a Herse, and reverse engineer all the building techniques, and then build one just exactly like it and just as good, how is that any different from Msr. Herse showing them how? There might be an emotional difference, but no "real" difference.
Yes this is a different way of doing business from the original Herse company, but it is an overwhelming common model among our most beloved marques where the name on the downtube had little or nothing to do with the skill and name of the fellow brazing up the frame, and is in no way an illegitimate way to build bikes. To quote Steve Maasland, when I ventured to say that Andy Hampsten won the Giro on a Slawta Landshark, he gently corrected me by saying "No, he won on a Huffy. It said so on the down tube". (Or was it a Murray? Caloi?) And I can't think of anyone more trustworthy to safeguard the Herse name than Mike and Mark, with Ms. Herse's blessing. Good luck, fellows.
Tom Adams, 6 days left in Shrewsbury NJ.
joel metz <email@example.com> wrote: i think this highlights my "issue" with the idea...
theres a *direct* lineage of framebuilding knowledge being passed on from alex singer, to ernest csuka, to his son olivier.
even with the blessing of lyli herse and her husband, the last person to build under the herse name, who was trained under rene himself (and whose name i am regrettably forgetting this morning), there is a disconnect here. nobillete, regardless of his own immense talent, and regardless of mike kones knowledge of the herse bicycles, has no direct connection to the herse framebuilding legacy.
as i was typing in a response to another post on this thread, which i now include here:
with all due respect myself to the knowledge, experience, capabilities and intentions of mike and mark, i have to say im a bit befuddled by this, just as i am with any resurrection of a framebuilders name when theres no direct lineage (ie apprentice taking over the shop/name etc etc) does for me - theres a disconnect which blanks out the meaning of the name for me, regardless of the capabilities of the person building the bike.
is there anything that could possibly be added to the near-mythic reputation of the herse name?
i could see myself (if i had the money!) wanting a nobillete-built bike built in the tradition and style of a rene herse, even an exact, or a near-exact copy! but as soon as the name "rene herse" is pasted on the downtube instead of the name of the actual builder, my interest drops to zero. that may be just me and my own picky (double? :) ) standards, but id rather have a nobillete original rather than a herse copy - and i daresay that to me, ill always see a herse copy in this situation before i see a nobillete original, which is a shame, but a reality.
i wish mike and mark the absolute best with this venture, and from reaction on the list (and knowing the talents theyre bringing to the table!), it looks like theyre off to a great start, but i remain befuddled.
with all due respect - to _me_, a 2007 csuka-built alex singer is absolutely an alex singer, but a nobilette-built rene herse will never, no matter how exact a copy, how beautifully made, or how wonderfully it rides, be a rene herse. it will surely be a fantastic bike, worth every penny, and worthy to follow in the footsteps of rene herse... just not a rene herse. its a technicality, a bit of semantic nit-picking, even a double standard, but its just my take on it.
At 09:42 -0700 06.17.2007, Jerome & Elizabeth Moos wrote:
>If this is going ahead with the blessing of Lily
>Herse, is it really so different than Ernest
>Csuka building Singers? Granted, Csuka is a
>member of the family, at least by mariage, and
>presumably was taught by the founder, but Mike
>is a long-time devotee and student of Herse
>bikes, and Mark is a great and in many ways
>traditional builder, so I think these will
>perhaps be as "authentic" as a 2007 Alex Singer.
> Jerry Moos
> Big Spring, TX
> Interesting question!
>The "classic" Rene Herse bicycles were a
>benchmark, and the reference against which all
>touring and randonneuring bicycles were
>compared. In considering the production of
>bicycles of this type, it became apparent to me
>that in many ways the Herse designs remained the
>best. Consider front racks. You can add curves
>and more tubes and modify the shape, but the
>typical Herse rack of the 1950's is really
>difficult to improve upon.
>So if I wanted to make the best bike possible,
>and it looked so much like an Herse - why not
>make an Herse? And since Lily Herse wanted the
>tradition continued, and since Mark Nobilette is
>so close geographically, the project fell right
>In building Herse bikes, it becomes necessary to
>build to an extremely high level to insure that
>comparisons made to the "classic" Herse bikes
>are favorable. And in building and Herse, since
>Herse was an innovator, it gives licence to
>pursue improvments which are truely useful and
>which aid performance.
>So some have considered the Herse name to be a
>burden - while myself and Mark consider it a
>driver to push the bicycles to the highest level
>possible so that when comparisions are made,
>which will be welcomed, they are determained to
>be a proud continuation of the line.
>I hope that helps!
>Rene Herse Bicycles Inc.
>-------------- Original message --------------
>From: gabriel l romeu
>> I have great respect for both Mike Kone and Mark Nobilette's bikes, but
>> i am at a loss to understand this venture.
>> at the onset, it invites comparison to the originals, whether good or
>> bad i can't fathom why one would want this.
>> inquiring minds want to know....gabriel
>> Bingham, Wayne wrote:
>> > Yes, it is Mark Nobilette, and I think that is a great "fit" for this
>> > venture. I don't think the endeavor has fully gelled yet, and I'm sure
>> > Mike will elaborate as things start to come together.
>> gabriel l romeu
>> chesterfield nj usa,
>> but will soon be heading to the great NW, BC
>> ± http://studiofurniture.com Ø http://journalphoto.org ±