I'm definitely in the Joel Metz/ Richard Elliott camp on this one! What' s the point of building Rene Herse frames..when everybody knows that what t hey're going to get is a Mark Nobilette, and this is not to imply in any wa y whatsoever that Mark's frames are in any way worse than the original Hers es.
it's just like me building copies of Rene's frames and then sticking on. .or painting on "Rene Herse". What you would get would be a "Norris Lockley "or a "Bespoke"..that might just happen to look like a Herse. It app ears to me that if Mark admires Herse's style so much then he should simply learn from Herse's good example,copy the best points and stick on&nb sp; or paint on "Mark Nobilette". With a surname that is French in any case ..and a reputation for a quality product ...he is more than half way there. .. so why prostitute your skill to produce a frame that in the end is not what it says on the tubes?
What if I,.or some other UK builder decided to buy the rights to t he "Jack Taylor " name? You wouldn't be getting a genuine Taylor frame...ju st a look-a-like..with a set of transfers.
Norman Taylor had his own style of building, brazing and tracking a frame, including all the idiosyncracies that went into the mix to&n bsp;make the unique products that Taylor frames are renowned for being,...w arts and all!
I know builders who will only use brazing flux when the powdered fl ux is mixed with spit..and not tap water...because that is how they were ta ught..and I know others who only use deionised water plus "...so many cubic millilitres of green washing up fluid.."..makes the brass flow more quickl y". I never used anything but a file to mitre my tubes..and I only use the smallest nozzle possible to heat the joints...while others either mill or m achine their mitres and use a big brush flame...
Maybe the magic of the Herse frame results from the ratio of spit to was hing-up fluid to powder in the flux ..combined with the special number of n ozzle he used in his torch. Who knows? Did Rene and his staff use coal-gas and compressed air..or oxy-acetylene..or that peculiar bottled gas that is available in France coupled up to a foot-bellows? Did he braze his top tube into the head-lug at the same time as he brazed the down tube i nto the lower head-lug?...Or did he use silicon bronze for the head-lug to head tube joint and then use silver-solder to fix in the top-tub e ? I have seen both of these techniques and plenty of others used..these a re what gives a frame its individuality..amongst other things of course, in cluding geometry...but anyone can do geometry
A major part of the magic and elegance of many if not all of these 1930s ,40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s frames is the combination of frames parts and t ubes that the builders were able to call upon. Where can you buy front fork blades that taper down to the very slim ends that, when pulled into the "hockey-stick" rake almost appearto have a life of their own, when the bike was being ridden on rough roads? Where are the stiff rapid taper R-R-R chainstays that we used to use on track bikes...or the extra long R-R -R chainstays needed for a long=wheelbased randonneur" Where is the choic e of different types, tapers and gauges of seat stays?
Before writing this email I checked out one of my Reyhands. However good a craftsman I might or might not be..or Paul Reiss might or might not have been..there would not be any chance of me ever producing replicas of the Reyhands made in the 1930s because the choice of frame-building tubes and stays is just not available anymore..well not in the UK..that's for sur e.
I prefer to produce a "Bespoke" frame that may well the equal of a "Rene Herse", than to produce a replica "Herse" should ride as w ell as a "Bespoke"...but isn't a "Herse"
Otherwise, it seems to me..all the rest is just brand engineering and ma rketing.
As for the recent reincarnations of Bates of London, Hetchins, Baines "Gates" and the like...now the Paris "Galibier"..and, I believe the "Saxon"..well these frames have unique shapes and designs, designs that we re once patented. You can't say the same for Herses.
Norris Lockley...Settle UK..where we still call a spade a spade..and not a shovel.
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