I shouldn't try to restate Tom's comments, but--correct me if I'm wrong, Tom--at the risk of being out-to-lunch, it seems to me that Tom is saying something not dissimilar to something Sacha White was saying at the Cirque last year.
If all those fancy Porteur-style bikes, and other utilitarian-style bikes Tom was referring to were being sold for 300 bucks, I imagine Tom wouldn't have a problem with them. Then the people for whom they were actually intended could actually afford them easily..and could afford to ride them into the ground, which is what such bikes were for in the first place.
The problem is that one might come away from this show under the impression that steel is good only for art-projects that happen to be bicycles. Steel is no longer the material of choice for *quality* mass-produced bicycles. And that's a sad thing. I believe that's what Tom was saying, but, like I said, maybe I missed the point.
I'm not sure how sad it is. What would be sad is if there were no hand-built steel bicycles at all..or very few. That is not the case though. I was floored by the number of builders who seem to be making a go of it, however modestly, building bikes for actual people who actually ride them.
>From my perspective, the show was a real thrill. To see all these people (and on Saturday the place was a mob scene for nearly every minute of the day) avidly talking about and admiring interesting bicycles was all the reward one could ask for. Beyond that, the attraction, or lack of it, of individual bicycles, was purely a matter of taste. I guess I don't see that as a sad thing. More like an inevitable thing.
My own favorite was the new Llewellyn frame in candy-red that's essentially a copy of the one Llewellyn built for Brett Horton: that thing really floated my boat, and if I can ever bring myself to pay 10K for a bike, that's the frame I'd want.
The Sachs in white with red panels with NOS Campagnolo NR parts was also a very nice thing to see. I imagine those were my favorites..those and the frames Baylis brought. I did like Dan Polito's track-bike too. Very elegant looking, with flawless workmanship, to my eye. And his prices, and wait-list are very reasonable...a good deal, assuming they ride as you prefer.
Numerous other frames were a little too conventional, or a little too weird, or a little too worked-over. But that's the thing. What floats my boat won't float someone else's.
and if one of those nice Porteur-style bikes works perfectly, great. But I, like Tom, think that paying kilobucks for a porteur makes no sense. To others? They apparently disagree.
in any event, Nahbs was great. Everyone should go.