To quote Bill:
"Nothing against him but the craft has progressed."
Oh, Bill, Bill, my dear Bill, do watch out for the hoards of folks outside your castle with pitchforks and torches. Effigies of Bill the Heretic ar e burning even as we speak.
To be contrarian, I'd say my '54 Algurn is as good as any bike in existence for the type of riding for which it's intended, (which is 99% of the ridin g I do) and it's designed to use nice reliable friction shifting components and sturdy wide chains, with tons of clearance for fat cushy tires and fenders. And it has already lasted over 50 years, and is probably good f or another 50. Yes you might shave off a pound or so with modern ultra light frame materials (steel included) and another pound or so with wispy gossamer componentry, but how much longevity have I sacrificed? A mod ern frame will allow me to run 30 speeds if I wanted, at the expense of much more fragile rear wheels and my machine being unshiftable if the ca ble stretches or slips1/8 of an inch. This kind of trade off will ofte n enough favor the old bike. Aesthetics? It is to laugh: the del icate hand cut curly lugs on the Algurn are enough to make a true believer weep with joy.
How then are the modern bikes any "better", or how has the craft "pr ogressed"? The purpose of a bike is to roll forward when you press a ped al. It is up to the individual to then weigh the differences between com fort,lightness, durability, simplicity and beauty. If one wants reliable easy to adjust simplicity, and has the minimal skills to handle a friction shifting rig, the old bikes might be "better", and modern frame innovation s "regress" instead of "progress". No, I'm not tossing my indexed 20 spe ed Goodrich or 27 speed Gordon on the scrap heap, but I am willing to ar gue that I roll down the road just as well on my 30, 40 and 50 year old bik es. And if you are like me, the thought of riding a old bike with tens o f thousands of mile on it and innumerable happy days of sunlit rolling la nes makes your brain go all gooey.
And of course, my dear Bill, I know you aren't condemming all old bikes as useless relics, but calling for a breath of perspective regarding Confente canonization. I'm sure we both have much more in common than differences .
Now lets talk about the absurd veneration of original finishes on bikes. :-)
Tom (feeling retro-grouchy post Xmas) Adams Manhattan, KS
From: Bill Talbot <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [CR]Re; confente is worth it ??? To: email@example.com Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 6:03 AM
It must be a SoCal thing because I can think of many current American build ers that I believe have gone way beyond where Mario left off. Nothing again st him but the craft has progressed. This is pure nostalga, which of course is a large part of our hobby in the first place. But if you're looking for something to actually ride and I don't mean the parking lot at Cirque..... well I'll be looking elsewhere.
Bill Talbot New Hartford, CT US of A
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