[CR]More Confente

Example: Framebuilding:Paint

Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 09:31:28 -0800
From: Tom Dalton <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com>
To: Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]More Confente

Ray blaphemed:

I could safely say that 99.5% of the people in the world would not think of his (Confente's) bikes as any more special then others in an unbiased side by side comparison.


Likely correct and undoubtedly irrelevant.  90% of the people in the worl d wouldn't appreciate the difference between a Confente and a Huffy MTB.  95% wouldn't see the difference between a Confente and a nice production r oad bike.  99%  would would see no difference between a Confente and a run of the mill Confente.  If anything, you are underestimating the por tion of the general public that could not see the difference between a Conf ente and a similarly fine handmade bike.  

Ray wrote:

I am pretty sure that he made many more bikes that were not under his name. Have each of these been identified and cataloged as worthy of the same value and praise that those with his decal on the downtube? If his talent truly speaks for itself then one should be able to identify it without paint or marks, the work should stand head and shoulders above all the rest.

Ray, For most afficionados it is not entirely about the attributes of the frame.   The decals are part of the story.  They indicate that the bike was ma de by Mario when he was off on his own, which suggests that he was putting forth something that might have been truer to his ideals.  Take it one more step and consider the appeal of bike that Mario built for a special cl ient, or another step still and consider a bike he built for himself.   Mario rode the same size bike I do, give or take, so did Merckx.... hmm m.

To expect anyone to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the individu als at the top of their craft is not realistic.  Was Picasso head and sho ulders above those who came before, or even his less-known contemporaries?   Does that make his output less important?  The esteem that is heaped onto Confentes reflects a lot more than the shape of the metal, the overall look, or the ride.  There is a bigger story, aspects of which have been covered in many of the recent (and past) posts, though no one post has real ly touched on everything\u2026  and I\u2019m certainly not qualified to do so.   One thing that hasn\u2019t been mentioned though, is Mario\u2019s involvement in what would come next.  Didn\u2019t he, with financial backing for others , make some of the earliest attempts to use microcast lugs?  While this m ay have been the beginning of the end of all that we love, is this not sign ificant?

Ray wrote:

No, I am afraid that we (myself inclusive) all get caught up in the celebrity of the person over the substance. I consider Paul McCartney a great musical talent/artist. Still I can find that level of talent in the local club scene but these folks do not have the celebrity and may never get it. That does not mean they are any less talented, it is just the way things are.

Ray, I don't know where you're hanging out, but I'd love to check the scene.    Assuming there are clubs where McCartney like talents abound, that stil l misses the point.  McCartney's talent was only part of the equation.  His good fortune to link up with a talent that many consider even greater, the timing, his impish good looks, his white skin, the German speed, the band's cleaning up and packaging by a good manager...       

Ray wrote: Oh, and for those who believe this to be a unique to the West Coast, I have seen people pay big bucks countrywide for his bikes. I see no particular regionalization of his brand in the US. Anyone who owns a Confente that is not on the West Coast, raise your hand.

Ray, In the day, they were a west coast thing.  The widening geographic distri bution of the builder's following speaks to the appeal of the bikes. 

Tom Dalton
Bethlehem, PA, USA