[CR]Fwd: NAHBS

(Example: Racing:Jean Robic)

Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 09:44:44 -0800 (PST)
From: "Tom Dalton" <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com>
To: Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]Fwd: NAHBS

Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 09:44:10 -0800 (PST) From: Tom Dalton <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com> Subject: NAHBS To: mark@bikesmithdesign.com

Mark Stonich wrote:

At this event you want to be noticed, have everyone posting photos of your bikes.

Mark,

Based on the pics I viewed, I have to agree that there's a whole lotta "lookit me" going on a NAHBS. The sad result is that everyone is being different in the same way. The requiremenst of disc brakes notwithstanding, I think I'll barf if I see one more silly "custom" droput. What is this, OC Choppers? Dumb question I guess, because that TV show was very popular, and what would make the attendees of NAHBS any more sophisticated than the folks at Bike Week? The whole single-speed and internal-geared thing seemed very tired about 10 minutes into looking through the pics. Ditto the S&S couplers, and the gratutious retro touches such as wooden rims, shellaced cloth tape and Brooks saddles (they have their place, but...). Just how big is the US market for four-figure delivery bikes, utility bikes, kids bikes, monster tired single speed MTBs etc? It seems that almost every builder was showing anything but a practical bike for serious riding. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of more bikes being available to meet the needs of commuters, and to therby encourge people to use bikes for practical purposes, but how many people are riding around SF or NYC on a $5000 paperboy bike? If there are many, what should I take away from this? I guess "bikes is cheap" compared to cars, but I doubt that it's the car-less dedicated commuter who buys a custom titanium one speed.

If they are truly representative of what US hand builders are selling, the offerings at NAHBS, or at least those highlighted in the Wool Jersey gallery, tell a sad story. That story is that basic high perfomance steel frames are very nearly extinct. This makes some sense, since CF and AL may be slightly better for all-out performance, but what is left for the rider who wants a nice go-fast bike, and perhaps a custom bike, but simply loves steel. Maybe it's nostalgia, or maybe it's something deeper, but some guys want go-fast steel bikes, and the high end-market seems targeted squarely at the wealthy urban hip.

At about the 80th Wool Jersey pic is saw a beautifully executed standard road dropiut that really caught my eye with it's elevated points. It reminded me of a nice Tomassini, though exaggerated.

http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/clockwork/NAHBS08/IMG_1200.JPG.html

Turned out to be Richard Sach's work. There were a few other bike pictured that looked like functional performance bikes, but very few, and there seemed to be a few nice touring/brevt bikes, but again, justt a few. The "track bikes" were mostly street fixies. Just what flame is being kept? It's kinda sad.

Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA USA

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