Re: [CR] Restoration-Honesty and Transparency

Example: Framebuilders:Masi

In-Reply-To: <>
References: <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 12:03:43 -0400
From: Ken Freeman <>
To: George Hollenberg <>
Cc: Classic Rendezvous <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Restoration-Honesty and Transparency

BTW, I did not mean to sound as categorical as I did about Masis. I didn't realize they had been sold at times with full DuraAce or perhaps even other component sets and mixes (thanks, Chuck!) But it doesn't make me want to change my view of "original" versus "period-correct" or "repaired."

Ken Freeman Ann Arbor, MI USA On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM, Ken Freeman <>wrote:
> I think you're inflating the terminology.
> 1. "Original" to my mind is not synonymous with "pristine." "Original" to
> me means all parts are the ones originally supplied, and nothing has been
> refinished or repainted. The only way one can assert originality of a
> bicycle is to either be the original purchaser or to have information from
> the original purchaser. Any provenance less than this is an assessment that
> carries a lot more risk of error than the word of an original purchaser. An
> original bike might have faulty original parts, due to age, normal use, lack
> of maintenance, or abuse. If I choose to repair condition or functional
> issues with parts that are different from the original parts, the bike is
> not original any more, just repaired. As an owner of a vintage bike I can
> choose to repair a condition or function issue or not. Repainting is a way
> to repair the paint, which restores the pritection and decorative aspects
> of the frame.
> 2. "Restoration" is not what all purchased or made goods require at some
> point in their life cycle. Repair is what all need if they are to continue
> to be used at the original level of utility. I can repair something with
> the purpose of restoring its function by using a part that is not the same
> as that supplied originally, but noone would consider this a restoration.
> If not, you could (try to!) sell me a restored Masi GC equipped with full
> Dura Ace, since the functions of shifting, et cetera have been restored. I
> would see it instead as either a travesty or a shortcut to get a frame into
> sellable condition. Either way the resulting bike has nothing to do with
> being a Masi as delivered from the factory.
> On Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 7:03 PM, George Hollenberg <>wrote:
>> It's most likely that the real issues in the restoration of vintage bikes
>> are the honesty and transparency of the bike's owner.
>> Originality is very hard to come by in a vintage bike and can't even be
>> suitably defined. Even contemporary catalog images of vintage bikes are
>> now
>> found to have been retouched. I have been shown heavily and poorly
>> restored
>> vintage bikes by their original famous makers in their own shops and been
>> told these bikes were original. Collectors here then told me that these
>> great makers don't remember their own original work.
>> Original means pristine. There are very few, if any, pristine vintage
>> bikes
>> around. Fake vintage bikes are always advertised as all original or 100%
>> mint, etc.
>> I think that what many collectors mean by original is based on their own
>> concept of originality predicated on their experiences with the bike in
>> question or with images of it, etc. This is very slippery ground since
>> these
>> concepts of originality are ideas and tend to change with time and place.
>> Even the experts can't agree.
>> Bike parts may be helpful in determining a vintage bike's age but they can
>> be easily changed and makers sometimes sold frame sets or full bikes with
>> a
>> mixture of parts from different periods. Many parts can't be correctly
>> dated
>> either.
>> As far as restoration goes, it's either well done or not. This becomes
>> highly subjective-if it's pleasing to the owner or expert it's called
>> conservation, sympathetic restoration, etc. Someone selling a bike has
>> almost always conserved it.
>> Sooner or later, almost every object created by man needs to be restored.
>> No
>> one can be against restoring part of an object unless the failure to to do
>> so endangers the whole. However, even this a subjective decision and
>> varies
>> depending on the culture, time, place, etc. Furthermore, although
>> sometimes
>> the " don't fix it 'till it's broke" concept is a good one, however, if
>> one
>> waits too long to restore a bike, eventually it can't be restored at all.
>> In sum and in short, the time comes to most all surviving vintage bikes to
>> be restored.
>> All the vintage bike collector can hope it that the restoration is well
>> done
>> and the bike's owner is honest and transparent about it.
>> --
>> George
>> George Hollenberg MD
>> CT, USA