Real framebuilders or not

2 08 2009

Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster bicycles has a funny blog named “can’t we just get along”

Cant we just get along

The stuff is hilarious from the POV of a framebuilder.   I am sure other small business people would find it interesting too because business is business and we all face the same kind of trials and tribulations in a day.

A theme though that I find runs through it is a need to justify that Paul is in fact an actual framebuilder and not some sort of “poser”  Let me say here.  Paul is in fact a framebuilder.   He has been for many years and will continue to be so as long as he wishes to be.   I will say, there are many different business models in this business and non of them necessarily represent “real” framebuilders or not.   Yes, there are a few instances nowadays where a bicycle company is pure smoke and mirrors.   A vision of a bike company developed by a person better suited to marketing and web page development than actually building bicycles.

Mostly though, builders are plugging away trying to feel out their niche in this world.   Paul stated that he made 20 frames this month.    I make about 20 frames a year plus whatever else I can get my hands on.   We are just different.   Paul’s bikes are users.   Singular purposed frames made quickly and efficiently and don’t cost a lot.  Mine are well, generally time intensive and represent a vision of the “perfect bike” for the customer.   In the time it takes to make one of these I could make about 10 straightforward TIG welded bicycles.   I venture to guess though that Paul’s and my net bottom line in a fiscal year is about the same.   You can only work so much, there are only so many hours.   We both fill them up and spend 40-50-60 hours a week.   We both sell parts, and other stuff.   I think we both get to the same place, just down another path.   So I wish to Paul, who seems to be a bit pissed off all the best and yes, he is a real framebuilder and no, everyone who doesn’t produce a lot is not a “real framebuilder”

Dave

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