Vomitus of bad taste….Decals!

22 09 2009

Yes, the offending decal.   That awful piece of plastic adornment that bicycle manufacturers heap on us.   Not once, not twice but 20 or 30 times on a single bicycle.

Are there many other consumer goods that assault us in this manner?  I always have this vision that the world will end when I see this rolling down the road.

Aston Martin side view2

Nobody in their right mind would be seen rolling in a supercar with the name plastered across it in all directions but men and women of generally good taste turn into the worst offenders of design when they zip up their gaudy walking billboards of advertising and mount a bicycle that would look right at home at the latest Nascar event.

Kind of like this:


Most of us don’t race right?   If we do, do we race for the actual company that makes our bicycle? then why the heck should we be advertising for them?  Why should we be throw away good, clean design for massive volumes of crappy block lettering.

Exhibit A:


I don’t even know who this Avanti company is.  Found it on the net but what do they think will happen one day?  That Alzheimer’s will set in overnight and I will have possibly forgotten I ride an Avanti and have to be reminded 13 times?  Will my clubmates forget that I ride an Avanti Quantum?  Will they say.   Jeez, I couldn’t tell this is an Avanti Quantum, if he just had it written on his seatstays I would buy that bike.   Who the heck in this day in age doesn’t know you can type Avanti bikes in a search engine and find it.   Nope they got to tell you it’s http://www.avantibikes.com

Please lets stop the indecency of the ugly bicycle.   Rules of thumb.   If you would not be caught driving in it.  If you would not wear it.  If you would not buy or hang it on the walls of your home and you would not even wish it on your worst enemy then DON’T RIDE IT!


The ol’ six weeks

18 09 2009

I got a call recently.  A very nice fellow who wanted a bike frame.   All was going fabulously.  I always bring up the “how long it will take” question.

Silence on the other end…..You still there?

Yes, this is the biggest deal breaker of them all.  The dreaded backlog.   For a framebuilder a backlog is a good thing.  That means every morning I wake up, I know that I have work ahead of me and a eventual check to pay dem bills.

So oddly,   I find that the standard time that a client thinks they will have to wait is about 6 weeks, maybe three months tops.  Where this comes from, I don’t know.  Maybe it just seems like a good amount of time to get something like a bicycle completed but lets look a little further.

The fact is,  I had stuff to do before that call and thank God for that.   The backlog is fluid.  It grows to a point that most people are unwilling to wait anymore, it dips then climbs again.   Some builders can command a much longer backlog than others, some as much as 7 years.  Other builders manufacture quick to build product.  If you build a frame-a-day you can deliver quickly but then again this is usually lower priced product with less profit margin (not always) and one is riding the raged edge if business falls off for some reason.

The ol’ six weeks is a standard joke in the frame world.  We know customers want to hear six weeks and so some builders will tell them what they want to hear.  Once you have the money, what can they do?  6 weeks often becomes 6 months.

I can only speak for myself though and I don’t build quickly.  Between frames, paint work, teaching and side jobs I only produce about 10-12 very nice bike frames a year.  12 people means a years backlog.  Add a few complicated bikes, maybe a tandem and some fancy paint jobs and some design work on the side and that turns into 18 months.

If I ever get to the point that I can deliver from call to door in six weeks or less.  I think I might hang this gig up.

Über Bike #5

4 09 2009

Sorry about not posting more. It has been a grind to the finish. Most of the time when I get near the end I just put my head down and try and finish. No time for pictures and the like. Uber is basically done. Just some finishing left to do and then painting which will be quite intensive.

It is not like those videos you might have seen on You tube where Colnago bangs out 100 frames a day with all the precut stencils and 8 spray guns with every color available. It is tedious work. Enjoyable but many, many hours are spent masking, sanding, spraying and sanding some more.

The frame weighs what it weighs. Steel is not ever going to win the weight war anymore. But it is nice and light and for the entire package of frame, fork, stem, and seat post it weighs 2130 grams or 4.7 lbs. I just got the wheels from Jason at fairwheel today (thank you Jason) and they weigh with tires about 1600 grams or 3.5 lbs so I have about 5ish pounds or so for the rest of it to reach my target weight of 13.5 lbs.

Also apologize about the cruddy photos. My little point and shoot is always the greatest.

I will see you all after I crawl out of my paint booth cave in about a week and a half:)