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April 26, 2005

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"Designing a traditional double diamond bike frame is not exactly rocket science."

Though I don't have any frame design experience to support this assertion, common sense would seem to indicate that this is true. Unfortunately, it's not a truth that gets told very often. You hear a lot of these framebuilders implying or stating explicitly that they have the exclusive formula for proper frame design (Rivendell does a lot of this). In truth, the basic design has been around for over 100 years and has seen many tweaks and experiments, some of which turned out to be very nice, some that didn't. These builders, for the most part, don't need to do anything but copy the masters of the past to achieve comfortable, well-designed frames that are spec'ed properly for the intended use. So I guess it comes down to style, then, and the quality of workmanship. I'm assuming that after a certain amount of experience, lug soldering quality doesn't vary much among the top builders. Even if it did, would it make a practical difference to most of us? As long as joints don't fall apart or look too sloppy, few of us would know the difference. So maybe looks and personal style preferences are the important factors to consider when choosing a frame builder.

We have a large-ish Anvil style case for our S&S tandem that we bought from Bob Brown. I used it to take my Heron to Germany in the spring of 2003. Yay, Bob, good guy.

Jim raises a good point when he quotes Bob on frame design. I don't think you can exactly patent a 73 degree paralell design, so there is a fair amount of marketing hype in this business.

Some builders talk about "tell us what you intend to do with the bike and we'll pick the best tube set for you." Some cyclers claim to be so sensitive that they can discern 1mm changes in chain stay length. I'm not one of those princess and the pea guys, though. I'm pretty sure you can build a great bike with Reynolds, TruTemper or Dedaccai tubng.

Oh, yeah, Scott: Are you sending this questionaire to Joe Starck? Some folks think me mighta inhaled too many flux fumes.

Bob, you rock. Doing what you want with your own unique style. I commend you on not following the masses. Good luck!!

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