Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Return from Vacation Rant: Nobody Cares About the 80s

Framebuilders who started during the great 2000s wave all sort of fit the same profile. White guys, some with silly facial hair, who quit art school/day job/social life and decided to make bikes for money (or, in many cases, really, just as a hobby that looks like a job, but I won't go into that here).

I'm one of them, of course - one of the folks who caught the 29er wave and never looked back. Talk about good (lucky) timing...

In any case, I'm hardly in a position to throw stones from my atrocious website, but I have a bone to pick with you, fellow builders. Your profile pages suck. (Y)our backstories are all almost identical.

Let's tally it up:

-Everyone rode a BMX in the 80s. Everyone. You might as well mention that you like Reeses Pieces and long walks on the beach. It's just not relevant to building bike frames, because it doesn't distinguish you in any way from the millions of other kids of that era who also rode BMX bikes in the dirt lot behind the Piggly Wiggly. Yes, you love bikes. So does most of humanity.

-You (we) are old, and getting older. Punk rock is dead. If you want to be different and cool you have to try harder than pointing out that you like IPAs and bluegrass/punk/90s hip hop/Johnny Cash (guilty as charged...) Basically every white person in our generation likes those thing. If you wanted to stand out you'd be really into, say, wine coolers and Moby. Or Chinese opera and peyote.

-Macro photos of someone peering at a dial indicator are a dime a dozen. Likewise anonymous hoodie-wearing dudes with welding helmets on hunched over a glowing TIG torch. Here's the thing, though - sticking the metal together and making it straight enough to ride right aren't really what a customer is paying for. You should show some *design work*. Show some unusual stuff. Explain why you know how to build something that rides like a dream.

-Don't mention that you worked in a bike shop, because so did every other bike-obsessed kid on earth, basically. It also in no way qualifies you to build a fun bike for someone. I'm pretty crappy at, say, bleeding Magura brakes. But that's not my job - that would be like wanting to make sure the engineer who designed your car worked at Jiffy Lube when they were in high school.

-Lots of facial hair just means you probably aren't using a respirator when you're hunched over that smoking metal for an hour or two a day. It's your body, I guess.

-Everyone else also drinks PBR at least occasionally.

-And of course, last but not least: poverty does not make you cool. The last thing I want is a frame built by someone who makes no profit and will be out of business/his girlfriend's garage in a year. I want a frame from someone who takes vacations, and doesn't have to depend on deposits coming in to order tubes, and will answer the phone in 10 years when I need to know if I can put a 100mm travel fork on.


Mitch said...

Chinese opera, peyote. You kill me.

Mitch said...

Chinese opera, peyote. You kill me.

Chuck M said...

...You forgot ugly, lazy and disrespectful....Shut up B***ch! go fix me a turkey pot pie..

Feldy said...

I like Zima.

Alistair said...

This is good. Very very good. Right on the money. Paul Sadoff would be proud of such a blog entry I reckon.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Is this really a challenge to conformist hipster poser framebuilders precipitated by your surfing of their profiles? Surely you don't expect them to become innovative now. Even if they started using Supertherm, it would still only be an improvement. Specialized has a 6" travel bike with 42cm stays....

Atrocious blog is a treasure trove of geometry analysis, among other things, which rewards effort. Where else would we find C.B. Mike's description of 'looping out'? I panicked a little when the advertisements took the place of the entry titles, but all is well until the electricy is shut off. Maybe if the header photo were altered to show a caption coming from your arse which merges with the horizontal banner ad, that would be a little atrocious, especially when ad is for Price Point!

Speaking of respirators, have you looked into valley fever as the explanation of creeping crud? Nothing like a brisk dirt ride in the desert Southwest to facilitate the inhalation of a certain fungal spore!


Feldy said...

Is anon a bot?

steve garro said...

Blogs are dead

Bikewright said...

That has to be the best rant yet! Fact is better than fiction,because you just can’t make that type of stuff up. I will call you in 5 years becuase it will be time for another Waltworks build.

Meriwether said...

I love this type of rant! You are an anomaly Walt. How many people are reading this going, "is he talking about ME?!". The AHTBM sticker, "I guess i was punk once" so perfectly pigeonholes me and so many others.

After you tackle the very prescient "Hobby" builder that has another job and/or is partially (or fully?) supported by their significant other, here are some more ideas for blog posts:

1) Filing tubes vs. using a "machine"
2) singlespeeding vs. gears (relates to #1)
3) Tig Welding vs. Brazing (see #1 and 2)
4) the required living wage of a framebuilder in the US
5) Find out if there's a significant correlation between tattoos and frames filed by hand.