January 29, 2009

Ashish’s frame, random thoughts

First off, for Ashish, here are a couple of random shots of your frame, 90% done (still needs disc tab, bridges, brazeons, etc). I’ve slightly modified the bender, and the seatstays took much less time (like, um, about 4 hours less) and came out quite nicely. Practice makes perfect, as always. It’s amazing to me that 5 years into building bikes I still come up with better ways of doing things almost every time I build something. And when I talk to other folks who build frames, there’s almost always a forehead-slapping, “why didn’t I think of that” moment when I see how they do something – and likewise, people see the way I do things and pick up new ideas.

It will be interesting to see how that kind of cooperation holds up when frame builders start running out of work (which, if you read my previous post, I think is already happening). NAHBS, by all reports, has been quite the love-fest in years past – I really hope the gloom and doom doesn’t lead to backstabbing as the pool of potential frame customers shrinks.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing, IMO, to thin the herd a bit at this point, though. I’d probably argue that I wasn’t really prepared fully when I started selling frames (as a matter of fact, I never *intended* to sell them at all, but I got caught up in the 29er/MTBR tsunami and was sort of in the right place at the right time – people pretty much were beating down my door wanting 29ers), but some of the stuff I see online (there are several framebuilder’s forums and email lists/newsgroups out there) is fairly shocking. There are people who literally have built one frame who are hanging out a shingle and charging $1500 – and then posting questions online about how to do VERY basic stuff. I won’t shed a single tear to see those folks out of “business” – and on the plus side, if you’re interested in framebuilding as a hobby, I think there will be some *smoking* deals on fixtures and tools in 2009.