You forgot one other group of people - Those who appreciate and are fascinated by the craftsmanship, work... that goes into a constructeur bike. Every time I see these (only in pictures so far) I'm amazed at the amount of work they put into them - custom made cranks, stems, bottom brackets, made to measure racks, fenders, internal wiring...
John Price Denver, CO
Plug for Jan Heine - subscribe to his new quarterly magazine. Just got mine yesterday and am really impressed with it. Great stuff Jan ! So, if you haven't subscribed yet do so - let's see this new venture of Jan's take off.
-----Original Message----- From: Jan Heine [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2002 9:02 PM To: email@example.com Subject: [CR]Now: Who'd want a constructeur bike anyhow?
People explained why bicycle camping isn't that popular in the U.S. (In fact, I see more fully loaded bikes here than anywhere else...but of course, RVs outnumber them still.)
This got me thinking about who would want a cyclotourism bike made by a constructeur?
1. Anybody who does longish rides that aren't races - supported or not. This can be a century, or multi-day trips (Cycle Oregon, RAGBRAAI (sp?), etc.). Fenders and lights are useful here (it might rain - you might get caught in the dark, or bad weather, or a tunnel on the course), and so are slightly wider tires and a more relaxed, less nervous geometry. (In fact, the geometry of a randonneur bike very much resembles that of a racing bike until about 1975...)
2. Randonneurs. They have to ride in the dark, and in the rain, sometimes on bad roads. Most ride racing bikes that give trouble (lights falling off, fenders breaking or rubbing, etc.), which could be avoided if the bike had been designed for the type of riding.
3. Credit-card tourers. Many randonneur bikes have the option of adding front low-rider racks, so you can carry a few clothes and other stuff in two panniers. Say up to 20 lbs.
4. Camping cyclists need their own variety - true camping bikes. Reading stories about riders that "waited out the rain for a week" makes me think fenders should be considered essential on a touring bike. And how often did I find that terrain was more hilly than anticipated, a campground had closed, or some other reason caused me to get caught in the dark. Now I have lights on my touring bikes...
I think 1-3 make up a good portion of the cycling public who currently have no choice but buy a racing bike. (Of course, racing bikes still are the perfect choice for racers and those fast weekend pacelines...)
Jan Heine, Seattle