I wrote this as a personal responce to someone on the list who sent me s ome comments. After I finished and realized how much work it was to writ e this I have decided to put this out there. It should be self explanito ry.
Actually what isn't quite known just yet is exactly why I said what I sa id. I just went directly to how impressed I am with their work without s aying a word about why I have come to that conclusion. I figured that wo uld sound too much like I was trying to "sell" everyone on the bikes. I agree I did in fact say I was the painter which implies I have a financi al interest; but in fact I am VERY selective about which bikes I paint b ecause there is only one of me and the demand is FAR greater than my abi lity to supply it. I did in fact ask if they would let me be the painter . I have a select few OEM clients like Richard Moon, Bruce Gordon, Herse , and Ybarrola. I give them discounts and turn their stuff over faster t han you would ever believe. I painted everything I did for Portland with in the past month.
What I shall now have to explain to the CR guys is that "the Rene Herse" project is basically this. Mike and Mark are hand making those lugs and BB shells from scratch, just like Herse did. They are really following the spirit and character of the original bikes; and doing an even better job of it. The lugs and shell are tigged and then brass fillet brazed a nd all finished by hand by Mark. There wasn't a single pinhole or a sing le dab of spot putty anywhere on that frame or fork. I've never seen any thing like it in my life; and I've painted thousands of bikes. Fillets a lways need spot putty. Not a drop anywhere on the entire bike. The lug e dges were 100% square and perfect and just thin enough so that I was abl e to mask the lugs right down to the tube junction and have a perfect li ne. There is no pinstriping between the colors. There are very few bikes built these days where I can do this; many are built by people who send me the stuff to paint.
Aside from the amount of work done in the spirit of the original makers, they are putting serious effort to the quality of the ride and the stee ring of the machine under specific conditions. But they are willing to i nnovate in addition to keep the uniqueness of the original intact. Here is an example; those who were at the show may have seen Marks prototype quick release seat binder design. He had this idea 20 years ago and even bought the left handed tap to do this job; but only a month ago decided to machine the pieces and make the first one which is now attached to a piece of seat tube. A seat post is inserted in the tube. It's a simple lever action cam quick release that actually spreads the tube apart slig htly when the lever is extended fully up. A beautiful piece of design wo rk. He's applying for a patent at my encouragement. Last year he had an example of his demountable frame design. COMPLETE genius. Period. So for two years straight Mark has made the only two things that I thought wer e really exciting and I believe both are patentable. Add the quality of work he produces (you know he also makes Rivendells and his own bikes) a re all top shelf in relation ot each frames market. That's one talented man. He's my age also. It's no picnic making bikes that fine at our age. Besides, Mark is one of the nicest level headed knowledgable person you will ever meet. His only fault is that he is so humble. So I'm blowing his horn; and not by blurting out on this list. I'm BUYING bikes from th em.
Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA
Please note: message attached