When the first Slim Chance arrived on the scene in 1991 I was still working in bike shops. It was one of the first “production” tig welded steel frames on the market, and I loved the no-nonsense approach. Back then I preferred the more laid back Eddy Merckx Century geometry, so I didn’t get one for myself (I did sell one to a buddy, who still has it). But as I’ve gotten older, my position has moved forward a bit. So now that there is a NEW Slim Chance, designed by Chris and built by the folks at Stinner Frameworks, I’m pretty pumped. The fit/geo on the Medium looks just right to me. I’m waiting to see the matching Yo Road Fork, which they will reveal in a few weeks. But this frame is definitely on my short list! More info at Fat Chance!
I just read this opinion by Richard Sachs in Handbuilt Bicycle News twice and I’m still not sure what his point is. Toward the end he seems to conclude: “My observation is that the average person wants a fast(er) track to the workbench, one that bypasses a true learning and mentored experience.” This may be true. Seems like everything is speeding up these days. Just watch this 14 year old girl kick Eddy Van Halen’s ass on YouTube. So yes, the world is changing, things are different now, all kinds of information is more widely available, and people find different ways to learn a skill or trade. But I also wonder: is a “a true learning and mentored experience” available today in the way it once was? And if you go to UBI or similar, go slow, build 20 or so quality frames for friends and family, is there a reason you shouldn’t hang out your shingle and try to make a go of it? Also, it seems to me that the world of framebuilding has changed a lot less than many other areas–just ask a musician or a writer. Mostly his article reminds me of this scene from Gran Torino.
Velonews just posted an article called “Cycling’s Industrial Revolution: How crowd-funding, rapid prototyping, newly affordable manufacturing and social media make it easier than ever to launch a cycling brand.” In it writer Nathan Hurst notes that “If you want to start a bike company, there’s never been a better time.” They key? “Unprecedented access to manufacturing facilities in places like Taiwan and mainland China, even for small product runs.” They feature two new companies Open Cycle and Domahidy Designs (seen below). Both sell high dollar carbon frames manufactured in China or Taiwan. It makes me think about Keith Bontrager’s comments that the cycling industry is a lot like the fashion industry.