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Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:12am
by djnotts
al_yrpal wrote:Back in the 50's 60's and 70's they made some beautiful elegant steel bikes. Slim tubes, swept forks, decorated complex profiled lugs. No ugly welds, no aggressive appearance, no chavy looking decals. Just simple straightforward elegance. My old Mercian has it in spades...

Imagethe Mercian by A_Cockney, on Flickr


Al


Quite pretty yes, but (in this beholder's eyes!) completely spoiled by that barber's pole striped seat tube.

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:20am
by Samuel D
SimonCelsa wrote:Elegant & in my opinion quite beautiful. Not absolutely perfect but getting there.

Not mine by the way, photo is cropped from another forum

That’s mine! Nice to see someone else likes it. I like it myself, of course.

I don’t pretend it’s perfect, but what don’t you like about it? Maybe the spacers/headset/stem area?

Unfortunately it’s now using a less attractive Shimano FC-5600 chainset. Not sure if I’ll keep it like that or revert to the SunXCD in the photo above. Currently testing.

Generally, I think a beautiful bicycle is one in which form follows function. That may naturally include carbon fibre when used in speed-orientated machines. However, best of all is when functional form is combined with elegance. Classic road-racing bicycles up to about 1990 are the ultimate expression of this: they look bare and essential and elegant in addition to slim and lightweight and supremely purposeful. They remind me of a greyhound. They look fast standing still.

Some Mercians are decorative and highly accomplished in that regard, but decoration doesn’t have the conceptual weight of minimalist function, even when it’s backed by decades of tradition (fancy lugs, etc.).

Some day I will get a custom frame made and build a ‘perfect’ bicycle around it. It will be both beautiful and functional. Cash is the problem!

By the way, I think some bicycles are beautiful even though they are so large or small that they don’t achive the normal proportions. For example, there is something beautiful about Jobst Brandt’s enormous yellow bicycle, seen here before his death and here after it was restored.

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:27am
by al_yrpal
That Mercian, bequeathed to me by my brother. I agree the barbers pole is a bit over the top. Its the form of the frame, forks and the lugs I really like.

Al

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:32am
by Samuel D
I like the barber's pole, but it’s competing for attention with the tyres and bar tape. Tone those down and the barber’s pole will provide a pleasing and humorous contrast to the rest of the bicycle.

By the way, what’s the metalwork on the downtube just above the bottom bracket?

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:38am
by 531colin
Clamp on cable guide for F. mech. (or possibly both?) ....if you click Al's pic., it takes you to his Flickr, and you can zoom it

when it was built, you had a length of outer from the cable stop thats still there up to the mech.
For a modern bare-wire mech. I have simply run the cable under the BB in a bit of outer....neat and free!

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 10:56am
by Brucey
Image

this looks quite nice to me....

cheers

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 11:06am
by pwa
"Beautiful" is about aesthetics rather than practicalities, though with a bike anything truly impractical turns me off. The most attractive bikes are slender and almost disappear when looked at from the rear. They have chainsets that have more air than metal, shallow section rims and fairly narrow tyres. And if you lift them they light. I prefer the look of a nicely enameled frame.

But practicalities mean I have drifted away from painted steel and narrow tyres, and I go everywhere with pannier racks that detract from the slender look. "Beauty" and real life do not always sit well together.

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 11:10am
by al_yrpal
This is the Mercian as received after my brother passed away. As you can see US cloth bar tape, horrid pedals and a cadence sensor which I removed. The tyres didnt match the red themed colour and were well worn so I changed them. I replaced the double clanger with a triple which I sourced on here because we have some steep hills hereabouts. Unfortunately the bike had been stored very badly during his terminal illness and there are quite a few dings and blemishes. I did look at restoration at Mercian but its pretty expensive. The bike was completely restored in the 90's, Campag upgraded, new wheels with the original hubs and the current paint job. Its a joy to ride on dry days. These pictures were taken before I was thrown off by a pothole. I ended up with rather poorer s/h brake levers and bars which detract from its appearance. Its a bit like Triggers Broom :lol:

Al

ImageThe Mercian by A_Cockney, on Flickr

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 1:22pm
by Samuel D
531colin wrote:Clamp on cable guide for F. mech. (or possibly both?) ....if you click Al's pic., it takes you to his Flickr, and you can zoom it

Ah, so you can. Thanks.

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 2:12pm
by Audax67
In direct response to the original question: me, on it, and finishing PBP 2019.

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 4:15pm
by PhilWhitehurst
Audax67 wrote:In direct response to the original question: me, on it, and finishing PBP 2019.


Wow 2019, where does the flux capacitor fit?

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 5:10pm
by tinyworld
So Conclusions are, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it must be conventional. And with that I’m going to stay beautifully unconventional :wink:

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 5:43pm
by pedalsheep
The perfect blend of looks, fit and function.

Bikes and Bluebells 044 [640x480].JPG

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 6:37pm
by 1942alexander
tinyworld wrote:So Conclusions are, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it must be conventional. And with that I’m going to stay beautifully unconventional :wink:


It's not only in the eye of the beholder, it's in the heart and mind as well. When I see the modern, carbon stuff, I don't see the elegance and quality of the vintage bike. It may be there but my conditioning, due to my age, is favouring the 1950s/1960s era. Nostalgia and experiences of the time are also important factors to consider. I was a road only, racing cyclist. I did a little touring but only with a saddle bag on my racing bike. I have absolutely no knowledge of off road riding and when I see a mountain bike type I see a huge heavy lump, which of course, not all of them are. From an engineering background, I appreciate good functional design with good aesthetic appeal, the aero seat post, centre pull brakes and the ornate lugs on steel frames are good examples. Now that I'm building and refurbishing bikes from scratch, I put all my background into my builds. As I progress with the refurbs, even the last attempt has an influence on the current one. The beauty I try to achieve in each build is not quite up to the level I am trying for in my next build, and so it goes on... To me beauty is very transient. If you get something that is almost beautiful, but is looked on by later generations as still beautiful, then you really have got a gem.
Cheers... Alex
HBsmallfile.jpg

Re: What constitutes a beautiful bike?

Posted: 30 Dec 2016, 8:12pm
by 100%JR
It's very much in the eye of the beholder.
This argument comes up all the time with my MTB mates.One mate loves his Steel HT another describes them as "looking like pipe-cleaners welded together then given a kack paint job"I share this sentiment.I prefer the chunky Allu-framed MTB.
I really don't like the 70s "racer" look bikes with curved forks and large frames.I had them in the 70s/80s and firmly believe that where they belong!
I prefer the look of a compact frame and straight fork.I also prefer the look of a bike with hidden cables.It just looks neater.
I didn't like the look of Carbon bikes but eventually succumbed and having owned one for just over a year can't see me ever going back to Allu.(I do have an Allu CX/Winter bike but that will be replaced next year).Carbon bikes just look cleaner and neater.
It's the same with cars.New cars just look much nicer.Things move on.If I had the cash would I buy a 1960s Aston Martin or a 2016?The new Model every time.

My answer to what constitutes a beautiful bike is currently a Colnago C60 but that might change next year!
The Pinarello Dogma F8 would have gotten my vote but for the curved fork.