Looking at Jezâ€™ Salsa and Yo Eddy and Newsboyâ€™s Hei Hei, itâ€™s immediately obvious why retro bikes rule, but having missed out on the history, Iâ€™d be very interested in views on how all this came about.
For example, despite Chris Chance making these fantastic bikes, he must have gone out of business owing to economic factors, why? Ditto Rock Lobster, Bontrager, Ritchey and WTB (as framebuilders), and even Klein as an independent builder.
Basically, all the things we now see as having fantastic qualities must have gone out of production owing to lack of demand. Or at any rate, lack of demand at the price level which the builder needed in order to make a profit.
1. it must be partly about the demise of steel as a commercial proposition and to a lesser extent of titanium as a custom proposition
2. the rise to supremacy of aluminium must be linked to the development of suspension â€“ less need for comfort or sophistication in frames, more need for light weight
3. those custom paint jobs must have cost more to produce than it did to build the frames
4. less demand for â€˜jewelâ€™ components must be linked to increased competence of generic ones
5. maybe Kona was never quite the same after Joe Murray left, but then neither was Voodoo.
6. maybe again related to technology, the type of biking people do has moved towards jumping and cavorting about, and away from cross country.
7. steel mtb frames are far more popular in the UK than in US - this I really donâ€™t understand, but there seems to be little parallel in the US for On-One, Cotic, Dialled, Merlin/Rock Lobster, even Orange, why I wonder?
Any observations or bits of history to fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge would be extremely welcome.
thats a massive list of questions that could take quite some time to answer... so I'll answer just 1. FAT did have financial struggles, the titanium & the later shockability along with various other factors wendyl has asked me not to share on a public forum did make life difficult.
although FAT joined up with serrotta, they did later buy themselves back out. FAT didnt go bust in the end, they just closed shop. ironic given the love of steel frames in the last few years.