Tagesarchiv: 31. Oktober 2017
by Dave Moulton
Most vintage bike enthusiasts know about cutouts in frame bottom brackets, but some, especially newbies don’t know the reason. Someone recently asked me why I didn’t put drain holes in my bottom brackets? I was baffled and asked, “Who does that?” He listed frames that had “Drain holes,” and I realized he was talking about bottom bracket cutouts.
It was a fashion gimmick of its time, that’s all. There was no logical reason. Think about it, it is a poor drainage system. The bottom bracket is in direct line of fire from water spraying up from the front wheel. These large holes let in more water than they let out again.
For those who don’t know, here is a history lesson. In the 1970s a craze started amongst cyclists all over Europe, later referred to as “Drillium.” (Picture left.)
Drilling holes in component parts to reduce weight. The fad was huge in the UK, especially amongst time-trialists, who were forever looking for ways to save weight. And of course removing metal reduces weight.
The amount of weight saved by drilling holes in aluminum components was miniscule, but it didn’t matter.
It was a way to customize a bike and a few more holes than your competitor was a psychological boost if nothing else.
If your bike had so many holes, it had no shadow, you were a winner, in style anyway.
Component manufactures were quick to follow this trend, and for example, a seat post that was previously round and smooth, now had flutes machined in them. Frame builders too got on the band wagon. A large hole cut out of a bottom bracket shell, was a considerable chunk of steel that was no longer there.
Of course all these holes and flutes created more aerodynamic drag, but no one thought of that at the time. Aero bikes would be a future craze.
Frame builders used a special die and a press to stamp out these cutouts in seconds. Holes were similarly stamped in lugs before the frame was assembled. It also gave framebuilders an opportunity to individualize frames with cutouts in the form of their logo. It was done for brand recognition.
My newbie inquisitor was still not satisfied. “If these are not drain holes in the BB, then why weren’t they engraved?” I’ll tell you why. Holes can be stamped out in seconds, but engraving takes time, and is super expensive. Especially engraving on a curved surface.
I know this because I had my name engraved in the top of the BB shell.
It had to be done with a special fixture that rotated the shell as the engraving progressed, so the router bit that does the cutting is always at right angles to the curved surface of the BB shell. (Picture right.)
It is a highly skilled operation and is one of the reasons my custom frames cost so much. If you see what appears to be engraving on the bottom bracket of a production bike. Things like lettering, a logo or grooves. It was most likely cast that way. The design was in the mold.
Just as my custom frames had my logo engraved in the crown, whereas my production Fuso frame had the name cast in it. (See above.) I had to buy 1,000 crowns to get that feature. So why did my Fuso not have a cutout BB? By 1984 when production on the Fuso started, the fashion had run its course.
Some Italian framebuilders continued doing cutouts, but remember they had dies to stamp the holes. I was not about to invest that kind of money for the tooling and a press, for fad that had run its course, and was dying out anyway.
Man kann über den Wert und die Schönheit eines Pinarello Rennrades verschiedener Meinung sein. Aber kann man verschiedener Meinung darüber sein, dass Pinarello nun zu Louis Vuiton, und Rapha den Eigentümern von Walmart gehört? Der große Ausverkauf.
Pinarello, 1952 gegründet und 65 Jahr lang ein unabhängiger, großer, bekannter und innovativer Rennradhersteller in Familienbesitz wurde dieses Jahr an Louis Vuiton verkauft. Das ist bereits eine Weile her und keine Neuigkeit.
Rapha hingegen ist eher ein Unternehmen, dass man als Start-Up bezeichnen könnte; 2004 in London gegründet machte Rapha 2016 £63 Millionen Umsatz, im wesentlichen mit Bekleidung.
Beide Unternehmen erwirtschaften einen erheblichen Teil ihres Umsatz in England, wo sie als Sponsoren des Team Sky einen großen Bekanntheitsgrad haben. Es ist etwas schwierig vorzustellen, Pinarello Räder im gleichen Laden zu kaufen, wie Moet Champagner oder Louis Vuiton Taschen. Oder Rapha Klamotten in der Grabbelkiste im Walmart – was ist die Intentionen von Investoren? Eine reine Finanzanlage?
If you follow the merger and acquisition side of the bike biz then you’ve probably been aware that the leviathan of cycling apparel, Rapha, has been courting buyers. It was previously reported that LVMH, the group that owns Louis Vuitton (and scores of other luxury brands like Moët and Chandon) and ultimately bought Pinarello, was interested in Rapha, but they passed.
So who bought Rapha? Hold on to your seats.
RZC Investments. Likely, you are scratching your heads right now. It’s not a name you or anyone else in the bike industry has heard. There’s not much of a paper trail on them; one can find lots on other similarly named entities in Google.
But here’s what we can tell you: RZC is an investment group headed up by Steuart and Tom Walton. Of those Waltons. Not the John Boy and Mary Ellen variety, but the family out of Bentonville, Arkansas, who own Walmart. Steuart and Tom are grandsons and Tom is known to have kickstarted the trail building in Bentonville that has made it the hot spot for mountain biking for nearly 1000 miles in every direction.
While LVMH decided to against buying Rapha, RZC Investments had to fend off other suitors including Invus Group and Industrialinvest, which is a shareholder in Aston Martin. RZC is reported to have paid $200 million to CEO Simon Mottram and his investors. Shareholders in Rapha include Active, which has stakes in Honest Burger, Soho House and Leon.
So what did RZC get for its $200M? Well Rapha’s revenue for 2016 was £63m, which was up 30 percent over 2015. They are reportedly up 40 percent over this point last year. Considering the crazy multipliers over EBITDA that are seen in the tech sector, this was a terrific buy for RZC.
We at RKP have several unnamed sources that have told us there is an effort by Mssrs. Walton to bring more bike brands to Arkansas, to do for Arkansas what Boulder did for Colorado. There is no word on whether the apparel maker will move stateside, but if this is the kind of capital they are willing to pour into the bike sector, expect to see some other jaw-dropping purchases.
Rapha Bought by Walmart Heirs; Here’s How the Brand Might Change
Founder Simon Mottram says he’s found the partners he wants for the long ride
AUGUST 10, 2017