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Forgive me Lord Sachs, but I must blaspheme...(18 posts)

Forgive me Lord Sachs, but I must blaspheme...MXL02
Dec 2, 2002 7:41 AM I rode everyday over the holidays, like everyone else, and on Friday I pull into our halfway Texaco station where a big group ride has just pulled in. Lo and behold, there it is, a Richard Sachs frame, in the flesh. Now, I did not study it very long, nor did I ride it, but I gotta tell ya...I was not impressed! It had a 725 main triangle and who knows in the rear. Fairly routine paint job...just looked rather ordinary. Rider/Owner not available for comment. What am I missing? What is it that Mr. Sachs does to these frames that makes them so special? (Besides building each one himself by hand?)
Dec 2, 2002 7:52 AM
Sachs it out to sell bikes any way he can, just like the other makers. His pitch is "hand made by me." He pushes the "personal relationship" angle, which is great if you have a year to wait for a bike.

Bottom line is that a bike is a bike is a bike. The genuine distinctions are fairly small and esoteric.

Some people just gotta have something a little different. In today's market of titanium, carbon fiber and aluminum, old school is a little different.
ruthless marketeer?DaveG
Dec 2, 2002 4:42 PM
That's a new twist. I've heard Mr. Sach's called a lot of things: old-school, dinosaur, uncompromising, but never a marketeer. I think he's been making bikes before the current onslaught of severe marketing hype. His bikes appeal to those that want quality, attention to detail, and craftsmanship. If you are one that views a bike as a bike than a Sach is probably not the bike for you. That's not a criticism; everyone has a different view of their bike.
more like "putting your best foot forward"trekkie1
Dec 2, 2002 4:55 PM
Never said anything about "ruthless." He pushes what he does best, as anyone might. While I might not pay $2-3k for a plain looking steel bike, I don't begrudge anyone who does, or him for making them. I'm delighted artisans such as Sachs are still around. Trek 5500's are not for everyone, either.
scarcity -- that's all there is to itelviento
Dec 2, 2002 8:03 AM
If Cannondale makes 200 CAAD3 frames a year, someone who just spent $2500 on one would be touting the incredibly superior beauty of its welds on RBR.
scarcity -- and desireability?trekkie1
Dec 2, 2002 8:14 AM
Some things are scarce because no one wants them; some because there are a few (but many want one). I could build one frame in my garage, and it would be the most scarce frame on the planet (1), but no one would want it.
If you try it you might have a successful business.elviento
Dec 2, 2002 8:16 PM
Scarcity can make the product seem better than it actually is. Scarcity leads to desirability because exclusivity is indeed desirable.

As for talks about smaller builders giving soul to the bikes while major brands are out to get rich, we all know that's bull. The soul of the sport is in the rider, not in the bike. It's a piece of equipment limited by advancement of technology, and I refuse to believe (unless you have a good way to prove it) that Richard Sachs has more know-how than major brands, and his products are functionally and technologically superior to say a 5900 or a C-40.

It's not surprising that everyone who has it loves it, this is because there are so few of them in the first place, and also because someone who is willing to spend a lot of money on a so-so frame is already biased.
and because...deHonc
Dec 2, 2002 8:38 PM
any right minded individual will love their bike - no matter what it is.
Dec 2, 2002 11:26 PM
There's more to enjoying a bike than just the latest and greatest technology. I have a Litespeed Ultimate, which was viewed in the biking press as a wonderbike when I bought it almost 9 years ago. I also have a Specialized E5 with a second E5 presently on order for next season. My current E5, at 58 cm, weighs all of 15 lbs 4 oz, and that's in a size 58cm. It has carbon cranks and seatpost, Ti parts everywhere, and Zipp carbon sewup wheels. That certainly qualifies as a modern-day, high tech bike, doesn't it? And Cippollini wins on it (or at least a bike painted to look like it) so that gives a pedigree, right?

If I'm headed to a race, I'll grab the Specialized. At that weight, it has an undeniable advantage over a heavier bike. But if I'm headed out for a training ride, or a casual Sunday ride, or a century, I'll grab my Richard Sachs every time. It weighs 19 lbs (not bad for a steel 60 cm bike) and I don't have much on it except standard Record parts, but it's absolutely the sweetest ride I've ever enjoyed. One of these days I may even try a crit aboard it.

"So-so" frame? If I could have only one bike, I'd rather pay full retail for my Richard Sachs than have a 5900, or C-40, for free. I've ridden and owned the high tech stuff - but my favorite remains the Richard Sachs. As far as I'm concerned the Specialized is essentially a disposable quantity, while the RS is a keeper. You accuse us of bias -- have you ridden an RS bike that was custom made for you? If not, how can you be so sure of yourself?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...TJeanloz
Dec 2, 2002 8:35 AM
Some people want the flashiest, newest, wildest bike around. The latest in light weight, high-zoot fanciness - you sound like one of those people.

Some people want the most comfortable bike they will ever ride. They might not care about 3 extra pounds. They want a simple paint job. It's not that Joe Bell couldn't paint it fancier than every other bike in the world (he's debateably one of the best painters) it's that simplicity is how the owner wanted the bike.

What you are missing is that Sachs bikes aren't built for everybody- they are built for specific customers, to meet specific needs and desires. If you ask him for something special, or have a peculiar request, he will oblige it. Ask Trek to make your 5900 with a stiffer-than-normal BB area. Or a slightly longer top tube. And Mr. Sachs is among the best in the business at translating your requests into a finished frame. That is where his value-add is. Not everybody values the same things in bicycles, and Sachs' bikes are uncanny in their ride quality, design, and fit. They just don't scream about being the best.
on the contrary...MXL02
Dec 2, 2002 9:32 AM
I ride a very standard, traditional steel lugged frame...and I love it. Most similar steel frames, even custom ones, cost between $1000 and $1500...what you haven't answered is: what does a Richard Sachs frame have that a Strong, or Steelman, or Serotta frame not have. It sounds to me from all the responses that the fit and ride quality are the key.

Bt the way...I also believe bicycles are works of art...just because a bicycle fits and rides beautifully doesn't mean it has to be plain looking or just plain ugly.
How is Sachs better? He's probably not,TJeanloz
Dec 2, 2002 9:52 AM
There are a handful of builders in the upper echelon of custom-built steel. I think fit- and design-wise, he's probably among the top two or three. Serotta is not in the same league of custom built- they're in with Seven, Merlin, etc.- companies that build bikes to fit, based on some formula.

But Sachs compared to other one-man shops? I don't know that he's a whole lot better. Part of it is branding and consistency- he's done an impeccable job so many times, that customers know that they're getting a great bike. Steelman and Strong just don't have that pedigree, yet. So Sachs brings a certain assurance about fit, and ride quality to the table.

In terms of 'works of art', some people thing bikes should be flashy, personally, I think the understated "ugly" look of Sachs' frames is perfect.
Not a bike for the Poseur. All about ride, fit, soul.Spunout
Dec 2, 2002 8:43 AM
I bet if you ask, most people who ride a Sachs have only one bike. Why ride anything else? People who have a heap of bikes obviously are not satisfied with them! Usually, they are carbon or aluminum too.

Steel is Real.
anti-poseur bike? what about motivations?trekkie1
Dec 2, 2002 8:57 AM
So, Sach's bikes are anti-poseur? May be true, depending upon the buyer's real motivations. They could be just as poseur as anything else, if purchased for the "wrong" reasons.
Well, um, actually...DMoore
Dec 2, 2002 9:01 AM
I have five road bikes, including my Richard Sachs, with bike #7 on order. I love great steel bikes, and also have my old '84 Ciocc as well as a Brian Baylis and Bill Holland. Then there are the race bikes, an older LS Ultimate, a Specialized E5, and another E5 (couldn't say no to the team price) on order.

A couple of the bikes live on trainers, one is equipped for night rides, etc. But when it comes to sunny days - it's almost invariably the Sachs. I'm glad I can own several bikes, but if I could have only one it would be the RS.
Point taken. "...if I could have only one..." I thought so. NMSpunout
Dec 2, 2002 9:07 AM
I agreeColnagoFE
Dec 2, 2002 10:39 AM
Nothing that special, but Sachs is known to obsess over small details to get the ride dialed just right. I think the precise fit, immaculate contruction techniques and ride qualities are what sells these bikes. After all Campy hawks components using "passion" as a selling point and I imagine there is some of that same "passion" that sells Sachs bikes as well.
re:Those who ride them, love them.dzrider
Dec 2, 2002 10:50 AM
In CT we see more Richard Sachs bikes than folks in other parts of the country. He's one of our local builders. Riders who own them recommend them with no hesitation and I can't remember seeing a used one for sale.