Diana D.’s new A.N.T. Light Roadster launched me into a fit of irrational bike lust.
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Posted 12.6.08 in The Kitchen Sink | Bookmark or Share
Is that a Busch & Mueller 4DLite? Sweet!
I wouldn’t say that’s “irrational” at all!
A.N.T. bikes are rolling works of art, understated and elegant. WANT!
Damn, that’s much like my bike! In looks anyway: otherwise mine is singlespeed (for now), has randonneur (sweepy-drop) bars, and cost 1/4 of an ANT bike! Nice stuff, but when your bikes are priced for dentists and lawyers… I’m just not impressed. Anyone can solve a problem by throwing money at it.
jamesmallon – And I have a violin that looks much like a Strad. It seems to me that a life lived without an appreciation for craftsmanship is pretty barren. And if money is really your only aesthetic, consider that an A.N.T. will pay for itself after about 6,000 miles of riding instead of driving.
jamesmallon, yes, I’m sure those grapes *were* sour.
I can’t afford one, either. But I can afford the LHT I’m building up and, yes, it will be 90% of the ANT bike at a fraction of the cost, but it still won’t be hand-built by a man with a crazy mustache.
Molnar, if money were my only aesthetic, my bike pays for itself in 1000km, or one month. So, what’s your point? His bikes look nice, sure. So does a Bently, sure. A Civic gets the job done for millions for a mere fraction of a Bently; a well assembled bike for $500 to $1500 does everything an ANT does. It will ride the same: mine even has the same seat, seatpost and god knows what else. You want to drink the cool-aid he’s selling, it’s your money. I’d rather have another two bikes I want, and can afford, because I did not opt to pay his value-added. In other words, I do not think his bikes are good value (nor do I think Civias are) because though they may be a little prettier, they’ll ride almost the same as something a quarter the price, and are not four times prettier. My grapes aren’t sour; I just don’t need them gilded.
Beautiful bike! Lust is the appropriate word to use but as said earlier, there’s nothing irrational about it.
One of these days I hope to save up enough to buy a hand built bike made in the US (or Canada) by a master craftsman such as these. The Taiwanese mass produced bikes I can afford are nice as well and utilitarian speaking do the job just as well but do nothing to support real locally made craftsmanship but any comparisons are like trying to compare a Suzuki to a classic Indian or Harley.
If anyone thinks hand built bike craftsmen make a killing, think again. I think if Mike was pumping out bikes like a machine at the asking price of A.N.T. bikes, one could argue over the costs but the fact of the matter is that he is not a machine, these are not mass produced bikes and the time and work involved to make such a bike justifies the costs otherwise he would make pennies on each bike. And if he didn’t care about the quality and craft he could just as easily move to Taiwan or produce crap… which he chooses not to on both counts.
My point, jamesmallon, aside from the aesthetic one that you have already reinforced, is that your statement that the bikes are priced for dentists and lawyers is false. Anyone who uses a car and is able to substitute an A.N.T. or similar bike for a modest amount of the driving will come out ahead pretty soon. It isn’t necessary to give up the car entirely, just substitute. The IRS, not noted for its generosity, says the cost per mile of operating a car is 55 cents (one can quibble between the marginal cost of the next mile and the average over all miles, but that’s probably close). Depending on one’s choice of fuel (I assume you eat only plain-wrap peanut butter and stale bread, since anything else is a waste of money), it’s probably fair to say operating a sturdy bike at commuting speeds costs little more than a tenth that. That makes a good commuting bike not just affordable, but a bargain for most of the car-owning public.
I don’t see why everyone is making a big thing about this. Winter weather keeping people indoors who would otherwise be riding? Is that why a picture of a nice bike has brought up so much bile?
A couple of notes on this thread:
Some people appreciate craftsmanship aside from the issue of cost. It’s an art appreciation issue.
Other people defend their what they are willing to pay by dissing other people who prefer to pay for bicycles at other prices. It’s a class issue.
I’ve made my bicycle choice for the next year or so. And I’m sticking with it. But that won’t stop me from appreciating the fact there are people able to build exquisitely built bicycles for people who willing to buy them. I understand why people building up their own bikes from spare parts to save money. There are those who build bikes for mechanical recreation. I’m kinda in the same boat. And I’m cool with Taiwanese bikes because even though they are made in near-slave labor factories and require oil to ship overseas, at least there are bikes available for recreational, commuting, student, and newbies at affordable prices. The more people riding the easier to get infrastructure put in.
People go to galleries to enjoy art. That doesn’t mean they have to buy the painting.
Enjoy the bike because someone enjoyed building it. You don’t have to buy it.
However, saliva drooling lust over someone else’s bike, isn’t it like adultery when your bike has been so faithful? If so, man, am I in a lot of trouble. ;-)
I’ll get off my soap box.
Beautiful bike and a really nice build. I’ll have to check the ANT site to get a closer look at some of the details. Beautiful build though. The only thing that I would change on it would be a black seat to match the grips and the rest of the bike.
Bicycles are an interesting thing. While they are indeed a utilitarian object, because they require human input, they become intensely personal. Bicycles can feel like they are physically a part of us. I, for one, would love to become very attached to a Vanilla Commuter !
The price on that thing is outrageous, but the quality and craft in it is priceless. Some may think me frivolous, and perhaps I am, but if I do feel like my bike is a part of me, then why not?
(it should be noted that I can in no way afford any Vanilla bike so my frivolity is entirely in my mind :)
I think it’s for each individual to decide if a particular bike is “worth” the price. Personally, if/when the budget allows, I’ll have no problem spending $2985 on an intelligently designed, made-to-order bicycle that’s hand-crafted by a highly-skilled artisan in Massachusetts, USA.
And I’m not a dentist or a lawyer… ;-)
It’s a bike: you ride it on badly maintained roads, among idiot drivers, and park it among thieves. You want art, buy something not that vulnerable. That’s my last point.
Or you ride it on a bike trail to a well-lit, secure office, and park it in your cube. Not everyone is doing the same things with bicycles, and not everyone is working within the same budget.
As the wise Rich Pinto once said, “Ride what you like.”
I’ve spent a frightful amount of money on bikes, so I can attest to the wallet-draining aspects of bike lust. If I didn’t have my smart partner as a brake, more $$ would be on its way out the door as we speak.
This is just ME, okay? But with this particular ride, nice as it is, I don’t see the great difference over Alan’s very sweet LHT. Besides the geared hub or single speed and the chain guard, its basically the same bike, at least from a distance. The Civia, on the other hand, has some different and very attractive features. When bike lust hits me, it’s usually with a ride that has some cool/elegant/whatever features that really sets is apart from what I’m riding. LIke going with a tall blond over a shorter red head.
I’m a bent rider. I currently ride a fully suspended short wheelbase German bike: Street Machine by HPVelotechnik. My current lust? A long wheelbase American model. Recumbents, however, have a greater variance in design than conventional bikes, so bigger swings in lust are possible.
Your wheels will vary.
Just FYI – Last month I was reading some bike information online and came across a link to a page on ANT’s web site. The page was for an ANT stock model called the Boston Roadster; a complete bike selling for $1995 – still expensive but much less than ANT’s other models. But it was weird. The page was only accessible from the hyperlink I found. There was no navigation on ANT’s site to reach it.
I contacted ANT, and Mike Flanigan got back to me rather quickly and politely. He explained that he hadn’t made that model for several years, didn’t really understand web sites very well, and must have left the page up by mistake. But, he mentioned that he would soon have a “new model like the Boston Roadster” to show. I assumed this meant a new stock bike.
So who knows? Maybe ANT appeal at (slightly) lower prices may be coming soon.
Ride what you like and lust for more. That’s not rational but it sure is human. If we were all dispassionate there would be no desire to choose anything different than the same logical bike. The cycling world would be a boring place. And less human.
“This fog is as thick as peanut butter!”…”Aaa…Don’t you mean pea soup”.
“You eat what you like..I eat what I like!”
Very well put antbikemike! ;-)
can we have prefferences without putting down the other?
[…] Alex in Bike Lust: “can we have prefferences without putting down the other?” […]
My preference is pretty similar… http://crowmolly.blogspot.com/2008/10/108.html