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Have you ever ridden a Confente?

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Have you ever ridden a Confente?

Old 09-27-22, 11:25 AM
  #101  
repechage
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
I think it is necessary to evaluate Confente’s work in the context of when he built frames. European frames in the 60’s and 70’s had to be made fast in order to meet the cheap market that would buy them. I visited a lot of builders in the UK and Italy in my quest to learn in the 70’s and there was no magnificence there. In order to be able to sell a painted frame for $100 or so, that required a build time of only a day. When I look at my 1972 Italian Masi (I paid $350 for the complete Campy equipped bike), I am really impressed how nicely it was made. It isn’t fair to compare Mario’s 70’s work to what I and my colleagues can build in 100 hours today.

I was introduced to a Confente bicycle by my cousin that ran Rain Cross Cycerly in Riverside CA in 1976. The feature I saw that I had never seen before was recessed brake mounts. That was the beginning of the end of using a nut that stuck out beyond the fork or brake bridge. I don’t know if he invented the idea but that is the 1st time I ever saw it done.

Another feature of Confente’s compared to us contemporary Americans that started in the 70’s was that his graphics were refined. He essentially modified what Masi was doing but the end effect was really good.There was no known place in the States that understood what bicycle decals should look like, like there was in the UK. Eventually that problem was solved but not before some ugly graphics were used on American made frames in the 70’s.
Mario made a Masi Show Bike with recessed mounting of the brakes in later 1975.
Rydjor bike shop has it now last I knew.
not to be seen on a production Masi for years.
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Old 09-27-22, 11:59 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
90 post thread - already - and probably no more than 2-3 people on it own one, and a few more rode one once. That's the power of Confente.

I make a post about Bill Boston - maybe I get two replies.

FWIW - my favorite frame builder is Hanford Cycles - because he's a great dude who makes nice bikes.
More likely, people who need to call out BS when they read it. The thread's premise is extolling the ride characteristics of a Confente, which is where the discussion begins. My perspective and that of others are it rides like any other premium bike of that era. The '70s and early '80s were probably the least innovative, generic period of bicycle design. Columbus or Reynolds tubing, lugs, brazed joints, angles and dimensions were eerily similar, with mediocre paint and chrome quality. Frames were semi-mass produced, and all rode virtually identical. Yes, a few like Confente were better finished post-welding, but that's about it. These so-called sacred Masi, Colnago, Cinelli, etc. all had the secret sauce of names ending in a vowel, yet they were all virtually identical and rode the same.

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Old 09-27-22, 12:43 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
More likely, people who need to call out BS when they read it. The thread's premise is extolling the ride characteristics of a Confente, which is where the discussion begins. My perspective and that of others are it rides like any other premium bike of that era. The '70s and early '80s were probably the least innovative, generic period of bicycle design. Columbus or Reynolds tubing, lugs, brazed joints, angles and dimensions were eerily similar, with mediocre paint and chrome quality. Frames were semi-mass produced, and all rode virtually identical. Yes, a few like Confente were better finished post-welding, but that's about it. These so-called sacred Masi's, Colnago's, Cinelli all had the secret sauce of names ending in a vowel they were all virtually identical and mass produced.
I didn’t read most of your post - but you might want to consider the ridiculous pseudo intellectual nonsense of the drivel peddling, inane buffoon you’ve elected to name yourself after before casting aspersions
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Old 09-27-22, 12:53 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
More likely, people who need to call out BS when they read it. The thread's premise is extolling the ride characteristics of a Confente, which is where the discussion begins. My perspective and that of others are it rides like any other premium bike of that era. The '70s and early '80s were probably the least innovative, generic period of bicycle design. Columbus or Reynolds tubing, lugs, brazed joints, angles and dimensions were eerily similar, with mediocre paint and chrome quality. Frames were semi-mass produced, and all rode virtually identical. Yes, a few like Confente were better finished post-welding, but that's about it. These so-called sacred Masi's, Colnago's, Cinelli all had the secret sauce of names ending in a vowel they were all virtually identical and mass produced.
Even I'll say this is a bit harsh on Mario's work, as he did what he could to distinguish himself within the aforementioned limitations of lugged diamond frames. Distinctive treatments on his Bocama lugs, milled dropouts, above-average paint jobs, beautiful stay caps - an excellent blend of understated, tasteful elegance. Sure, the period may have been lacking in innovation, but he definitely put the work in to distinguish himself, and for that his frames genuinely deserve praise.

To be clear though: They deserve praise, not a cult.

Nevertheless, I completely agree with your assessment of Italian and many Italian-inspired US made frames of the time. Not that I wouldn't complain about owning any of them, but the price premiums continue to make no sense. I've ridden a 1980's Colnago Super and the fit, finish, and ride quality was no better or worse than any comparative 1980's Basso, but the price difference could be double or triple that for the Colnago. Sure, the early '70s Supers look great, but where's the justification for ridiculous pricing for the 1980's model that's more common, less likely to be in rough shape thanks to more pedestrian stickers than transfers, and barely any oh-so-sexy pantographing?

Not to mention how many other brands of the era came out of contract builders like Billato, making much of the production stuff more or less the same thing with different lug details and stay caps.

Then there are brands like Guerciotti - if I'm not mistaken, all of them are contract jobs - where so many 1970's and 1980's factory seconds have been thrown on the market that you really don't know what you are in for - especially if it's solid bright red or electric blue.

-Kurt
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Old 09-27-22, 12:54 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I didn’t read most of your post - but you might want to consider the ridiculous pseudo intellectual nonsense of the drivel peddling, inane buffoon you’ve elected to name yourself after before casting aspersions
He named himself after a drivel peddling, inane buffoon? I thought it was a book.
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Old 09-27-22, 01:12 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Even I'll say this is a bit harsh on Mario's work, as he did what he could to distinguish himself within the aforementioned limitations of lugged diamond frames. Distinctive treatments on his Bocama lugs, milled dropouts, above-average paint jobs, beautiful stay caps - an excellent blend of understated, tasteful elegance. Sure, the period may have been lacking in innovation, but he definitely put the work in to distinguish himself, and for that his frames genuinely deserve praise.

To be clear though: They deserve praise, not a cult.

Nevertheless, I completely agree with your assessment of Italian and many Italian-inspired US made frames of the time. Not that I wouldn't complain about owning any of them, but the price premiums continue to make no sense. I've ridden a 1980's Colnago Super and the fit, finish, and ride quality was no better or worse than any comparative 1980's Basso, but the price difference could be double or triple that for the Colnago. Sure, the early '70s Supers look great, but where's the justification for ridiculous pricing for the 1980's model that's more common, less likely to be in rough shape thanks to more pedestrian stickers than transfers, and barely any oh-so-sexy pantographing?

Not to mention how many other brands of the era came out of contract builders like Billato, making much of the production stuff more or less the same thing with different lug details and stay caps.

Then there are brands like Guerciotti - if I'm not mistaken, all of them are contract jobs - where so many 1970's and 1980's factory seconds have been thrown on the market that you really don't know what you are in for - especially if it's solid bright red or electric blue.

-Kurt
Of all the 80's bikes I've ridden (not that many), the best riding one was my dearly departed Concorde Aquila, which was contract built out of one of those productions houses like the Billato Bros. It just had a certain something about it that made the ride great. While the wheels were wrecked in the same crash that killed the frame, I've built up wheels with the same brand/model hubs and rims to ride on my replacements, and they just don't ride as nice. My Colnago is a lot prettier (to me) though. That may have influenced my opinion somewhat about valuing ride and aesthetics as 2 separate things.

Someday, I'll ride a beautiful frame that also rides like a dream and obsess about its builder (don't currently have the budget for custom or really nice stuff), but, if my current favorite ride is by some anonymous builder at a shop I can't identify, it makes me think that the value (to me) in the really fancy stuff (that I appreciate from a distance) is how pretty/well finished they are or how good of a story they have. That could also be because, after getting hit, I do almost all my rides on the trainer these days where ride quality isn't part of the equation. Doesn't mean I wouldn't love to try a bike by a really well regarded builder, especially one that is made specifically to my measurements/goals, but right now I'm happy looking at those things from afar.
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Old 09-27-22, 01:17 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
More likely, people who need to call out BS when they read it. The thread's premise is extolling the ride characteristics of a Confente, which is where the discussion begins. My perspective and that of others are it rides like any other premium bike of that era. The '70s and early '80s were probably the least innovative, generic period of bicycle design. Columbus or Reynolds tubing, lugs, brazed joints, angles and dimensions were eerily similar, with mediocre paint and chrome quality. Frames were semi-mass produced, and all rode virtually identical. Yes, a few like Confente were better finished post-welding, but that's about it. These so-called sacred Masi, Colnago, Cinelli, etc. all had the secret sauce of names ending in a vowel, yet they were all virtually identical and rode the same.
oh dear. The bikes ARE different in handling. If one does not appreciate the difference. That is OK. I own examples of them all.
visible construction is just that, what is visible.
quite possible to fabricate an equal performing bike without the flourish. But some of this is the confidence in the bike the racer has. That is an intangible.

I do note that Colnago for a long while set the Italian standard for geometry and was copied pretty readily.
there were other who set up a different recipe, Gios and Pinarello come to mind. I have those also and they are different, I sort of group the two together but that may not be completely fair.

I think a lot happened between say 1977 and 1981.
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Old 09-27-22, 01:49 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
...I've built up wheels with the same brand/model hubs and rims to ride on my replacements, and they just don't ride as nice. My Colnago is a lot prettier (to me) though. That may have influenced my opinion somewhat about valuing ride and aesthetics as 2 separate things.

Someday, I'll ride a beautiful frame that also rides like a dream and obsess about its builder (don't currently have the budget for custom or really nice stuff), but, if my current favorite ride is by some anonymous builder at a shop I can't identify, it makes me think that the value (to me) in the really fancy stuff (that I appreciate from a distance) is how pretty/well finished they are or how good of a story they have.
You're pretty much hit the nail on the head. There are two values to a bike - how it rides and what it looks like. While the latter is easy enough to quality with a brand name on it, the former could be any bike from a gorgeous, handbuilt machine to some dowdy off-brand with crude lugwork and a name nobody knows, but a ride that works just perfect for a given owner.

At the end of the day, it's all about what one values most. If it's the ride, one might wind up spending ages seeking just the right frame and wheelset. Luck is definitely a factor.

-Kurt
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Old 09-27-22, 02:48 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I don't know. The Supercorsas I've seen from the 70s had chrome lugs, fork crowns, and sometime stays or forks. If you tell me a frame like this could be built, chromed, and painted in a day, I certainly cannot argue with you. But those bikes seem to me more refined (except for details like the recessed brake bolts). Sloping fork crowns; fastback seat stays; generous chrome...

I get that Confentes have their loyal following. For the most part, except for the occasional detail, they look pretty much like any other steel bikes of the time...to me.
I watched a Cinelli being made in 1977. They were built in a very mediocre kind of way. Yes the Cinellis had a lot of chrome but that doesn't reflect build quality but rather how it was chosen to be finished after it was made. Build details like sloping crowns and fastback attachment are just stylistic choices. Those are preferences just like some like red better than blue. Build quality refers to taking time with every detail to make it as accurate and as beautiful as possible. In fact every single one of my framebuilding class students makes a nicer frame than what I saw being done in Milan in 1977. This is because they spend a lot more time on every detail of the build. They don't have to make one a day to make a living.

When I was saying it was typical for a C&V European frame to be made in one day I was referring to just the build time alone not including paint. Many builders sent their frames off to be painted. Of course some builders took more time. At Ellis Briggs where I learned in Yorkshire in 1975, Andrew and i would spend the better part of a week making one frame before it went across the hall to be painted. Jack Briggs did not depend on his frame department to make a living. The rest of his bicycle retail shop did that. His frames added prestige to his entire business. That is why it was possible to take more time and make them better. E-B had better frame making equipment too. There isn't a week that goes by decades later that I don't realize how very fortunate I was to learn there. Today the very top American steel lugged builders take about 100 hours to make a truly custom frame to fit the position and ride of one customer. It wasn't possible for Mario to charge enough to take that much time to make a frame in the 70's.

When American builders started in the 70's our competition was not among ourselves. We were too spread out. A customer was deciding between a European made frame and one of ours. It probably didn't help that we were all in our 20's and skinny ('cause we were cyclists and looked even younger). The way we could show our frames were superior was by making the details more visibly attractive. This meant shaping and filing every joint more carefully and asking a potential customer to look inside the BB shell to see how nicely it was mitered. This attention to detail is more obvious when they could be compared side to side.

I attended the 1977 bicycle trade show in New York and saw the Confentes on display. I was already aware of his work so his frames didn't have much impact on me. I just thought they were nicely made. What I can say in 2022 is that Mario Confene frames were superior in detail execution to other Italian made frames I was familiar with.
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Old 09-27-22, 03:39 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
I watched a Cinelli being made in 1977. They were built in a very mediocre kind of way. Yes the Cinellis had a lot of chrome but that doesn't reflect build quality but rather how it was chosen to be finished after it was made. Build details like sloping crowns and fastback attachment are just stylistic choices. Those are preferences just like some like red better than blue.
I’m sure you will just chalk it up to marketing, But Cino was pretty adamant publicly that the sloping fork crown an fast back seat stays were not style choices, but were designed to enhance performance. I won’t argue with him.

I understand your other points. The American frames I was aware of in the early 80s were beautifully made, at least from what I saw in pictures or read about. My 1986 Paramount was the most finely crafted frameset I ever saw up close. And yes, it took months to get it after placing the order. If Confente was doing similar work in the 1970s, it must have been amazing then.
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Old 09-27-22, 03:54 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
But Cino was pretty adamant publicly that the sloping fork crown an fast back seat stays were not style choices, but were designed to enhance performance.
Wait. Are you saying a manufacturer stuck to their claims of laterally stiff yet vertically compliant performance enhancements?

Let's talk then. I got a bridge to sell ....
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Old 09-27-22, 04:05 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Wait. Are you saying a manufacturer stuck to their claims of laterally stiff yet vertically compliant performance enhancements?

Let's talk then. I got a bridge to sell ....
I think of Cino Cinelli as something more than just a “manufacturer.” As we’re fond of saying around here when someone disagrees, “YMMV.”
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Old 09-27-22, 04:11 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I think of Cino Cinelli as something more than just a “manufacturer.”
Why?
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Old 09-27-22, 04:14 PM
  #114  
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The designs he came up with also impressed Fausto Coppi. I won’t argue with him either.
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Old 09-27-22, 04:16 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Why?
Because he was a winning racer, businessman, innovator and inventor. Not just a “manufacturer.”
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Old 09-27-22, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
The designs he came up with also impressed Fausto Coppi. I won’t argue with him either.
Cino Cinelli most definitely did not "come up" with fastback stays nor a sloping fork crown. Umberto Dei was using the fastback and Beltramo was using a sloping crown in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Cino Cinelli was certainly aware of those bikes long before before he "came up" with the design on his bikes.

Also, Fausto Coppi was his close friend. Of course his friend helped promote his manufacturing company.

I heard from Mars Blackmon that it's gotta be the shoes. Must be true then.
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Old 09-27-22, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Because he was a winning racer, businessman, innovator and inventor. Not just a “manufacturer.”
So was Mario Confente. Why don't you hold him in the same regard?
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Old 09-27-22, 04:43 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post

So was Mario Confente. Why don't you hold him in the same regard?
Longevity?

That's surely one reason we're on page five and still discussing the mystique rather than the ride. Short production period, small numbers, exquisite results. But the first two, plus a dash of 'mojo', are what makes these frames what they are to so many people, owners and non-owners alike. Other American builders were about to match, then surpass, MC's attention to detail. The bar had been set, apparently at the 1977 NY show.

And I still bet it rides like my Medici, which is my favorite rider of all.

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Old 09-27-22, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
So was Mario Confente. Why don't you hold him in the same regard?
Why do you expect me to be fascinated by every bike I see and every builder?
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Old 09-27-22, 05:27 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Why do you expect me to be fascinated by every bike I see and every builder?
I don't. But the similarities between the two are uncanny yet you have high praise for one yet disdain for the other. I was just curious as to why. You don't have to say.

I have ridden a Confente. Not mine, just a friend's. Tooled around the street, not a "real" ride. I don't have much interest in ever owning one, even if the price was the same as a Cinelli. I do own one of those. But I find it odd to disparage one over the other. It's not like they are manipulating the market or people's minds from the great beyond.
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Old 09-27-22, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Longevity?

That's surely one reason we're on page five and still discussing the mystique rather than the ride. Short production period, small numbers, exquisite results. But the first two, plus a dash of 'mojo', are what makes these frames what they are to so many people, owners and non-owners alike. Other American builders were about to match, then surpass, MC's attention to detail. The bar had been set, apparently at the 1977 NY show.

And I still bet it rides like my Medici, which is my favorite rider of all.

DD
The adage of it's better to burn out than fade away has always held true. I don't know why people are surprised or confused by that. Just is.

As for how bikes "ride". Fortunately I'm no princess and I can't tell if a pea is present or not. It allows me to enjoy the ride no matter what is under my ass.

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Old 09-27-22, 06:11 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
I don't. But the similarities between the two are uncanny yet you have high praise for one yet disdain for the other. I was just curious as to why. You don't have to say.

I have ridden a Confente. Not mine, just a friend's. Tooled around the street, not a "real" ride. I don't have much interest in ever owning one, even if the price was the same as a Cinelli. I do own one of those. But I find it odd to disparage one over the other. It's not like they are manipulating the market or people's minds from the great beyond.
Disparage? Disdain?? Are you reading my posts? In addition to complimenting them (“look like nice frames;” “pretty nice”), I mostly said they didn’t look like anything special to me. And they don’t. Sorry.

I certainly don’t see the “uncanny similarities” between a Supercorsa and a Confente that you do. I see a lot of difference—some style ones, some not.

If I could buy a Supercorsa or a Confente for the same price, I’m sure you can guess what I’d buy. That would leave the Confente available for someone who appreciates what I think is a less-interesting bike. To me. Sorry if my personal opinions about the bikes come across as “disdain” or “disparaging.”
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Old 09-27-22, 06:56 PM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Disparage? Disdain?? Are you reading my posts? In addition to complimenting them (“look like nice frames;” “pretty nice”), I mostly said they didn’t look like anything special to me. And they don’t. Sorry.

I certainly don’t see the “uncanny similarities” between a Supercorsa and a Confente that you do. I see a lot of difference—some style ones, some not.

If I could buy a Supercorsa or a Confente for the same price, I’m sure you can guess what I’d buy. That would leave the Confente available for someone who appreciates what I think is a less-interesting bike. To me. Sorry if my personal opinions about the bikes come across as “disdain” or “disparaging.”
I didn't know soup can was a compliment. My bad.

And we were talking about Cino Cinelli and Mario Confente, not the bikes they manufactured that have uncanny similarities, or at least how you described Cinelli and not his bike.. I agree, their bikes aren't the same. Confente's chain stay stiffening was his invention, Cinelli just lifted other people's ideas for the SC.
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Old 09-27-22, 07:02 PM
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Cheese and rice, you guys are trying to make this an honorary A&S thread.

Granted, it's entertaining enough that I genuinely would like to find a Confente at a yard sale someday...just so I can put Bluemels, North Roads, and an IGH in it.

-Kurt
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Old 09-27-22, 07:10 PM
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Not that Mark would oblige me, but I'd like to find one for cheap so's I could have it converted to 650b and cantis, just to see what all the fuss is about. 650b and cantis fuss, you understand.

DD
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