It’s hard to not make a comment about Baum’s recent news of discontinuing their touring bike department, especially when they use this image as an example, which is a perfect segue into a dark place within the custom frame market…
Touring bikes are often, very strange birds. Some of which may suffer from the “Homer Simpson mobile” design precent. You know the episode right? Homer’s brother is a designer at Ford Motors and he gives Homer free reign over designing the ultimate car. A vehicle that performs all the tasks Homer wants it to and his eyes, is the most perfect car, but to the general public, it’s some abhorrent beast, deserving nothing more than the trash compactor.
Now, I’m not saying this bike in particular is an “abhorrent beast” or that it deserves the trash compactor, but let’s face it, it’s probably more attractive to the owner, than it is the general public and as a builder, I’m not sure Baum was too stoked on releasing the photos of it. Or maybe they were? Who knows. Not passing judgment here.
My thought is, when you’re spending the kind of premium coin that’s required for a Baum, you probably want a scalpel, not a swiss army knife. The phenotypes of touring bikes vary like the Galapagos finches. Some are beautiful and others are filled with so many ideas that they transcend beautiful objects and turn down the corridor of the “Homer complex”. Maybe Baum just wanted to stick to what they know best: custom performance road, track and mountain bikes.
ATMO, let the builder be the designer and if you’re trying to cram too many uses into a frame, re-think your priorities. Evolution happens at all levels, even the $12,000 custom bike market.