I've been following the development of the tapered head tube within the industry for a bit now, specifically the practicability of the application for the custom builders. While a few dedicated folks (Sean, Walt, Cane Creek, True Temper) have pushed the development of componentry to fit a large 44id head tube, I played with custom machining down a single piece into a more elegant shape.
The process was extremely time consuming (6 hours on the manual lathe), but was significant in that it brought to reality the product I had envisioned. I began to talk with Joe Bringheli late last year to see if the possibility of such a product was a reality, as he had worked with me on some custom stays and tubes through Deddachiai previously. I figured the correct tooling and raw material source would ease the production and cost. Turns out, Dedda was already moving in that direction, and exhibited the first protos at the Handbuilt bicycle show in Richmond this year, surprisingly to less of a fanfare than expected.
I've been slowly waiting to invest in tapered head tube stock based on customer demand...after all, the last thing I want is a bunch of headtubes to move around in a box for the next 20 years if folks decide that is not the direction they want to go. Well, Martin gave me a kick in the pants last week when he decided he wanted a tapered head tube on his Ti frame. I called Joe B. on Wednesday, inquiring on how the product has been selling...would you believe that he has not imported and sold one single piece yet? I could not believe that a company that is willing to produce such a piece was not already being supported by the custom community. Looks like most are either supporting the 44 movement or just plain not aware of what is available.
Joe called Dedda for me on Thursday, they shipped them out on Friday, and I picked them up yesterday, pretty darn fast turn around for an international purchase.
Joe and Dedda are ready to get these off their Italian shelves and into custom builders hands, so if you have an itch, they will scratch it :)
I brought in enough to make it worth the shipping, so if you are a builder and only want to play with one to see how it works, give me a call and I can share some of my stock.