Review: Imperfection is Perfection

Richard Sachs has been racing bikes and building custom frames for over a quarter of a century. He’s also no stranger to ‘cross and, in addition to racing a full season each year, has provided generous sponsorship support for dozens of ‘cross racers over the past decade, including three time Elite national Champion Jonathan Page.

Those who are not so lucky to be a sponsored rider? They have to put down a non-refundable $400 deposit and wait six years before getting a coveted frames fro this one-man show. So what’s the magic behind this frame building wizard?

Filmmaker Desmond Horsfield’s Imperfection is Perfection takes us behind the scenes at Richard Sachs Cycles to learn of the builder and the mystique that surrounds his shop. What results is a remarkable piece of film making that avoids overtly romanticizing the man and his craft and, instead, gives us an honest and human portrayal of the frame builder and what drives him. In the process, you are left realizing that there is little mystery or magic behind what makes a Richard Sachs frame so coveted. It’s not proprietary technology, famous lugs, rare materials, or flashy paint. It’s just years of hard work, learning from mistakes, and a singular drive to achieve perfection in a craft that he realizes will never be perfect. It’s the experience and total dedication as a craftsman that gets cyclist from around the world to wait in line for their chance to own and ride a custom Richard Sachs frame.

Perhaps one day, a lucky customer will open up the large cardboard box to find a RS frame not only perfect by his standards, but by Sachs’ as well.

The preceding article, a film review of the Des Horsfield DVD entitled Imperfection is Perfection – Richard Sachs Bicycle Maker, appears in issue #3 of Cyclocross Magazine.