Custom made frame....necessary ?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by groskilly, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. groskilly

    groskilly New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thinking about another bike and a number of my cycling friends swear by their custom made frames. Clearly it is not absolutely necessary as the vast majority of riders are perfectly happy with their boxed bikes. Any thoughts on this from the forum ?
     
    Tags:


  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Messages:
    3,233
    Likes Received:
    95
    Most riders can get a fine fit on stock bikes with a bit of judicious shopping. If you are exceptionally short or tall, or have unusual body proportions, or have unusual flexibility issues, a custom frame might be advisable.
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    Agree with the OBC; there's no magic inherent in a custom frame. I ride a frame built locally by a custom builder to "standard" dimensions. I knew I wanted a 58cm frame with TT of 57-58 cm, and that exactly matched what he offered as a "stock size" (lower cost than a custom-dimension order). It's a well-built frame, with strong Columbus Zonal megatubes for the TT and DT, CF rear, but not really "better" than offerings from the major brands in late 2003.
    Only real advantage is that I got to specify the paint scheme and was able to spec exactly what I wanted in the build kit.

    With the flood of high-quality, low-cost CF frames now coming out of Taiwan and China, believe it's harder than ever to rationally justify spending more for an aluminum, steel or ti custom frame. But that's only a problem if you feel you need to justify your bike choices :)
     
  4. cwdzoot

    cwdzoot New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not everyone needs custom but not all makes work well for everyone.

    You might find certain brands work a lot better than others for your needs.

    Buying your bike the right size and finding a suitable make and model should be more than enough unless you are unusually tall/short, heavy.
     
  5. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    4
    Most can get a suit off the rack also BUT it's really nice to have one made just for you. I have a made for me Waterford. Yes, I could ride many 'off the rack' frames but the Waterford is a dream.

    Does it ride better? No. Not 'necessary' unless you don't fit production frames but it is 'nice'.
     
  6. nbfman

    nbfman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have one bike with a stock carbon frame that was fitted at a "pro shop", and another bike that has a custom steel frame. My custom steel is a tad more comfortable for long rides, though I don't know why. I like both bikes equally well and ride one or the other, primarily depending on mood for that day.

    For me, necessity had nothing to do with choosing a custom frame. One reason was price, which I found to be less (substantially, in some cases) than many mid-range and high-end carbon frames, even when the builder is of some reknown. So, for less money, you can get something built by a "master craftsman" that is fitted to you and where you get to choose many details, like paint scheme, lugged or lugless (lugged will cost more), sloping/non-sloping top tube, etc. Anyway, I thought that was cool, so I decided to buy one.
     
  7. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    4
    Have a really nice Merckx MXLeader for sale. 20th anniversary frame, steel fork, Chris King headset..interested? Size 58 c-c, 57.5 top tube.
     
  8. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    Oooh man, that's what I get for putting my frame size out there. Don't really need another bike, (have the old Gran Sport and Fuji Track steels which I don't ride much now). But a Merckx...I'll be looking up pictures online next. BTW, used or new, and what color is it?

    Waterford has a small following here too with the veteran guys who like big miles and weeklong tours. Latest one I saw had a deep maroon metalflake paint with very nice chrome lugs and the steel fork too. Very classy alternative to the major brands for someone who doesn't mind paying a bit more. Seems it takes a couple of decades of riding to appreciate the finer points of a beautiful classic steel frame, and forget about that extra pound or two.
     
  9. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Messages:
    3,233
    Likes Received:
    95
    Hey, you're in good company, dhk2. That's Eddy's size, too (give or take a couple millimeters).
     
  10. pudster

    pudster New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
    Custom frames should also give you a frame that is designed around your weight and riding style. On a 56 cm frame a person can weigh 135 lbs or 300 pounds. A custom frame will have the right diameter and wall thickness for the tubes to fit your weight not just your body dimensions. Some folks want to do Crits and some want to ride long distance. Tube diameters and wall thickness contribute to the ride for these too.
     
  11. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    4
    Grey, chrome fork. I'll try to attach a picture. Email if you are really interested.

    [email protected]

    Frame and fork only, not the VW either.
     
  12. framedoc

    framedoc New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Custom frames are not a necessity for most people. Ferrari's are not a necessity for most people either!!

    "You get what you pay for" rings true in this situation like most other situations. "Off the shelf/stock sizes" are an attempt by mass producers to satisfy the masses. Sure if you don't have a reason to justify the extra cost of having a custom frame made for you then it's possible you may find an "off the shelf" frame close enough for you to make compensations with head stem and saddle adjustments.

    If you're serious about your cycling you really should get a professional frame sizing assessment. This will allow you to have the exact geometry/information required to have a custom frame made to suit you if you chose to go that way or in the least allow you to find an "off the shelf" frame as close to what you should be using as possible.

    *NB. Someone mentioned above that there is no magic in a custom frame. Sorry but I beg to differ. I have been manufacturing custom frames in Australia for 28 years and currently have a full custom carbon tube to tube overlaid joint frame in testing getting great praise. One at a time hand built frames by someone who knows what they're doing will always be superior to mass produced counterparts in my opinion. My analogy remains....I love my Honda Civic but I'm not silly enough to think that a hand built Ferrari isn't magical.

    :)
     
  13. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    Peter, will take a pass on that fine looking frame. From a quick check online, it's apparent the MX Leader has a cult following, so I'm sure you won't have a problem selling it.

    Before I get another bike, I need to get my old trusty Gran Sport back on the road. It's nothing like the Merckx of course, but bought it new in 1974 as my first "serious" bike.
     
  14. nbfman

    nbfman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can you share more about this frame you make, like with a link?

    I bought a custom steel frame and like it a lot. Most of the custom builders I am familiar with use steel or titanium. As a builder, can you share a bit about the differences in working with carbon materials as opposed to metals? Is there a reason you chose carbon over metals, or do you do both? I was curious to know more about the building process with carbon frames. Like, are there tube sets that you purchase? Is "monocoque" only practical for standard frames (i.e. not custom)? What about this minimization of voids that Trek touts?

    Sorry to pepper with questions, but I think many would enjoy some chance to dialogue with a frame builder.
     
  15. bicyclerubber

    bicyclerubber New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not necessary, but nice sometimes

    some people buy a custom because they are particular about sizes, others because they want a unique finish etc.

    and why not - its your money, do with it as you prefer!

    check that the bike you end up with does fit you properly - whether the frame is custom or standard

    there is a video about the basics of bike fitting and a free downloadable pdf - well worth a look imo
     
  16. baker3

    baker3 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nope, you just need to get fitted properly IMO, most shops offer this service.
     
  17. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Peter, how different was the geometry you spec'd for the Waterford than the geometry of the Merckx frame ... and, how would you say the ride on your Waterford compares with the Merckx's ride?

    I presume you moved the Ti seatpost to the Waterford, too ...

    Other than the lower weight & obvious improvement in the aesthetics of the Ti seatpost, why did you abandon the C-Record post? I only ask because the Ti seatpost isn't consistent with the other components.
     
  18. Peter@vecchios

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,111
    Likes Received:
    4
    Geometry in terms of seat and headtube angles, fork rake, top tube length, same for each. Waterford's chainstays about 1cm longer is all and the headtube 1cm longer. Aluminum seatpost on the Waterford.

    I had the seatpost, didn't have a aero C-Record one. I actually prefer the round post, easier to into a work stand and be secure.

    The ride of the Merckx is stiffer than the Waterford, no doubt about it.
     
  19. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Thanks.
     
Loading...
Loading...