Just sized for a custom bike

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Brink, Apr 2, 2003.

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  1. Brink

    Brink Guest

    I was just sized for a custom bike from www.vailcycleworks.com. I went to the shop and spent about 2
    hours and 15 minutes with the owner Jack Rossman. He spent some time finding out the type or riding
    i am interested in. He used the fit kit to get the approximate size and set it up on the Serotta
    sizing Jig. We then tweaked the measurements for quite some time. He let me sit on the jig as long
    as i felt i needed to sit and pedal. I am 6 feet and 5 inches 230 pounds. He recommmended that i get
    a steel frame or titanium. He suggested that i avoid aluminum due to my size and weight. I have a
    ton of numbers to compare to off the shelf bikes if i decide not to get a custom frame.

    I think i am going to purchase a custom frame from vail cycle works, as I am really pushing the
    limits of where the off the shelf bikes will fit.

    This will be my first road bike (mountain biking until now). I thought maybe this could be my last
    frame if i did a good job of puchasing the bike.

    I am looking for advice or comments on what people think of this potential purchase.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Brink
     
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  2. Waxxer

    Waxxer Guest

    I am not familiar with the shop. However if it is reputable go with it. One thing that you did not
    mention is who is going to build the frame. Is it Merlin, Seven, Serotta, Steelman, Independent Fab
    or some other builder?

    People will argue all day about the materials in question. Hopefully you will have the opportunity
    to test ride a close fitting demo bike in the suggested materials. Also price around and benchmark
    the total cost against other custom bike builders. Check out www.speedgoat.com for groupo prices and
    potential frame prices.

    Good luck!

    "Brink" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I was just sized for a custom bike from www.vailcycleworks.com. I went to the shop and spent
    > about 2 hours and 15 minutes with the owner Jack Rossman. He spent some time finding out the type
    > or riding i am interested in. He used the fit kit to get the approximate size and set it up on
    > the Serotta sizing Jig. We then tweaked the measurements for quite some time. He let me sit on
    > the jig as long as i felt i needed to sit and pedal. I am 6 feet and 5 inches 230 pounds. He
    > recommmended that i get a steel frame or titanium. He suggested that i avoid aluminum due to my
    > size and weight. I have a ton of numbers to compare to off the shelf bikes if i decide not to get
    > a custom frame.
    >
    > I think i am going to purchase a custom frame from vail cycle works, as I am really pushing the
    > limits of where the off the shelf bikes will fit.
    >
    > This will be my first road bike (mountain biking until now). I thought maybe this could be my last
    > frame if i did a good job of puchasing the bike.
    >
    > I am looking for advice or comments on what people think of this potential purchase.
    >
    > Thanks for the advice.
    >
    > Brink
     
  3. Harris

    Harris Guest

    Brink <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I was just sized for a custom bike from www.vailcycleworks.com. I went to the shop and spent
    > about 2 hours and 15 minutes with the owner Jack Rossman. He spent some time finding out the type
    > or riding i am interested in. He used the fit kit to get the approximate size and set it up on
    > the Serotta sizing Jig. We then tweaked the measurements for quite some time. He let me sit on
    > the jig as long as i felt i needed to sit and pedal. I am 6 feet and 5 inches 230 pounds. He
    > recommmended that i get a steel frame or titanium. He suggested that i avoid aluminum due to my
    > size and weight. I have a ton of numbers to compare to off the shelf bikes if i decide not to get
    > a custom frame.

    > I think i am going to purchase a custom frame from vail cycle works, as I am really pushing the
    > limits of where the off the shelf bikes will fit.

    > This will be my first road bike (mountain biking until now). I thought maybe this could be my last
    > frame if i did a good job of puchasing the bike.

    > I am looking for advice or comments on what people think of this potential purchase.

    As was recently mentioned in another thread, it can be risky to spend a lot on a first road bike. It
    will probably take a year or more of riding before you identify your preferences. Initially, you
    might prefer a more comfort oriented position (bars within a inch of the saddle height and a
    shortish reach). But that might change with experience.

    Your interests might change over time (racing, touring, solo rides, fast club rides) and that will
    affect your ideal bike. So there is something to be said for getting an inexpensive or used bike to
    ride for a year or two so you can try different things and determine exactly what you REALLY want.

    If you do opt for an expensive bike, try not to lock yourself into anything extreme. In particular,
    look for things like clearance for wider tires, type of headset (try to avoid "integrated"), and
    reliable wheeels.

    Good luck

    Art Harris
     
  4. Things looked good until I got to this part-

    > He suggested that i avoid aluminum due to my size and weight.

    Aluminum, because the material is so light, can very easily be fabricated into an
    outrageously-strong and yet still reasonably-light frame in a large frame size. Using larger tube
    diameters helps to combat the flex that you'd normally find in a tall frame, but if you use steel or
    titanium in a large diameter, and make it thick enough to resist beer-canning, it's going to be
    pretty hefty. Aluminum, on the other hand, can still have a reasonable wall thickness in a large
    diameter, and remain fairly light.

    I'd imagine the reason they don't like aluminum is that there are very few builders who do custom
    aluminum frames, probably because creating a perfect post-heat-treatment frame usually involves some
    trial & error, resulting in scrapped frames, until you figure out exactly how the process is going
    to affect a given geometry and tube choice.

    But please, be a bit wary of anyone who says that aluminum can't build a great frame for bigger
    guys. If it were an issue, then ask the shop why so many great tandems are made of aluminum (and yet
    don't fail).

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Brink" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I was just sized for a custom bike from www.vailcycleworks.com. I went to the shop and spent
    > about 2 hours and 15 minutes with the owner Jack Rossman. He spent some time finding out the type
    > or riding i am interested in. He used the fit kit to get the approximate size and set it up on
    > the Serotta sizing Jig. We then tweaked the measurements for quite some time. He let me sit on
    > the jig as long as i felt i needed to sit and pedal. I am 6 feet and 5 inches 230 pounds. He
    > recommmended that i get a steel frame or titanium. He suggested that i avoid aluminum due to my
    > size and weight. I have a ton of numbers to compare to off the shelf bikes if i decide not to get
    > a custom frame.
    >
    > I think i am going to purchase a custom frame from vail cycle works, as I am really pushing the
    > limits of where the off the shelf bikes will fit.
    >
    > This will be my first road bike (mountain biking until now). I thought maybe this could be my last
    > frame if i did a good job of puchasing the bike.
    >
    > I am looking for advice or comments on what people think of this potential purchase.
    >
    > Thanks for the advice.
    >
    > Brink
     
  5. dennisg

    dennisg New Member

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    Probably the reason the store steered you away from aluminum is, coincidentally, they don't work with it. Still, I think it's the wrong material for you. In order to get the tubes beefy enough for your size, you're going to wind up with an incredibly stiff and uncomfortable ride. If you can afford it, I'd go with Ti. They can do wonders with that stuff, as you know from the other thread.
     
  6. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "dennisg" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Probably the reason the store steered you away from aluminum is, coincidentally, they don't work
    > with it. Still, I think it's the wrong material for you. In order to get the tubes beefy enough
    > for your size, you're going to wind up with an incredibly stiff and uncomfortable ride. If you can
    > afford it, I'd go with Ti. They can do wonders with that stuff, as you know from the other thread.

    Don't listen to this rhetoric. We have discussed frame materials ad nausem around here. The
    compliance within the softer parts of your bike (tires, seat, handlebar wrap) are orders of
    magnitude greater than the "compliance" of a frame, no matter what the material. Vertical
    compliance, the only measure of the frame that would make a difference to your arse, for any frame
    material, is essentially zero.

    Go with Ti if you want Ti. Go with aluminum if you want aluminum. Go with steel if you want steel.
    There are advantages and disadvantages to each. "Comfort" isn't one of them.

    -Buck
     
  7. dennisg

    dennisg New Member

    Joined:
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    0
    I think he's probably aware that he's allowed to buy the frame material of his choosing. What he's telling you is that he doesn't know enough about the materials to choose wisely. Yes, any frame material can be made to be comfortable, given the right set of circumstances. But this guy is a clydesdale. Odds are pretty good that, if he wanted aluminum, the tubes would be fairly beefy. You gonna tell me that this is going to result in a ride that's big on comfort? If so, I've got a Klein Quantum to sell you.
     
  8. > Odds are pretty good that, if he wanted aluminum, the tubes would be fairly beefy. You gonna tell
    > me that this is going to result in a ride that's big on comfort? If so, I've got a Klein Quantum
    > to sell you.

    Not quite. Flexibility in a frame is going to increase significantly with size. A very large
    aluminum frame will probably be perceived as considerably more comfortable than a smaller one, even
    if the very large frame is built a bit more stoutly. However, odds are that the larger frame will
    probably share similar tube diameters with a smaller one.

    I would suggest that, in general, aluminum really comes into its own in the larger sizes since, for
    really big guys, frame flex is going to be a significant issue... something that will cause
    noticeable problems with chain rubbing on the front derailleur, for example.

    Furthermore, in the real world, we see substantially more failures in larger-sized steel frames
    than we do in smaller ones. We do not see this trend in standard production (not scandium)
    aluminum frames.

    And finally, as has been pointed out endlessly here, you've going to probably have a greater effect
    on ride comfort by moving up to the next wider tire than going to a less-stiff frame.

    No, not quite done yet. Need to point out that some of the most comfortable and yet still
    fun-to-ride frames I've ridden have been aluminum frames with relatively long wheelbases. Add really
    long chainstays to a steel frame and they feel a bit squishy. Comfy but squishy. You stand on them
    going up hill and things are definitely moving around. But one of the older Klein Performance models
    was still very comfortable but yet solid feeling. Overall I don't think we pay enough attention to
    wheelbase as a factor that contributes to comfort (or lack of).

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "dennisg" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I think he's probably aware that he's allowed to buy the frame material of his choosing. What he's
    > telling you is that he doesn't know enough about the materials to choose wisely. Yes, any frame
    > material can be made to be comfortable, given the right set of circumstances. But this guy is a
    > clydesdale. Odds are pretty good that, if he wanted aluminum, the tubes would be fairly beefy. You
    > gonna tell me that this is going to result in a ride that's big on comfort? If so, I've got a
    > Klein Quantum to sell you.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > >--------------------------<
    > Posted via cyclingforums.com http://www.cyclingforums.com
     
  9. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" wrote:

    > Need to point out that some of the most comfortable and yet still fun-to-ride frames I've ridden
    > have been aluminum frames
    with
    > relatively long wheelbases. Add really long chainstays to a steel frame
    and
    > they feel a bit squishy. Comfy but squishy. You stand on them going up hill and things are
    > definitely moving around. But one of the older Klein Performance models was still very comfortable
    > but yet solid feeling. Overall I don't think we pay enough attention to wheelbase as a factor
    that
    > contributes to comfort (or lack of).

    I tend to agree with this. But are there any long wheelbase OS aluminum frames being made
    these days?

    Art Harris
     
  10. On Sat, 05 Apr 2003 00:04:17 -0500, Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    > No, not quite done yet. Need to point out that some of the most comfortable and yet still
    > fun-to-ride frames I've ridden have been aluminum frames with relatively long wheelbases. Add
    > really long chainstays to a steel frame and they feel a bit squishy. Comfy but squishy. You stand
    > on them going up hill and things are definitely moving around.

    Not necessarily true. You can't dispute that the chainstays on a Rivendell Rambouillet are long, yet
    that frame is absolutely rock solid out of the saddle -- and extremely comfortable, too. No
    "squishiness" at all.
     
  11. > Not necessarily true. You can't dispute that the chainstays on a Rivendell Rambouillet are long,
    > yet that frame is absolutely rock solid out of the saddle -- and extremely comfortable, too. No
    > "squishiness" at all.

    You've ridden one in a 64cm size (remember that the original poster is very tall)? The issue with
    steel (or any other frame material where the diameter used is on the smaller side) in larger sizes
    is a simple engineering one. As the frame gets larger, the structure becomes increasingly flexible,
    and the only efficient way to reduce flex (for a given design/wheelbase) is to change diameters.
    Increasing wall thicknesses has a much smaller effect on reducing flex in a tube.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  12. > I tend to agree with this. But are there any long wheelbase OS aluminum frames being made
    > these days?

    Unfortunately, it's a rare bird. The person who appreciates what a longer wheelbase can do also
    tends to be something of a retro-type and can't get past their biases against aluminum
    (aluminum=stiff). TREK tried with the 540, an aluminum version of their 520. Sales were pathetic
    compared to the 520, which was really too bad. The 540 was quite versatile in that you could switch
    the stock touring wheels to something much lighter and faster (narrower tires) and it really felt
    great.... like something that wouldn't hold you back on a timed hillclimb. Most touring bikes don't
    feel like they've got a lot of get-up-and-go when you're out of the saddle, but the 540 demonstrated
    that it wasn't just the geometry that caused that.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  13. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:8kZja.298$Y%[email protected]...
    > > I tend to agree with this. But are there any long wheelbase OS aluminum frames being made
    > > these days?
    >
    > Unfortunately, it's a rare bird. The person who appreciates what a longer wheelbase can do also
    > tends to be something of a retro-type and can't get past their biases against aluminum
    > (aluminum=stiff). TREK tried with the 540, an aluminum version of their 520. Sales were pathetic
    > compared to the 520, which was really too bad. The 540 was quite versatile in that you could
    > switch the stock touring wheels to something much lighter and faster (narrower tires) and it
    > really felt great.... like something that wouldn't hold you back on a timed hillclimb. Most
    > touring bikes don't feel like they've got a lot of get-up-and-go when you're out of the saddle,
    > but the 540 demonstrated that it wasn't just the geometry that caused that.

    Cannondale makes an aluminum touring frame. As Mike describes, I have 2 sets of wheels, one for
    distance riding and one for fast club rides. I use everything from 23 mm slicks to 35 mm, deep
    treaded, studded, snow/ice tires. Several regular posters on this NG have this frame, including
    Bluto, who, like me, is 6'10", although somewhat massier than my svelte 230 lb. Nice frames can be
    made from a variety of materials, but fat tubed aluminum seems particularly well suited to tall
    frames, as does the touring geometry with its longer wheelbase. Cannondale frame technology is
    really impressive, and quite a good value. Plus, according to Fab, is stylish, at least in the
    racing configurations, I'm sure he'd frown on a touring geometry in the peloton though.
     
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