Novice With a Bunch of Questions About Custom Frames

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Doublej, Jun 8, 2003.

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  1. Doublej

    Doublej Guest

    How much extra can one expect to pay for a bicycle with a custom frame vs. a mass manufactured one?

    What are the advantages of a custom frame? Greater comfort? Faster speed? How much on each?

    For someone who just wants a decent all purpose bike* am I better off taking my measurements and
    then and looking for a close fit in a mass manufactured bike that feels good or will a custom frame
    make a significant difference?

    *All purpose to me means faster than a mountain bike, greater comfort and fatter tires than a road
    bike (I feel safer with fatter tires), a frame that can handle jumping a curb when necessary and
    must be able to handle fenders and a rack. Doe this mean I want a touring or cyclocross bike or
    would a hybrid fit this description as well?

    Are there tiers of custom builders or are they approximately the same price for the same materials?
    Do I really need something other than steel?

    I am curious, are all of the custom frame builders in the US or are there companies that build
    custom frames with near shore (Mexico) or off shore labor (Taiwan, China)?

    Thanks for the infromation.
     
    Tags:


  2. Andresmuro

    Andresmuro Guest

    Some answers:

    >How much extra can one expect to pay for a bicycle with a custom frame vs. a mass manufactured one?

    It could cost you more than a low end frame, and less than a high end production frame.

    You can find custom frames starting at $900 and going up to $9000. On average, people will pay
    between 1 and 2 grand.

    >What are the advantages of a custom frame? Greater comfort? Faster speed? How much on each?

    The most significant advantage is that it will be designed for your body and for your specific
    intended use, ie: racing road, criteriums, time trials, touring, etc. It will be more comfortable
    than a frame that does not fit you properly, but if a stock frame fits you well, there may not be a
    great performance advantage. If you have a particular anatomical problem, poor flexibility, short
    femurs, proportionally longer than average torso, legs, arms, a custom frame will address that.
    Also, if you have an aesthetic desire for some color or design, this can be offered by a custom
    builder. finally, if you want a bike that is very unique you may need to go custom.

    >For someone who just wants a decent all purpose bike* am I better off taking my measurements and
    >then and looking for a close fit in a mass manufactured bike that feels good or will a custom frame
    >make a significant difference?

    custom frames are a sophistication for people who need something special. If you had been riding for
    a long time and notice that the stock frame doesn't suit your purposes, then go custom. Otherwise,
    get a stock frame. If you are just getting into cycling, find a reputable bike shop and have them
    put you on a well fitted stock bike.

    >*All purpose to me means faster than a mountain bike, greater comfort and fatter tires than a road
    >bike (I feel safer with fatter tires), a frame that can handle jumping a curb when necessary and
    >must be able to handle fenders and a rack. Doe this mean I want a touring or cyclocross bike or
    >would a hybrid fit this description as well?

    You seem to be describing something like a bruce gordon bike, or a rivendell. Type these names on
    your browser and I am sure you'll find their websites. The Rivendell people are extremely nice and
    helpfull. Bruce Gordon is suppossed to be a grouch.
    >
    >Are there tiers of custom builders or are they approximately the same price for the same materials?
    >Do I really need something other than steel?
    >
    >I am curious, are all of the custom frame builders in the US or are there companies that build
    >custom frames with near shore (Mexico) or off shore labor (Taiwan, China)?

    There are custom frame builders everywhere, ie Mexico, colombia, Argentina, Europe, Taiwan,
    china, etc.

    >Thanks for the infromation.

    My advise is to start stock and ride a stock bike for a while designed for what you want. If you
    really like it but find that you need some special things, then go custom.

    Andres
     
  3. Jim

    Jim Guest

    Get a custom ! Only today, two years on from having had one built I'm still really pleased I did,
    fits like a glove which makes riding more pleasurable, efficient etc. etc.

    "Doublej" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > How much extra can one expect to pay for a bicycle with a custom frame vs.
    a
    > mass manufactured one?
    >
    > What are the advantages of a custom frame? Greater comfort? Faster speed? How much on each?
    >
    > For someone who just wants a decent all purpose bike* am I better off
    taking
    > my measurements and then and looking for a close fit in a mass
    manufactured
    > bike that feels good or will a custom frame make a significant difference?
    >
    > *All purpose to me means faster than a mountain bike, greater comfort and fatter tires than a road
    > bike (I feel safer with fatter tires), a frame
    that
    > can handle jumping a curb when necessary and must be able to handle
    fenders
    > and a rack. Doe this mean I want a touring or cyclocross bike or would a hybrid fit this
    > description as well?
    >
    > Are there tiers of custom builders or are they approximately the same
    price
    > for the same materials? Do I really need something other than steel?
    >
    > I am curious, are all of the custom frame builders in the US or are there companies that build
    > custom frames with near shore (Mexico) or off shore labor (Taiwan, China)?
    >
    > Thanks for the infromation.
     
  4. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "Doublej" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    I see AndresMuro answered most of your questions. The main thing I will add is that for the type of
    bike you say you want, I would look seriously at getting something like a Rivendell Romulus or
    Atlantis, or maybe a Heron Touring. A bit less pricey than a full custom, but great steel frames
    with wide tire clearance and a 'relaxed' fit. The only reason to go custom is to get something that
    really fits you both in size and style, but there is a premium (and I am paying it for a new bike
    right now ... but it is not for everyone).

    - rick
     
  5. Eric Murray

    Eric Murray Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Doublej <[email protected]> wrote:
    >How much extra can one expect to pay for a bicycle with a custom frame vs. a mass manufactured one?
    >
    >What are the advantages of a custom frame? Greater comfort? Faster speed?

    Unless you are of unusual build or requirements, you will pay a lot more for a bike that fits a
    little better. That would give a small amount more comfort and speed.

    Factory bikes 1) come in sizes and 2) are adjustable (seat, stem) so they can be selected to fit
    most normal sized people.

    >How much on each?

    Very little.

    >For someone who just wants a decent all purpose bike* am I better off taking my measurements and
    >then and looking for a close fit in a mass manufactured bike that feels good or will a custom frame
    >make a significant difference?

    You are best off going to a decent shop and having them help you find a bike that fits your body and
    your needs. Knowing how to find a bike that fits by yourself takes a bit of experience.

    >*All purpose to me means faster than a mountain bike, greater comfort and fatter tires than a road
    >bike (I feel safer with fatter tires), a frame that can handle jumping a curb when necessary and
    >must be able to handle fenders and a rack. Doe this mean I want a touring or cyclocross bike or
    >would a hybrid fit this description as well?

    The main difference between those is the flat bar on a hybrid. I prefer a real road bar for road
    riding... it has more positions I can move my hands to. Which means I can use different muscles or
    stretch out a bit during a ride. A few hours of keeping my hands in exactly the same place makes my
    shoulders hurt.

    Curb jumping is more of a technique than a requirement for a bicycle. I have seen heavier riders
    than myself jump curbs on light racing bicycles without damage.

    >Are there tiers of custom builders

    Yes.

    > Do I really need something other than steel?

    No. But these days welded aluminum frames are becoming the standard, and there is nothing wrong with
    them either.

    >I am curious, are all of the custom frame builders in the US or are there companies that build
    >custom frames with near shore (Mexico) or off shore labor (Taiwan, China)?

    There are some that do that, but most work on more of an artisan/craftsman level.

    Eric
     
  6. > What are the advantages of a custom frame? Greater comfort? Faster speed? How much on each?

    All or *none* of the above. I have seen custom frames that neither fit the person as well as they
    should have, nor were they really appropriate for their intended use. The "magic" is determined
    entirely by the skill (and willingness!) of the fitter to figure out how best to serve the needs of
    the cyclist, and that means a lot more than just plugging numbers into a formula, and it also means
    recognizing that not everybody rides the same way or has the same dreams about what they want to do
    with a bike.

    So, somebody could pay a whole lot more for a "custom" bike and be worse off than if they'd
    purchased on off-the-rack bike from a shop that understood their needs better and made sure things
    fit properly. And vice versa, of course.

    > For someone who just wants a decent all purpose bike* am I better off
    taking
    > my measurements and then and looking for a close fit in a mass
    manufactured
    > bike that feels good or will a custom frame make a significant difference?

    Your measurements are a starting point, not a determination of fit. Measurements don't take into
    account differences in flexibility, for example, or style of riding. Raw measurements per se are as
    likely to get you an ill-fitting bike as one that fits just right. A slight exaggeration, since
    you'll at least be in the ballpark, but not of an improvement over checking standover height and
    putting your elbow on the saddle nose and seeing how far past the fork your fingers extend.

    > *All purpose to me means faster than a mountain bike, greater comfort and fatter tires than a road
    > bike (I feel safer with fatter tires), a frame
    that
    > can handle jumping a curb when necessary and must be able to handle
    fenders
    > and a rack. Doe this mean I want a touring or cyclocross bike or would a hybrid fit this
    > description as well?

    Frames generally handle curbs, it's the wheels & forks that don't. Sounds like you know enough to
    be dangerous and I agree that a touring or cyclocross bike would make sense. I wouldn't get too
    hung up on feeling "safer" with fatter tires however; I think most stability/safety feelings come
    from riding bikes that aren't properly set up for the rider. Once you get to a 28c tire, I don't
    think a wider tire really buys that much in terms of stability or safety, unless you're talking
    about carrying very heavy loads or really bad pavement. But the curb-jumping thing bothers me.
    Why most you jump curbs? I ride many many thousands of miles and haven't found much need to do
    so. If you want to abuse a bike repeatedly in that fashion, then an all-out mountain bike might
    make more sense.

    > Are there tiers of custom builders or are they approximately the same
    price
    > for the same materials? Do I really need something other than steel?

    Most custom builders use steel, simply because it's the easiest material to use in a small-scale
    environment. The types of aluminum useful for bicycles invariably requires heat-treatment, which is
    a difficult process mastered best on a very large scale. Carbon fiber requires materials
    understanding that is also best left to people who work with it in a big way (who can design, build
    & test the results, rather than have the customer be the beta-tester for an unproven design).
    Titanium can be custom-built but only by someone with equipment and expertise that goes far beyond
    that required for steel, so custom titanium is generally left to companies that make large numbers
    of production ti bikes as well.

    Once you leave the realm of the small custom builder, you have a myriad of choices to choose from.

    As for pricing, custom builders are all over the map. There are frame builders in the SF area that
    charge anywhere from $700 to $2000 for a custom steel frame.

    > I am curious, are all of the custom frame builders in the US or are there companies that build
    > custom frames with near shore (Mexico) or off shore labor (Taiwan, China)?

    Communication between the customer and the person designing the custom frame is the key to success,
    which makes it difficult to do custom work that's not local. There are people like Mark at Habanero
    who has his ti bikes made in China and will do custom work as required, but the advantage there is
    that Mark isn't actually the builder, but rather an interface with the builder, an interface that is
    more likely to understand your needs than the factory itself.

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

    x Guest

    RE/
    >What are the advantages of a custom frame?

    In my own experience, one of the advangages is that it's made to fit your body.

    OTOH, one of the disadvantages is that it's made to fit your body.

    The problem is that if you're body is one of those statistical outliers, you'll be getting what a
    particular frame maker thinks is the right solution for you. No trials, no testing different frames,
    no prototypes - just one shot at the truth.

    If it's wrong, guess what? Yup, it's wrong....and it can't be changed.

    I'm sniffing around for my second custom frame right now - hoping to get luckier than on the first.
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  8. Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    >>can handle jumping a curb when necessary and must be able to handle
    >
    > loads or really bad pavement. But the curb-jumping thing bothers me. Why most you jump curbs? I
    > ride many many thousands of miles and haven't found much need to do so.

    Maybe 'cause it's fun? :)

    > If you want to abuse a bike repeatedly in that fashion, then an all-out mountain bike might make
    > more sense.

    "abuse"? Jeez, you're so judgemental. :)

    Duke
     
  9. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "Duke Robillard" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    > >>can handle jumping a curb when necessary and must be able to handle
    > >
    > > loads or really bad pavement. But the curb-jumping thing bothers
    me. Why
    > > most you jump curbs? I ride many many thousands of miles and
    haven't found
    > > much need to do so.
    >
    >
    > Maybe 'cause it's fun? :)
    >
    >
    > > If you want to abuse a bike repeatedly in that fashion, then an all-out mountain bike might make
    > > more sense.
    >
    >
    > "abuse"? Jeez, you're so judgemental. :)

    THE Duke Robillard (Room Full of Blues, etc., etc.)? Or is this just a nom de Usenet? --
    Jay Beattie.
     
  10. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "Doublej" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    OK, now for round 2.

    Materials: you have a couple of suggestions for Aluminum, and one for carbon. There are advantages
    and disadvantages to all materials, but from what you state as your preferences and style I would
    recommend sticking with steel. There are tangible and intangible reasons I dislike aluminum; the
    intangible is I have never met an aluminum bike whose ride I like - and I have ridden a lot, and
    for a lot of distance (I rode an Al bike across Italy last fall, for example). The tangible, and
    this gets to your style of riding, is that Aluminum frames are not repairable for all practical
    purposes. If you crimp a tube, buy a new frame, and it is not hard to crimp a tube. With steel, it
    is fairly easy for a framebuilder to cut out a crimped tube and weld in a replacement. I was at a
    frame shop yesterday and the builder was replacing the seat tube on a 10+ year old Bridgestone XO-1
    (real collectors item) that had broken. Carbon is amazingly strong (been through two bad collisions
    on my carbon frame, no frame/fork damage), but if it fails then most frames will need replacement
    (some are built so that single tubes can be cut out and new ones bonded in place, though). Since
    you are talking of jumping curbs, I would guess you have likelihood of dinging the frame, hence I
    would recommend against things that do not repair well. The other aspect is, other than MTB frames
    there are no carbon frames and only a couple of Al frames that I know of with the type of tire
    clearance you want.

    Advantages of custom: Fit is the primary reason. If you cannot find something at an LBS that fits
    your need, then you have two options. Find a standard frame that can be custom ordered, and have
    someone order it for you. This is a risk - you are semi-committed to the purchase, and depending on
    the shop you will likely have to forfeit some money even if the frame does not work for you after it
    arrives. There is a similar risk in a custom frame, but you have access to the builder and he/she
    should want to satisfy you since you are not only a customer, you are part of their marketing dept.
    (most framebuilders depend to a large extent on word of mouth advertising).

    There are some esthetic reasons to go custom. You can choose and determine the look of your bike.
    You like chrome stays, you can have chrome stays (for a cost); chrome stays are rare on
    off-the-shelf bikes. You want a specific color or color schema, its yours. I had a palette of almost
    1000 colors to choose from with my custom bike, and I could have multiple colors, fades,
    pinstriping, etc. Some off the shelf bikes to my eye are butt-ugly. The 2003 LeMond steel frames
    fall in this category; the frames themselves are great, but whoever designed the paint scheme should
    be sent to Greenland for 5 years! The earlier LeMond paint schemes were fine, but the 2003 is
    terrible. (they have a customization program, but it is pricey and the selection is limited).

    Again, given your stated preferences and style of riding implied with the curb jumping requirement,
    I think you should look at things like the Heron Touring or the Rivendell's.

    - rick warner (putting on the asbestos suit as all the Al fans get ready to flame)
     
  11. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > RE/
    > >What are the advantages of a custom frame?
    >
    > In my own experience, one of the advangages is that it's made to fit your body.
    >
    > OTOH, one of the disadvantages is that it's made to fit your body.
    >
    > The problem is that if you're body is one of those statistical outliers, you'll be getting what a
    > particular frame maker thinks is the right solution for you. No trials, no testing different
    > frames, no prototypes - just one shot at the truth.
    >
    > If it's wrong, guess what? Yup, it's wrong....and it can't be changed.
    >
    > I'm sniffing around for my second custom frame right now - hoping to get luckier than on
    > the first.
    > -----------------------

    Pete,

    Just out of curiousity, what was wrong with the first frame? You can leave out the name of the
    builder, or if you prefer to name names ...

    - rick warner
     
  12. Scoochiro

    Scoochiro Guest

    "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > RE/
    > >What are the advantages of a custom frame?
    >
    > In my own experience, one of the advangages is that it's made to fit your body.
    >
    > OTOH, one of the disadvantages is that it's made to fit your body.
    >
    > The problem is that if you're body is one of those statistical outliers, you'll be getting what a
    > particular frame maker thinks is the right solution for you. No trials, no testing different
    > frames, no prototypes - just one shot at the truth.
    >
    > If it's wrong, guess what? Yup, it's wrong....and it can't be changed.

    After over 15 years of riding regularly, and after having worked my way through fit issues on the
    4-5 bikes I rode during that period of time, I felt like I could converse tolerably well with a
    framebuilder on what kinds of fit issues I wanted to address in my custom frame.

    And everything has worked out great. But, knowing what I know now, there's no way I would have been
    reasonably able to get the "perfect" frame even as recently as 3-4 years ago. I just didn't know
    enough about what worked for me, how things interrelate, what kinds of fit issues could be fixed
    with a new stem and what kinds couldn't, etc.

    I would be very careful in making the decision that a factory bike won't work for you.

    Ken Harper
     
  13. Jay Beattie wrote:
    > "Duke Robillard" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > THE Duke Robillard (Room Full of Blues, etc., etc.)? Or is this just a nom de Usenet? -- Jay
    > Beattie.

    No, sorry, not that one.

    http://www.io.com/~duke/ImNotDuke.htm

    Duke "count the 'dukes' in this post" Robillard
     
  14. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > RE/
    > >steel
    >
    > Strawman from a dilletante:
    >
    > For somebody who is not a hardcore road rider (i.e. doesn't have to pull his weight in a pace
    > line) what's the downside of using a steel MTB frame and setting it up as desired for the road?
    > (as opposed to a dedicated road frame)
    >
    > Seems like a simple tire swap and maybe a handlebar swap could expand the usability of such a
    > frame dramatically

    Should work fine. But the original poster did not provide any indication that he had a mountain
    bike, much less a steel one. All he said was that he wanted an all around bike and that he wanted it
    to be faster than an MTB (which of course is a gearing and rolling resistance issue, not a frame
    issue ...).

    - rick warner
     
  15. "Doublej" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > How much extra can one expect to pay for a bicycle with a custom frame vs. a mass
    > manufactured one?
    >

    Bernie Mikkelsen in Alameda, CA built my frame for $700. It took him all of one week, from
    measurement to delivery. Other builders I talked to were going to take months. I told him what I
    wanted the frame to do and he built it appropriately. Rack mounts, long chainstays, relatively stout
    tubing, room for fat tires, etc. Kind of like the do it all frame you've described.

    Looking back, I probably could have gone with the Soma Smoothie ES or the Gunnar Road Sport, but
    neither were available yet. Also, now that they are available, they don't come in orange... I
    *really* wanted an orange frame.

    Enjoy the search for the right frame. When you find it, riding will be even more fun than before!

    Mark
     
  16. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > But a few minor dings in most aluminum frames aren't going to kill them.

    Define minor? Depends on severity and location.

    > With that in mind, I'd say that most aluminum cyclocross bikes are made to take one heck of a
    > beating and keep on going.

    Most of the 'cross bikes I see around are steel. Trek has an the Al XO-1, but have not seen one on
    the trail - just in your shop :) Gunnar's, Surly's, Ritchey's, Somas, etc. that I see around here
    are good ol' steel.

    > If you were doing an unsupported tour in Bolivia, sure, you could have somebody weld the pieces of
    > a broken steel frame back together, maybe some place that does auto body repair, and stay on the
    > road. But that applies to a really small subset of those buying bikes in the US, and even those
    > planning to ride in Bolivia aren't all that likely to have to worry about their frame breaking.

    Now we get to the crux of my response. The deal is, if someone is touring in Bolivia they SHOULD be
    worried about field repairability. That should be one of the contingencies covered in planning. I
    have worked in parts of South America and have been in places where broken transportation could mean
    abandoning your wheels and grabbing the nearest form of alternative transport, or sitting in one
    place for weeks or months. That is the reason that not only is my touring bike steel but so are the
    racks. Even though an event is unlikely does not mean it does not happen, and in some cases the
    consequences of not planning for those exigencies can be dire and/or expensive. Plan, and overplan
    in these cases.

    - rick warner
     
  17. In article <[email protected]>, Rick Warner
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >"Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> But a few minor dings in most aluminum frames aren't going to kill them.
    >
    >Define minor? Depends on severity and location.
    >
    >> With that in mind, I'd say that most aluminum cyclocross bikes are made to take one heck of a
    >> beating and keep on going.
    >
    >Most of the 'cross bikes I see around are steel. Trek has an the Al XO-1, but have not seen one on
    >the trail - just in your shop :) Gunnar's, Surly's, Ritchey's, Somas, etc. that I see around here
    >are good ol' steel.

    Never seen a Redline? There are a few out there. They aren't light either.
     
  18. > Most of the 'cross bikes I see around are steel. Trek has an the Al XO-1, but have not seen one on
    > the trail - just in your shop :) Gunnar's,
    Surly's,
    > Ritchey's, Somas, etc. that I see around here are good ol' steel.

    That's due to fashion, not function. The 'cross market is most definitely on the retro side
    of things!

    > > But a few minor dings in most aluminum frames aren't going to kill them.
    >
    > Define minor? Depends on severity and location.

    Absolutely no different for a steel frame (and trust me, steel frames can most definitely be done
    in; our customers bring us the proof!). If you build either one at the light end of what's possible,
    you're going to have trouble if you don't take care of it and keep it from being bashed around. I've
    actually seen a steel frame that was essentially destroyed because it fell against a rock just
    exactly the wrong way, crumpling the top tube. No rider on it, it just fell over. Obviously, the
    builder had figured that the top tube does little more than hold things in place, so he used
    something with outrageously-thin walls. In normal use, it most likely wouldn't fail, but the world
    is full of situations which go beyond normal use.

    The point is that it's all in how the material is used. Since aluminum is so light, you can more
    easily over-design it compared to a steel frame of the same weight. To get the same durability in
    steel, the weight needs to be greater. At the far extreme would be the Schwinn Varisty, which I
    guess you could use to prove the point that the strongest-possible frame would be made of steel
    (16-gauge gas pipe tubing, actually).

    > > If you were doing an unsupported tour in Bolivia, sure, you could have somebody weld the pieces
    > > of a broken steel frame back together, maybe
    some
    > > place that does auto body repair, and stay on the road. But that
    applies to
    > > a really small subset of those buying bikes in the US, and even those planning to ride in
    > > Bolivia aren't all that likely to have to worry
    about
    > > their frame breaking.
    >
    > Now we get to the crux of my response. The deal is, if someone is touring
    in
    > Bolivia they SHOULD be worried about field repairability. That should be one of the contingencies
    > covered in planning. I have worked in parts of
    South
    > America and have been in places where broken transportation could mean abandoning your wheels and
    > grabbing the nearest form of alternative
    transport,
    > or sitting in one place for weeks or months. That is the reason that not
    only
    > is my touring bike steel but so are the racks. Even though an event is unlikely does not mean it
    > does not happen, and in some cases the
    consequences
    > of not planning for those exigencies can be dire and/or expensive. Plan, and overplan in
    > these cases.

    A reasonable person has to make a reasonable choice based upon their own concerns. But the example
    of touring in Bolivia affects such a small number of people buying bikes that such factors really
    shouldn't enter into the considerations most people include when comparing bikes. If I were cycling
    in Bolivia, I'd personally be more concerned about wheels than my frame. Specifically, if I had to
    buy a replacement wheel, could I find one in the correct axle width? If I had a cassette or
    freewheel fail, would I be carrying a spare? Wheel issues are far more likely to be the cause of a
    touring disaster than a busted frame.

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

    "Rick Warner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote
    in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > But a few minor dings in most aluminum frames aren't going to kill them.
    >
    > Define minor? Depends on severity and location.
    >
    > > With that in mind, I'd say that most aluminum cyclocross bikes are made
    to
    > > take one heck of a beating and keep on going.
    >
    > Most of the 'cross bikes I see around are steel. Trek has an the Al XO-1, but have not seen one on
    > the trail - just in your shop :) Gunnar's,
    Surly's,
    > Ritchey's, Somas, etc. that I see around here are good ol' steel.
    >
    > > If you were doing an unsupported tour in Bolivia, sure, you could have somebody weld the pieces
    > > of a broken steel frame back together, maybe
    some
    > > place that does auto body repair, and stay on the road. But that
    applies to
    > > a really small subset of those buying bikes in the US, and even those planning to ride in
    > > Bolivia aren't all that likely to have to worry
    about
    > > their frame breaking.
    >
    > Now we get to the crux of my response. The deal is, if someone is touring
    in
    > Bolivia they SHOULD be worried about field repairability. That should be one of the contingencies
    > covered in planning. I have worked in parts of
    South
    > America and have been in places where broken transportation could mean abandoning your wheels and
    > grabbing the nearest form of alternative
    transport,
    > or sitting in one place for weeks or months. That is the reason that not
    only
    > is my touring bike steel but so are the racks. Even though an event is unlikely does not mean it
    > does not happen, and in some cases the
    consequences
    > of not planning for those exigencies can be dire and/or expensive. Plan, and overplan in
    > these cases.
    >
    > - rick warner
     
  19. Doublej

    Doublej Guest

    I do have a steel mountian bike, a Bridgestone MB5. When I ride on pavement I keep the tires at the
    top of the recomended PSI.

    One of my concerns is that if I put slicks on I won't get good enough traction when it's wet out. Or
    is there a different type of tire that I should be looking at.

    What type of handlebar would you swap it with?

    At this point the gearing is fine but with better tires I could see it requiring an adjustment.

    "Rick Warner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > RE/
    > > >steel
    > >
    > > Strawman from a dilletante:
    > >
    > > For somebody who is not a hardcore road rider (i.e. doesn't have to pull
    his
    > > weight in a pace line) what's the downside of using a steel MTB frame
    and
    > > setting it up as desired for the road? (as opposed to a dedicated road
    frame)
    > >
    > > Seems like a simple tire swap and maybe a handlebar swap could expand
    the
    > > usability of such a frame dramatically
    >
    > Should work fine. But the original poster did not provide any indication that he had a mountain
    > bike, much less a steel one. All he said was that he wanted an all around bike and that he wanted
    > it to be faster than an MTB (which of course is a gearing and rolling resistance issue, not a
    frame
    > issue ...).
    >
    > - rick warner
     
  20. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >One of my concerns is that if I put slicks on I won't get good enough traction when it's wet out.

    According to *my* read of Sheldon's web page, slicks offer the best wet traction. The rational seems
    to be that the speed and shape of a bicycle tire make tread patterns (to avoid hydroplaning) moot.

    Somebody correct me if I've got it wrong...
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
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