value of a custom frame

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Zix, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Zix

    Zix Guest

    Hi folks,

    There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    where they make custom frames for people
    based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.

    I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    it might be nice to support a craftsman.

    My question for you all is, what do you feel
    (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    were a very large number I would just do that
    and start planning to make my own frame.

    Thanks.
     
    Tags:


  2. bfd

    bfd Guest

    Man, you don't identify the builder or the type of material used,
    whether there will be lugs involved, etc. However, any "appropriate
    surcharge" will depend on more than just what you describe.

    Yes, you can take a "$300 welding course" and do it yourself. Figure
    $200-500 for material. However, framebuilding is alot more than just
    taking a course and buying materials. IF not, why do people like
    Richard Sachs get to charge $3,000 for a frameset (that's *only* frame
    and fork) AND have a 4+ year wait list; or Rivendell (Curt Goodrich is
    the builder) charges $2500 and has a 2+ year wait list.

    There are ALOT of excellent framebuilders in the US (guys like Bruce
    Gordon, Albert Eisentraut, Steve Rex and many, many others). You should
    check out their work and see whether you can duplicate it. If so, then
    maybe you ought to start building!
     
  3. Dane Buson

    Dane Buson Guest

    In rec.bicycles.misc Zix <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.


    If you have average proportions and do not have some special purpose
    that needs extra brazeons (touring for example), then you might not
    get much out of a custom frame. I have long legs and a short torso,
    but I manage to be comfortable just with a shorter stem and extra
    seatpost showing. And honestly before I'd go with a custom frame
    (for myself), I should probably look at WSD (women specific design)
    frames as they are proportioned with that ratio in mind.

    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.


    Well, getting a custom frame is no guarantee that it will fit you
    better than a stock bike that has the right size stem/saddle/seapost
    for you. It *could*, but then again, you might end up hosed. And
    $1500-4000 poorer for a frame that's harder to sell than a stock
    size.

    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.


    It will be highly dependent on the builder you go to and how far outside
    the norm you want to go. Most custom frames are steel, though there are
    certainly titanium frames available for reasonable amounts. I'm not
    aware of any aluminum or carbon custom frame builders.

    --
    Dane Buson - [email protected]
    "To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter
    more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is
    then going alphabetically by national order." -In a Belgrade Hotel Elevator
     
  4. Zix wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    >
    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    >
    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.
    >
    > Thanks.


    Many small factory builders such as Serotta, Waterford, Co-Motion,
    Bilenky, and others I can't recall charge $300-500 to go custom on one
    of their stock frames. I think Waterford now just includes the custom
    option as part of the regular price on its higher lines. Seven, and
    other small factory builders I can't recall have stock frames and
    custom all at the same price, no extra charge. Its just part of the
    price whether you use it or not. I think Litespeed offers custom for
    an upcharge similar to what I quoted. Moots offers custom for an
    upcharge similar to what I quoted. One man shops of course make
    everything custom for the sort of same charge. Some one man shops will
    have various upcharges for which tubing you choose and which
    construction method you choose (lugged, fillet, TIG).

    As for whether you need a custom frame, that depends on lots of things.
    If you are not oddly shaped, then you will fit on a normal non custom
    frame from several of the many bike makers. Non custom frames come in
    a fairly wide variety of sizes in the same nominal size. A 58cm
    Colnago, Gios, Waterford, Trek, etc. can all be made to fit the same
    person. But a person will not fit all of them with the same ease. If
    your idea of custom is to stick with the normal angles, lenths, etc.
    and customize it by adding braze-ons, colors, fancy lugs, other non
    crucial things, then you need custom. Personally I think you really
    need to know what size frame you need before going custom so you get
    the right size. This means you need to ride a bike lots to know what
    makes you comfortable. Sort of a Catch-22, you need a bike first,
    before you can get a custom bike.

    As for building your own frame. Do it if you want the pleasure,
    fulfillment of making your own bike. Don't think you will save money.
    Not if you consider your time worth something. If saving money is your
    goal, you will fail. Best to pay a builder for a bike and spend your
    time riding the bike. You have to decide if you want to ride or
    weld/braze. Kind of like a cowboy learning leather craft to make his
    own saddle and boots. They are not really related to riding a horse.
     
  5. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Zix" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop, where they make
    > custom frames for people based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.


    Note that the person who told you this is an "obsessive" rider and may
    not be all that good a judge. Obsessive people tend to let their
    beliefs trump reality.

    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned per se, but I
    > do somewhat feel that if I'm going to invest in a good bike, costing
    > over US$1000, I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and whatever I buy will
    > most likely fit me like a glove for life. Plus, if there is someone
    > who can do it well, it might be nice to support a craftsman.


    I like all of those reasons.

    > My question for you all is, what do you feel (or know) would be an
    > appropriate surcharge for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take a welding course
    > ($300 perhaps), so if the answer were a very large number I would
    > just do that and start planning to make my own frame.


    This of course varies from builder to builder, and also in accordance
    with the aesthetic aspect. For a fully lugged, custom steel frame with
    hand filed lugs and all the braze-ons and custom paint, then it's
    typical to spend $2,000 to $4,000 for the frame and fork. For a frame
    that it TIG welded quite a bit less (maybe $1,000 to $1,500?) because
    there's a lot less time put into it. Titanium is more variable in terms
    of cost.

    Local frame building guru Chris Kvale spends 35-40 hours constructing a
    frame and fork. Lugged, beautifully filed and gorgeously painted.
    They'll cost you over $2,000. When Mark Zeh was TIG-welding frames
    around here, he charged a little more than half of what Chris did. His
    bikes also had a great reputation.

    Building your own frame can be a great experience. I built one a year
    ago and hvve really enjoyed it. The end result was pretty good- not as
    good as my best bikes in terms of handling but better than most I have
    ridden.
     
  6. In article
    <[email protected]>,
    "Zix" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    >
    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    >
    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.


    Your stated goal: a bicycle that fits you. A frame maker
    who knows his business will shape the frame in ways you
    are unaware of. You cannot do this now. Get the money;
    talk to frame builders; buy where you and the maker can
    talk. But if you cannot put aside thoughts of money while
    you are talking about the frame, you will not get the best
    fit. There are guys who built first rate frames, and are
    not stars; where you can get a frame built in sooner than
    four years.

    I bought a fine off-the-rack Columbus steel tube frame for
    a good price. Talking one day to a frame maker he said
    that given my 70 kg he would have use the more tapered
    Reynolds 531 fork blades.

    --
    Michael Press
     
  7. > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.


    The "obsessed" person is the exact person a "custom" frame is most likely to
    help, because most obsessions are part of a personal belief system that's
    outside the norm. The vast majority of people will fit a stock frameset just
    fine; the reasons for choosing custom may be rationalized as having
    something to do with fit, but in reality are more grounded in the idea that
    someone values something that's unique and their's alone. Nothing wrong with
    that; people pay good money for exclusivity in many things.

    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.


    Ah, but it may *not* fit like a glove for life. People change. What you
    prefer today may be different than what works for you five years down the
    road. Some people do manage to feel comfortable on a bike set up the exact
    same way at 50 they had when 16 (I'm actually one of those), but my
    experience is that that's somewhat unusual. Treating bike fit as if it's
    this static thing that you can nail perfectly is, in my opinion, an
    unrealistic concept (but very oversold). Once you begin tweaking the fit,
    where did the advantages to that "custom" geometry go?

    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.


    Building your own frame can be an interesting experience; I once built both
    a frame and fork. Nearly burned down the tool shed doing it. The frame rode
    fine, but I never did try using the fork; just didn't trust my life to
    something that I'd never done before. Doesn't matter anymore, as these days
    forks are rarely built individually anyway, so you could build just the
    frame without having to rationalize that you hadn't really completed the
    task by not building a fork as well.

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
     
  8. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    > Ah, but it may *not* fit like a glove for life. People change. What you
    > prefer today may be different than what works for you five years down the
    > road. Some people do manage to feel comfortable on a bike set up the exact
    > same way at 50 they had when 16 (I'm actually one of those), but my
    > experience is that that's somewhat unusual. Treating bike fit as if it's
    > this static thing that you can nail perfectly is, in my opinion, an
    > unrealistic concept (but very oversold). Once you begin tweaking the fit,
    > where did the advantages to that "custom" geometry go?


    A buddy of mine ordered a full custom Spectrum titanium, which is not
    cheap. Of course, he was personally fit by Tom Kellogg, and the
    geometry ended up pretty standard, so he couldn't understand why he had
    neck and shoulder pain the very next season. He eventually corrected
    the problem with a new threadless stem, but he had to reverse it (a
    20° increase in rise) as well as alter the length in order to get
    comfortable. Kind of makes me wonder what the point of the custom
    fitting was.
     
  9. Quite frankly, a hand-tailored bicycle at $1500 - $2500 is a better
    deal than most hand-tailored suits, which won't last half as long !!

    I think that the main reason to get a custom bicycle is that you can
    get something of much higher quality and durability. Your desire
    might be aesthetic, e.g. if you have an eye for artistry, or a sense
    of mojo developed in your brain by marketing when you were very young.

    A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the recent trend towards
    fast-food / mcdonalds bicycle frames (e.g. eat them up, then pitch
    them out, gotta get a new one every 5-10 years, we are under the spell
    of the greedy marketeers from bicycle companies! ! !)

    I found that in the early 1990's the big corporations decided that
    america no longer cared about high-quality $100-$200 radios, and
    suddenly the USA got only low-cost 3rd-world $10-$30 products from
    malaysia and singapore. I never stopped buying quality radios, but
    the USA got much poorer around me. If I could I'd order an all-steel
    and glass radio made in Japan in the $150-$300 range, i would. I'm
    not talking boombox, i'm talking about just a 2-band or 3-band high
    quality radio.

    IMHO the same thing has happened with bicycles. The bike companies
    have managed to change the perceptions of customers to make more
    profits for themselves. My values are not TREK's values, any more,
    hence, I am a fish out of water.

    - Don Gillies
    San Diego, CA
     
  10. > Quite frankly, a hand-tailored bicycle at $1500 - $2500 is a better
    > deal than most hand-tailored suits, which won't last half as long !!


    Better value than a suit, probably. But frankly, I had no idea a suit cost
    anywhere *near* that much. Ouch! Fortunately I only need them for the
    occasional wedding or funeral (and as you get older, unfortunately it's the
    latter that's more common).

    > I think that the main reason to get a custom bicycle is that you can
    > get something of much higher quality and durability. Your desire
    > might be aesthetic, e.g. if you have an eye for artistry, or a sense
    > of mojo developed in your brain by marketing when you were very young.
    >
    > A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the recent trend towards
    > fast-food / mcdonalds bicycle frames (e.g. eat them up, then pitch
    > them out, gotta get a new one every 5-10 years, we are under the spell
    > of the greedy marketeers from bicycle companies! ! !)


    I'm not sure why you feel this is the case. Yes, you can get something new
    every few years if you wish, but that's a choice, not a requirement. Road
    bikes have the advantage of being relatively-durable goods, vs mountain
    bikes, where it's obsolete when it first hits the trail because it doesn't
    have the latest fork or rear suspension.

    Besides, for many people, 5-10 years represents 50-100k miles. That's not an
    unreasonable lifespan for a frame; high-quality steel frames of the past
    (the ones everyone looks to and says "Why don't they build them like that
    anymore?") would often fail prior to 50k miles, typically either at the
    right rear dropout (broken) or on the seat tube, opposite the chainrings,
    between the bottom bracket and the front derailleur clamp (where you'd get a
    tear in the metal). Some would last much longer, some would die more
    quickly. But by the time you got that many miles on it, you could make a
    case that it had a reasonable life.

    Custom frames are no less susceptible to such failures as production bikes;
    we see the same sort of thing from time to time. You *could* make a frame
    that would be virtually bomb-proof and last for 500,000 miles, but you'd
    give up ride quality and add weight to do so.

    This is a long way of getting to my main point- the modern carbon frames
    that have come out of Waterloo (Trek) have proven to be as durable as
    anything I've seen elsewhere. Yes, something happens now and then, as it
    does in the real world, but we've got a number of them out there with a
    whole lot of miles piled up on them, still going strong. What, exactly, is
    it supposed to do beyond that?
    >
    > I found that in the early 1990's the big corporations decided that
    > america no longer cared about high-quality $100-$200 radios, and
    > suddenly the USA got only low-cost 3rd-world $10-$30 products from
    > malaysia and singapore. I never stopped buying quality radios, but
    > the USA got much poorer around me. If I could I'd order an all-steel
    > and glass radio made in Japan in the $150-$300 range, i would. I'm
    > not talking boombox, i'm talking about just a 2-band or 3-band high
    > quality radio.


    You're preaching to the choir here. There are many things I'd willingly pay
    more money for if they were built better *and* repairable. I used to work
    for Heathkit Electronics in a prior life. You actually paid *more* to build
    many (most?) of the items we sold than what it would cost already assembled
    from other manufacturers... but the stuff was both bomb-proof and easy to
    repair.

    > IMHO the same thing has happened with bicycles. The bike companies
    > have managed to change the perceptions of customers to make more
    > profits for themselves. My values are not TREK's values, any more,
    > hence, I am a fish out of water.


    And that's where we're in disagreement, if I understand you correctly. Trek
    is still building bikes that are, to some people's way of thinking,
    excessively durable (meaning that they could be made lighter) and also
    repairable. They could make them less-expensively if they used techniques
    that would require you toss a carbon frame if there was a problem, but they
    don't. It's expected to be durable and last a great many years.

    Further, Trek doesn't come out with radically different models every single
    year, or even every other year. The product cycle is generally about 6
    years, sometimes much more, for a given frame platform. Contrast that to
    what others do, where it's not about function but rather style, and they
    come out with something that's new & better & cooler every year (sometimes
    every other year) and say the old one was obsolete, time to move on. Trek is
    much more a product company than a marketing company, for good and bad.

    But Trek is also a forward-moving company, so if you find yourself
    comfortable with bikes that represented a certain time and technology, then
    yes, times have changed, Trek has moved on. But for me, I can go back to my
    first OCLV carbon road bike, a 1992 5200, and fast-forward to my 2006 Madone
    SSL... and it's basically an evolution, not a revolution. More of the same,
    only better.

    Of course, I own a bike shop, so I must get a new bike every year? The
    reality is that I go about 5 years between bikes. From a practical
    standpoint, I should probably update more often (might help me sell more
    bikes), but dang, why? I find something I really like, why should I change
    until there's a real need to? Plus, I probably sell more, not fewer bikes,
    because I can point to their long-term durability and the fact that it's an
    investment where you don't have to worry that next year you'll wish you'd
    waited for the new models.

    That's just my take on things, and obviously it benefits me to suggest that
    Trek has done an exceptional job and has all the answers. The truth? I've
    worked with them for 20 years, known many of the same people there for that
    long (they keep employees for a very long time), and have been impressed
    with how they stand behind their product, and what goes into the design and
    implementation. When they screw up, they don't run away from it, they fix
    it. It's easy (and profitable, for me) to work with a company like that.
    There may be other similar companies out there, but my guess is that there
    aren't enough of them. Most are more interested in contracting overseas for
    the cheapest vendor for a given spec, and I'm not just talking bicycles. The
    WalMart mentality has taken hold in a big way.

    > - Don Gillies


    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
     
  11. Per Zix:
    >I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    >per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    >invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    >I might as well pay something extra for the custom job


    I've been through three custom frames.

    The first was a dead loss because I tried to tell the frame builder what to do
    and mis-communicated it.

    The second is rideable, but no prize - also because I tried to tell the frame
    builder too much.

    The third was the charm. Basically the frame builder told me to buzz off when I
    tried to offer my helpful expertise. I got all in a snit, but when the main
    guy charmed me with "Trust us, we've done this before...." I went ahead.

    Turned out they saved me from myself and this bike fits my statistical outlier
    of a bod better than anything I've ever ridden. In fact, if it disappeared
    tonite, I'd be on the phone tomorrow asking them to build *exactly* the same
    thing.

    Here's the zinger: I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I got a custom
    frame that did the trick or that I gave myself over to the builder's
    measuring/fitting process and the builder put together something whose
    dimensions are just about the same as an off-the-shelf frame.

    I lean strongly towards the second explanation except for the steering tube
    length - which is longer on my frame than on any pre-built frame.

    If that's correct, you might be better served by spending some money on a
    professional fit session and then making an educated frame selection from what's
    available off-the-shelf.
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  12. Donald Gillies wrote:
    > Quite frankly, a hand-tailored bicycle at $1500 - $2500 is a better
    > deal than most hand-tailored suits, which won't last half as long !!
    >
    > I think that the main reason to get a custom bicycle is that you can
    > get something of much higher quality and durability.


    Higher quality? Maybe. Maybe not. Waterford and Serotta are two
    small factory bike makers. They also offer custom. Custom meaning
    tweaks to their standard bikes. I own a Waterford and think its a very
    high quality. Others own Serotta and might say the same of that brand.
    Does a custom frame from a one man shop mean higher quality than
    Waterford and Serotta? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes mass production
    has its benefits because the builders learn to do something well and do
    it over and over, practice makes perfect.

    Higher durability? Maybe. Maybe not. Waterford and Serotta use/used
    Reynolds tubing and nice quality lugs. And silver solder. Same or
    similar to one man custom shops. I don't think Reynolds makes extra
    high quality tubing for anyone. Or low quality tubing for anyone.
    Reynolds does make different thicknesses and butt lengths on its tubing
    for various higher volume buyers like Waterford and Serotta, etc. Not
    one man shops who build 50 frames a year. Not sure custom drawn tubing
    translates into higher durability or anything else.





    Your desire
    > might be aesthetic, e.g. if you have an eye for artistry, or a sense
    > of mojo developed in your brain by marketing when you were very young.
    >
    > A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the recent trend towards
    > fast-food / mcdonalds bicycle frames (e.g. eat them up, then pitch
    > them out, gotta get a new one every 5-10 years, we are under the spell
    > of the greedy marketeers from bicycle companies! ! !)
    >
    > I found that in the early 1990's the big corporations decided that
    > america no longer cared about high-quality $100-$200 radios, and
    > suddenly the USA got only low-cost 3rd-world $10-$30 products from
    > malaysia and singapore. I never stopped buying quality radios, but
    > the USA got much poorer around me. If I could I'd order an all-steel
    > and glass radio made in Japan in the $150-$300 range, i would. I'm
    > not talking boombox, i'm talking about just a 2-band or 3-band high
    > quality radio.
    >
    > IMHO the same thing has happened with bicycles. The bike companies
    > have managed to change the perceptions of customers to make more
    > profits for themselves. My values are not TREK's values, any more,
    > hence, I am a fish out of water.
    >
    > - Don Gillies
    > San Diego, CA
     
  13. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Zix wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    >
    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    >
    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.
    >
    > Thanks.


    Appropriate surcharge-
    Most builders' surcharges for a custom frame seem to fall in the $300 -
    $500 range. If you're looking to spend in the neighborhood of $1000 on
    a complete bike, that's not going to leave you much in the budget for
    the little extras (like wheels, drivetrain, headset, handlebars, etc...
    <g>) you'll want.
    Feasibility of welding your own frame-
    If you are an absolute neophyte to welding you probably don't have any
    welding equipment. Tack the cost of a welding rig onto the cost of the
    welding course and you will have already spent more than the surcharge
    but maybe you're planning to weld the frame as part of the course work.
    If you are and the school allows students to pick their own unique
    projects, you wouldn't *need* to buy the equipment but why learn to
    weld unless you plan on acquiring the tools to do so? It sounds to me
    like you're just looking for an excuse to learn to weld and to buy a
    welding setup. There's nothing wrong with that- there's no such thing
    as too many tools, just too small a workshop- but I'd look for another
    excuse.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
  14. On 20 Mar 2006 15:16:20 -0800, [email protected] (Donald Gillies)
    wrote:

    >Quite frankly, a hand-tailored bicycle at $1500 - $2500 is a better
    >deal than most hand-tailored suits, which won't last half as long !!
    >
    >I think that the main reason to get a custom bicycle is that you can
    >get something of much higher quality and durability.


    Higher quality than what? I had a custom frame once and it was fine.
    I've got a stock steel LeMond and stock OCLV Trek and they are also
    fine. Those stock frames work perfectly well (better, in fact than my
    custom frame, which had some problems with the seattube sizing).

    For people of normal size and normal use, there are plenty of great
    stock bikes out there.

    >might be aesthetic, e.g. if you have an eye for artistry,

    If that excites someone, cool for them.

    >A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the recent trend towards
    >fast-food / mcdonalds bicycle frames (e.g. eat them up, then pitch
    >them out, gotta get a new one every 5-10 years, we are under the spell
    >of the greedy marketeers from bicycle companies! ! !)


    I think my LeMond will last nearly forever and the Trek probably too.

    > My values are not TREK's values, any more,
    >hence, I am a fish out of water.


    WTF? Treks are durable bikes.

    JT


    ****************************
    Remove "remove" to reply
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  15. Derk

    Derk Guest

    Zix wrote:

    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.

    I can give you one good reason to buy custom frames: when your body
    dimensions aren't average. I, for example, have relative short legs and a
    long upper body. a 57Cm C-C frame is high enough for me, but too short, and
    a 59 CM is long enough, but too high. a 58 CM is a compromise, but if the
    top tube has a big diameter, my knee keeps hitting the top tube. So a
    perfect frame for me is a frame with a 58Cm top tube, 57.5 Cm seat tube and
    a slightly sloping top tube, which I don't like esthetically.

    I had Merckx build me 2 custom frames and these fit. I don't need a 13 CM
    stem on those, but can do with 12cm, which makes the bike less nervous.

    Greets, Derk
     
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Guest

    "Zix" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    >
    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    >
    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.
    >
    > Thanks.


    You can get a custom Gunnar for $1025. If you want full Waterford level
    paint job, add $125 to that. Pretty good deal, for a custom frame made in
    the US.
     
  17. Gooserider wrote:
    > "Zix" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > Hi folks,
    > >
    > > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > > where they make custom frames for people
    > > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    > >
    > > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    > >
    > > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > > were a very large number I would just do that
    > > and start planning to make my own frame.
    > >
    > > Thanks.

    >
    > You can get a custom Gunnar for $1025. If you want full Waterford level
    > paint job, add $125 to that. Pretty good deal, for a custom frame made in
    > the US.


    Add Davidson. At least one very happy (with process and result) local
    owner, who FWIW is a semi-retired woman racer, and one of the best
    wheels around. "They gave me exactly what I asked for".

    Look at lots of builders, is the usual advice.

    A friend is happily riding his homebuilt road fixer, complete with
    spray can finish (pretty darn nice looking paint job) and homemade logo
    decal. Lotta satisfaction there, and no one else to blame if the
    geometry ain't quite right. Brazed joints. Main tubes coulda been
    welded, they're lugged/brazed.

    I have two CFSE bikes (both bought used, of course). The one that fits
    is ex-team issue I got pretty cheap because it apparently didn't fit
    anyone else in the parade of folks who came through that maker's little
    retail area. The one that just works, I got pretty cheap because the
    guy who ordered it decided he didn't like what he'd asked for.
    Mentioning: it's a track bike that I've ridden with complete abandon in
    match sprints, in spite of the fact that not enough seat post sticks up
    out of the frame when it's adjusted for my leg length (tsk tsk, the
    shame of it all!).

    The one that fits, a road frame, has a long top tube for the seat tube
    size (53.5 st, 59.5 tt). Comfortable over (relative) distance, it's a
    head-shaker if ridden no-hands. My old steel Tommasini, "square"
    dimensions, isn't as comfy to ride, but never has wobbled, and would
    work a whole lot better for racing crits if I wanted to take the chance
    of folding it up.

    "Still awake, Zix?" (All the help you can stand...) --D-y
     
  18. Zix wrote:
    > Hi folks,
    >
    > There's a local bike frame maker, a small shop,
    > where they make custom frames for people
    > based on body dimensions. I once was told by
    > an obsessive rider that doing this really does help.
    >
    > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > it might be nice to support a craftsman.
    >
    > My question for you all is, what do you feel
    > (or know) would be an appropriate surcharge
    > for such a thing. I ask this especially because
    > for years I've been trying to find the time to take
    > a welding course ($300 perhaps), so if the answer
    > were a very large number I would just do that
    > and start planning to make my own frame.
    >
    > Thanks.


    For Moots, $350, For Calfee-$500, for Parlee, $1200, for
    Waterford-$0.....
     
  19. Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    > > I don't think my body is especially oddly dimensioned
    > > per se, but I do somewhat feel that if I'm going to
    > > invest in a good bike, costing over US$1000,
    > > I might as well pay something extra for the custom job
    > > in part because I'm done growing (long ago) and
    > > whatever I buy will most likely fit me like a glove for life.
    > > Plus, if there is someone who can do it well,
    > > it might be nice to support a craftsman.

    >
    > Ah, but it may *not* fit like a glove for life. People change. What you
    > prefer today may be different than what works for you five years down the
    > road. Some people do manage to feel comfortable on a bike set up the exact
    > same way at 50 they had when 16 (I'm actually one of those), but my
    > experience is that that's somewhat unusual. Treating bike fit as if it's
    > this static thing that you can nail perfectly is, in my opinion, an
    > unrealistic concept (but very oversold). Once you begin tweaking the fit,
    > where did the advantages to that "custom" geometry go?


    I was perfectly happy with my bike when I got it in June.

    I sold it half price three months later and was perfectly happy with my
    bike when I got it in September.

    Then I changed the stem.

    Then I changed the handlebars.

    Then I changed the handlebars back.

    Then I changed the pedals.

    Now I'm thinking about lowering the handlebars, and maybe raising the
    seat a little.

    But I'm perfectly happy with my bike exactly the way it is.

    -M
     
  20. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > I was perfectly happy with my bike when I got it in June.
    >
    > I sold it half price three months later and was perfectly happy with
    > my bike when I got it in September.
    >
    > Then I changed the stem.
    >
    > Then I changed the handlebars.
    >
    > Then I changed the handlebars back.
    >
    > Then I changed the pedals.
    >
    > Now I'm thinking about lowering the handlebars, and maybe raising the
    > seat a little.
    >
    > But I'm perfectly happy with my bike exactly the way it is.


    My kind of cyclist! LOL

    Bill "inveterate tweaker" S.
     
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