Custom Frames

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  • Custom Frames
  • JB405

    I was just wondering if anybody here has had a frame custom built to their body’s dimensions and if so do you think that it makes a big difference to the ride / handling characteristics of the bike.

    Any pics / details would be interesting to see / hear about.

    I’ve been looking at Nicolai and Van Nicolas. Both seem to offer fantastic bikes but they aren’t British. Any suggestions for British frame builders with a good reputation?

    To give you some idea of what I’m after I’m looking for a Hardtail that will give a slightly supple but snappy ride. So I’m thinking Ti or Steel with a longish top tube, short chain stays, roomy cockpit. Mated with 130mm forks, 50mm stem.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    Find as many frame builders as you can.

    E mail/ talk to them all.
    Tell them what you want.
    See how long the waiting list is.
    Think about it for a long time.
    Then go with your gut feeling.

    This is then followed my thought of have i done the right thing.
    Have we got the design right.
    Why’s it taking so long to build.
    Why don’t they answer my calls/ e mails straight away.

    It’ll be worth it in the end though.

    Oh and get a Ti bike as you won’t have to spend ages thinking about what colour you want it. 😉


    All 853 custom built just for me, with the sizes that I required.

    22.75″ Top tube, 17.5″ C to C seat tube, 71deg Head angle, 73deg Seat angle.

    Ringle hubs/321 rims ( could do with being a bit lighter I know)

    Hope Mini Pro brakes with floating discs

    Rockshox Reba World cup with carbon crown

    Thomson X4 stem, Elite seatpost.

    FSA K series carbon bars, Chris King Headset, Lizard Skin grips and Fizik saddle

    This is one truly amazing bike to ride, I used to have a 725 Dekerf solitaire and thought that it was a bit slow in getting going.

    The Curtis is in a totally different league, the bike has real zip about it. When i’m going downhill it is amazingly well stable and planted

    it does not go off line.

    Well worth the money!!!

    And I have personalised dropouts.

    PS: Chain slack due to just been cleaned


    I’m currently saving for a Curtis frame, but as you say the options are endless, sounds like they could build what you are after. £849 for an 853 version, less for T45. Can’t comment yet as I’m 2 months away with the money yet but having never found an off the peg HT frame to fit just right I think it’s money well spent.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    Oh forgot to add.

    It’s great when they send you pics of your frame being built.


    Yummy, Eye candy!

    I’m looking at the Curtis website now, for some reason they had dropped off my radar. I always remember them as being quality bikes! Your bikes look sweet!

    I love the pics taken during the build process, the sweeping tubes on that frame of yours’ singlespeedstu look amazing. Do you have a pic of it finished & fully built up?

    This is one of the reasons why I want to go custom build. You get direct involvement and end up with something that suits your style and is individual.

    It sucks working this morning, I wish I was out riding! It’s a beautiful day here in Cheshire.


    Cheers, Looks very nice! Who was the frame builder?


    Stu got a special rate from his mate…

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    Black Sheep.


    You’ve buffed up a bit mate.
    Must be all the w4nking you do while looking through my bedroom window…..


    Just been on their website, I recognize them now! A very talented frame builder!

    Now all I’ve got to do is persuade the wife that I need another bike! 😯


    JB405 I though you were looking for a british frame builder?

    “I’ve been looking at Nicolai and Van Nicolas. Both seem to offer fantastic bikes but they aren’t British. Any suggestions for British frame builders with a good reputation?”

    Premier Icon Clink

    van Nicholas do custom through LeisureLakes – worth having a chat to Terry.

    Premier Icon edd

    I’m an odd shape, long torso short legs, so after many years of saving I finally bought a custom Independent Fabrication. It has a 15″ seat-tube and a 23.6″ effective top tube. I had short chainstays and 70deg head angle with a 100mm fork or 69 deg head angle with a 120mm fork.

    The only thing that I’m a little disappointed with is the (relative) lack of tyre clearance. I asked for as much as possible. This photo shows a 2.35″ Kenda Blue Groove on a Mavic XC717 disc rim, not much space for mud!


    20 years ago I had a custom made Roberts White Spider frame made. It was a huge improvement over the Rockhopper frame it replaced, and the bike always seemed to be mind controlled, it just went where you wanted to go without ever feeling you had to do anything. However 20 years on and I think mass produced frames have improved greatly. If I put My Pace rigid forks on my 853 Thorn then it rides just as well. The best thing about a custom frame is that it is unique. You can spec every detail and know that you have something that no one else has. I think the performance improvements are negligible but the feeling of having something that is bespoke is great. If I had the money then it’s something I’d want to do again.


    Yes and no.
    If you want something special get a custom.
    If you are a strange shape then yes.
    If your so Niche it hurts then yes.

    The vast majority of people will fit on standard frames that already come in a large variety of shapes and sizes.


    Like AVDAVE2 I had a custom Fuquay built up 16/17 yrs ago, I wanted a Serrota Tmax but was £1200 for frame and Rockshox and had a few non uk friendly features.

    Greg built me exactly what I wanted in Columbus Max OR with Pace RC 35s for about £800 and it was awesome…still enjoy riding it now on fast singletrack can’t see me ever selling it…in fact toying with idea of speccing it back to how it was as got some old skool bits…XT thumbies, Nuke-proof screw on rear hub, Grafton cranks in the loft

    Just the fact that it’s your bike and nobody else will have one exactly the same is the nice part!


    Candodavid – Yeah, I always prefer to buy British! But at the same time you have to keep an open mind and I do genuinely respect the talent behind the foreign frame builders!

    Any suggestions are greatly received! If somebody is proud of their bike and wants to try and get other people to look at them then that’s fair enough in my book!

    Premier Icon edd

    How about the following?
    Argos Cycles
    Bob Jackson
    Dave Yates
    Lee Cooper (use to build Solitude Cycles frames for Alex)
    Robin Mather (he’s actually stopped taking orders for a while)

    Plenty more out there…

    iv always been tempted, but enough searching will find just about any geometry you could want, case in point, my bike has nearly idenctical geometry to Candodavid’s (72deg seat angle), but was off the peg.

    Think i’d probably get the course off Dave Yates, doesnt work out that much more expensive than a custom frame (ok, its nealy double, but im kidding myself) ad buy some equipment.

    My dream bike, same geometry as it is curently, stronger TT/HT junction to allow 160mm forks but with a headtube sleve to alter the head angle (to allow longer/shorter forks say 160mm 130mm and 100mm settings for the peaks, trail centers and 4x respecitvely. Then an ammerican BB shell with custom machined cups to allow any BB position you fancy, low for trail centers, bit higher in the peaks, mid height and short chainstays for 4x.

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