Custom steel frames – who and why?
I will admit to being a bit of a serial frame swapper.
I have lost track of the number of frames I have had over the last 10 years 😳
There have been elements of each I have liked but, in my mind, have had too many compromises for them to be perfect fit and ride wise.
Having a longer torso than leg (but still a 34” leg) I’ve found frames either cramped (too short in the TT) or long enough in the TT but the stand over too high for my liking.
Sooooo …. I’m contemplating going custom 😀
I did think of doing this a few years ago but convinced myself that the cost outweighed the compromises .
Now I feel that done right I could end up with a perfect frame and reduce the number of “other”* bikes.
I’ve had a chat with Curtis who were great to deal with and I plan a visit down to them.
I’ve spoken to 18bikes albeit some time back.
I’m looking for:
Steel but not 953!
Thoughts/Pictures of work done/suggestions all welcome.
*this is just a pipedream!Posted 4 years agooxym0r0nSubscriber
Curtis – not much 29er geo experience ime but a good bet if you know what you wantPosted 4 years ago
Matt @18 seems pretty sorted and would be on my list but don’t seem as bling if that’s what you want
Last time I saw Robin Mather’s work at the hand made bike show he was veering towards “city” bikes
Black cat are lovely (waiting list)
Also check out “Ari” on Facebook -he’s on my shortlist if I ever go custom 😀RaouliganMember
IF are just right always, I’d happily just replace everything I have with an IF.
44 bikes look really nice too, there’s some serious thought goes into each frame.
Tom Donhou produces gorgeousness as well
Depends what you want really and how much you’re prepared to pay for quality there’s a huge difference in what you’ll get from different builders.
Conversely I’d avoid Mercian like the plague though worst custom frame I’ve ever had in terms of frame fitting components and finishing, very very poor indeed really trading off of a reputation these days…Posted 4 years ago
For the money I paid for a Mercian I’d kind of expect my fork crown to be fully painted no matter how difficult it is and my seat tube reaming…davidtaylforthMember
The OP asked about custom builds. You bought 2nd hand so were you exactly the same size as the guy you bought it from?
That was lucky.
What an odd comment. You wouldn’t buy an incorrectly sized bike if it was new, off the shelf, bespoke, second hand, third hand etc.Posted 4 years agoJonEdwardsMember
Saffron (JoB has a lovely 29er)
English (not UK based though)
I’d consider Donhou & Feather, but I’m not sure how good they are on the mtb side of things. (roadies are lovely though) Likewise I’m not sure Rourke “get” mountain bikes either.
My thing is that there are plenty of people who can glue tubes together in a sound and artistically pleasing way, but I’d want somebody to do the design work who actually understands the particular variant of the sport of riding bikes I do (it’s why I like Cotic so much – Cy enjoys the same kind of stuff I do, and our styles are very similar). On a custom basis, that would propably put me straight into 18’s hands…Posted 4 years ago
There’s no right, wrong or best builder for a custom imo, it’s too personal. I would buy from someone with good experience over many years who can make what you want and also give good guidance on fit, handling etc if you need it. If you know what you want the builder may be less critical, just comes down to style, location etc. If you want a lot more guidance on geometry, ride feel etc that may guide the decision more.Posted 4 years ago
Your first custom may not be spot on – if not your second will be (from experience)
@ SS_Shep – Is your 18bikes a 29er?
No, I had pub bike made.
Matt was excellent, talked through what I wanted then over a few conversations and emails we got it finalised.
I was a pain in the a£$e customer, wanting a couple of alterations along the way. Some could be worked in some couldn’t. Overall it was great. I wanted a simple bike to ride to the pub, down a few bridleways with nice parts.
I’d recommend looking through the flickr’s etc of a few frame builders. make a list of the nice features you’ve seen on other bikes, A rough geometry ideals. Then speak to a few builders and see what they can do. Just because you haven’t seen a framebuilder doing what you want doesn’t generally mean they can’t do it, more like their customers haven’t asked for it.
Its a great process I’ll be getting a new mtb frame in the next few years and will be going down the handmade route for sure.
Posted 4 years ago
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