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Meeting with a frame builder in a couple weeks

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Meeting with a frame builder in a couple weeks

Old 06-04-19, 06:11 PM
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StirFry
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Meeting with a frame builder in a couple weeks

I decided that I'm wanting a bike with a little more "personality" to it than a generic, off the rack bike. I'm currently riding a track frame that is a size or two too small for me. I was able to find a builder who is local and set a date with him for the 17th to get fitted and discuss this project. The frame will be a track-ish, single speed bike that will mainly be for 15 mile sprints and occasional 50+ mile, semi leisurely rides with friends. After reading reviews and feedback, I decided that I wanted to model it after All City's Big Block model as I'm familiar with the geometry, though it has no toe overlap unlike my current frame.

The guys I'm going with seem to be a somewhat new business. I've read that it's best to go with experienced frame builders, but they came in at an agreeable price point ($1800) and I like that they're local. Their website and ig page shows some nice repair craftsmanship to my eyes though not a lot of full on frame builds. I'm thinking that since this could be a somewhat new experience for all of us, I should come here and get a little ahead of the game with knowledge before proceeding with this build.

So far I've emailed him the geometry numbers I'm interested in, that I wanted it drilled for front and rear brakes, the type of lugwork I'm after and since I'm between All City's sizing, that I probably should have him fit me for it. We also have tentatively settled on going with Zona as the tubing.

Here's the geo I'm looking at, I seem to be right between 49 and 52 cm




Here's the builder
https://www.cbcycles.com/custom-frame-work/

and his instagram
https://www.instagram.com/c_b_cycles/
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Old 06-04-19, 06:43 PM
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Are you still in the looking mode? I could recommend my guy in Santa Cruz.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Are you still in the looking mode? I could recommend my guy in Santa Cruz.
Eh, I'm fairly set on these guys. What would be the benefits of going with a more experienced builder, including the most obvious? Assuming my guys are fairly competent, would there still be glaring differences between builds?
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Old 06-04-19, 07:21 PM
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I have no idea what the differences would be. I just clicked your link out of curiosity and saw it was in Oakland. Santa Cruz is "almost local."

In my case, the build far exceeded anything I could possibly have hoped for. I just passed the five year mark for getting mine, and can honestly say it was probably the best purchase I ever made (well maybe apart from various dogs over the years).

https://caletticycles.com/bikes/ if you want to have a look. The main disadvantage is the wait list. Since I was recovering from a broken ankle at the time, it wasn't as off-putting (and gave me a recovery goal).
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Old 06-07-19, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by StirFry View Post
Eh, I'm fairly set on these guys. What would be the benefits of going with a more experienced builder, including the most obvious? Assuming my guys are fairly competent, would there still be glaring differences between builds?
My uninformed hypothesis (and intuition) about more experienced builders:

1. Have solved the same problem more times
2. Have done enough builds to have a signature / trademark element
3. Has had enough experience to iterate on designs
4. Better at estimating lead time
5. Will have a point of view on their bikes
6. More comfortable pushing back and leading you through the process

To iterate this a little bit more. A newer builder will be more apt to see each bike as a new project to experiment and learn from. They will be more apt to try new things both because they are eager to please and want to stretch their building muscles. They don’t always know what they are good at yet so want to try more things as they hone into their niche. You’ll be a bit of a guinea pig in some ways.

While every custom is collaborative process, my assumption is with a newer builder you will be able to guide a bit more of the vision and process because it’ll be a bit of trial and error for both of you.

That being said, I went on a similar journey and ended up choosing a non local builder who had experience with close enough builds to my vision.

I chose a frame style, some notes on riding goals, and sample images that were a good style match. I didn’t have geometry input other than a few thoughts about handling. And notes on why bikes hadn’t fit me in the past.

I am ahead of you in the process. My bike should be done in about 3 weeks.

Good luck, have fun and make sure your custom bike has a serial number.

Last edited by jade408; 06-24-19 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 06-07-19, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
My uninformed hypothesis (and intuition) about more experienced builders:

1. Have solved the same problem more times
2. Have done enough builds to have a signature / trademark element
3. Has had enough experience to iterate on designs
4. Better at estimating lead time
5. Will have a point of view on their bikes
6. More comfortable pushing back and leading you through the process

To iterate this a little bit more. A newer builder will be more apt to see each bike as a new project to experiment and learn from. They will be more apt to try new things both because they are eager to please and want to stretch their building muscles. They donít always know what they are god at yet so want to try more things as they hone into their niche. Youíll be a bit of a guinea pig in some ways.

While every custom is collaborative process, my assumption is with a newer builder you will be able to guide a bit more of the vision and process because itíll be a bit of trial and error for both of you.

That being said, I went on a similar journey and ended up choosing a non local builder who had experience with close enough builds to my vision.

I chose a frame style, some notes on riding goals, and sample images that were a good style match. I didnít have geometry input other than a few thoughts about handling. And notes on why bikes hadnít fit me in the past.

I am ahead of you in the process. My bike should be done in about 3 weeks.

Good luck, have fun and make sure your custom bike has a serial number.
Awesome post. This puts me at ease a bit. He sounds excited about this as well, and since I'm mainly doing this more for personality rather than performance, this may just turn out alright lol
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Old 06-07-19, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by StirFry View Post
...I decided that I wanted to model it after All City's Big Block model as I'm familiar with the geometry, though it has no toe overlap unlike my current frame.
Aren't these two ideas contradictory? That you're familiar with the geometry but it's not the same as what you're currently riding?

The guys I'm going with seem to be a somewhat new business. I've read that it's best to go with experienced frame builders, but they came in at an agreeable price point ($1800) and I like that they're local. Their website and ig page shows some nice repair craftsmanship to my eyes though not a lot of full on frame builds. I'm thinking that since this could be a somewhat new experience for all of us, I should come here and get a little ahead of the game with knowledge before proceeding with this build.
I won't comment on their pricing -- that's their business. Local is good, though. But as a builder, if some one came to me and said "I want x geometry" without a lot of interview to support it, my first reaction would be "pass". I often find that few people really understand the impacts that small changes in the numbers can have on the feel of the ride. The language that one uses to describe aspects of how a bike handles can mean more than any set of numbers. When I interview a rider for a commission, I measure out their current bike along with that interview, and it informs the design. I'd be leery of any builder that would take a set of numbers and just build a duplicate.
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Old 06-07-19, 09:53 AM
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I'm always surprised there are so many builders I haven't heard of. The other issue with new builders is there is a lot of churn, people might not stick around, maybe not even until the end of your build. Of course, if anyone is going to make it, someone has to have faith. I still would pick someone that builds bikes like the one I want and has built bikes that excite me.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm always surprised there are so many builders I haven't heard of. The other issue with new builders is there is a lot of churn, people might not stick around, maybe not even until the end of your build. Of course, if anyone is going to make it, someone has to have faith. I still would pick someone that builds bikes like the one I want and has built bikes that excite me.
This. I have completed more then a couple of frames that someone else started and stopped/quit building. Andy
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Old 06-07-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
Aren't these two ideas contradictory? That you're familiar with the geometry but it's not the same as what you're currently riding?



I won't comment on their pricing -- that's their business. Local is good, though. But as a builder, if some one came to me and said "I want x geometry" without a lot of interview to support it, my first reaction would be "pass". I often find that few people really understand the impacts that small changes in the numbers can have on the feel of the ride. The language that one uses to describe aspects of how a bike handles can mean more than any set of numbers. When I interview a rider for a commission, I measure out their current bike along with that interview, and it informs the design. I'd be leery of any builder that would take a set of numbers and just build a duplicate.
I think a custom frame is as much a technical challenge as an art project. Depending on the sort of person you are, it can be hard to not control the process and all the details. And you may not like the uncertainty. And I think that is how someone goes into it spec-ing out all of the geometry details from endless internet research, analyzing geometry charts and so on.

It's a big project and there is a lot of sorcery and magic for it all coming together - and you really have no idea what you will get so you come into it with whatever you need to feel some control on the whole thing.

One of the big lessons that comes with it is learning to trust the process, and you hope the builder has fully ingested your vision.
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Old 06-07-19, 12:23 PM
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I get that, and even after I go through a fitting, interview, and all that with the customer, I don't cut tubes until the geometry is pinned down with the customer's approval. I might use geometry that a customer brings in, but not without the interview to back it up, and making sure it agrees with my philosophy and interpretation.
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Old 06-07-19, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
Aren't these two ideas contradictory? That you're familiar with the geometry but it's not the same as what you're currently riding?



I won't comment on their pricing -- that's their business. Local is good, though. But as a builder, if some one came to me and said "I want x geometry" without a lot of interview to support it, my first reaction would be "pass". I often find that few people really understand the impacts that small changes in the numbers can have on the feel of the ride. The language that one uses to describe aspects of how a bike handles can mean more than any set of numbers. When I interview a rider for a commission, I measure out their current bike along with that interview, and it informs the design. I'd be leery of any builder that would take a set of numbers and just build a duplicate.

I'll be meeting with him in person in a couple weeks to really iron out the geo. What I mean by familiar with its geometry is that my current bike has trackish geo, but this one has it without the expense of toe overlap. Seeing as though he's advertising himself as a builder moreso than a fitter, I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a geo ready to go if he didn't feel as confident in his abilities to do so. I probably wouldn't had done this if they seemed a bit more seasoned. If it ends up totally different than the specs i initially gave him, but still gives me what i want, then more power to the both of us. I did provide my intentions, that I'm going to be interviewed by them, and the fact that they appear to be a new company in the OP.

Last edited by StirFry; 06-07-19 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 06-07-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
I get that, and even after I go through a fitting, interview, and all that with the customer, I don't cut tubes until the geometry is pinned down with the customer's approval. I might use geometry that a customer brings in, but not without the interview to back it up, and making sure it agrees with my philosophy and interpretation.
It totally makes sense - and I do not disagree. I think there are probably a lot more armchair frame builder customers now with the internet.

But for many people who are always leading in the rest of their lives, it is hard to relinquish that in this sort of project and trust the expert (your frame builder!).
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Old 06-08-19, 02:52 PM
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I'm just going to leave this right here...

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Old 06-20-19, 09:38 PM
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Met with the builder monday. He just sent me this pdf of his mock up per our discussion. The tubeset he's going to try and source is called Pegorichie or Columbus "Spirit for Lugs". Does anyone have any info on it? I found this during a brief google search a second ago

Richard Sachs: "We needed to develop a tubeset for lugs."

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Old 06-21-19, 12:53 PM
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392mm chainstay length seems short to me & that 5mm clearance to the seat tube is going to make fenders or ever going larger tires difficult. For comparison, even my wifes size 53 Cervelo has around 400-410ish stays.

I dunno if it matters to you but THERMLX tubing is manufactured in Ohio, USA by Vari-Wall. I can't say I've heard of the tubing your builder wants, but then again, my experience is limited.

Now would be a good time to ask about braze-on's, couplers (if you ever travel),
derailleur hanger (in the event you ever change your mind)
water bottle bosses,
rack & fender options,
etc...Don't limit your thinking to just how you intend to use this bike this summer. How might you use it 5 years from now?

In any case, what ever you think you might need/want/agree to, component selection or otherwise, get it in writing.

It's hard to go back once the paint is on. I look forward to seeing the final result.

Here is mine, from a different builder with different goals, but highly spec'd by me.
Base2's custom bike.

Last edited by base2; 06-21-19 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 06-21-19, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by StirFry View Post
Met with the builder monday. He just sent me this pdf of his mock up per our discussion. The tubeset he's going to try and source is called Pegorichie or Columbus "Spirit for Lugs". Does anyone have any info on it? I found this during a brief google search a second ago

Richard Sachs: "We needed to develop a tubeset for lugs."
Yes- its Columbus Spirit tubing that was 'developed' for Sachs to sell. Spirit is ideal for welding, Pegorichie is ideal for lugs. Nerding out, everything Ive read has been consistent with quality Spirit tubing.
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Old 06-24-19, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
392mm chainstay length seems short to me & that 5mm clearance to the seat tube is going to make fenders or ever going larger tires difficult. For comparison, even my wifes size 53 Cervelo has around 400-410ish stays.
It's horizontal dropouts, and 392 is the closest point. It'll probably sit in the 400-410 range when set up.
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Old 06-24-19, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
392mm chainstay length seems short to me & that 5mm clearance to the seat tube is going to make fenders or ever going larger tires difficult. For comparison, even my wifes size 53 Cervelo has around 400-410ish stays.

I dunno if it matters to you but THERMLX tubing is manufactured in Ohio, USA by Vari-Wall. I can't say I've heard of the tubing your builder wants, but then again, my experience is limited.

Now would be a good time to ask about braze-on's, couplers (if you ever travel),
derailleur hanger (in the event you ever change your mind)
water bottle bosses,
rack & fender options,
etc...Don't limit your thinking to just how you intend to use this bike this summer. How might you use it 5 years from now?

In any case, what ever you think you might need/want/agree to, component selection or otherwise, get it in writing.

It's hard to go back once the paint is on. I look forward to seeing the final result.

Here is mine, from a different builder with different goals, but highly spec'd by me.
Base2's custom bike.
I'd probably spec for wider tires and fenders - just in case! You know how sucky the potholes are in Oakland/Berkeley.

I also ended up getting a fitting at Zealot Cycleworks to accompany my build process. It was really helpful to be more informed about numbers that work for me! https://www.zealotcycleworks.com
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Old 06-25-19, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by prototoast View Post
It's horizontal dropouts, and 392 is the closest point. It'll probably sit in the 400-410 range when set up.
Ah, gotcha. Surely, if thats the worst case scenario, then your builder has a better idea than me.
No worries.
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Old 07-03-19, 11:12 AM
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The picture in 15 has me suggesting a dent be pressed in the back of the seat tube* for a bit more tire clearance.


So a foreign object does not jam in there, a tiny gap, and stop the wheel.


In the past other solutions were a curved seat tube and splitting the seat tube into 2 separate parallel tubes,

both needed non standard front derailleur installation workarounds..


* perhaps a tube for that situation , is produced by the specialty tube set makers ..



....
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