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Why not go custom?

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Why not go custom?

Old 11-26-19, 06:02 PM
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TiHabanero
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Why not go custom?

From another thread where the rider had an appropriately large budget, they chose an off the shelf frame instead of custom. I don't understand why one forgoes a bike that can be built specifically for their body measurements and component likes for a bike that is not built to their body and comes pre-equipped.
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Old 11-26-19, 06:25 PM
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Because it takes a long time and may cost twice as much. The custom bike industry (think serotta) is just about dead. If you have very unusual body proportions where stock frames won't work, it might be worth considering.

That said, I buy frames only and build my bikes with every component that I prefer. Campagnolo drivetrains only. I've only paid full price for one of my frames - a special edition LOOK 585. I normally buy frames left over from the previous year or two, at far below MSRP.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 11-27-19 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 11-26-19, 06:28 PM
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Most people can be suitably fit to an off the shelf bike, so there's not really much benefit in that aspect. Then there's instant (more or less) gratification. Weight/$ might be a factor, too - most custom builders work with metal and will be heavier than what could be bought with the same amount of money with CF. Likewise, some may prefer the aesthetics possible with CF as opposed to steel/Ti. Etc. Etc.

​​​​​​Whether or not you agree with another person's priorities, it shouldn't be too hard to imagine why someone would lean one way or the other.
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Old 11-26-19, 06:33 PM
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I've known folks who ordered custom frames and ended up with 50mm of headset spacers.... Plus, the vast majority of us fit fine on stock sizes that we can try for fit before we buy. As for components, most would choose the Ultegra or Dura Ace that usually come on nicer bikes. I think it's great that custom exists but most bike shoppers don't have the knowledge to optimize the experience.
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Old 11-26-19, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
From another thread where the rider had an appropriately large budget, they chose an off the shelf frame instead of custom. I don't understand why one forgoes a bike that can be built specifically for their body measurements and component likes for a bike that is not built to their body and comes pre-equipped.
Much more bike for the buck.

Component arrangement only matters much if you don't a suitable production bike with close to what you want. And swapping things out from a complete bike can be cheaper than buying piecemeal.

If your proportions aren't very far from the norm, a custom builder making a bike "specifically for your body measurements" is hardly guaranteed to land any closer to what you need than a production bike that fits well.

And, oftentimes people shelling out lots of money on a road bike have demands like "carbon" or "aero frame," for which the custom pickings are slim.

There are definitely situations that call for custom, but it's more "why go custom?" than "why not go custom?"
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Old 11-26-19, 06:43 PM
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How do you test ride a bike that doesn't exist yet?
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Old 11-26-19, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
How do you test ride a bike that doesn't exist yet?
I have never test ridden a bike I have owned. They have all been frames I've built up, or built then built up, or an internet purchase.

All have fit great because I know the measurements that matter to me.
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Old 11-26-19, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Because it takes a long time and may cost twice as much. The custom bike industry (think serotta) is just about dead. If you have very unusual body proportions where stock frames won't work, it might be worth considering.
Custom fit bike brands are all over the place. They build in TI, AL, Steel, and CF. Littered up and down the east coast, midwest, south, Rockies, and especially out west.

The internet makes the brands more readily known, but even still it sure seems like there are more over the last decade than back before production shifted almost exclusively to Asia.
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Old 11-26-19, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
From another thread where the rider had an appropriately large budget, they chose an off the shelf frame instead of custom. I don't understand why one forgoes a bike that can be built specifically for their body measurements and component likes for a bike that is not built to their body and comes pre-equipped.
How many custom brands are making carbon franes? Not many- like a handful in the US. Many cyclists want a carbon frame for weight/look/trend/performance. The handful that are around all cost $4000-7000 for the frameset so it gets up there in price quite quickly, even on an $8k budget.
Options open up significantly when stock frames are included in consideration. And given the sheer quantity of frames available from all the brands, the geometry thats needed can usually be found for most cyclists in stock production frames.
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Old 11-26-19, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I have never test ridden a bike I have owned. They have all been frames I've built up, or built then built up, or an internet purchase.

All have fit great because I know the measurements that matter to me.
I've never bought a bike without test riding it first. I can fit a variety of frames, occasionally with a stem change, that's not an issue. Handling characteristics are important to me. I want it to take a corner exactly the way I think a bike should. I don't know the exact measurements for that. I have some general guidelines, but I need a test ride.
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Old 11-26-19, 11:39 PM
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If you're about 8 feet tall, then go full custom.
If you're about 4 feet tall, with short arms and legs, then go full custom.

But, if you're somewhere in the middle, there is a fair amount of adjustment to the bikes. Long/short stems, rise, drop, seat forward, back, up, down, long cranks, short cranks, etc.

Personally I like taking a stock frame and building it to my whims. And, I ride several bikes, and each is a little different. And, that is just fine with me.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:29 AM
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T-Minus 10, 9, 8, 7...
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Old 11-27-19, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If you're about 8 feet tall, then go full custom.
Former NBA Shawn Bradley with his custom Trek. The bike was actually stolen at one point and quickly recovered. Police believe Shaq was the thief but they did not have sufficient evidence to charge him.

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Old 11-27-19, 07:33 AM
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First let me say I have a custom bike. The only bike I own other than my old vintage derosa that Im rebuilding. Ultimately though, my custom Speedvagen is the bike I ride 4 days each week.

Custom bikes are mostly like electronic shifting. For the most part, unless strangely proportioned, people just dont need them since the variety of stock bikes is so inclusive.

Then you have people who acknowledge they may not need certain things like electronic shifting or a custom bike but are shopping with a decent budget and realize they can get both for about the same price as a top end spec bike and simply want something different.

I knew I wanted a bike that was different both in appearance and ability to get. Im 57 and wanted a more aggressive geometry that didnt have as large of slope on the top tube as every other bike out there. I wanted a unique look and paint job. I wanted a bike that was as much beauty as it is functional and that would withstand the test of time and not be obsolete in 10 years.

in the end, I built up my completely custom Speedvagen with frame upgrades for about the same amount as a comparably built Pinarello F10 which are abundant in our area. Coming in at 16lbs 4oz including pedals, bottle cages, and tool kit it is practically the same weight as well (but those f10s are real porkers lol!)

So for me, going custom was an easy decision!

Last edited by robbyville; 11-27-19 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
There are definitely situations that call for custom, but it's more "why go custom?" than "why not go custom?"
Because some people want something unique looking. My last two road bikes were custom jobs for fit and aesthetic reasons.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:39 AM
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By the way, since I can never forego the opportunity to post a pic of my beast, here it is in San Felipe Mexico this past weekend having just finished a 122 mile ride non stop. Just as comfortable at mile 122 as it was at mile 20! Another from a recent Olympic distance Triathlon I enjoyed



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Old 11-27-19, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by robbyville View Post

in the end, I built up my completely custom Speedvagen with frame upgrades for about the same amount as a comparably built Pinarello F10 which are abundant in our area.
Yeah. My custom ti frame from an artisan builder and Enve fork was less than $3,500 in '16. The Cerakote added a few hundred dollars more.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:49 AM
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I have an old custom bike which was custom because the builder had a backlog. We decided on a mix of tubing, based on an overly optimistic hope that I would get stronger, but the geometry was bone stock and I couldn't afford carved lugs and such like. My wife needed a custom bike. I can't find any pics of it in its original drop bar, tubular, Nuovo Record, state right now, but suffice it to say the bike and its owner were hot...and still are, at least through my cataracts.

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Old 11-27-19, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I have an old custom bike which was custom because the builder had a backlog. We decided on a mix of tubing, based on an overly optimistic hope that I would get stronger, but the geometry was bone stock and I couldn't afford carved lugs and such like. My wife needed a custom bike. I can't find any pics of it in its original drop bar, tubular, Nuovo Record, state right now, but suffice it to say the bike and its owner were hot...and still are, at least through my cataracts.

here you go and yes it was awesome in drop form too! From your post in Hot or Not where you were showing me the lovely lug work!


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Old 11-27-19, 08:01 AM
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We had to go custom. No one was doing a size with the specs my son needed.


Last edited by pickettt; 11-27-19 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 11-27-19, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by robbyville View Post
here you go and yes it was awesome in drop form too! From your post in Hot or Not where you were showing me the lovely lug work!
Stalker!



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Old 11-27-19, 08:32 AM
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I advocate for more people going custom on their shoes.

For most people, there's a mass produced frame that will fit fine. But so many people complain about foot pain yet don't consider custom shoes. I've got semi-custom and custom now. They are fantastic.
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Old 11-27-19, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I advocate for more people going custom on their shoes.

For most people, there's a mass produced frame that will fit fine. But so many people complain about foot pain yet don't consider custom shoes. I've got semi-custom and custom now. They are fantastic.
Which shoes are you using?
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Old 11-27-19, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I advocate for more people going custom on their shoes.

For most people, there's a mass produced frame that will fit fine. But so many people complain about foot pain yet don't consider custom shoes. I've got semi-custom and custom now. They are fantastic.
Don't stop there. Might as well get a custom saddle while you're at it.

https://www.meld3d.com/

https://gebiomized.de/en/products/cu...custom-saddle/
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Old 11-27-19, 09:00 AM
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Don't forget to customize your calves.

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