Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    Senior Member iherald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1,274
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Custom Frame from China?

    I was just reading a post of someone complaining that Italian bikes were really made in China or the like. I'm just thinking, do you think there will be a time when I can go to a website, type in all my information and get a custom bike?

    I know that the 'great' builders can really tailer the steel and such specifically to the way I want to ride. But, I'd think that there are likely some good rules of thumb that all these builders use that you could 'program' into a website and get pretty good results.

    Right now custom frames seem to be in the $1300 and up range. I could imagine that a 'almost' custom, done over the net, or at a dealership, could get down to $500-700 and be popular. Does Sach's actually have to personally weld my bike to make it up to his standard?

    Never having had a custom bike, am I totally out to lunch on this theory?
    I rode CanadaWide for Cancer in 2006! I rode 6850km and raised over $110 000 for kids with cancer. Check out the journal at: http://www.cyclingforcancer.ca

  2. #2
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wherever good bikes are sold
    My Bikes
    Thylacines...only Thylacines.
    Posts
    2,936
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, yes.

    Two glaring holes in your hypothesis. Firstly, companies like XACD have an unknown history and quality benchmark. You don't really know what you're getting.
    Secondly, you're paying absolutely no attention to design! How do you think things come about, through magic? People design them. What was the last great piece of Chinese design you came accross? Naw, me either.

    You are right about one thing - there is a way to systematise the custom design process - but that takes away the essence of what a custom bike is.

    So, having never bought a custom frame before, why not get one? Clearly from your sig you ride enough. Heck, you could even get a custom company as a bike sponsor with that sort of resume.

    If anyone is in a position to discover what the fuss is about and whether the experience is worth a modest 1300 bucks, isn't that person you?
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    886
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    dial-a-custom

    I understand that something along those lines can be done today. But, I don't know who you might contact. Possibly "Bikesdirect.com", I don't know.
    However there is absolutely no reason why something like this couldn't produce a great bike. With the availability of many lengths of stems, seat posts, and such, you could taylor a "custom" built frame exactly to your needs.
    I believe many "custom" builders have stock frames they taylor in just this manner to produce a less expensive bicycle that is just as high in quality.

  4. #4
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Finally... home :-)
    My Bikes
    Univega Alpina 5.1 that became a 5.9, that became a road bike... DMR TrailStar custom build
    Posts
    502
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    Words
    Christ, he's still alive!

    How's about the Chukonu, Warwick?
    "While my father fought for you, I learnt. While my father glorified your petty administration, I learnt. While he longed every day for our line, Adunís line, to be restored, I learnt. He sent me away to bring the Dark Templar back when the time was right!
    "And you tell me that I cannot do this? That I cannot feel the weight of the universe?
    "Damn you, Tellan! Aldaris killed my father!"

  5. #5
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So, does this mean that a framebuilder who lives in China can't make a quality frame?
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  6. #6
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Finally... home :-)
    My Bikes
    Univega Alpina 5.1 that became a 5.9, that became a road bike... DMR TrailStar custom build
    Posts
    502
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    So, does this mean that a framebuilder who lives in China can't make a quality frame?

    It depends. Can he build a quality frame anywhere else?
    "While my father fought for you, I learnt. While my father glorified your petty administration, I learnt. While he longed every day for our line, Adunís line, to be restored, I learnt. He sent me away to bring the Dark Templar back when the time was right!
    "And you tell me that I cannot do this? That I cannot feel the weight of the universe?
    "Damn you, Tellan! Aldaris killed my father!"

  7. #7
    Accuracy is Speed
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Huntington Beach, CA
    My Bikes
    2007 Bianchi 928 C2C w/ Ultegra compact
    Posts
    222
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What you're paying for (the premium) in a custom frame, is the framebuilder's input, his opinion on what geometry best suits your particular riding style, preference, body weight, etc. Yes, some of that you can automate to get a 90% accurate template, but then most stock bikes are 90% accurate once you adjust the stem/seat anyway. The point of going custom for many people (I've spoken to Waterford and Heron bikes recently when I was in my search for a custom builder) is to get that "perfect" size keyed in, but even then, the builder laughs and says,"Our customers are often dismayed that when we finally give them their 'custom geometry', it turns out to be near identical to the geometry of a stock 54cm bike!"

    So why pay "a little extra" for a pseudo custom bike in China, when the stock bikes from China are near identical to what you'll be getting from that custom factory?

    Now, if you have a uniquely particular geometry/tubing preference that's not available anywhere else, then going "custom" in China would work, because you know EXACTLY how you want it built (choice of modulus carbon, choice of fork, seat stays, etc.). But if all you're doing is coughing up your measurements/weight and hoping for an automated algorithm to come up with something "perfect", then you've just spent a premuim for a bike template that probably already exists among one of the many mass produced bikes available - mass produced bikes are made to fit the common 90% denominator. The variety of geometry interpretations for the "average joe" available between Trek, Specialized, Bianchi, and Cannondale for the "under $2000" budget is incredibly diverse. Sure you might save $300 by going psuedo-custom in China, but you will not get the same warranty assurances, and there is a no-return policy if it's custom, where as 99% of the LBS will allow you store credit to swap a better fitting bike of equivalent value. Say you buy a Specialized Tarmac and it turns out the Tarmac is way too tight and harsh for your century riding - you can always go back to your LBS 3 days later (assuming the bike is still "new" condition) and swap it for a Roubaix, no problems.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    5,117
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "$500-700 and be popular"

    Doesn't Bringheli, do top notch custom work for 500ish? Right there in the USA? Apparently it isn't painted for that, but you could get it powder coated around here for 50 bucks.

  9. #9
    cs1
    cs1 is offline
    Senior Member cs1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Clev Oh
    My Bikes
    Specialized, Schwinn
    Posts
    6,189
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    "$500-700 and be popular"

    Doesn't Bringheli, do top notch custom work for 500ish? Right there in the USA? Apparently it isn't painted for that, but you could get it powder coated around here for 50 bucks.
    Joe does custom frames, correct. He is very cheap compared to other builders. However, he builds a very utilitarian bike. His brazing is nowhere near flawless. If you are looking for a showpiece, then Joe is not the guy. BTW, he lives down the street from me. He is very good at getting you a custom designed at bike reasonable money.

    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bikerosity57
    I understand that something along those lines can be done today. But, I don't know who you might contact. Possibly "Bikesdirect.com", I don't know.
    However there is absolutely no reason why something like this couldn't produce a great bike. With the availability of many lengths of stems, seat posts, and such, you could taylor a "custom" built frame exactly to your needs.
    I believe many "custom" builders have stock frames they taylor in just this manner to produce a less expensive bicycle that is just as high in quality.

    Well, those aren't custom built frames, those are bikes custom built from parts you select.
    When I bought my Independent Fabrication bike, it was a frame built for me. Living near the companny, I even went to see my frame while it was incomplete (was ready to be pained).

  11. #11
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    Joe does custom frames, correct. He is very cheap compared to other builders. However, he builds a very utilitarian bike. His brazing is nowhere near flawless. If you are looking for a showpiece, then Joe is not the guy. BTW, he lives down the street from me. He is very good at getting you a custom designed at bike reasonable money.

    Tim

    That was a pretty nice backhanded compliment, Time. Joe makes good frames. So what if there aren't "flawless" in your opinion?
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    886
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    custom

    When I was very young, you could get a custom built frame for under a hundred bucks! I remember someone, maybe my brother telling me that (way) back in the day (1930's-1940's), custom frames could be had for as little as $35

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    122
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes, I have heard of those time. Realize though that a 100 frame in 1960 would be somewhere around 608 dollars now. It was a lot of money.

    Real buying power in bicycles has never,ever been as good as it is now. This is the beauty of mass manufacturing and outsourcing. For example in the mid eighties I bought a cannondale MTB for about 500 dollars. In real dollars today that is a heap of money, but you can buy a perfectly respectable MTB for under a 1000 dollars. A super value!

    What I find interesting is how everyone has just gotten used to this. If a bike is 700 dollars some bozo will complain about the price and think it should be 400. When does it stop? The only reason we have un-historical buying power like this is because we have billions of poor people making all our crap we don't need, but you know where I am going with this

    Comparing custom building to any other production building is comparing apples to oranges and likewise even amongst builders it is incomparable. Builders use different materials, have different methods, some have insurance some don't. Some use machine tools some don't some clean there welds or brazes some don't. Honestly, I know of two that have out-houses. I like toilets personally.

    Some builders are super efficient and build a bike from in 4 hours. Some are just of an alternative lifestyle and are happy with 3.50 to 5 dollars an hour, no health insurance and work in a shed. Personally in my niche, I spend 50-100 hours per frame, I use the best materials, I fret over details, I have a toilet to crap in and I have health and liability insurance. I make less than the average american but the lifestyle is one I enjoy. Comparing what I do on a price point scale with a large manufacturer in China or the builder down the street is impossible we all have different operations.

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    5,117
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have never seen one of Joe's frames, but also, there is a point where you stop brazing, and start the finishing process, and it's no more perfect at that point than a trim carpentry job before finish, or a metalwork job before it goes to finish. The guy doing the finishing completes some of the work because he has to deliver the perfect finish and to do that he has to do the work that will make or break his finish work. You want unfinished that's what I would expect to get, but it's could be the perfect deal for someone like OPs budget and objectives.

  15. #15
    cs1
    cs1 is offline
    Senior Member cs1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Clev Oh
    My Bikes
    Specialized, Schwinn
    Posts
    6,189
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    That was a pretty nice backhanded compliment, Time. Joe makes good frames. So what if there aren't "flawless" in your opinion?
    It wasn't meant to be disrespectful or insulting. He has done lots of work for me. I am totally satisfied. I got exactly what I paid for.Functionally, his frames are an excellent buy for the money.

    Truth be told, I was thinking about selling a few of my bikes and having him braze me up a new frame. If the project ever reaches fruition, I'll post pics.

    As for the original post, why buy Chinese when you can get something done at home for almost the same money?


    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    As for the original post, why buy Chinese when you can get something done at home for almost the same money?


    Tim

    Yeah, but the point is that some people care about quality irrespective of where it is made. You assume that Chinese frames are budget quality, like you assume that because Joe Bringheli's frames are under $1000, then they too are budget quality. Is it unheard of that some framebuilders in China can be on par or even better than the best in Italy, France, USA, etc? Is it unheard of that Joe Bringheli is giving great deals on unpainted frames that are both very affordable and of very high quality?
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  17. #17
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wherever good bikes are sold
    My Bikes
    Thylacines...only Thylacines.
    Posts
    2,936
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian
    I like toilets personally.
    Bull****! I heard that when people come visit and ask where the loo is, you hand them a shovel and point to the back door.
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

  18. #18
    If its Retro its "IN" fjyang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    45
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It ironic that we're bashing the chinese frame builders with our chinese made keyboards and computers and don't forget the chinese made servers, memory chip, monitors etc..... Is buying a Mexico made Ford or Volkswagon better than a Toyota or Honda made in USA or China?

    We use to think about the Japanese cars and electronics the same way like the Chinese, now would you buy a RCA TV or a Sony? Kodak camera or a Nikon, Canon? The same thing will happen with bikes.

    Taiwan is the bike manufacture of the world and yes, they're Chinese. They know Americans won't trust a bike company with a foreign name so they bought out company's like Schwinn, GT, Mongoose etc.. so they don't have to deal with this bias issue. Giant, KHS and Merida are Taiwanese owned compay's that has gained reputation on their own without buying out an American bike brand. Shimano have factories in Taiwan and China, Colnago carbon frames are Taiwan made. Sram and Avid are also made there. If they can make all the top bike components for the world you're telling me that when it come to bike frames they can't hold a torch or make a weld straight?

    If you ask can the Chinese make a quality custom bike frame, I would say yes but the real questions is would you want to give your money to them? that's a personal issue.
    Last edited by fjyang; 04-16-07 at 08:12 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Look behind your monitor. Chances are it too is made in China. Mine is a very nice monitor, but that would seem counterintuitive to what everybody thinks about how China is for the low-brow value line.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  20. #20
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    the comment wasn't about China not being able to MANUFACTURE good stuff, the comment was that by plugging in numbers into an online orderform, the frame will not be DESIGNED as expertly as if you were working one on one with a real custom framebuilder with years of experience. Of course China can make things as well as we can. Brazing metal tubing is a craft that is over a century old. If they can make digital chips, they can solder metal. BUT does that spreadsheet or orderform (or your brain) have the experience to know what length, angles, gauge, butt length, whatever specifications will make you a perfect frame? NO WAY. Go to an expert who has been living and breathing bikes for 25 years for that.

    Bellweatherman, cs1 never said that Joe B's frames are low quality. reread the posts.

    ~Steve

  21. #21
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Revtor
    the comment wasn't about China not being able to MANUFACTURE good stuff, the comment was that by plugging in numbers into an online orderform, the frame will not be DESIGNED as expertly as if you were working one on one with a real custom framebuilder with years of experience. Of course China can make things as well as we can. Brazing metal tubing is a craft that is over a century old. If they can make digital chips, they can solder metal. BUT does that spreadsheet or orderform (or your brain) have the experience to know what length, angles, gauge, butt length, whatever specifications will make you a perfect frame? NO WAY. Go to an expert who has been living and breathing bikes for 25 years for that.

    Bellweatherman, cs1 never said that Joe B's frames are low quality. reread the posts.

    ~Steve

    Steve,
    stop generalizing about China and depicting them as a single entity. It's a pretty big country with lots of people. Shudder! Could it be that there are actually custom framebuilders in that country just like the good ole' US of A?!
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  22. #22
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    411
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Rich,
    I didnt generalize about China.

    Now make a point and try to add to the thread would ya?

    ~Steve

  23. #23
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Revtor
    Rich,
    I didnt generalize about China.

    Now make a point and try to add to the thread would ya?

    ~Steve

    Steve,
    The point is that your generalizations about China, online order forms, etc. are not only biased but wrong. Make a point yourself and stop hinting around with your implications equating China and online order forms that aren't of custom quality as they are in the USA.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

  24. #24
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    867
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Steve,
    stop generalizing about China and depicting them as a single entity. It's a pretty big country with lots of people. Shudder! Could it be that there are actually custom framebuilders in that country just like the good ole' US of A?!
    In a word: NO. But like anything, reality is a little more complex than that.

    As has been pointed out, this depends on what you mean by 'custom'. I'm sure China has top notch welders. From what I've been able to determine, they don't have people who obsess about geometry, personalised fit and educating the buyer as to his options. That's simply not part of the national psyche.

    Also, cycling isn't really a 'recreational' activity in China- it's completely utilitarian and to be moved away from once you can afford a moped or car. Custom frames are a luxury that simply has no market in China. There is the odd roadie club scattered about, and there's a small mountain biking club based in Beijing, but even in absolute terms, these are small numbers of riders. Tellingly, the Beijing guys seem to be quite happy with midrange Giants from Taiwan.

    That's not to say that you can't get a great customised bike if you can provide the right specs, but unless you are an expert, the process is likely to be hit and miss.

    I'm in the process of having a custom frame made in China by a well-established factory that manufactures for the Western market. I provided the geometry (which has involved a lot of guesswork on my part!). They provided zero creative input or advice, and have been occasionally completely inept with communication.

    I don't have my frame yet, but I've seen their workmanship and it looks great. I'm sure the frame will be within mm of the specs I provided. And the price is a fraction of what a Western builder would change. However, the second half of the 'custom' equation- creativity, advice and communication, has been lacking.
    Last edited by womble; 04-30-07 at 10:32 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin
    My Bikes
    Too many to count
    Posts
    2,069
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by womble
    In a word: NO. But like anything, reality is a little more complex than that.

    I stopped reading after your ridiculous assertion that a country of over 1.3 billion (China) has not a single custom framebuilder.
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •