By way of short introduction: I am somewhere between a strong casual rider and a non-competitive avid rider. I have owned drop bar and flat bar bikes and flop back and forth, currently I am searching for a flat bar bike that I can ride on 1 hour 'fitness rides' and on lots of errands as I intend not to use my car except when really necessary (I even just bought a dog trailer for trips to the dog park). Eventually, I would like to take longer rides but time is more of a constraint right now. I love bikes as the transportation devices they are (bikes are going to be the golden story of the coming depression) and the sexy technology that so many exhibit. I love how someone can start with a frame and put together a machine that is uniquely theirs. I test ride and pour over geometry charts like a woman possessed. But truthfully, there is no off the rack bike that is going to fit me and I am tired of playing stump the LBS because I need to make a purchase having sold my last bike a tad prematurely and being relegated to a comfort hybrid belonging to one of my boys.
The issue is my geometry. I am 5'10" with a 35" inseam and a 32" sleeve (I am not completely sure how to measure sleeve. That is from a man's shirt that fit; from pit to wrist break is 23"). What would be perfect would be something like a 59cm bike standover and a 56cm bike top tube. One bike fitter observed since my leg length is more in the femur, while an even shorter top tube might work for my arms, it never would for my knees, and the seat could not be moved forward. In this latest round of bike searching, I discovered steel bikes and am now hankering for one of those. Noodling around on the internet I discovered that custom frame building is not as uncommon as I thought and thus this inquiry was borne. Once I had the frame, I would dress it in mid-level components.
So, approximately how much and how long for such a frame? Any recommendations for builders? I live on the peninsula of the SF Bay area but I am open to other areas. Right now, my plan is to buy one of the off the rack bikes with a too long top tube, play some stem games, and then in a year pass it down to one of my kids.
Thanks for your wisdom.