Join Date: Apr 2007
Bikes: surly steamroller - towniefied.
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
If you think of the opposite ends of the spectrum there are people who know their fit, the kind of riding they do and the features they want on a bike. They need a custom builder in order to realize their vision. One delicate area for them is feeling out whether the maker is comfortable with their vision. Makers are going to have their own style, and may not be comfortable making something that detracts from their brand, no mater how good. Bike Friday is a good idea, but if the guys who designed it hadn't been builders, they probably couldn't have gotten a Richard Sachs to build it for them.
At the other extreme you have the person who knows nothing. They need to go to a custom builder because they aren't even confident buying an off the rack bike with their knowledge level. They could also have special needs. They need to find a builder who has a good customer service orientation.
Then you get crosses, like the person who knows nothing but has a lot of opinions and ideas.
The more focus you have the better. The most distracting set of wants are the ones that can't be resolved. Of course there are bikes that blend racing characteristics with more tire clearance, but your focus will be better to the degree that it includes as few opposite characteristics as possible. People have a way of saying stuff that sounds simple but consists of a long list of irreconcilable characteristics. The builder might get close to some of this stuff, but overall it is more likely the project will drift because the client has to break it down into simpler pieces, and make some real decisions.
i appreciate the way you word that. complexity is really my biggest worry with this project.
currently i reside in seoul, south korea and the frame builder i'm looking at is a small korean track frame company. besides their bread and butter keirin frames that make for competition they make small batches of road bikes and mountain bikes and from what i've seen, they may only really have one 'model' of each.
part of my desire is to have a bicycle not only created specifically for me but also as a kind of showpiece, something i can take home and say, "hey, this was made by the people of my homeland and i'm really proud of the work."
i ask what these considerations are when looking at a custom bike partially because i want to be educated but partially because i'm worried the system works differently here. people don't ask the same questions, not all options are given, and more often than not things are assumed without fact checking. to some extent what i'd like to see is a builder's own checklist of things that he would ask a customer so that i can have those answers prepared in advance and be able to suggest them if the questions are never proposed.
besides, i know for a fact that there are plenty of bikes the korean market has simply never seen. bmx almost doesn't exist, there are probably less than a dozen 29ers in the whole country (almost entirely owned by foreign workers) and my lbs owner nearly choked himself trying to pronounce randonneur. i guess i'm just worried that the custom bike i want may be outside the capabilities of their workshop... and like you guys said theres not much i can do about that until i sit down with them and talk - with a decent translator (heh).
Last edited by doomkin; 09-29-08 at 03:54 PM.