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  1. #1
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    New custom frame issues

    I recently recieved my new custom built steel frame, but have a few issues that I need some advise or opinions on. I know that I should contact the builder and I will as soon as I feel better educated about the issues. As you can see from the photos, first the brown line that is at the seat tube bottom bracket intersection is a mystery to me. I can't wipe the brown line away with my finger or a rag. Not being a frame builder, my thought is that there is not enough silver brazing material in the socket or a pin hole which results in framesaver seeping through, hence the brown color. Another photo is of the downtube,headtube intersection. As you can plainly see there is a gap. In my opinion, this is not normal for a hancrafted lugged steel frame in which I paid about 2k for. The other photo shows the powdercoat finish, or lack thereof on the lugs. Could some experienced frame builders please give me some insight on these issues so I can better speak with the builder?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    The paint doesn't look like it has enough pigment in it. Regarding the head tube lug, that clearly is a filler void although I'm not sure if it's enough to compromise the strength. That bottom bracket lug looks kind of scary; looks like another filler void that is leaching rust and/or framesaver as you noted.

    I'd contact the builder and ask him to explain what's going on. The paint is the lesser problem I think but the brazing is a concern I think.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    The paint doesn't look like it has enough pigment in it. Regarding the head tube lug, that clearly is a filler void although I'm not sure if it's enough to compromise the strength. That bottom bracket lug looks kind of scary; looks like another filler void that is leaching rust and/or framesaver as you noted.

    I'd contact the builder and ask him to explain what's going on. The paint is the lesser problem I think but the brazing is a concern I think.
    I'm thinking the same. I wonder if the brown appeared after he got it home or was it there initially. Either way you should get it back to the builder ASAP. Good luck.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve428 View Post
    I recently recieved my new custom built steel frame, but have a few issues that I need some advise or opinions on. I know that I should contact the builder and I will as soon as I feel better educated about the issues. As you can see from the photos, first the brown line that is at the seat tube bottom bracket intersection is a mystery to me. I can't wipe the brown line away with my finger or a rag. Not being a frame builder, my thought is that there is not enough silver brazing material in the socket or a pin hole which results in framesaver seeping through, hence the brown color. Another photo is of the downtube,headtube intersection. As you can plainly see there is a gap. In my opinion, this is not normal for a hancrafted lugged steel frame in which I paid about 2k for. The other photo shows the powdercoat finish, or lack thereof on the lugs. Could some experienced frame builders please give me some insight on these issues so I can better speak with the builder?
    1) No custom bike should ever leave the shop with a gap like the one on the dt/ht. IMHO, that alone is worth a return- it's "probably" not a problem structurally, but the fact that it was done that way and then not fixed might say something about the overall fabrication of this frame.
    2) That brown line is scary, could be anything from another gap to the powdercoater himself (not prepping the frame very well), you'd have to strip it to find out, which brings me to:
    3) thats a crappy pc job for sure. the shorelines on the lugs have to be super sharp to look good under powder and those are just buried- the flipside of this is that it's hard to get powder to cover a sharp edge (light colors make this worse) and you have to have a very good coater w/bike experience to be able to pull it off well. FWIW, I paint all my lugged frames.

    Bottom line: it's a do-over.
    good luck

  5. #5
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    DO NOT RIDE THAT BIKE.

    That's an atrocious job. Man, not even the paint can hide how bad of a job that is. This guy is taking peoples' money??

    Send those photos to them and ask them to explain what is going on.

    It's patently obvious that there is not enough filler in any of those joints you've shown us. You don't even have to be an expert to see that.
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    Junior Member lighthousecycle's Avatar
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    Frame problems

    That sure looks like a crack developing in the BB seat tube junction. Not good. Back in the old days we called that void in the downtube lug a holiday. probably not a structural problem, but you'll see it every time you look at your bike. If the builder didn't see it, they were not looking close enough. and the paint does not look good. The BB worries me most. Take it back for a refund.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member SingeDebile's Avatar
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    i know it feels like everyone is getting into framebuilding and this sort of thing is bound to happen but WOW, couple that with the way everyone wants to say they are "silver brazing" which requires more skill/precision and I would not trust that frame at all. ,and I have to say I am curious as to the builder though I can understand your reluctance to tell us.
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  8. #8
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    Just lurking on the list, I have nothing to add about the evils of your frame that the rest of the crew have not already stated, I am interested in the outcome of of your situation.
    mezz,
    www.mezzatestacustomcycles.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    1st pic - looks like either a crack or some abnormality with the paint. This one you just have no way of telling.

    2nd pic - looks like there was not enough brazing material around there where the gap is

    3rd pic - this one isn't really the framebuilder's fault. Looks to be more of a paint/powerdercot issue

    ---------

    Have you had any luck with getting this resolved yet?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Poor workmanship and poor painting. Simple as that.
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  11. #11
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    Frame issue update

    I spoke with the builder and he is going to build another frame for me. He was gracious in that he offered to send me a bike to ride until I recieve the new frame but I have another bike. We didn't really discuss what happened to cause the frame issues. To eliminate the low speed wobble and fit issues he wants to change the seat tube angle from 73.5 to 73. He said that this will move the seat lug back 4.77mm and change the head tube to 72.5. This will change the trail from 57 to 61.2.He also wants to use different lugs as the large fork steerer does not accomodate a lot of lugs. He also mentioned fillet brazing the bottom bracket instead of using lugs. I asked if brazing was an issue but we have not discussed that. I want a fully lugged frame. When the builder and I first talked I told him that I ride century's, ride daily, etc. I currently have a co-motion single and it handles really well and asked if he could come close to those angles. Not criterium quick, but perhaps stage race geometry. The frame should be completed by the end of July, so approximately 10 weeks from our conversation. At this point I'm just bummed about the whole process and don't have much confidence in the builder.

  12. #12
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    A 73 degree seat angle is a standard, so there shouldn't be any problem getting a BB for that purpose unless you have some otherwise odd geometry happening. Sounds as though he is uncomfortable doing lugs.

    What he is saying about trail probably comes out of a computer program and is probably correct as far as the numbers go, but the changes being contemplated are well within the movement range in lugs, so there is no need to fritz around with the seat post angle if it was correct to start with. 73 degrees is a good angle, and 72.5 is a good head tube angle if more conventionally 72.5. Trail itself is a mater of the adjustments in the forks moreso than the rest of it, but I asume he doesn't want to change that. I would doubt there is too much difference in the numbers you have there and would wonder what the real wobble issue is.

  13. #13
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    This smells Minty.
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    Changing the SA by half a degree shouldn't have any bearing on a wobble at the bars. Moving the trail measurement by a few mm shouldn't have any bearing on the a wobble at the bars either. Now, if one fork blade was raked to 43mm and the other to 41 then you'd be mayor of Wobbletown.

    Did you mention to him you didn't like the way the bike rode? I thought your concerns centered around aesthetics and such.

    Agree with Peterpan wrt bottom bracket angles. Standard BB shell angles will be 58-60* for DT/ST and 61-63* for ST/CS. Unless you have a ridiculously short or long TT, or have some insane BB drop number, an off-the-shelf lugged BB shell should work just fine with a minor bit of effort. Interestingly, he is going to have to do the exact same job on the lugs to move the geometry on them as he would on a BB shell. Odd logic.

    Regardless, it seems that the builder is doing right by you. It's a shame that the process didn't go smoother but at least there seems to be an amicable resolution to it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    It's odd that the builder wants to change all that.

    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve428 View Post
    I spoke with the builder and he is going to build another frame for me. He was gracious in that he offered to send me a bike to ride until I recieve the new frame but I have another bike. We didn't really discuss what happened to cause the frame issues. To eliminate the low speed wobble and fit issues he wants to change the seat tube angle from 73.5 to 73. He said that this will move the seat lug back 4.77mm and change the head tube to 72.5. This will change the trail from 57 to 61.2.He also wants to use different lugs as the large fork steerer does not accomodate a lot of lugs. He also mentioned fillet brazing the bottom bracket instead of using lugs. I asked if brazing was an issue but we have not discussed that. I want a fully lugged frame. When the builder and I first talked I told him that I ride century's, ride daily, etc. I currently have a co-motion single and it handles really well and asked if he could come close to those angles. Not criterium quick, but perhaps stage race geometry. The frame should be completed by the end of July, so approximately 10 weeks from our conversation. At this point I'm just bummed about the whole process and don't have much confidence in the builder.
    I just got to tell you that, in my opinion, you are getting royally screwed by this so-called offer from the builder to correct things.

    Adjusting the seat and head angles, especially the seat angle, has almost nothing to do with low-speed shimmy of the front wheel. Changing the trail (also changing head angle) will give a bit more stability, but your low-speed speed wobbles are not due to head angle. Otherwise, all of us with race bikes with 73 degree head angles would be complaining of similar speed wobbles.

    1. You ordered a custom frame, custom angles to match your old custom Co-motion frame. Are you even going to get those angles? In a word no.
    2. You originally paid for a fully lugged bike. Now, the builder wants to fillet braze the BB? That's odd. Why? It isn't going to be more or less stable fillet-brazed vs. lugged.


    To me, this sounds very fishy. Like the builder is selling you a frame that you did not order. How do you even know he isn't taking an old frame with similar angles to your custom order and one that has a fillet-brazed BB, and having it repainted? Sure would save him alot of time and grief over making you another frame. Then, you go on the internet and he saves face and is praised about what great customer service he has. At this point, I would just say to him, "keep the frame. I'd like my money back." Then, just go get another custom frame from a builder who will give you the 73.5 degree seat angle you desire.
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  16. #16
    Psycholist radshark's Avatar
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    Seems rather late in the game to be changing the frame geometry...

    I would be tempted to demand my money back and find another builder. Those pictures depict a frame should have never left the shop and don't inspire much confidence that the next one will be any better.
    -R.

  17. #17
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Time to stop being nice, Your frame builder doesn't know what the hell he is doing. The crack at the bottom bracket/seat tube is indicative of an inexperienced builder who often will overheat that joint while trying to braze in the larger down tube. Same thing with the head lug ,he over cooked the flux and the filler wouldn't flow. Think about this,the guys wants to fillet braze your next bottom bracket after he has already proven he can't braze a simpler lugged bottom bracket.

    Increasing seat tube angle isn't going to fix a wobble it could make it worse because you are shifting weight from the front to rear. In my experience weight tends to dampen wobbles. I see this complaint pop up most often with touring bikes, (especially older french touring bikes). The front end will wobble unloaded but ride like a dream with loaded front panniers. The increase in steering trail may help load the fork a bit but at this point you have to wonder what other potential problems there are.

    FWIW, My last road bike has 55cm of trail it doesn't wobble and I build my forks on a pretty crude jig.

    If you let this guy build you another frame , You first should demand to see his liability insurance, you may need it.
    Last edited by velonomad; 06-17-09 at 07:01 AM.

  18. #18
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Time to stop being nice, Your frame builder doesn't know what the hell his doing. The crack at the bottom bracket/seat tube is indicative of an inexperienced builder who often will overheat that joint while trying to braze in the larger down tube. Same thing with the head lug ,he over cooked the flux and the filler wouldn't flow. Think about this,the guys wants to fillet braze your next bottom bracket after he haas already proved he can't braze a simpler lugged bottom bracket.

    Increasing seat tube angle isn't going to fix a wobble it could make it worse because you are shifting weight from the front to rear. In my experience weight tends to dampen wobbles. I see this complaint pop up most often with touring bikes, especially older french touring bikes. The front end will wobble unloaded but ride like a dream with loaded front panniers. My last road bike has 55cm of trail it doesn't wobble and I build my forks on a pretty crude jig.

    If you let this guy build you another frame , You first should demand to see his liability insurance, you may need it.

  19. #19
    Mr. Knowitall Noestaencasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad View Post
    Time to stop being nice, Your frame builder doesn't know what the hell his doing. The crack at the bottom bracket/seat tube is indicative of an inexperienced builder who often will overheat that joint while trying to braze in the larger down tube. Same thing with the head lug ,he over cooked the flux and the filler wouldn't flow.

    If you let this guy build you another frame , You first should demand to see his liability insurance, you may need it.


    Nomad,

    I'm not sure of your credentials. However, its a bit harsh to criticize another builders work as deeply as you have done. I have seen tubes crack without overheating, because of manufacturing anomalies in the tube drawing mandrels.
    Questioning whether or not the builder has Product Liability is kind of ruthless.

    OOC, do YOU have PLI?

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  20. #20
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    My credentials? this is the internet, everyone here is an expert and we all have a huge penis and perky breasts too.

    I have built a few frames over the years and made all of the above mistakes at least once. Difference was I wasn't charging someone to make them. The seat tube doesn't have a manufacturing defect the filler didn't adhere to the lug. the photo makes that very clear.

    Forgetting the seat tube for a moment. The void in the head tube lug should have never got past the primer coat and it certainly should have never gone out the door. If this was deemed deliverable to a customer it might make you wonder about the integrity of the rest of the frame. It could be argued that the joint is unlikely to fail, but seeing that would you feel confident with this guy's fork under you on a bumpy road at 30mph?

    As for product liability insurance I'm not a nut about it like E-Richie, But if you are gonna call yourself a business then you act like a business and protect yourself and your customers.
    Last edited by velonomad; 06-18-09 at 06:05 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    I think there are several people on the thread that agree that the frame was not right and that the builder's suggested offer is pretty bad as well. I'd like to know if the original poster has come to a real resolution.

    Just my opinion, but if you order and make payment for a frame, then the builder should not change the specs of anything since it was never agreed upon in the original stated price. In that case, you paid for a custom frame, but you are not getting a custom frame. Sale should be canceled.
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    This is stupid. A properly silver brazed bb joint is just that. Should be fine for anyone. What was his excuse for the **** work? And then to just offer up a different method of joinery instead? Wouldn't trust his fillet skills if my life depended on it. And the crap powder coat?

    I would demand your money back, or tell him you will go public with his name. That's a screaming deal for him.

    What geo has to do with crap construction is beyond me.

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    I weigh about 190lbs. I have a 1989 lugged Italian 63cm steel bike made with heavy guage Columbus SPX tubing. Top tube is 59.5. The head tube angle is 75.3 and the fork rake is 40mm. This gives a trail of less than 50. The seat tube angle is 73. Chain stays are 41.3. This bike is stable at all speeds. I can ride with no hands above 30mph with no problem and have never had shimmy. I had a different 62 cm lugged steel bike made with a lighter guage tubing. This other bike had a slacker head tube angle, a little more fork offset, and had a trail closer to 60. It too was stable at most speeds, however, it had terrible shimmy around 30+ mph. My feeling was that the lighter guage tubing was not well suited for such a large frame and somewhere around 30mph the spinning wheels and frame paired up to achieve the resonant frequency of the frame. Or maybe the second frame was poorl aligned. I don't know for sure. What I do know is that the geometry of the first bike would seem more likely to have been susceptlble to shimmy but not so. This would lead me to believe that the changes your builder are offering are either not necessary, not going to address the actual problem, or both. Matching 73 degree angles on road bikes is so common that it should be no problem for a builder to build a bike with those angles that rides straight and stable and does not have any wobble/shimmy.

  24. #24
    Senior Member SingeDebile's Avatar
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    if they were cutting corners to begin with and have a mostly non existent quality control (there is a difference between a small mistake and that canyon gap they left... and thats only what you can see) what are the odds they will do a better job when they are doing it for a loss.. (there are restaurants where you know sending the food back will only make things worse)
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