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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 07-06-10, 08:05 PM   #1
wilfonzo
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where to get cheap lugs?

Im having a hard time finding decently priced lugs, ceeway has great customer service and good prices but shipping is killer.

Nova is pricey.
$20 for a set of drop outs seems crazy to me,
$35 BB, what!?

Im not trying to build anything extraordinary (yet)

is there any place that i am missing? I've spent literally hours searching.

I also manage a bike shop, so if there is a place that only sells to shops that would be even better.
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Old 07-06-10, 09:08 PM   #2
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Bringheli sells some stuff cheaper depending on what you want.

Your problem is that you haven't realized that you are dabbling in a boutique business. It's also a niche market, and the price to produce this stuff is a lot higher than it used to be.

$20 for a set of dropouts is pretty cheap in my book, the bb does seem a little high, I was much happier to give Joe Bringheli $25 for the same thing.

Last edited by unterhausen; 07-06-10 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-06-10, 09:52 PM   #3
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yeah im trying to come to terms with that, just seems as if it should be cheaper because every cheap 80's road frame was lugged.

wow, some of the stuff is near half the price there. Thanks.

and i meant track/ss dropouts, sorry
$12 at bringheli

Last edited by wilfonzo; 07-06-10 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 07-07-10, 01:03 AM   #4
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comparing the prices to '80s junk isn't reasonable because you can't buy comparable low-end parts. Pretty sure that you can build a top end steel bike for the same amount of money as in the '80s if you adjust for inflation.
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Old 07-07-10, 05:48 AM   #5
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ceeway sells practice lugs for 1$... they have more stuff but you have to ask.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:10 PM   #6
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Im having a hard time finding decently priced lugs, ceeway has great customer service and good prices but shipping is killer.

Nova is pricey.
$20 for a set of drop outs seems crazy to me,
$35 BB, what!?

Im not trying to build anything extraordinary (yet)

is there any place that i am missing? I've spent literally hours searching.

I also manage a bike shop, so if there is a place that only sells to shops that would be even better.
I must say when I hear/read of some one complaining about the cost of frame materials I roll my eyes.
All the frame suppliers I know of on this planet make a modest living, paying the rent and just making ends meet.
None of them are buying luxury yachts and flying first class to their holiday destinations.
Even if the 1980's new old stock they have was discovered under some bench last week
they still have to stock it, run the business, answer the emails and phone, pay the bills, pack the order etc.
For some one to expect a one stop shop with a huge range of bargin discount frame materials on your street corner is ridiculous.
Peter Evans at Ceeway has the worlds biggest range of frame parts, Lon at Nova has large range and both these concerns have given good service.
I have known Lon at Nova for 21 years.
Peter at Ceeway for ten years
and I can tell you things have never been better for ease of supply of frame materials and never has the range been larger!!!!
and so easy to obtain.
I come from the pre internet and Credit card shopping time
and life is sweet now!
You mention you manage a bike shop, the surprise to me is that you have a lack of understanding of the business model of a frame material suppliers. None of them have container loads of turnover every month of product lines to make prices look like MacDonalds food. {I use the work food in jest**
Maybe I am a fossil who started frame work 32 year ago and you do not understand how sweet life is now, but my shackles get up about postage costs is a killer.
If you do not have the resources to pay for the amount of postage for your desired frame materials
which we all have to contend with as cost of doing business then I ask what the heck is your motivation to build a frame?
A frame for under $200?

If $20 or $12 for a set of stainless dropouts is too much
make your own
Scounge around for the 4mm plate, cut your own
find some .8mm sheet and cut your own facets

$35 for a BB is pretty cheap.
Think currency fluctuations when buying
think shipping to the USA from LongShen
think taxes and duty
think stocking costs
think running business costs
No one is buying 1000 BB shells and rolling them over every 6 - 8 weeks
to sell to you with a 30% margin

If I sound harsh, then maybe because I felt is was deserved.

and if you still are up for it
I can send you me PDF file of my frame castings for you to digest {they will not meet your price expectations as these are all 21 st Century creations
just email darrell@llewellynbikes.com
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Old 07-07-10, 09:19 PM   #7
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oh and I will add

if the casting or tube is a new product
think of the tooling costs
think of the time put into the creation of the casting design and production
and then think of the % on the money to fund the project
and then think of the resulting sales numbers
and the time to recoup the costs
costs of holding stock
............................

and this applies to the creator
and the supply outlet

and as I am in a cranky mood
here is more

Why do I design and produce my frame castings and parts.

There is a fair amount on the market for a frame builder to choose from, a lot of it is from the 80’s and early 90’s era when steel frame production was ubiquitous. Since then steel frame tubes and bicycle frame components have changed and this has effects on our designs. It is a pile of toil and expense to design and produce new casting designs, so why do it?
As I work at the bench making frames I find a lot of existing parts are not frame builder friendly, the part might be missing features, or lacking versatility, or may not lend itself to easy modification or restrict the frame builder’s design and aesthetic considerations, or simply time costly to use.
This motivates me to design and produce parts that have never existed before for frame builders to use. These new part designs allow me and other builders who choose to construct frames with the best of the time honoured and proven lugged frame construction methods with the merits of contemporary design. To improve and add features that belong on high quality bespoke steel frames in the 21 st Century
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Old 07-08-10, 12:00 AM   #8
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"None of them are buying luxury yachts and flying first class to their holiday destinations."

That's the bad news since it basically means volume is zero.

It really doesn't mater what all the protential costs are. people's perception of costs is based on what they can get that represents a similar value, at a similar price both within the lugs business and outside of it. I seem to recall, could be wrong, that in a discusion on the handbuilt vs overseas market, someone, I think it might have been Don Walker mentioned a basic 4130 tube set over there was 10 bucks. Obviously that isn't retail, but it does compare favourably to what I pay. And while the only model that works over here at the moment is the high end frames, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be pushing for cheaper alternatives, though they may not actually happen.

I get irritated when my parts cost for something is more than the finished product costs, that isn't an efficient market, though it may be the best we can get. I like building sails also, and I find that sailcloth pretty much sells for the cost of a finished sail. To make maters worse, I know of some multi transat cruisers who say the asian sails are more durable. So it really costs me to make the sails myself when my "competition" is absolutely paying a fraction of my material costs. I'd buy a big bolt of cloth and part it out to people like me, but I just haven't got a contact as yet.

Shipping is a killer maybe not when we think of Manuel and his donkey hauling out the coffee beans, but just in the sense that one can't get multiple orders out there if shippping means we have to source from one place. If from the 3 places one deals with they all sell full retail products where different items are better priced at each, it's called a market, then it isn't crazy to feel that maybe the market could be more efficient. I do generally agree that hearing americans complain about shipping costs and times, or even product prices, makes the rest of us stuck on the outside looking in a little, crazy... They should try the prices I have to deal with... On the other hand, back to the real world, you are down under and all these suppliers are outsiders to you, postage is going to look different if you are on the inside of the US for some of it and have to import for the rest. Yes I wish I had that problem, product supply wise, but at least I see the point.

Nova also has lots of stuff that isn't on their website whether any of it is cheaper is anothe mater.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:36 AM   #9
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That's the bad news since it basically means volume is zero.
in the greater scheme of things, the number of custom built steel bikes built per year is nearly zero. We're really lucky there are people out there getting us parts. And if you look at what we are getting vs. when I started in the '70s, prices are down a lot since then and the variety is up, way up. And you can buy double butted tubes for less than what it costs to buy straight gauge 4130.

If you want $10 tube sets, you have to pick up your production, I'm sure you can get impressive discounts.
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Old 07-08-10, 05:08 AM   #10
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I have been fabricating for thirty years as a profession and find that in general and almost as a rule, chinese parts and materials are junk. I never buy that stuff if there is a choice. It's a dead-end street. Material has gone down in quality drastically. Sanding belts last 30% as long as they used to and American, Japanese and European manufacturers have been forced to reduce quality to stay in business. Overall, the trend in my career has seen a massive reduction in consumer base due to unemployment and financial stress caused by paying interest and service charges.

Often, I am asked to repair chinese products. The only time I say yes is when it's for a kid with a "bike like object" who wants to ride. I make up for lost business overall by using barter directly with producers of goods I need as often as I can. I think as soon as all the manufacturing machines are scrapped and heirloom skills are lost we will see a huge inflation on import prices.

There was recently a post in the general forum regarding cheap re-pop parts and as I remember only one respondent figured out that re-pops lower the value of our inventories on collected parts. The vast majority didn't feel that way. the icon of "consumer" needs to be an insult as it was in the 40's before we will see things improve for the craftsman.
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Old 07-08-10, 06:53 AM   #11
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$17.50 for a set of dropouts

And watch out, you woke up silverbraze and he is (self-admittedly) cranky.

The "cheapest" you're probably going to get is one of Nova's kits. And $35 isn't bad for a BB shell...considering the work and post-casting machining that goes into it.

Pete
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Old 07-08-10, 12:31 PM   #12
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I think part of the problem (not just frame supplies but bike cost also) is people remember what they paid for a bike in x years ago and don't consider what that would cost in todays dollars: just for fun I looked up what all the bikes I have owned would have cost in todays dolars

1964 Red Coast to Coast single speed coaster brake $36 today $250
1970 Columbia 3 speed English racer $75 today $450
1972 Azuki 10 speed $150 today $800
1982 Nishiki olympic 12 $300 Today $700
1989 Miyata 1400 $900 today $1600
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Old 07-08-10, 01:40 PM   #13
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You can actually get a $17 set of dropouts from Nova, just bought some for commuters. The Nova ones don't have 2 eyelets, so I'm adding a second eyelet on.


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And $35 isn't bad for a BB shell...considering the work and post-casting machining that goes into it.

Pete
I would agree about that, but I don't really like the ones that Nova and Bringheli sell. I like the Pacenti a lot better. Just had to buy one from Nova because I couldn't find a standard size BB anywhere else.

I wonder if there is a market for cheesy cheap frame parts that would support bringing them into the country. There seem to be a large number of people that want to dabble in framebuilding and don't want to spend a lot of money on practice frames. I was looking at a steel fork that the LBS sold for $25. I can't even buy fork blades for that, and the importers are bringing it into the country for $7, max. But the fork crown was actually welded up from sheet metal. When it comes right down to it, I don't know if I'd buy that for $1 in preference to spending $19 for an investment cast crown. For someone selling frames, it's a no-brainer, buying the good stuff is the way to go.

Last edited by unterhausen; 07-08-10 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 07-08-10, 02:32 PM   #14
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You know, honestly, if a basic set of lugs were available that resembled the long-ish point lugs on my old mass-produced Specialized Allez, that's all I would need.

I think being able to assemble all of the components for a simple frame, including 9/6/9 butted 4130, fork crown, dropouts, bosses, and stops, for around $200 would be a mighty cool thing indeed. Add a reasonably priced home-brazing setup ($250 or less with hoses, regulator, and torch) that used some form of readily available bottled gas (propane) that got hot enough to brass braze (frame number 1 was silver, which as you know is really expensive), and I'd be working on my 2nd or 3rd frame right now.

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Old 07-08-10, 02:45 PM   #15
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Doug Fattic used to sell a set of pressed lugs and bottom bracket at low cost for practice purposes. You could ask if he still has some: fatticbicycles@qtm.net
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Old 07-08-10, 04:58 PM   #16
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You know, honestly, if a basic set of lugs were available that resembled the long-ish point lugs on my old mass-produced Specialized Allez, that's all I would need.

I think being able to assemble all of the components for a simple frame, including 9/6/9 butted 4130, fork crown, dropouts, bosses, and stops, for around $200 would be a mighty cool thing indeed. Add a reasonably priced home-brazing setup ($250 or less with hoses, regulator, and torch) that used some form of readily available bottled gas (propane) that got hot enough to brass braze (frame number 1 was silver, which as you know is really expensive), and I'd be working on my 2nd or 3rd frame right now.

Pete
Is $214 for .8 straight gauge kit exactly as you describe really that far away from your dream kit?
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Old 07-08-10, 07:34 PM   #17
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Is $214 for .8 straight gauge kit exactly as you describe really that far away from your dream kit?
Sure, unless you really think straight gage and double butted are the same thing?
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Old 07-08-10, 10:56 PM   #18
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"If you want $10 tube sets, you have to pick up your production, I'm sure you can get impressive discounts. "

I'm reasonable, I'm willing to go $20!
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Old 07-09-10, 01:06 AM   #19
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Sure, unless you really think straight gage and double butted are the same thing?


Color me wrong in my assumption that sacrificing double butting to hit your pricepoint might be a reasonable solution to your problem.
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Old 07-09-10, 07:11 AM   #20
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Color me wrong in my assumption that sacrificing double butting to hit your pricepoint might be a reasonable solution to your problem.
Straight gage stays and blades, maybe. It's also a factor of companies like Tange and Columbus deciding "Hey, maybe the market could bear Tange #3 or Cromor being sold to someone other than OEM's" Deda has their seamed cro-mo, which is a step in the right direction I suppose. I don't know, I'm neither a tubing manufacturer nor an economist. I just feel that with a simple lug/bb/crown design and enough volume, it should be possible, since the lug portions of the puzzle cost more than the tubing.
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Old 07-09-10, 10:32 AM   #21
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"Color me wrong in my assumption that sacrificing double butting to hit your pricepoint might be a reasonable solution to your problem. "

My straight gage tubing from aircraft sources is pretty much the same price as DB, It costs me more once the extra source of supply is factored in. Funny compared to the tre tube days when it was supposed to be a huge upgrade to get a frame with the main tubes butted. As mentioned sidestepping the tapered stays will save some coin. not that it would be worth it unless one had a reason for doing it.
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Old 07-09-10, 11:12 AM   #22
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Thank you, for your opinions and suggestions.

Sileverbraze, since I somehow seemed to have offended you with my question. I am sorry. I was not "complaining" about the prices I thought there might be someplace somewhere that has to make cheap junk for me to practice the entire process of building a lugged frame with and I do understand that they no longer make production lugged frames, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. My motivation for making a sub $200 dollar frame is to practice and not waste good material on what will undoubtedly be a piece of junk.

I understand that the few companies out there that are in the frame supply industry make an modest living and are running honest, reputable companies I'm not trying to discredit them in anyway.

I understand the costs that go into getting this stuff and maybe I phrased my question poorly which led to a misinterpretation. I thought maybe there was a place that sells the crap that they use to make the bikes in the Taiwan factories and I know I should support the companies that support this industry, but for right now what I am trying to do it is just not make any sense for me to purchase the better parts that could go into building something nice and usable. in the future once I feel comfortable with this process I will be making something nice out of the good materials that the said companies have to offer.

But for now I guess I am much better off practicing on the cheap lugs that Ceeway offers on some old frame steel I have cut up.

Last edited by wilfonzo; 07-09-10 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 07-09-10, 11:37 AM   #23
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OK, for my own edification, I'm going to do a little test-shopping using Nova (www.cycle-frames.com). The goal would be to build a basic but decent road frame with standard diameter tubing, built for caliper brakes. Assume no seatstay caps; miter the cluster end and braze a piece of scrap as a cap. Use a piece of tubing scrap as the chainstay bridge.

Tubeset - Deda Cro-Mo - $86.40
Steerer - Nova 1" Threaded - $8.95
Blades - Nova Cro-Mo .9/.6 - $22.48
Lugs - road standard longpoint - $51.45 (save $30 if you want stamped)
BB - Standard Road SL w/vents - $31.95
Crown - Road semi-flat top - $18.50
Dropouts - Short horizontal - $19.52

Braze-ons:
5x cable stops @ .27 ea - $1.35
4x bottle bosses @ .45 ea - $1.80
4x stay reinforcers @ .65 ea - $2.60
1x brake bridge - $6.52
1x Delrin under bb cable guide - $.93

Total: $233.95

Now, you can save $27.50 by going with pressed lugs, but I think even for a basic frame, decent lugs are worth it.

Ceeway offers kits, also...to build something similar it would be almost $260.

Anyway, yeah, once economies of scale and package bundling are considered, I do think that it's well within reach for a place like Nova to offer a basic full frame parts kit for $200 with decent lugs, butted tubes, etc.
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Old 07-09-10, 11:42 AM   #24
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update. I had put in an order with Ceeway. They have great customer service and have been a huge help, I can't say enough good things about them and look forward to someday putting in an order for quality butted tubing to make something that I can ride and be proud of. It is worth paying the little extra for shipping for such great service and I'd rather my money go to them and not the Chinese war machine.
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Old 07-09-10, 11:45 AM   #25
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Wilfonzo, take silverbraze with a grain of salt, and don't take it personally. Pretty much every newb, myself included, has asked a serious, if innocent, question that has invoked his wrath. Mine was "Hey, does anyone have a couple of extra _____ (I think it was bottle bosses or split stops) lying around?" He's incredibly knowledgeable, to be sure, and I have a great deal of respect for him and his experience, but he seems to be offended by pretty much anything that anyone who is not an "old salt" says. Including, I'm sure, what I'm saying right now. But, I stuck with the forum, wasn't dissuaded from asking more questions, and with the help, advice, and input of the fine people here, I built a first frame that I'm mighty proud of.

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