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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 04-21-11, 09:20 AM   #1
danielgaz
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Most Affordable Custom Frame

I've often toyed with the idea of getting a Seven or Moots custom bicycle, but the price seems too steep at this juncture. Are there "best bang for the buck" custom frames, or even affordable builders that are unheralded that might be more notorious for quality and price, especially on forums such as these? I'll take any advice or contact information that's out there!
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Old 04-21-11, 09:34 PM   #2
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Find a hobbiest who is willing to make a frame for the practice, trade, or small fee. A cheap frame is 100$ in tubes and 50$ in lugs-drop-outs-BB plus small bits like brazing rods, sand paper and files. Keep the word out and some one might talk to you. You take the risk of a not so perfect frame and the builder doesn't realy make money. I've heard that a Seven is 1500$ to 2000$, so offering 800$ for a custom frame with decoritive lugs could be a super deal. Looking on Ebay and Colago's and Pinnarello's are 500$ to 2000$ used, used!! I guess that just bothers me because I lust after one.
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Old 04-23-11, 01:23 AM   #3
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There are a few brokers out there that can order custom geometry frames in either carbon, ti or aluminium for you, with prices startng at 400$ for alloy and about 800$ for the cheapest ti ones.
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Old 04-23-11, 06:58 PM   #4
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A student of mine ordered some Ti frames from China for about $600 a pop. The BB threads were somehow threaded crooked and, the alignment was pretty far off. I also had a student order some custom lugged from Maxway for about $800 a pop... and the quality was great, as we all know Maxway is a pretty reputable manufacturer. You get what you pay for I guess.
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Old 04-23-11, 09:15 PM   #5
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Gunnar will build a steel frame with custom geometry for around $1200.

http://gunnarbikes.com/site/
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Old 04-23-11, 10:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielgaz View Post
I've often toyed with the idea of getting a Seven or Moots custom bicycle, but the price seems too steep at this juncture. Are there "best bang for the buck" custom frames, or even affordable builders that are unheralded that might be more notorious for quality and price, especially on forums such as these?
Tsunami. Aluminum, American made, $750.
Habanero. Titanium, American point of contact and QA/preparation before shipping (I think they outsource to XACD), $1295

XACD (Xi'An Changda Titanium Products) will build you a custom titanium frame for $800-$900 shipped (with that price getting you travel couplers, eccentric bottom brackets, disc brake mounts, etc) but you need to know exactly what you want (tube diameter, wall thickness, geometry) and will be paying by wire transfer.

There are also lots of companies with boutique service (the owner/builder will measure you, figure out what you really want, and make it) with prices between bargain-basement and ludicrous - I'm considering Nelson Titanium Products in San Francisco for $1800 but will be passing on a Moots for $4000-$5000 that has the brand name cachet but won't ride different.

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Old 04-23-11, 10:07 PM   #7
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I would be cautious about having a hobbyist build a custom frame.

Not many hobbyists carry liability insurance and at least some lack the experience to properly design a custom bicycle that fits a client and to ensure the construction (brazing or welding) meets acceptable safety standards. As a hobbyist, I don't mind risking my own neck riding frames I build, but I wouldn't want anybody else risking their necks on frames I build until I have a lot more experience.

A custom Gunnar would be a good way to go IMHO. Their dealers have Waterford factory trained fitters.
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Old 04-23-11, 11:32 PM   #8
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Richard Sachs has a list on his website of other builders because he's booked for the rest of his life. The people on the list are busy. Richard charges thousands of dollars for a frame and the people on the list charge according to what the market will bear, overhead plus markup, or by shop hour. Those at the bottom of the piramid charge less because they lack recognition, no one has heard there name. Colnago is probably at the top, he sells steel frames at custom prices for frames made on an assemble line. The guy at the bottom is in his garage with a file and a hack saw, he could potentialy make a better frame than the one from colnago. Do you take a chance, just like walking across the street. A nice guy on the C&V board was hit buy a car, all he's going to get is his bike replaced. If you buy a Colnago and go into a wall and wreck the bike the dealer will do nothing for you. The guy in the garage will want to know how the bike held up and if you want to work out a deal for another frame. Another guy on the mechanics board has a crack in his top head lug on a 1972 frame, is it poor workmanship, lug quality, or bad headset install. Life is short, enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-24-11, 12:17 PM   #9
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"Not many hobbyists carry liability insurance"

That probably isn't a real worry for the buyer. First off, maybe the maker has assets themselves, like a house. Also, just because someone says they have insurance hardly means they do, or that it got paid, or that it is sufficient. But more to the point, when was the last time you heard of someone suing a frame builder successfully for any large amount of money. Last time I brought it up on FF it had never happened, and the chance of getting a payout is not that great. The insurance costs a grand a year and a few hundred guys have it. The first time it strikes will be the last time it is offered. What you need to do is find a guy whose frame won't break, not a guy who is covered when it does break. Of course the maker should be worried about having insurance, and whether it will pay-off.

Last edited by NoReg; 04-24-11 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 04-24-11, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoReg View Post
"Not many hobbyists carry liability insurance"

That probably isn't a real worry for the buyer. First off, maybe the maker has assets themselves, like a house. Also, just because someone says they have insurance hardly means they do, or that it got paid, or that it is sufficient. But more to the point, when was the last time you heard of someone suing a frame builder successfully for any large amount of money. Last time I brought it up on FF it had never happened, and the chance of getting a payout is not that great. The insurance costs a grand a year and a few hundred guys have it. The first time it strikes will be the last time it is offered. What you need to do is find a guy whose frame won't break, not a guy who is covered when it does break. Of course the maker should be worried about having insurance, and whether it will pay-off.
There are lots of ambulance chasers who have successful practices getting huge judgments/settlements from bicycle manufacturers. Google "bicycle product liability" to be enlightened. Do you really think a hobbyist framebuilder wants to risk losing all of his/her assets?

https://litigation-essentials.lexisn...1711e824073a13

http://www.vallaw.com/CM/VerdictsSet...ility-Case.asp
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Last edited by Siu Blue Wind; 04-26-11 at 06:58 AM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 04-24-11, 12:59 PM   #11
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Old 04-24-11, 01:20 PM   #12
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Just remembered that Joe Bringheli should DEFINITELY be mentioned in here. Some of the awesome stuff he makes I don't get how he makes a profit with his pricing. He made me a bunch of centering cones last month for less than half what the local machine shop would have charged me... and didn't even charge me to ship!

For a frameset he charges like 1/4 of what the other guys with his experience level do.
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Old 04-24-11, 04:20 PM   #13
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Just remembered that Joe Bringheli should DEFINITELY be mentioned in here. Some of the awesome stuff he makes I don't get how he makes a profit with his pricing. He made me a bunch of centering cones last month for less than half what the local machine shop would have charged me... and didn't even charge me to ship!

For a frameset he charges like 1/4 of what the other guys with his experience level do.
In the same club are Jeff Lyon (www.lyonsport.com) and Doug Curtiss (www.curtlo.com). Both well-regarded, with DECADES of experience, and quite inexpensive. They're on my short list...

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Old 04-24-11, 06:26 PM   #14
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In the same club are Jeff Lyon (www.lyonsport.com) and Doug Curtiss (www.curtlo.com).
As is Tim Sanner.
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Old 04-28-11, 03:14 PM   #15
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Allan Wanta framesets start at $950 http://wantaframes.com/
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Old 04-28-11, 09:44 PM   #16
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Those Wanta frames look sweet!
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Old 04-29-11, 04:16 AM   #17
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OP references Seven and Moots, both ti frame dealers, although Seven does offer a steel version. Do you want a custom ti frame? will you consider a steel or even aluminum frame?

Independent Fabrications offers ti and steel.

Other custom builders (mostly steel):
retrotec
soulcraft
sycip
rock lobster
blackcat
mountain goat

There are many others out there. Google "North American Handmade Bicycle Show" for more.
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Old 04-29-11, 04:23 AM   #18
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Interesting. He is practically around the corner from where I live.

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Originally Posted by sannerbikes700 View Post
Just remembered that Joe Bringheli should DEFINITELY be mentioned in here. Some of the awesome stuff he makes I don't get how he makes a profit with his pricing. He made me a bunch of centering cones last month for less than half what the local machine shop would have charged me... and didn't even charge me to ship!

For a frameset he charges like 1/4 of what the other guys with his experience level do.
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