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  1. #1
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    Framebuilders - why don't they do complete builds too?

    I know some do, like Rivendell. But Som-a do not (ha ha).
    Just wundrin'. Seems like steel frame builders do this frame only sales thing.
    Do carbon builders do it too?

    I mean, I know they are "framebuilders". But I find it unusual that they wouldn't sell complete bikes too.

    I think it makes it harder and more expensive for the complete bike to buy the frame and then do the components/build seperately - unless one can do it oneself.

    I have been looking for a new lugged steel frame and have happened upon this.
    I am used to seeing the big brands in bike shops all built up.
    So this is unusual territory for me.

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    We build complete bicycles.

    In most cases we also build the hubs, wheels, and the racks... we build touring and tandem bicycles (predominantly) and joke that we sell a bicycle with every rack we build.

  3. #3
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    Some builders do still offer complete bikes. Decades ago it was pretty common. But it seems to me that these days most builders prefer the creativity inherent in building new frames and are less interested in the "drudgery" of assembling complete bikes. Beyond that, I suspect that many buyers of custom frames are kind of picky about which components they want and would quickly drive their framebuilder nuts with special requests.

  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    most of the guys that are making a successful business out of framebuilding sell complete bikes.

  5. #5
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    I think it's safe to say that every full-time framebuilder* sells complete bikes as well.


    *I wouldn't consider Soma a framebuilding company, more like a frame and component designer/importer.

  6. #6
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    It seems like 9 out of 10 new bikes are promptly stripped of all parts and upgraded before the new owner even takes it for a ride.

  7. #7
    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Over here on the continent, almost every framebuilder automatically offers his frames with a build kit.. "loose frames" are more of an option.
    Pass the Dutchie on the non-drive side.
    Rather a 100$ bike with 1000$ wheels than a 1000$ bike with 100$ wheels.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Famed Italian builders sent their steel frames out with the expectation
    the retail shop would get out their chase and face tap and die
    tool set, and do the final work.

    then the retail shop assembles the components,
    and the customer rides away on a complete bike..

    in the end it Is complete bike..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-27-12 at 11:49 AM.

  9. #9
    Is a real super guy. Henry III's Avatar
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    Soma and Rivendell are not framebuilders sorry to say. Grant gets his stuff from Waterford or a larger company who brazes stuff for other companies in Japan. They both design the frames but never pick up a torch(TIG or O/A). A lot of framebuilders build complete bike because they incorporate certain parts sizes in the build before hand. Such as what caliper your going to use so they know the reach before hand.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    In many cases Importer has a contract manufacturer do the real building,
    they do the distribution ..

    waterford has been a contract manufacturer for other brands too..

  11. #11
    Is a real super guy. Henry III's Avatar
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    Waterford actually does the frame construction for Boulder Cycles who now owns the Rene Herse name and builds new Herses currently along with quite a few other companies.

    A lot of builders I believe would rather give their customer a complete bike then just a frame because so many parts tie back into the build process of the frame. What size tire do you want to use and keep thing looking very, what headset so you know the stack height so they know how length of the headtube to keep the amount of spacers down for a clean look. There is so much with what components you choose that determine how your frame is built. When I built my frame in my frame class. My instructor Doug Fattic wanted to know everything from the exact saddle, seatpost, as they were actually mounted directly into the frame fixture for the build and the frame was built around the setback of the seatpost to the position of the rails. When I changed my saddle in the middle of the design I had to go back and adjust measurements based on that first saddle.

    Now some builders do more of a production style custom frame and have set numbers for specs. Richard Sachs is sort of like that and actually says that in his video and have read it in numerous places. Sacha White does that also with his Speedvagen line that Mike DeSalvo welds up for him. This way your still getting a "handbuilt" frame but they don't need to reinvent the wheel with every customer and usually have numbers that work for them so they keep 'em. A lot of the famous Italian steel frames collectors lust over were usually built along these lines. I think people associated handbuilt and custom hand in hand but custom is another badge altogether. You wouldn't call up Colnago and say in the Master you ordered you want a pump peg, three sets of bottle mounts, wishbone seatstays, spoke holders on the chainstays and a fork with a full sloping crown and curved fork blades over their normal straight blades. A custom builder could just incorporate those into your build without a blink of an eye. Most of the time it's a numbers thing so you can get a handbuilt frame but don't have to wait the time it usually takes for a custom frame or pay the higher price tag. This way builders can build up multiple frames and keep stuff in stock. Kind of like Waterford and Gunnar. Waterford does custom while Gunnar is strictly production but still handbuilt frames right in the same facility.

  12. #12
    Randomhead
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    I think you've misheard Richard Sachs somehow

  13. #13
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    Unterhausen is correct.

  14. #14
    Randomhead
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    not sure if you can build production bikes without any machines

  15. #15
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    I'll add that to let the LBS or the customer do the final assembly of your (your being the builder, not the customer) custom frame is rolling the dice. If the LBS or customer does something wrong it will often be blamed on the frame builder. To protect their reputation a builder will ofetn do the assembly. Andy

  16. #16
    dino quadz! cubex's Avatar
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    I know Rob English builds full bikes and prefers to build complete bikes. He's building mine that way :3
    Last edited by cubex; 07-04-12 at 08:44 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    I would imagine the margin for parts isn't worth the hassle.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  18. #18
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    Every professional frame builder I know prefers to send complete bikes out the door.
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    Eric Estlund
    Winter Bicycles

  19. #19
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    But it seems to me that these days most builders prefer the creativity inherent in building new frames and are less interested in the "drudgery" of assembling complete bikes. Beyond that, I suspect that many buyers of custom frames are kind of picky about which components they want and would quickly drive their framebuilder nuts with special requests.
    My ideal is to find a builder who'll sell me a pile of parts as a bike, rather than a frame, plus a bunch of really expensive parts. I'm happy to build it myself, in fact I prefer it that way.

    Does anyone do this?

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