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  1. #1
    1, 2, 3 and to the 4X
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    Custom Steel Roadie

    Seems most custom framebuilders charge upwards of $1900-$2500 for their entry-level road frameset. Why don't more people go through Mercian and have them build a custom frame shipped to the US for ~$1600 using Reynolds 631?

    Specs I'm looking for:

    700x28c w/fenders
    Audax geo
    Reynolds 631 or equivalent

  2. #2
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Not all.

    In my region Curtlo and Elephant are fairly affordable options.

    It really comes down to what you want aesthetically. Fancy lugs and wet paint are nice and all, but don't matter a bit in how a frame fits and rides.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If you just want different fittings and are really using a standard sized frame, the options multiply.

  4. #4
    Senior Member calstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    Not all.

    In my region Curtlo and Elephant are fairly affordable options.

    It really comes down to what you want aesthetically. Fancy lugs and wet paint are nice and all, but don't matter a bit in how a frame fits and rides.
    +1 I have a Curtlo, great bike, Ox Platinum tubing. He sells road frame(fillet brazed) and fork for $1300 +-, one of the best deals going for a custom frame. You can also get build/component packages at a very good price. Here's the link:

    http://www.curtlo.com/pricing.html
    "The older I get the better I was" (from Old Guys Rule t-shirt)

  5. #5
    Randomhead
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    I think Mercian makes fairly pedestrian looking bikes. If I was set on getting a discount custom frame, I would probably get a Gunnar or go through one of many companies selling waterfords that they have designed themselves.

  6. #6
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    i would try and buy American if I could first. Having said that, Mercian offers many bikes that are not "pedestrian" such aa a Vincintore. They have been in the framebuilding businesss a long time and tend to turn out a good product at a good price.

  7. #7
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calstar View Post
    +1 I have a Curtlo, great bike, Ox Platinum tubing. He sells road frame(fillet brazed) and fork for $1300 +-, one of the best deals going for a custom frame. You can also get build/component packages at a very good price. Here's the link:

    http://www.curtlo.com/pricing.html
    Yeah.

    I'm looking to do a build similar to what the OP has in mind, but maybe a little sportier. Curtlo is definitely on the list as is Elephant.
    Both do single color powdercoat as the standard finish.

    Here are some semi-custom options maybe the OP hasn't thought of.

    Box Dog Pelican (built by Eric at Winter) such a hot frame and fork! Incredible value if you ask me if the geometry works and you can deal with the Henry Ford approach to paint color.
    http://shop.boxdogbikes.com/collecti...pelican-winter

    Boulder Bicycle randonneur (Waterford-built)
    http://www.renehersebicycles.com/Randonneur%20bikes.htm

    Milwaukee road frame (Ben's Cycle - Waterford built) available in OX Platinum and with a Waterford-built fork for an upcharge
    http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...cPath=612_2235

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    I believe that Ben's imports from overseas their frames and paints them here. I could be wrong on that but that is what I remember from some research a while back. Ben's is a great store if you ever get a chance to visit. Very helpful people, pretty good prices on a lot of items.

  9. #9
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triathloner View Post
    I believe that Ben's imports from overseas their frames and paints them here. I could be wrong on that but that is what I remember from some research a while back. Ben's is a great store if you ever get a chance to visit. Very helpful people, pretty good prices on a lot of items.
    This description of the Milwaukee Road Bike is copied and pasted from the Ben's website:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben's Cycle website
    Features and Information:
    Frame is made in the USA by Waterford Precision Cycles!*
    • Built with True Temper OX Platinum Tubing!
    • Designed for use as a geared road or cyclocross bike
    • Set-up for a long reach (47-57mm) brakes
    • Down Tube Shifter Bosses!
    • Chainstay Bridge
    • Down tube AND Seat tube mounted water bottle braze-on.
    • High quality Ritchey road dropouts!
    • Seatpost Clamp Included!
    • Designed to fit up to a 700x32c tire - take it Cyclocrossing if you wish!
    • 1-/8" head tube, 27.2mm seatpost, 130mm rear spacing, 68mm bottom bracket shell.
    *The frame is made by Waterford, but the fork is not. The fork is a standard road fork we import. Waterford upgrade available below for added cost.
    - Stan

  10. #10
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Like it says above the standard fork is imported (looks like the Surly Pacer fork to me), but you can pay a little more and get a Waterford built fork.

    FYI they will do braze-ons for Paul Racer/Racer Mediums for the same upcharge as canti bosses. At least this is what I was told when I asked about it.

  11. #11
    1, 2, 3 and to the 4X
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    Yeah.

    I'm looking to do a build similar to what the OP has in mind, but maybe a little sportier. Curtlo is definitely on the list as is Elephant.
    Both do single color powdercoat as the standard finish.

    Here are some semi-custom options maybe the OP hasn't thought of.

    Box Dog Pelican (built by Eric at Winter) such a hot frame and fork! Incredible value if you ask me if the geometry works and you can deal with the Henry Ford approach to paint color.
    http://shop.boxdogbikes.com/collecti...pelican-winter

    Boulder Bicycle randonneur (Waterford-built)
    http://www.renehersebicycles.com/Randonneur%20bikes.htm

    Milwaukee road frame (Ben's Cycle - Waterford built) available in OX Platinum and with a Waterford-built fork for an upcharge
    http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...cPath=612_2235
    Am familiar with all three. The BDBP and BBR are rando frames. I'm currently more interested in an audax-style road frame.

    Gunnars are appealing. Built by Waterford with a more modern design when compared to Mercian. What's an average ball-park price difference between Gunnar and Waterford full custom framesets? How much extra is it typically to add a set of eyelets to a fork? I'm having difficulty finding this information on either of their websites.

    EDIT

    Just spent more time reading the literature on Gunnar's site. They use either True Temper OX Platinum or Reynolds 853 tubes, yes? My understanding of "higher grade" steel alloys is that while they are admittedly lighter they aren't as durable as a heavier, "lower grade" steel e.g. Reynolds 631. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, or just outright misunderstanding?
    Last edited by Wheels Of Steel; 12-27-12 at 11:55 AM.

  12. #12
    tuz
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    In Canada there is also Marinoni that offers custom frames (mostly road "race") at a pretty good price.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
    bla bla blog

  13. #13
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels Of Steel View Post
    Am familiar with all three. The BDBP and BBR are rando frames. I'm currently more interested in an audax-style road frame.
    that's a pretty fine distinction, what is the difference in your mind? Audax has less trail because the rides are fully supported and there is less reason for a handlebar bag?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels Of Steel View Post

    Just spent more time reading the literature on Gunnar's site. They use either True Temper OX Platinum or Reynolds 853 tubes, yes? My understanding of "higher grade" steel alloys is that while they are admittedly lighter they aren't as durable as a heavier, "lower grade" steel e.g. Reynolds 631. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, or just outright misunderstanding?
    higher grade steels are better. The only reason you might worry about that is if you don't trust your builder and the cheaper steel comes in thicker tubes. I would find a better builder.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 12-28-12 at 01:48 PM.

  14. #14
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    that's a pretty fine distinction, what is the difference in your mind? Audax has less trail because the rides are fully supported and there is less reason for a handlebar bag?


    higher grade steels are better. The only reason you might worry about that is if you don't trust your builder and the cheaper steel comes in thicker tubes. I would find a better builder.
    Eric- I thought that the current craze with low trail geometry was to work better with front loads (handle bar bags). Set me straight (as George Bailey said). I agree that thinner walled tubing is more sensitive to the bumps and dings of daily life let alone the sensitivity of brazing skills. Andy.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    Audax is a form of randonneuring where the riders are all together. Unless you live in the UK, where they don't seem to make the distinction. The OP seemed to be saying he didn't want a randonneuring bike, preferring an Audax bike, and I have never heard a distinction made.

    If someone says "rando bike" to me nowadays, I expect it to be low trail. But not really because most randonneurs ride such a bike.

  16. #16
    1, 2, 3 and to the 4X
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    Finer grade steels are more brittle, no? Durability is critical.

    http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2012...-is-steel.html

    "Thin-wall tubing is very easy to dent. That's why we wouldn't recommend it for a commuting bike or a touring bike. It's also more likely to be destroyed in a crash, even a mild one. That high end thin-wall tubing may be okay for racing bikes, but you must still be careful with them."

  17. #17
    Randomhead
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    denting is not indicative of brittleness and they didn't say it was. Yes, if you routinely knock your bike around, a thicker tube is better. But in normal usage, a better grade of steel is less likely to have a ductile failure due to overloads or some shortcoming in construction. You can go overboard on the weight-weenieism, but for road use a high grade steel in .7/.4/.7 butts is plenty strong enough for everything I do to it. If you are worried about denting, .9/.6/.9 is common in mountain biking, so you can generally find better steels in those thicknesses.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    I have a Gunnar Crosshairs (older, with Reynolds 853) and think it's a smokin' deal. Where else can you get a new high-quality steel frame only (stock, no fork) for less than $1K? In my neck of the woods (WI), it's a precious little secret that drives many locals to make a pilgrimage to Waterford.

  19. #19
    1, 2, 3 and to the 4X
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    Thanks for the help everyone.

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