I had a custom built bike made for me back in 1998. It's a Marinoni and I highly recommend it. However, if you are in a larger city or near a larger city with people who custom built bikes it is best to shop around for one there.
Here is the Marinoni website so that you can peruse
Don't concern yourself with "something better coming out later" that is going to be true no matter what you buy. Right now my 8 speed Shimano 105 components are 5 years old, but they work fine. Shimano now has 9 speed and look even sexier, but that is gonna happen with time. if you say something better may come out next year, then you will never get a bike, because that will be true EVERY year.
What I have below is not nessesarily advice but what I had to do to get a custom built bike. Some suggestions tossed in and what I have learned. You should be able to glean from this what to do and not to do.
_ First find yourself a LBS who deals with and has a good relationship with someone who custom makes frames. See what other people are riding, how they found the service and quality. See if they have a website. I went with Marinoni because the LBS I dealt with for 15 years recommended them, and I trust my LBS.
- I had to decide first what KIND of bike I wanted. I was going to go with a road bike, but should it be touring, racing, or a combo of both. I decided on a combo of both or what is called a Sport/Touring bike. Good for fast rides but I could also put some racks on it for touring.
- For a true touring bike, bar end shifters and V-Brakes would be best. But I wanted STI's and dual pivot brakes. This was under the advice of my LBS. Although for VERY heavy weight I could not use dual pivot brakes as they don;t have as much stopping power, but I figured that heavy loaded touring was not in my immediate future.
- My LBS measured my leg length, arm length, foot length, chest, back, etc so that the bike would have the best frame geometry, size, stem length, etc for me.
They said that when the bike is finished if the stem wasn't quite right they would switch it out for another and no charge. Any good LBS will do this.
- I had to choose many things I wanted on the bike such as - I decided on a triple crankset, as where I live has many hills, I wanted a tough set of wheels hence I got a deep dish rim from Campy, I wanted 23mm tires, 28-11T rear cassette, bosses for fenders should I wish to install a set on rainy days (although I admit this bike has seen rain ONCE).
- I wanted chrome on the chain stays to protect against chain slap.
- I had a price in mind of about $1500 they said that it IS possible, but where I am so fussy and picky about my bikes if I could go to about $1800 they would get better components (Shimano 105) and better wheels that would work much better and I would be happier with. I took there advice, and I am glad I did.
- Colour was the worst thing for me to decide on. They had colour swatches available of 30 differant colours that they could mix and match. I had so much trouble with this, but I eventually decided on 2 tone with airbrushing so as to fade from one colour into the next. I am pretty happy with what I selected. BUT if I get it repainted I might try something differant. One piece of advise here, if they have colour swatches it WILL make it easier.
- what i did to ensure I got exactly what I wanted i drew or traced a bike frame from a magazine and wrote where I wanted the colour, how I wanted it to look any detailing I wanted, I even got them to paint my name on the top tube. :-)
- I was told it would take 6 weeks, it actually took 10 weeks, and I was a tad PO'ed, but when I got the shiney new bike all that was forgotten, they did a GREAT job.
Here is a link to my website that describes my bike and shows a few pictures. If you have questions email me, I'd be happy to help. Post some pictures when you get 'er done so we can see it and ohhh and ahhhh and be jealous.