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Thread: Define "custom"

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    Define "custom"

    I'd like to hear from the bike-riding public as opposed to the bike-building public how they would define "custom".

    My defiition is a lot more than a choice of handlebar tape and tire sidewall colors, but how would you - the folks who'd rather ride them than build them - see it?

    What does "custom" encompass in your opinion? What do you look for when making that greatest of all great shopping experiences, i.e. buying a new bike?

    If you're a dealer, where would you start defining a sale as "custom" and not "stock model with extras"?

    Thanks.

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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    To me there are two levels of custom. The truelly custom is when someone builds a frame specifically for you, then you chose what components you want. Second level is when you buy everything you want/can afford, including the frame, and you or someone else put it together. Buying a complete bike and swapping some parts is called upgrading.
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    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    To me there are two levels of custom. The truely custom is when someone builds a frame specifically for you, then you chose what components you want. Second level is when you buy everything you want/can afford, including the frame, and you or someone else put it together. Buying a complete bike and swapping some parts is called upgrading.
    well said Umney! i agree completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilwheel View Post
    I'd like to hear from the bike-riding public as opposed to the bike-building public how they would define "custom".[/B]

    Thanks.
    For me, custom means a custom frame - made to MY exact specs. Of course, I will also hand pick all the components - that's a given for any bike I buy/build.

    ... Brad

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    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    Custom = hand cut tubing, hand welded (not robot welded), hand cut threads, hand faced headtube/bb shell, my geometry choice, extra braze ons, hand picked by me components, built up by me., my specs for wheel building components

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    To me there are two levels of custom. The truelly custom is when someone builds a frame specifically for you, then you chose what components you want. Second level is when you buy everything you want/can afford, including the frame, and you or someone else put it together. Buying a complete bike and swapping some parts is called upgrading.
    I absolutely, positively agree with this statement!

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    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    A custom bike is a frame built to my specific body size, and with the components, wheels, and parts that suit me the best.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zumba View Post
    I wouldn't dwell too deep into the "handmade" aspect of custom frames. It's done because of necessity rather than preference. With the exception of the hand TIG welds, none of the other processes are done better on manual machines than CNC machines. Doing it manually has the benefit of requiring a whole lot less fixturing.
    There is a lot to be said for a "Hand Made" frame. That Frame can be adjusted to suit the rider and the care that is put into that frame as opposed to a Factory built one is far better. Only thing is- a Factory built frame will be as good as the robots can build it and every frame will be the same.

    To me a custom Build is a hand made frame- Even if it is a standard Hand built frame and not modified to suit the rider- and the parts left to the selection of the rider. Could be a $500 frame with a complete Sora Groupset fitted- Or a darn sight more expensive frame with the top of the range overpriced individually selected parts from specialist manufacturers.
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    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    There is a lot to be said for a "Hand Made" frame. That Frame can be adjusted to suit the rider and the care that is put into that frame as opposed to a Factory built one is far better. Only thing is- a Factory built frame will be as good as the robots can build it and every frame will be the same.

    To me a custom Build is a hand made frame- Even if it is a standard Hand built frame and not modified to suit the rider- and the parts left to the selection of the rider. Could be a $500 frame with a complete Sora Groupset fitted- Or a darn sight more expensive frame with the top of the range overpriced individually selected parts from specialist manufacturers.

    + 1 key word here is :"care put into it"

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    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    I ride a frameset with components of my choice, but to me a custom bike is a handmade frame.

    By the way, welcome over here, Neil.
    Last edited by Allen; 08-19-07 at 05:50 PM.

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    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    To confuse the argument, I have a 56cm Cannondale 2.8 frame. It started life, and my ownership, as a stock R500 of 1995 vintage. The only original factory installed components are the right/rear brifter, the left crank arm, and the right crank arm and spider.

    Both derailers are Shimano 105 (5600)
    The front shifter is a Suntour downtube.
    The front brake lever is a Shimano RSX
    The brakes are Shimano Ultegra (6600)
    The chainrings are now Sugino 30/40/50
    The headset is now Campagnolo Record (1" threaded)
    The fork is now Nashbar carbon fiber (only 1" threaded steerer I could find)
    The seatpost is a Kalloy Guizzo
    The BB has been replaced twice since purchase
    The chain is a SRAM PC-58
    I've used five different cassettes trying to find my best gearing, but the orginal cassette has been worn out and now adorns a shop wall I don't work at anymore.
    Wheels? I still have the factory orginal RSX hubs laced to Mavic CXP 23 rims, but I also have a set of Shimano 600 hubs laced to Mavic Open Pro rims and a newly aquired Roval areo wheelset that uses a freewheel.

    So is that custom?
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    To me, custom = a bike that is not a stock model found in a catalogue (also excluding custom options listed for a model, such as a groupset option or a choice of wheelset). Even stock frames could be perfect for the vast majority of riders, so to disqualify a custom bike build as custom simply because there was no need to make a specific frame, is just silly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    To confuse the argument, I have a 56cm Cannondale 2.8 frame. It started life, and my ownership, as a stock R500 of 1995 vintage. The only original factory installed components are the right/rear brifter, the left crank arm, and the right crank arm and spider.

    Both derailers are Shimano 105 (5600)
    The front shifter is a Suntour downtube.
    The front brake lever is a Shimano RSX
    The brakes are Shimano Ultegra (6600)
    The chainrings are now Sugino 30/40/50
    The headset is now Campagnolo Record (1" threaded)
    The fork is now Nashbar carbon fiber (only 1" threaded steerer I could find)
    The seatpost is a Kalloy Guizzo
    The BB has been replaced twice since purchase
    The chain is a SRAM PC-58
    I've used five different cassettes trying to find my best gearing, but the orginal cassette has been worn out and now adorns a shop wall I don't work at anymore.
    Wheels? I still have the factory orginal RSX hubs laced to Mavic CXP 23 rims, but I also have a set of Shimano 600 hubs laced to Mavic Open Pro rims and a newly aquired Roval areo wheelset that uses a freewheel.

    So is that custom?
    I wouldn't call it "custom".

    It's more of a "bitsa"...."bitsa this, bitsa that". It never started out as what most people would call "custom"....

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    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    So is that custom?
    No, it's custom. It's customized.

    A bike like that might be called a semi custom.


    Tim
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    professional failure Deconstruction's Avatar
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    That depends, custom bike? custom frame? you know. If you said custom bike my first thought would be that this person selected each one of the components and the frame themselves. But if you said something like custom parts or frame I'm prone to thinking that person probably either modified or fabricated either of which if not both.
    life is shorter than you think, why not ride the hell out of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    No, it's custom. It's customized.

    A bike like that might be called a semi custom.


    Tim
    So, by that line of thinking, a bike that started out as a stock model and has been maintained/repaired over its lifetime, maybe has a cassette swapped out to get another gear or two, becomes a custom bike in the process?

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    Loco Motive Member Steve Hamlin's Avatar
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    I'd say only frame up build is truly custom.

    Consider how we talk about a custom-made suit. Alterations are pretty well a give with any off-the-rack suit. But that doesn't make it a custom suit, does it?
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    As things stand now custom frames are primarily steel with some titanium, possibly aluminum but I can't say I've heard of a custom carbon fiber frame.

    Custom frames are often lighter because a production frame has to be strong enough to support the very heaviest rider who might buy that size frame. Being lighter isn't that important but using light double butted tubes that match the rider often makes for a resilient frame that has a nice ride.

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    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    when someone builds a frame specifically for you

    That's the definition that works best for me. I don't care so much about whether or not *I* specify the design or the dimensions or the angle or the components; I'd be just as happy to defer most of those decisions to the builder (presuming of course that the builder understands my wants, needs, intended uses, riding style etc). To me a "custom" bike is when the builder goes into his shop in the morning and says to himself "Today I will work on Bob Ross' bike" and every decision he makes about the work he does on that bike is based on what he knows about *me*.

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    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
    Custom = hand cut tubing, hand welded (not robot welded), hand cut threads, hand faced headtube/bb shell...

    To me that's not custom, that's just hand-built. It's purely by coincidence (as well as prudent economics) that all hand-built bicycles are also custom-built. But from a purely semantic stance, the two can be mutually exclusive.

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    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKahrl View Post
    I can't say I've heard of a custom carbon fiber frame.

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    I think some of the Aegis models can be "custom" ...though that gets back to how one defines "custom"

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Steve Rex is now making CF frames too. They're gorgeous.

    Anyway, I agree with Bob and Umney: a custom is when the frame is built specifically for you according to your body and riding style.

    As for a bike that's been built up with components specifically chosen by the rider, all my bikes are like that. I wouldn't call those customs. How about "hand-assembled" ?
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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Steve Rex is now making CF frames too. They're gorgeous.

    Anyway, I agree with Bob and Umney: a custom is when the frame is built specifically for you according to your body and riding style.

    As for a bike that's been built up with components specifically chosen by the rider, all my bikes are like that. I wouldn't call those customs. How about "hand-assembled" ?
    Check out this bike (not mine):

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    So, what is a "custom" car, then? One that is hand welded with driver's position adjusted for one specific individual? Or just a stock car chassis with all or a majority of all other parts picked and chosen at the whim of the builder?

    Again, to me, anything that isn't stock is custom.

    Main entry: 2custom
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1830
    1 : made or performed according to personal order
    says Merriam-Webster.com...

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