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  1. #1
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Personalizing/Customizing Your Bike To The Max For Serious Cycling

    The Wall Street Journal featured a interesting article recently: "The Rise Of The Designer Bike"-http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704517404576222540051051416.html?KEYWORDS=bicycles

    Plus earlier interest in the same (or similar) topic here on Bike Forums: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/348183-WSJ-article-on-custom-bikes-for-the-masses?highlight=Designer+Bikes+WSJ on an earlier discussion on custom bikes and the original article, "Custom Bikes for the Masses ": http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119092693639341667.html

    Now for the clincher. As a body of serious cyclists that use bikes for most if not all, of your transportation needs, is your bike(s) a result of intentional customization (like mine are), or just-off-the-shelf as is clones of everyone else'. ? Would you have it any other way?
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 06-09-11 at 09:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I personalize all of my bikes, some require more than others. Most modifications are for comfort or convenience. Unfortunately in the US things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hubs are not included on most bikes. So those get added. Very few bikes come with decent pedals or saddles...more custom stuff.

    Aaron
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  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I have two bikes right now. Both built up from the frame and outfitted for my individual needs. There are no other bikes like that. However, neither one is what you'd describe as a designer bike

    My wife's bike is a Specialized Rockhopper with pavement Schwalbe tires, SKS fenders, a better WTB saddle, a rack and Nashbar panniers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    .....Unfortunately in the US things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hubs are not included on most bikes. So those get added.
    The large majority of the people in the US do not use the bicycle as their main means of transportation, and when that US majority does happen to ride a bicycle, it's mostly for light recreational purposes during fair weather day light hours, making the mentioned accessories as an unneeded added cost to the purchase price of the bike.

    A considerable number of the bikes that I've viewed with added accessories, I would have removed or upgraded many of the OE accessories anyway, since they did not suit my personal needs.

  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    The large majority of the people in the US do not use the bicycle as their main means of transportation, and when that US majority does happen to ride a bicycle, it's mostly for light recreational purposes during fair weather day light hours, making the mentioned accessories as an unneeded added cost to the purchase price of the bike.
    This is now changing so fast that the bike companies are having trouble keeping up with it. Most of the NEW demand for bikes is for utility bikes, cruisers, street bikes and other everyday bicycles.

    Here's a custom bike from Bishop Cycles. I ran across it in Bicycle Times Check out the chainguard:


    Last edited by Roody; 06-10-11 at 05:37 PM.


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  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I personalize all of my bikes, some require more than others. Most modifications are for comfort or convenience. Unfortunately in the US things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hubs are not included on most bikes. So those get added. Very few bikes come with decent pedals or saddles...more custom stuff.

    Aaron
    Most of those items are essential for transportational riding. They also cost quite a bit. I have been buying used bikes and adding essentials from online suppliers like Velo Orange. I bought a set of metal fenders from VO (much like in Roody's picture...) and also a cheapo dyno hub and lights. So my old Fuji looks really blinged up for a low-end road bike from the early 80s.



    I even replaced the stem shifters with some nice Shimano 600 downtube shifters from eBay. Gives the bike a slightly Baroque look.

    Last edited by gerv; 06-10-11 at 08:50 PM. Reason: I should replace the white bar tape though :(

  7. #7
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    This is now changing so fast that the bike companies are having trouble keeping up with it. Most of the NEW demand for bikes is for utility bikes, cruisers, street bikes and other everyday bicycles.
    Please explain, what is "NEW" demand? How is it distinct from old demand? Where did you see any data that supports the idea that the bike distributors/sales outlets in the U.S. are making any serious effort to supply significant numbers of bikes to the sales floor with things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hub?

    Beats me what the picture of the custom made bike is supposed to indicate about "Serious Cycling," though I am sure it is all about Serious Money. Where are the lights, reflectors, rack, bags etc? Wonder what kind of Serious Lock would allow the proud owner to feel comfortable using this mucho $$$$ bike for practical purposes.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 06-10-11 at 10:46 PM.

  8. #8
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Please explain, what is "NEW" demand? How is it distinct from old demand? Where did you see any data that supports the idea that the bike distributors/sales outlets in the U.S. are making any serious effort to supply significant numbers of bikes to the sales floor with things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hub?

    Beats me what the picture of the custom made bike is supposed to indicate about "Serious Cycling," though I am sure it is all about Serious Money. Where are the lights, reflectors, rack, bags etc? Wonder what kind of Serious Lock would allow the proud owner to feel comfortable using this mucho $$$$ bike for practical purposes.
    The only thing I would add to support Roody's contention is that five years ago when I was looking at buying a touring or cross-type bike, you had to order them in. A couple of years after that I started seeing "commuters" on the showroom floor.

    Nowadays my LBS has the steel utility bikes right up front. You almost trip over them.

    Still... to your point... there are more carbon fiber wonders than steel.

  9. #9
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    The only thing I would add to support Roody's contention is that five years ago when I was looking at buying a touring or cross-type bike, you had to order them in. A couple of years after that I started seeing "commuters" on the showroom floor...
    I've seen this happen, too. Recently, most shops began adding a couple commuters to the showroom floor that were never there in the past. There must be some uptick in demand to cause these to be made stock.

    To the original point, most of us are likely to add or modify something, no matter how good the original build was. To my every day bike, I added: a rack, fenders, rando bars, mirror, clipless pedals, a bigger chainring, trunk bag, handlebar bag, lights, and a Brooks saddle.
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  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The biggest growth area in cycling is in commuting and utility cycling and manufacturers have taken note and seem to be offering better and better equipped bikes... Breezer nailed it some years back with their Uptown series and even those have seen some improvements like the addition of a full chain case.

    Most of my more utility / commuter oriented bicycles have been built up from their frames and I have selected the respective parts to make them the way I want them, optimizing them for their intended purpose.

    I wonder if bike manufacturers and designers cruise these forums to crib ideas... because we sure have a bunch of good ones.

    You are not going to find a touring frame on 26 inch wheels that runs a 3 speed generator hub with a dual drive in any shop except mine.


  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Please explain, what is "NEW" demand? How is it distinct from old demand? Where did you see any data that supports the idea that the bike distributors/sales outlets in the U.S. are making any serious effort to supply significant numbers of bikes to the sales floor with things like fenders, racks, bags, lights and dyno hub?
    I'm basing that on conversations with the two LBSs that I deal with. One shop was started a couple years ago with the purpose of providing practical bikes for urban riders. They have been successful enough that they recently moved to a larger store.

    The other LBS is an older establishment that always catered to "serious" riders of race bikes and mountain bikes. At one time, I was one of very few customers who rode a bike for basic transportation. Now about a third of that shop is devoted to utility and street bikes equipped as you describe. The owner told me that most of the NEW cyclists coming into the shop are looking for those "everyday" rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Beats me what the picture of the custom made bike is supposed to indicate about "Serious Cycling," though I am sure it is all about Serious Money. Where are the lights, reflectors, rack, bags etc? Wonder what kind of Serious Lock would allow the proud owner to feel comfortable using this mucho $$$$ bike for practical purposes.
    It's just eye candy or bike porn. If it offended you, you can complain to Sara Palin.
    Last edited by Roody; 06-11-11 at 01:59 PM.


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  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    It's just eye candy or bike porn. If it offended you, you can complain to Sara Palin.
    Hardly offends me. I thought that your posting a picture of a custom made bike of little practical value for "Serious Cycling" (i.e. utility or commuting) made no sense but thought maybe there was some relevance that you might explain. However you confirmed with your ignorant Sarah Palin comment, that you are all about Serious Stylin' and Serious Playing to your PC clique. But I'm sure you think your comments are clever.

  13. #13
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I suppose that every single bike ever made is a "custom" bike due to owners adding this and that to accommodate their personal needs and desires.

    As to "designer" bikes well.......

    Like anything else someone will hype an ordinary product with a bit of bling added to crate a "special" product that cost way, way to much money. That's the fashion world for ya!
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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  14. #14
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Please explain, what is "NEW" demand?
    I could predict from the thread title you would be here. "Serious" is your "Voldemort" - the word is enchanted to summon you.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    What I resent is the term "serious cycling." If you ever saw the stupid grin on my face most of the time when I'm on my bike, you'd know there was nothing serious about it!

    I am now car-free, however when I started riding exclusively (i.e. the truck and motorcycles didn't move, even though I had them) I was on an old early 90's Gary Fisher mountain bike with a back pack. Once again, I think articles like this make cycling look unnecessarily complicated and expensive to the average Joe or Joeanne. All that's really needed is a bike and the desire to give it a try!

    I now have a Raleigh Sojourn, bought just because it has everything I want already on it (racks, brooks seat, etc) however it wasn't necessary that I bought it. All that was necessary was the bike, the legs and the willingness to try. Most, like me, will get something nicer eventually, but we need, i think, to let people know all of this is not necessary!
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  16. #16
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Serious Cycling (like you seem to be to me at least, Hippiebrian, even if you don't like the term) is term for distancing and differentiating from Recreational Riding crowd, which most here in Southern California, are. That means that most of the "out for only a ride" sunny riders that will seek shelter/alternative transport if it rains. And a few (but growing) group will ride no matter what.

    I ride for limited "fun," but in the end it is very serious for me to get to the hospital in the middle of the night in the pouring rain. Or during times of crisis (man made or natural). Both my present folding bikes were designed/personalized/customized for this main purpose. Bikes that did not live up to my model or expectations were sold/donated off.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 06-11-11 at 11:23 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I'm a cyclist. Not a "serious" or "recreational" cyclist, just a cyclist. A person who likes to ride. A person who likes to ride so much he doesn't drive. Even when I have to get somewhere in a hurry (I'm on the emergency response team here at work) I'm not a "serious" cyclist. Just a guy who likes to ride.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  18. #18
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I'm not car-lite, but... for my transport-oriented bike, it's been an evolution of form and function. What started out as a NOS hybrid,



    has become



    It's been a combination of buying what I felt I needed- rack, fenders, lights, and adding want-to-haves as opportunities arise- Brooks saddle, drop bars, better wheels with dynohub. I think as an older Nishiki, it's probably still viewed as a fairly generic bike, and I like the anonymity. My cars- my Elantra and my wife's Taurus- are decent but also fairly mainstream and anonymous.

    I had a chance to pick up a Rivendel A Homer Hilsen frame for a great price but passed it up; this Nishiki already does everything I would've wanted the AHH to do. If anything happened to this bike I'd probably just start over with a ca. 1990 frame and go from there.
    Last edited by Doohickie; 06-12-11 at 12:28 AM.
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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  19. #19
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    My bike didn't come with fenders, rear rack, handlebar basket, lights, a bell or flat resistant tires. I added those to my faithful steed once I realized they were important for me. I didn't see bikes that had fenders, rear rack and a basket etc., for ready sale when I bought my bike -- maybe a bike had one or two of the items I added but not all of them.

    It would have been quicker to buy a ready equipped bike but I don't know if I would even have appreciated what the additional items would have meant for my car free lifestyle. I did enjoy the learning process and the shopping around for the extra stuff and they do make my bike more unique and personal.

    Also, reading the comments made me want to swap out my dull looking handlebar grips for racing red ones! Yeah! Those will help me go faster!!


  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    I could predict from the thread title you would be here. "Serious" is your "Voldemort" - the word is enchanted to summon you.
    OK, maybe YOU can explain "NEW" demand, or why a designer fashion statement bike is any kind of "Serious" besides Serious money?

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Read a positive and inspiring article about Serious personalizing of a bicycle and bicyclist, as well as positive advocacy for a Serious Cyclist:

    The Long Hard Ride of Damian Lopez Alfonso

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/ny...s-to-race.html

  22. #22
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    OK, maybe YOU can explain "NEW" demand, or why a designer fashion statement bike is any kind of "Serious" besides Serious money?
    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    ...At one time, I was one of very few customers who rode a bike for basic transportation. Now about a third of that shop is devoted to utility and street bikes equipped as you describe. The owner told me that most of the NEW cyclists coming into the shop are looking for those "everyday" rides.

    It's just eye candy or bike porn. If it offended you, you can complain to Sara Palin.
    It seems like he answered you well on both counts.

    "New" demand means current demand. There was a spike in demand for touring bikes in the 70's, mountain bikes in the 90's, and now, maybe, hopefully, a demand for utility bikes. I searched for hard numbers and could not find them. But, a search reveals a lot of articles about this 'new' demand for commuting bikes, driven by gas prices, green concerns, health concerns, finances, etc.

    The hippster bike was just for looking, not offered as a practical solution for most people; no harm in looking.
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  23. #23
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    It seems like he answered you well on both counts.

    The hippster bike was just for looking, not offered as a practical solution for most people; no harm in looking.
    You might consider Roody's extrapolation from one specialty shop's business to a representation of the U.S. bicycle market as "answered well," I consider it representative of one shop's business.

    If I want to see irrelevant OT pictures "just for looking" I can think of a lot more interesting subjects and just as "Serious."
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  24. #24
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    wickedwitch.jpgfatguyinspandex.jpgdog-vomit.jpgTwiki.jpgFarrah.jpg

    Yes, you are correct that his answer was anectdotal. It doesn't prove anything, but he did answer. I don't see why the surprise that someone would offer an opinion without proof, on the internet of all places.

    zepp2.jpgbaywatch.jpgitsacookbook.jpgAlfred_E_Newman.jpgcomputer nerd.jpg
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  25. #25
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    Yes, you are correct that his answer was anectdotal. It doesn't prove anything, but he did answer. I don't see why the surprise that someone would offer an opinion without proof, on the internet of all places.
    Ah, he's just trying to get my goat. It rarely works because I consider the source.

    As for a definition of NEW demand, I thought it was pretty obvious. I meant current growing demand, and also demand from NEW riders. What bikes are hot right now? What bikes are currently attracting new cyclists to the LBSs? I have read from many sources, and also heard from two LBS proprietors, that utility, transit, and street bikes are what's bringing in the noobs right now. ILTB didn't offer any evidence to refudiate that claim.

    It looks like the upscale portion of the everyday bike crowd is going with the custom-built bikes like the one I showed a photo of. And the "smart-scale" portion of the market--like the posters here-- are going for customizing and/or building up frames that were originally intended for a different purpose.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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