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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-10-05, 01:18 PM   #1
Wierd Beard
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Custom Commuter?

As some of you may know, I was recently swiped by a careless driver and subsequently had my bike mangled. So, while I am healing, the process of choosing a new frame begins...

The question I have for all fo you is: Do any of you have a custom frame as your daily rider/commuter/do-it-all bike?

The reason I ask is, I am leaning towards a full custom Bob Jackson frame 'cos I think they're lovely but I am starting to wonder whether its a good idea to have such an expensive frame for a commuter due to the inate risks of theft, damage etc..... Part of me thinks I shuld just get a Steamroller and be done with any fancy notions of gorgeous hand-built bikes but part of me thinks I deserve a really sweet ride 'cos my bike is such a huge part of my life.

Help me out!
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Old 07-10-05, 01:23 PM   #2
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to each his own, but in my opinion, i would love a custom. Consider the fact that you are spending a certain amount of time on this bike, across a certain path with a specific style of riding. For me its an issue of comfort, if you walked to work everyday, you would want a pair shoes that fit your feet, walking style and the path you will walk on. I would say apply the same ideology to your bike.
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Old 07-10-05, 01:34 PM   #3
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Well since you're not footing the bill, you won't be out any extra cash if it gets nicked. He's pretty not-local for you, but I'll put in a plug for Mr. Mike Flanigan of ANT bikes who loves fixed gears (his favorite all rounder is his fixed light roadster).

His bikes are for people who do practical things with them. He's got a bunch of standard makes, but he also told me he's very happy to work with a customer/client to build a custom geometry.
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Old 07-10-05, 03:16 PM   #4
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Mine will be ready in a week or two. Can't wait. I plan to ride it everywhere. If I'm feeling paranoid about theft, scratches, whatever I also have another beater bike that can stand to hang out at the bike rack in the rain while I go see a movie. Do it!
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Old 07-10-05, 04:01 PM   #5
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as far as theft, its not like you are going to lock the surly any less securely, right? no matter what you buy, you are gonna wanna lock it up real good, so you might as well get what you want. taping frames, etc always helps.
as far as wear and tear, your call. but you might as well enjoy what you are riding as much as you can (afford to).
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Old 07-10-05, 04:15 PM   #6
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Im in somewhat of the same predicament. I just recently got a Terry Dolan and had to sell my old bike that would have made a nice beater. So now Im left to ride my Dolan everyday in NYC and lock it up outside and ride it when it rains or build another bike. Well of course Im going to build another bike but do I build something nice to ride in the rain/ lock it up all day, or do I just buy a stock $500 bike? Decisions decisions.
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Old 07-10-05, 04:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by flexo
as far as theft, its not like you are going to lock the surly any less securely, right? no matter what you buy, you are gonna wanna lock it up real good
As far as theft goes, Ive heard of too many people getting stems and bars stolen as well as seatposts and saddles- there are only so many ways to lock up a bike. Id rather loose something cheap than something nice.
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Old 07-10-05, 04:22 PM   #8
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I had my friend johnny coast build me a custom frame with every intention of it being my daily ride. One i got it it was such a nice ride that i kept worrying about it getting stolen, hit, etc. Since i had a bit of extra cash i bought a khs frame and built that up as my commuter...now i have the khs commuter, and i save the coast for the days when i am either not riding as hard and crazy and not locking it up out of sight for long periods of time, and for when im racing (soon!)
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Old 07-10-05, 04:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr Monster Legs
As far as theft goes, Ive heard of too many people getting stems and bars stolen as well as seatposts and saddles- there are only so many ways to lock up a bike. Id rather loose something cheap than something nice.
i hear you, but you can put 'cheap' components (or at least less flashy) on a nice custom frame and still have some of the fit, control benefits. the question is about wether or not to get a custom frame, right? my only point is one would lock up a surly-based bike just as tight as a custom frame based bike. or at least i would.
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Old 07-10-05, 04:39 PM   #10
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I totally agree- I guess I assumed that a Surly wouldnt have as nice of components as the customperhaps Im wrong.
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Old 07-10-05, 05:43 PM   #11
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Actually most people who walk a lot just go out and get New Balance shoes which are "box stock" but are very good shoes. So, get a Felt or IRO or something.
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Old 07-10-05, 05:53 PM   #12
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I think an IRO has a higher chance of being stolen than a Bob Jackson. Kind of like how the most stolen car is a Toyota Corolla. Everyone has one, and they're easy to sell. You can't walk out of a store, see someone riding a black Mark V with IRO hubs/Deep V's and yell "HEY! THAT'S MY BIKE!!!"

Bob Jackson has a long lead time (8+ weeks usually) BTW, even for their "off the shelf" frames. Obviously not as long as a lot of custom stuff, but still much longer then I'd want to be out of the saddle.
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Old 07-10-05, 07:00 PM   #13
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I sport New Balance sneakers to avoid a narrow path.
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Old 07-10-05, 07:07 PM   #14
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I think id be buggin out a little more if someone took my bob Jackson
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Old 07-10-05, 07:30 PM   #15
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I think id be buggin out a little more if someone took my bob Jackson
Nice.
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Old 07-10-05, 08:22 PM   #16
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i bet i know what bob jackson would say. buy it, ride it.
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Old 07-10-05, 08:35 PM   #17
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get the custom frame to get the nice fit, quality materials and build and sweet feeling ride you want, and go easy on the cosmetics like lugs, decals, and paint.

i don't know what options bob jackson or others offer, but maybe they'd build you a simple, luggled frame, finish it with a durable single-color powder coat, and go easy on the decals (i love how the only markings on johnny cycles frames are the simple hand-written logo on the chainstay).
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Old 07-10-05, 08:44 PM   #18
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Hmm. Hmmmmmmm. Hmmm.

I'm riding a secondhand custom built frame made with really light weight tubing. Lately I've been able to put a lot of miles on in the past couple of weeks due to a "safer-than-sorrier" diagnosis from an urgent care doc. Almost every ride I nearly wet my pants with glee with how this frame is stiff in the right ways and handles gnarly chatter bumps and busted concrete.

I guess the point is, if you go for a non-custom high end frame you will be very happy. Go custom fitting and high end materials and you too will ride with the pants wet with glee.

If you're going to go, go all out. And don't forget the proofhide.

Don't want it stolen? Never stop riding.
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Old 07-10-05, 08:57 PM   #19
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I won't pay attention to words like "custom" when buying second hand... for instance, someone else's custom tailored pants are, to me, just ill-fitting pants that smell like someone else's ass. Still, people on ebay will peddle their rare custom vintage wares...
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Old 07-10-05, 09:07 PM   #20
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If you're going to go, go all out. And don't forget the proofhide.
what is proofhide? i want to make sure i dont forget it.
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Old 07-10-05, 09:10 PM   #21
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ya put proofhide on the brooks saddle so the elements and "glee" don't **** it up.
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Old 07-10-05, 09:58 PM   #22
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My idea of a cool custom commuter is a frame that can take 30mm 700c wheels....can be fixed or geared....provisions for fenders and racks.....built for robustness over light weight.

Of course, having something like that is thiefbait.

So, you have to make a judgement about how thief-proof (not that such a thing exists) you want to make it. You could get a custom frame with no decals painted matte black or some other muted colour. You could get a nice custom frame painted exactly how you want it and hit it up with black electrical tape and sticker 'cammouflage'.

However, if you don't want to cry when the thing gets stolen, the only way to minimise that is ride any old cheap crap you can find.

Your solution is somewhere between those two extremes
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Old 07-10-05, 10:09 PM   #23
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Get the Bob Jackson. It's not everyday that the opportunity comes along to ride a frame that was custom built for you - so why not do it now when the opportunity makes itself available. Whether it's a Bob Jackson, a Thylacine, a Don Walker, a Johnny Cycles/Coast, an ANT and the other many solid frame builders out there, why not see what it feels like?

It's like what they say, "It's better to have loved than to never have loved at all." Why not get the bike you really want and ride the hell out of it?
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Old 07-10-05, 10:21 PM   #24
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Build the bike of your liking and buy a used cheapo from the recycler or at a LBS that sell used ones. Go to thrift stores or yard sales, you'll eventually find one as your beater. I know a lot of people that have used bikes, so I'm sure you will find one.
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Old 07-10-05, 11:46 PM   #25
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Yeah, if you're looking at a custom, can't you just get 2 bikes?

You can probably find decent secondhand road bikes on the cheap, and I bet it wouldn't cut much into your custom frame budget. 2 bikes are better than 1!
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