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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 09-15-05, 09:01 PM   #1
pwarre20
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Custom Alternative?

I need a new frame, and I would really like to go custom, but it's hard for me to justify spending that much money on a material object.

In an attempt to find a suitable alternative, I came across two different frame building schools UBI and Yamaguchi.

In both cases I can come away with a custom steel lugged track bike, AND... knowledge, which I consider to be worth the extra cost (I'm making a rough estimate of around $2500 after traveling and room & board)

What do you think about this, am I being a little to idealistic?
Do you think It's worth the money?
Has anyone taken this route or know someone who has?
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Old 09-15-05, 09:11 PM   #2
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I'm planning on taking the UBI course next summer. I'm pretty excited. You'll end up paying more than ordering one from, say Don Walker. It probably won't be as nice as a "real" Yamaguchi. But you'll be able to say that you built it with your own 2 hands. You'll have almost complete control over the design. And think about all the stuff you'll learn. That's the best part.


don't forget to budget for paint/powdercoat too. It's not included in either of the courses, I think.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:13 PM   #3
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it's not included, but i have years of auto painting experience, so it'll be no problem.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:23 PM   #4
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i want to take on of these courses too. i'm trying to decide on brazing or tig.
besides making you own bike i think it would be cool to make a reproduction of an old cinelli or masi, geometry, lugs, paintjob; with "not the real thing" painted on the stays or something.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:24 PM   #5
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wanna paint mine when i finish?

cross post it over at frameforum.net too. That's where the amateur and super-pro framebuilders hang out.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:28 PM   #6
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wanna paint mine when i finish?
we might be able to work that out.
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cross post it over at frameforum.net too
I will
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Old 09-15-05, 09:29 PM   #7
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what a cool idea. build your own custom frame. reminds me of the shop in the local malls with the stuffed bears, kind of.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:38 PM   #8
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That's kind of a strange philosophy to me. I mean, it would be cool to learn how to build your own frame, but unless you have the space and the money to buy the welding equipment and jigs when would you ever use that knowledge? If the desired outcome is a custom frame, then you will end up spending twice as much money if you go to frame building school which makes no sense UNLESS your real desire is a custom frame built by your own hands. In which case, if you can afford it, why not?

What's your objection to spending "that much money on a material object"? Should only immaterial objects cost "that much money"? By immaterial objects I guess you must mean vacations, education, stuff like that. But then, what good is a frame building education if it doesn't lead right back to those dreaded material objects - frames? The best immaterial objects cost nothing at all but most material objects cost something whether we want to spend the money or not. In your case you are contradicting yourself if you don't plan on building more frames because you will have spent even more money than the ammount you were originally opposed to.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:44 PM   #9
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when you can buy a custom steel frame for $600, isn't that a cheaper alternative? $2500 for the class, your time, etc. is not exactly a way to save money. If you look around at custom builders, steel if you want to save money, there are plenty that offer a very fair price, and then you don't have to do it yourself. Not that it wouldn't be fun to do, build your own frame, but if it isn't quite right, who you gonna blame!
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Old 09-15-05, 09:49 PM   #10
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thor29:

the point in taking this class would be first to get a custom frame, and second learn a new skill. frame building has always interested me, I'm an industrial designer by trade, and I think that learning the classic methodology of bicycle construction would be a valuable insight into the mindset of the bicycling enthusiast that could later be used for a design direction. Secondly, I could always use it as a fallback career.
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Old 09-15-05, 09:50 PM   #11
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Who makes a custom steel frame for $600?
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Old 09-16-05, 12:01 PM   #12
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I've attended and know others who've gone to UBI and I would strongly suggest getting some welding practice in beforehand, especially welding pipes. You can do the course without knowing jack about welding but every neophyte welder who attended these classes struggled somewhat.

I should point out I was doing the mechanics class but roomed with a number of folks doing the welding class and this was pretty much everyones' opinion. A friend of mine did the course as well and reported much the same thing.
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Old 09-16-05, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pwarre20
Who makes a custom steel frame for $600?
marinoni
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Old 09-16-05, 12:12 PM   #14
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i've heard a lot of criticism towards the yamaguchi class. you basically watch him do everything for you, but get good classroom instruction. barnett's is here in town and two summers ago i met a woman who was attending class there that took both frame building courses. she felt like the yamaguchi class was not worth the money because you didn't get enough hands on time. she built a sweet tig welded titanium frame, which i think is worth the 2500, where as i don't think i would pay that to learn to braze a lugged frame...
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