I'm thinking out loud here so bear with me. Does anyone on this forum have experience with this maker? I've looked into ordering one. Price is kind of steep ( $6-7000.00) for basic setup minus pedals, seat, wheels, tires and racks/bags. Lead-time is currently 18 to 24 months. My thinking is to buy one really great bike that will hopefully last the rest of my bike riding life; I'm currently 54. I'm aware of Rivendell, Indepent Fab, Vanilla etc and have read-up on Jan Heine's Vintage Bicycle Quarterly and other similar mags and newsletters. I'd really like the input from those who've had experience. Thx, Thom.
Older I get, Better I was
I have no experince with the new bikes. I had access to a 1962 and a 1974 Alex singer for reference when I built my light touring bike. Alex Singer himself is long dead but from what I hear they still make high quality bicycles. I know where you are coming from about " the last bike". 7 grand isn't outrageous for a high quality bike these days
Here is a field trip report about a visit to Alex Singer
They are a long-respected name among custom tourer-randonneur builders, from a time before there were as many as there are today. I am sure they will build you an excellent bicycle. When shopping in that range, you should get what you want. If you want a vintage name, they have it.
If you want similar or better quality, you ought to also consider some of the Japanese builders like Toei, H. Hirose, Crescent and Cherubim.
There are also some exceptional US craftsmen, some you mentioned, and others like Phil Brown and Stephen Bilenky who have a similar aesthetic. (I just saw an exquisite custom Bilenky randonneur with a Campagnolo 50th Anniversary gruppo
last week at a shop in Maryland).
Although I like the idea of a long-lived bike, I don't care whether any bike I buy is the last one I ever get; in fact I would prefer not to think of it that way. Waiting as long as 2 years doesn't appeal to me personally, but I am still glad so see that there are builders willing to make a bike so desirable that the wait is that long, and that there is someone willing to wait for it.
Last edited by CHenry; 02-26-06 at 08:04 PM.
What is it you want out of a bike. One can try to read it into your suggested choice, but it might help to say why you want that particular brand.
I like to get some value for my money. I will spend insane amounts on the stuff I want, but I would want to understand that price a little better. A fair amount of it must be components, tubing, lugs, and geometries that are essentially generic. Some portion is going to be stuff that won't make it into the bike like the Parisian standard of living, and shipping. In the end, what is one paying for, what about important stuff like sizing that would be better done in person.
I was in Mariposa today, looking for some parts. Imagine trying to drop the hamer on this tourist while cycling around town:
****! I was there and no wonder he was a little short with me when I tried to explain something to him (I thought that he didn't speak English very well.)
Originally Posted by velonomad
I never saw the sign over the doorway, just was walking by and looked into the window and saw that line of not very classy bicycles. I assumed it was just a neighborhood bicycle shop.
He got really huffy when I asked about a winter bicycling jacket. "They only come in in the fall" he said. Well, sure, but I was there in July.
I suppose they're used to people worshiping them because of the history of the brand. And to be truthful with you, had I realized that was Alex Singer (company of course it was in 2001 I believe) I would probably have done as everyone else.
I'll say this - the French build a type of bicycle called a Brevet bike. By that I suppose they mean those sort of distance rides which vary wildly in distance up to Paris-Brest-Paris which is what? 700 miles in 3 days?
Anyway, a Brevet bike is something to behold. They're really clean bicycles. They're designed to carry the rider and a lighting system and maybe a handlebar bag with some snacks in it. They ride very fast in order to complete these brevets almost like a race but not so professional. So a brevet bike is somewhat between a touring bike and a racing bike. They're built lightly but with somewhat extended geometry to allow some comfort on these long rides.
I've seen Alex Singers where every single part on the bike had the Alex Singer logo. Certainly they were as artistic a bicycle as is possible.
Its my understanding that they keep some bikes in stock. So , it may behoove you to call Ed Czuka (I think thats his name) up and find out what's in stock. They might have something that will fit you. Remember, Alex Singers are built on traditional geometry which will fit 95% of riders.
The Mariposa is also an excellent suggestion. We don't know how much longer they will be making these. They are every bit the quality of the Alex Singer. Its all a labor of love for Mike Barry (I hope I spelled his last name right).
You are only 54 brother! You will be getting more bikes! I would not let that deter you from buying what you want though. Buy that high end bike because you want it and because you are going to enjoy riding it. That doesn't mean you can't buy another down the road. Trust me, you will see something else you like in a couple years and want it.
A custom Mariposa would run around $3500-$4500, including light system, etcetera. Where are you located?
Originally Posted by thomj513
I'm sure those Alex Singers are great, but you may find an equivalent framebuilder closer to you who is experienced in randonneur/brevet bicycles.
There's a thread going in the Classic and Vintage forum, titled "cream of the crop," and on the first page of the thread there's a pic of a beautiful Alex Singer bike from the mid-seventies.
More Energy than Sense
Amen BLM. I don't know how many times I thought this will be my last bike only to be in the market for a new within weeks of buying it. Materialistic? Maybe. But I love bikes and it is cheaper than a drug habit. If you are trying to justify spending that much by telling yourself this is your last one, then I understand.
Personally, I think that is a lot for a bike but if you are looking for a piece of art to ride, OK. If you want a really nice riding bike custom fitted to you, you could probably save about $3000 and get a Bilenky, Davidson, too many to mention. Then again if money doesn't matter...
I would be careful about commissioning a custom bicycle from someone who lives far away. I cannot imagine NOT having face-to-face meetings with the builder. In fact, having a custom bike built can be a very collaborative process. I really enjoyed and benefited from the openness of the guy who built my bike. The designing of the bike was like having a long, detailed, conversation.
Before ordering my custom bicycle, I visited the builder twice, and we communicated several times by telephone and email. After he completed the bicycle six months later, I returned twice for him to tweak it until I was satisfied. It was part of the service he provided, and for that I was grateful.
His shop was "only" about 90 minutes away from my home by car, so it wasn't TOO much trouble to go back and forth. Unless you live within a few hours of Paris, you might want to consider a bicycle builder closer to home. There are many craftspeople who can build you a beautiful machine. (I am aware of four custom bike builders in my area.)
My Alex Singer bike is being build right now, by Olivier Csuka, the son of Ernest Csuka who left this world a couple of months ago.
Fact is: I do live 400 miles from Paris, I went to the shop and I had personnal contact , have been mesured and did discuss details over and over again. Also, I have quite some E-mails and phone calls as soon as it becomes necessary. Last but not least, I do speak French better than English...
I think all this is important for any bike of this level. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that Olivier Csuka and his helping hand ( the company are exactly two people) do know how to build a solid, well-working, beautiful and fast bike. Of course, they have to work with other people for parts, but I cannot imagine they would trade with cheap quality people: it would ruin the name of the Singer Brand.
I planned this for two years before I took the decision. And of course, the fact to be at the shop after a five-hours ride was important. There are certainly several very very good builders all around the world. Still, for a certain kind of bike ( french Randonneuse), A.S. always was and remains one of the best possible adresses.
If the bike will be as I want it, ( or if it does not, which I really do NOT hope) I'll let You know. It should be ready in September 2010. I ordered it in April. Six months to wait for it seemed reasonable for this kind of bicycle.
They are not cheap, but compared to some mass production high level carbon racing bikes, they actually are not expensive. One has to know what one wants.
Good luck with the build. Bikes are a cultural item, and one problem with something like a Singer is whether it is connected to the vibe of what is locally considered touring, or a touring bike. Another problem you neatly deal with by being relatively near the builder.
Nothing wrong with buying a sweet bike, but I wouldn't assume you'll love it so much you'll want to ride it for the rest of your life...that may happen, but be okay if it doesn't. There are a lot of factors that would lead to you truly falling in love with a bike and while Singer will undoubtedly produce a fine bike, but who knows how you'll feel about it?
Originally Posted by thomj513
Kind of like the person we end up falling in love with and staying with the rest of our lives is often quite a lot different from the one we would have ordered if they were bikes...I've found that some of the bikes I enjoy the most are not the ones I thought I would and are definitely not the most expensive boutique brand bikes I've owned.
I'm not trying to talk you out of the Singer...just want to throw a little caution into your thought process...
Yeah, the X-factor is sneaky. A custom bike ought to nail all sorts of things that an off the shelf bike might not, but there is no guarantee that it will be a bike you can fall in love with, unless you got to ride a very similar bike as part of the process and were blown away.
Please do post your experience (with photos) when it's done.
Originally Posted by de paletti
I assume anyone interested in Singer owns this book:
Personally, I would much rather have a JP Weigle.
oh, say, this one:
Publisher of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly, Jan Heine, in Seattle, raves about them ,
so much He had to start a magazine to spread the Gospel of French Constructeurs
to the subscribers.
Gilles Berthoud, in France, will build a custom touring bike, fully outfitted bags racks and all .. made there, by his people, and you have an excuse to visit his facility there..
Last edited by fietsbob; 07-13-10 at 11:40 AM.
Keep in mind that this thread was started in 2006.
Yes, but it was revived (post 12) by someone who has a new Singer on the way. Would love to see the results.
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Those results would be interesting. That's no reason to revive this ancient thread. People are also replying to the original poster!!
Originally Posted by BengeBoy
(Note that I did not suggest people do anything in particular.)
Hello to all,
As soon as the bike will be finished, I'll let You know. If everything goes right, that will be during September 2010.
The second thing is : yes, I have thought over and over before I took the decision to go to Olivier Csuka. And yes, Peter (Weigle) would have been THE other possibility. I have great respect for Peter's work, and do love his bikes... The distance decided: Peter lives in the USA, A.S. is just a couple of hours ride from where I live.
Also, it must be clear that I want a lightweight yet solid travelling bike, not a steel frame racing machine. Also, my contact with Olivier is good: we discuss details, sometimes over and over. It will not be a vintage machine, but a modern one with contemporary features, but in a classic look. I did consider Gilles Berthoud, and I do not doubt he builts great machines. But I want a lugged steel frame.
As soon as the project will be realized, I'll let You know.
Funny I didn't notice the date... Too bad the OP didn't come back and let us know what happened.
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Well- as it is a thread about A.Singer bikes... it might be some readers are interested in the subject, even in 2010;-)
( Although I do believe that most of them know exactly what kind of bikes we're talking about ).
No, old threads should generally be left alone. People can use the search facility to find old threads about stuff.
Originally Posted by de paletti
The problem is that people think the thread is new and keep replying to an old, ancient question.
No doubt people are interested and, even if they are not, you can create a new thread!
It's easy to miss the date. This is why people should not revive old threads.
Originally Posted by vik
Last edited by njkayaker; 07-19-10 at 01:27 PM.