I am posting to tell of the bike I recently had built from Tim Sanner of Sanner Cycles. Anyone considering having a custom bike built by him should read this. Forgive my lengthy post, but I think there may be people out there feeling the same way I did.
Beginning of last year I bought a Surly Cross Check and built it up as my do-all, flat bar road bike. I have been riding all my life and am a Bike Patrol Officer, so I knew what I wanted in a bike. The build was done with quality components: Chris King headset, wheels built with Chris King hubs and Mavic Open Pro wheels, XT & XTR, Avid Single Digit 7 brakes, my trusty Brooks saddleÖ I heard several times I had Cadillac components on a VW frame. I rode the Surly through last year, and liked it, but didnít love it. It is a great bargin, and well built, but a little dead feeling. I felt my old 1984 Schwinn World with the steel lugged frame rode just as good. I had some fit issues on the Surly so I had a professional fit done which I can highly suggest. Even after the pro fit I still found myself moving around on the saddle more then I felt I should, and after 25+ miles I started feeling little aches and pains throughout my 43 year old body. I began really considering a custom frame.
This year I began riding and had the same problems as last year. I liked the bike, but wasnít in love, and the little aches and pains were still there. Being financially recovered from last years build, I talked the Minister of Finance (my wife) into releasing some stimulus to have a custom frame built. I went and talked to a few builders and rode some nice bikes, but knew I wanted a lugged steel frame. They just have the best ride.
While surfing the net, I ran across Sanner Cycles. I was very attracted to the price, but a little concerned as I could find almost nothing on line about his bikes. Also being a Police Officer, Iím a little untrusting because of all the online scams I have seen, and flying from Ohio to San Palo Alto, Ca to wrap a piece of high quality steel tubing around Tim Sannerís neck if he took my money and sent me a Next BMX bike, could really get expensive. After a few emails back and forth about price, what I wanted, how he got started, and Tim assuring me he was no rip off artist, I decided to have him build me a frame. I ordered what is basically a touring frame, with shorter chain stays (bosses for 3 water bottleís, lugs for racks in front and back, fenders, room for 35mm tires, 135mm rear hub spacingÖ) and his touring fork. I also upgraded the tubing, and the powder coating to a metallic. Total price was $1236 delivered, which is about $1000 less then all of the other builders I was considering. This, and the drawing Tim sent me of what he was going to build me had me questioning some things, made me nervous, but I figured what the hell and sent him a $600 deposit on June 19th.
Tim stayed in touch emailing me his progress now, and then patting me on the head and assuring me that everything would be fine. On July 22nd, just 33 days later he called me and told me my frame was done. I paid the balance and received the bike on the 29th. Now Sannerís web site says that he powder coats his frames and with the powder coating there may be ďa black spot or slight water markĒ in the finish, so I expected and hoped that this would be the weak part and justify the low price. Tim had also told me that the Maroon Spice Metallic color I chose would be a little different then the swatch. I figured I ride my bikes, I donít hang them up in my house as art work so I could live with a few flaws. What I took out of the box I really didnít expect to see. The color was indeed off from the websites color swatch, but it looked awesome. Much better. It was what I would best describe as blood red metallic. I like the color much better than the swatch on his site. The quality appeared to be very good. The only flaw I could find was a very small run in the powder coat in an area that canít be seen and only I will know it is there. Itís a non issue for me.
After treating the inside of the tubes, I started assembly. No suprises. Everything went together without any problems.
Due to time, I could only take it on a short 12 mile ride. First thing I noticed is that it steers quicker than my Cross Check. It is also much stiffer, but doesnít beat me up at all. Not sure how that works, but I like it. It climbs great seated and standing. It is very stable and tracks perfect. The stability desending at 45+mph is like nothing I have ever experienced. No disruption from bumpy roads. I canít find anything I donít like about this bike. I also now know the meaning of lively.
Since I have taken it on a couple 30+ miles and the biggest thing I notice is I donít find myself moving around on the seat anymore, and when I am done, I have no aches and pains, just tired legs.
I donít know Tim Sanner, and trust me, if the bike would have turned out to be a ***, Iíd have certainly let everyone know. I have to tell it like it is, Tim Sanner knows how to build a bike and nailed exactly what I wanted. I would have him build me another bike in a heartbeat. I really couldnít be any more happy than I am now.
I will post more pics when my Tubus racks arrive and I get it tour ready.