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Old 08-04-09, 05:21 PM   #1
Paul B
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Sanner Cycles

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.


Paul B

I will post more pics when my Tubus racks arrive and I get it tour ready.
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File Type: jpg Sanner Build 0081.JPG (68.3 KB, 193 views)
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Old 08-04-09, 06:19 PM   #2
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Congratulations, that bike looks great, I'm happy you found a builder that made your dream bike.

I'm looking myself for a builder for a somewhat similar bike, thanks for bringing him to my attention, I'll be sure to keep him in mind.
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Old 08-04-09, 08:15 PM   #3
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perhaps it's the color, but it puts to mind of my rawland (minus the huge head tube).

very nice!!
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Old 08-05-09, 12:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting this. I really like what I see on their site.
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Old 08-05-09, 01:44 PM   #5
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It's interesting that the head badge has a carpenters framing hammer instead of a sledge as used in a foundry.

Just curious

Nice looking bike though!
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Old 08-06-09, 11:03 AM   #6
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Great post. Glad to hear you got exactly (or better than) what you wanted and/or expected. When I contracted for a custom frame, I had all of the misgivings you experienced when the builder showed me his drawings and specs after I had discussed what I wanted. And, like you, I got something much better than I expected. The fella (S. Bilenky) knew what I wanted better than I did. It's good to hear that I'm not the only one that had the heeby-jeebies after I had committed to the build.

Gotta love it when things work out better than planned. Long life to excellent bike builders! Custom, when you get down to it, is not as expensive as it seems.
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Old 08-06-09, 07:29 PM   #7
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I hear ya Foamy. When I looked at the drawing, I thought, "I think that bike will be to small, and to relaxed". Just shows that, though I have that little bike mechanic certificate from UBI, I don't know nearly as much about frame building as I thought I did. I took it for a 50 mile ride yesterday and can honestly say there is not one thing I don't like about this bike. My expectations were exceeded.

Paul B
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Old 08-06-09, 08:04 PM   #8
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Great story!

"but knew I wanted a lugged steel frame. They just have the best ride."

Second part of that isn't true, even the builders don't mostly say that any more. Lugs make people happy, as long as they have their eyes open. Blind test, no difference.
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Old 08-07-09, 09:07 AM   #9
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You may be right PP1. I didn't test ride any quality tig welded steel frames. All I test rode, in steel, were lugged frame bikes.

Paul B
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Old 08-07-09, 07:17 PM   #10
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I too have a Sanner bike- primarily set up for commuting. But I ride it for just about everything else- including a 738 km multi day ride in southern Ontario during July. The frame was built to very nicely fit my odd size/shape body, it is comfortable to ride, has a solid feel but not sluggish and while has only about 3000 km on it -shows no signs of any build issues. I am very satisfied with the frame & Tim's workmanship.
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Old 08-07-09, 08:54 PM   #11
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Very nice, I should have bought one when he was doing $550 frames on ebay
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Old 08-08-09, 04:05 AM   #12
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I appreciate this thread! You have turned my head in his direction for a new frame.
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Old 08-09-09, 10:00 AM   #13
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I have been looking at buying a Trek 520 or Surly LHT for some touring. Also considered a Rivendell, but realized it was out of my budget. I thought that maybe custom frames were out of the question, but you have turned me around with Sanner bikes. After looking at their website, I am going to work up a spread sheet with components. Once I get a close estimate of my final build, I will contact them.

First some background: I have 2 road bikes (Specialized Allez Elite and Madone 5.2) and 2 MTBs. My style of riding could be classified as a serious recreational rider for road bikes. I don't race, but I like training and riding hard as if I was preparing for competition. My first allure to cycling was a magazine I saw in the early 80s about touring on bicycles, and it struck a chord with me. I started hanging out with people who raced and the touring aspect went to the wayside. Now almost 30 years later, it is calling me again.

But I'm very new to touring and the components of touring bikes.

Paul, what is your bottom bracket? Is the spacing of the rear-dropouts at 135mm? Are touring bikes made with 130mm dropouts or is this too narrow? Did you build your wheels yourself?
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Old 08-09-09, 11:05 AM   #14
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I got your message Talarspeed and really there were no questions I forgot to ask. I contacted Tim via e-mail and knew everything I wanted in a bike. I completed his measurements and all the questions from his websight and got a price from him. Tim sent me a diagram of the frame, and after looking at it and comparing it to my Cross Check, I had him make the top tube 1.5 cm longer. Tim redrew it, sent me a revised drawing, then I made the deposit.

I won't kid you I was very nervous. I mean in the world of custom frames, this was very inexpensive, but still, $1200 is $1200 and what if I didn't like it. Someone told me once, "you just have to trust your builder", and thats what I did. It turned out great.

I cant remember what BB I am running. My rear spacing is 135 because that is what I spec'ed when I had the bike built. I also spec'ed things like a bottom pull front derailer, which he said he could do either top or bottom pull. I had my wheels built, and they were not cheap. Having a set built with 36 hole XT hubs and a cheaper rim would have cut the price in half, and would have probably never disappointed me. I weigh 220 lbs, and since I am a hard core flat bar rider, I used almost all mt.bike components. I wanted real durable bike.

Good luck,
Paul B
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Old 07-02-10, 03:37 PM   #15
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Regrettably, my buying experience with Sanner Cycles was wholly unsatisfactory, except that my money was eventually refunded in full.

I've posted the details of that transaction here: http://tourdedavid.blogspot.com/
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Old 07-02-10, 04:09 PM   #16
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My Sanner frame & fork are still going strong;
commute and ride on local dirt roads just about daily.
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Old 07-02-10, 05:06 PM   #17
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Regrettably, my buying experience with Sanner Cycles was wholly unsatisfactory, except that my money was eventually refunded in full.

I've posted the details of that transaction here: http://tourdedavid.blogspot.com/

Did you get a Vaya (I think I saw a mention of it in your blog ?). Would love to know more about the Vaya; it's a new-ish bike, maybe you should have a thread here telling us about the Vaya?

(Sorry about the Sanner...)
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Old 07-02-10, 07:35 PM   #18
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My Sanner frame & fork are still going strong;
commute and ride on local dirt roads just about daily.
That is very good to hear, Martianone. I'm curious if you were aware that he doesn't usually build the forks for his framesets before you made your purchase?

BengeBoy, I did get a Vaya. After the Sanner troubles ate up so much time, I finally got the Vaya built up on Tuesday, 4 days before my cross country tour started. I'll gladly do some type of review soon.
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Old 07-05-10, 05:01 AM   #19
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That is very good to hear, Martianone. I'm curious if you were aware that he doesn't usually build the forks for his framesets before you made your purchase?
Truman:
My body size is odd, with a very long torso and short arms and legs. I'm about 6'3" with a 30 " inseam - I look goofy. I wanted/needed a custom fit bike, had talked with a few custom framemakers when Sanner popped up on the horizon- also wanted a steel frame. After some emessages and a couple of phone calls I contracted with Sanner to supply a commuting, utility cycling, touring, pleasure riding frameset. My mass is just below a 100 kg, often carry a 10-20 kg load - frequently ride on terrible roads or in poor conditions. I needed the frameset to fit me well, ride comfortably, be responsive to ride, long lasting but not a tank. When the frameset arrive - asked my LBS to do the build with components known for their lasting value and toughness- Mavic 719A wheels with 36 spoke XT hubs, is an example. The set up is a 1x9, wanted a pragmatic reliable drivetrain. Now I've ridden this bike about 6000 km, gone on tour, commuted in fumbuck, commuted in Manhattan & Toronto, ridden a few log roads and local cow paths. The only thing I've done to the bike is replace the chain and tires once [probably need to do both again soon]. I've ridden & parked it outside in the pouring rain, snow storm, sleet, hot, cold, mud covered, slush slopped, iced up, have even washed it a couple of times only to clean off the barnyard "mud".
I too had a list of specific details and items I wanted on my bike [the build is a little non traditional], Sanner provided some good advice, some I listened to and followed, some I let my own experience be the guide. When I contracted with Sanner for a frameset, not sure I really cared exactly how he sourced the parts and components he used to do the build - all I care about was getting the frameset that I wanted and that it met my needs - which based upon my experiences the Sanner frameset has done in spades. martianone.

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Old 09-03-10, 09:41 PM   #20
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Dave,
I deeply apologize for the troubles we had with the transaction. I'm so sorry things did not work out as planned and as I have said, I am more than happy to do anything else in my power to make you feel better about the situation. Again, you are welcome to come down (my shop is not too far from you) and take my frame building class for free. It may be nice for you to see what goes into building a custom frame.

Wishing the best,
Tim Sanner

Martianone- So glad to hear the frameset is going strong!
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Old 09-04-10, 03:37 AM   #21
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Dave,
I deeply apologize for the troubles we had with the transaction. I'm so sorry things did not work out as planned and as I have said, I am more than happy to do anything else in my power to make you feel better about the situation. Again, you are welcome to come down (my shop is not too far from you) and take my frame building class for free. It may be nice for you to see what goes into building a custom frame.

Wishing the best,
Tim Sanner

Martianone- So glad to hear the frameset is going strong!
hi tim sanner,
can you give me a link to your website please.
if i get you to build me a frame touring would it be a problem to send it to Ireland .
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Old 09-04-10, 03:47 AM   #22
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paul b thanks for this thread brilliant.
i to want to go the custom route like you i like my thorn sherpa but don't love it so to speak.
i find it's more a donkey than a race horse especially when it comes to climbing..don,t get me wrong the sherpa is a great bike but the touring i do i would much prefair a much lighter faster bike .
on longer rides i get back pain on my sherpa, believe me i adjusted the bike every which way to try and feel more comfy maybe i need a slightly longer top tube.you say that worked for you.
anyway thanks for now .
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Old 09-05-10, 09:15 AM   #23
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Hey Antokelly,
My site is here: www.sannercycles.com

Touring frames are my specialty, especialy when dealing with neck pinch and back pain, so feel free to give me a call.

-Tim
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Old 09-05-10, 09:40 AM   #24
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Regrettably, my buying experience with Sanner Cycles was wholly unsatisfactory, except that my money was eventually refunded in full.

I've posted the details of that transaction here: http://tourdedavid.blogspot.com/
ouch.
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Old 09-05-10, 12:18 PM   #25
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I completed the frame building class Tim Sanner offers a few weeks ago and loved it plus I ended up with my own custom touring frame; would highly recomend it. - http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...mebuilding-101
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