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  1. #1
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    custom made bike suggestions

    I'm thinking about finally having a touring bike built just my size and wonder what you all dream of, or the dream you already have. I prefer 26" wheels, I pull a BOB, and I usually weigh about 160lbs. I've been using my converted mountain bike (lugged steel) but it's really old, and I deserve a new one! Thanks for your ideas.
    R Long

  2. #2
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    I have a Waterford adventure bike (700c), but if I was going the 26" route I'd seriously check out Bruce Gordon cycles. Not custom, but everything I'd need.

    Edit: Perhaps Bruce does do individual custom fit builds-don't know.

  3. #3
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    If you weigh 160lbs (I wish I weighed only 160) and will pull a bob trailer, I do not see a need for a heavy weight (steel) bike designed for carrying panniers. You could easily go with a cool lighter weight bike, like a Litespeed blueridge or many others. This would help offset the extra weight of the trailer. My two cents worth.
    Greg

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    (quote)If I was going the 26" route I'd seriously check out Bruce Gordon cycles. Not custom, but everything I'd need.

    Edit: Perhaps Bruce does do individual custom fit builds-don't know.[/QUOTE]


    We do stock frame sizes, as well as custom sizes - give us a call (707) 762-5601

    Bruce Gordon
    Bruce Gordon Cycles
    http://www.bgcycles.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw
    If you weigh 160lbs (I wish I weighed only 160) and will pull a bob trailer, I do not see a need for a heavy weight (steel) bike designed for carrying panniers. You could easily go with a cool lighter weight bike, like a Litespeed blueridge or many others. This would help offset the extra weight of the trailer. My two cents worth.
    Greg
    Wow! I was just in a friends LBS an hour ago and he suggested a Litespeed Blueridge! I had never heard of it, but that's going to be his next touring bike. I didn't really check it out, but I just might. Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgcycles
    (quote)If I was going the 26" route I'd seriously check out Bruce Gordon cycles. Not custom, but everything I'd need.

    Edit: Perhaps Bruce does do individual custom fit builds-don't know.

    We do stock frame sizes, as well as custom sizes - give us a call (707) 762-5601

    Bruce Gordon
    Bruce Gordon Cycles
    http://www.bgcycles.com[/QUOTE]
    I have looked at them but it's been a while. I'll have to check out the web site and give them a call.
    Thanks

  7. #7
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    I'm not that concerned with weight (within reason) when touring. Ti would be OK for a touring build, but I'd still go with an experienced&skilled touring frame builder.

  8. #8
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    Check St Johns St Cyclery's website for a veritable smorgasbord of bike frame options.

    Honestly, the English know just about as much as there is to know about touring frames in steel. Certainly, there are tekking versions with 26" wheels that are extremely well finished and probably will last your forever. The Thorn Nomad and Expedition come to mind. I've seen their product, and it's superb value for money.

    I say this because I've read one too many reports about BG's confrontational attitude towards his clients. Including *the* Crazy Guy on a Bike.

    Just adding a bit of balance.

  9. #9
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    I second the English suggestion.

    Thorn bikes are great, and a really fine value--especially the Raven. Thorn himself seems like a hoot to deal with too. Bob Jackson deserves a hearty mention as well; great value for the money. My uncle has an old Hetchins and a 1970s Mercian that are both to die for. I'm being turned into a Mercian freak, personally, and this is the bike I've chosen for my dream tourer, which is being made now.

    For 375 + S&H (King of Mercia stock frame), I'm not sure how you can beat them, actually. Although extras on these frames can quickly advance the cost if you go overboard. It will still end up costing considerably less than other top custom tourers. They make superior-quality English steel bicycles with great cast lugs. The staff are easy to work with, they've been hearth brazing the same way for 58 years, and they will build the bike to any specification you desire--including 26" wheels--for several hundred less than a Waterford or an Atlantis (the latter, although unquestionably amazing frames with really well-thought-out geometry, are not particularly custom at all and are still $500 more than a Mercian KoM).

    They are one of the last bastions of old-world English building, and it's a good time to cash in on that, especially if you're a Reynolds 531 fan, as they have a fair bit of it left at no extra charge. Witcomb and Longstaff are two more frame builders that seem really good in this respect. Mercians also look just plain classic, although I think the color finishes they chose for examples on their website are not all so hot.

    http://www.merciancycles.co.uk/

    A small gallery. My bike will look a lot like Craig Montgomery's in that gallery, when all is said and done (but with far more relaxed angles), only I'm passing on my savings on the custom to invest in a Rohloff for the bike.

    ...and here's a quick look at some of the variety of pretty finishes you can get (that choice is entirely up to you). I especially like that one on the top right--my uncle's is similar--but it would probably get stolen quickly unless you shelved it in a Brinks truck or live nowhere near a city. I went with a much more humble look to mine.

    Good luck, whatever you choose!

    EDIT: I remember velonomad recommending Tom Teesdale once too, and I generally have liked velonomad's ideas about this stuff. You might want to check into his frames.
    Last edited by Alekhine; 04-08-05 at 12:29 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine
    I remember velonomad recommending Tom Teesdale once too, and I generally have liked velonomad's ideas about this stuff. You might want to check into his frames.
    True. There is real respect for anyone who builds their own frame (as velonomad has). Not sucking up, velonomad. I know the degree of research, discussion, trepidation and practice that is involved. It results in a really deep understanding of what makes a frame work. Thankfully, touring frames are wonderfully benign beings... err... objects, and rewarding ones at that.

  11. #11
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    I say this because I've read one too many reports about BG's confrontational attitude towards his clients. Including *the* Crazy Guy on a Bike.

    Just adding a bit of balance.
    I'm not a member of Bruce's fan club ,never met the man, nor do I ride his bikes.

    While it is fair to point out Bruce's alledged shortcomings, however in fairness if you are going to reference Neil Gunton's review of his BG Rock and Road ,the full context of Neil's comments should be provided. Neil had some negative things to say about his experience with Bruce but in the end he still recommended the bike.
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ.../?page_id=6642

    If you search around the web there is also another page where a guy is PO'ed Because Bruce said he doesn't build custom bikes for 240 lb cyclists.

    A year or two ago this all came to a head on the Touring@phred email list of which Bruce is a participent.
    Bruce took a pretty good beating , most of the complaints as I recall were about Bruce being short and curt on the phone( he is the guy building the frame), other complaints were about Bruce being unyielding about his custom designs and part specifications. all valid complaints. Bruce responded publicly to everyone's complaints and pledged to do a better job on customer service. As far as I can tell most everyone seems satisfied these days.

    My only critisism of Bruce is that he only participates in discussions here to promote his product which IMO is poor etiquette.
    Last edited by velonomad; 04-08-05 at 08:09 AM.

  12. #12
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Alekhine & Rowan :

    I appreciate the kind words. But my advice is like anyone elses it should be taken with a grain of salt and chased with a glass of healthy skeptisim. True I build my own bikes and have been riding a long time, but I am far from being an expert about bikes or touring and I am often proven incorrect or ill informed.

    Remember, This is the internet we all are blonde,slim and ride a 100 miles a day
    Last edited by velonomad; 04-08-05 at 09:19 AM.

  13. #13
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    "Remember, This is the internet we all are blonde,slim and ride a 100 miles a day"

    I'll assume anything you have to say is golden just simply because you said that. Thanks for the smile.

  14. #14
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    I don't see how my endorsement of velonomad's [your] schtick was in any way panegyric or even sycophantic, but just...close to what I also like or want in a bike. :/

    [EDIT] Also, the little "You might want to check out his frames" thing in my post was about Teesdale. I just now realized how that could be taken out of context by anyone who knows that velonomad makes his own frames (nice as I think they are!).

    Heh, no big...and point taken. No matter what you choose with a custom, you're taking a leap of faith. Hopefully it's based on an educated and researched hunch.
    Last edited by Alekhine; 04-08-05 at 05:10 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member SteelCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlong
    I'm thinking about finally having a touring bike built just my size and wonder what you all dream of, or the dream you already have. I prefer 26" wheels, I pull a BOB, and I usually weigh about 160lbs. I've been using my converted mountain bike (lugged steel) but it's really old, and I deserve a new one! Thanks for your ideas.
    R Long

    You could also go custom with:
    Gunnar Rock Tour, opt for custom design
    Rivendell All Rounder. This is basically the Atlantis, with custom design, from what I understand

    Why custom? I know the appeal, but what are your reasons?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlong
    We do stock frame sizes, as well as custom sizes - give us a call (707) 762-5601

    Bruce Gordon
    Bruce Gordon Cycles
    http://www.bgcycles.com
    I have looked at them but it's been a while. I'll have to check out the web site and give them a call.
    Thanks[/QUOTE]
    BG congratulations on your win in Japan! I was surprised at the imaginative creations by the Japanese bike builders.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    I'm not that concerned with weight (within reason) when touring. Ti would be OK for a touring build, but I'd still go with an experienced&skilled touring frame builder.
    I agree, and it is my intention to have a usa custom built bike. I have Russ Denny practically in my back yard. but I don't believe he likes to build touring bikes. Not sure.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCommuter
    You could also go custom with:
    Gunnar Rock Tour, opt for custom design
    Rivendell All Rounder. This is basically the Atlantis, with custom design, from what I understand

    Why custom? I know the appeal, but what are your reasons?
    Reasons: I've had serious hamstring injury for nearly three years (just started serious riding again) and I now have chronic neck problems as well (ain't life grand). I want a bike that is seriously set up to my size, riding position, and needs, and that takes a little personal touch that only custom small builder is going to offer. Oh yea, I own Softride road, and timetrial bikes, so comfort is an issue. Did I mention comfort along with proper fit?

  19. #19
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    Yeah, Rivendell makes good machines. Made by the Elves!

    Check out Greenspeed. Their recumbent trikes are custom built to order. Plus, the recumbent position may help you with your physical pains.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  20. #20
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Definetly test ride a recumbent design before you have one made. They can handle all sorts of ways. I know I tried one particular model that seemed all good at first, but boy howdy it got the head shakes on a moderate downhill run. It might have been my particular center of gravity or something but it was bad enough that I called it an overall bad design.

    That said, what I would like in a custom rig, considering I haven't had a chance to try a trailer, yak or otherwise.
    *Braze ons, lots of them, even ones I don't have a current use for because who knows what the future holds.
    *Stiff chainstays, I don't like pedaling caused flex.
    *Steep headtube angle, because I have a theory and I want to test it.
    *Along the braze-on line I want mounts front and rear for both canti/V-brakes and disk brakes. I also want downtube shifter braze-ons, not that I will shift with them but I can use them for backup or for setting up a disk break as a drag brake the way tandem riders do with drum brakes.
    *Average touring seat-tube angle, I see nothing wrong with it.
    *A basket on the handle bars because I know I will be grocery getting as much as touring.

    I just thought of this rear rack as part of the frame. I ran with a rear rack on my MTB for years on end and never even though about removing the rack, it was a mud guard and a handy device when used as a rack, didn't even notice it. So why not just build a rack right into the frame and take advantage of extra strength and stiffness.

    When it comes to the other components they are relitivly cheap and easy to change out to meet your preferences.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  21. #21
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    What model was that?
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  22. #22
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    Add another vote for Rivendell here. My dream bicycle is basically the Atlantis and I'm happy to report that I just got it. I've been putting it together over the last week and have yet to ride it, but just looking and working on it I already feel anoverwhelming fondness for it. It has so many beautiful details that you just can't see in pictures. Little highlights in the paint and beautiful curves on the lugs. And at the same time it is eminently practical and usable. I didn't go for a full custom as I would have just ended up with an expensive Atlantis Geometry-wise (though the absolute custom fit would be nice) but I did get it custom painted. It is a unique Atlantis and I must finish it today so I can ride it.
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  23. #23
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funbun
    What model was that?
    I can't recall at the moment it happend to be a short wheelbase underseat steer. I think they had the stearing geometery way messed up or something because it was straight up dangerous. Totally unsuitable for land speed record attempts .
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  24. #24
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    That's too bad. Underseat steer on a short wheel based machine ain't so good, impo. Some like it. I rather have over seat steering.

    Long wheelbased are much less twitchy. Trikes are even better because you don't have to balance. Most land speed records are held by short wheelbase machines.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by capsicum
    Definetly test ride a recumbent design before you have one made. They can handle all sorts of ways. I know I tried one particular model that seemed all good at first, but boy howdy it got the head shakes on a moderate downhill run. It might have been my particular center of gravity or something but it was bad enough that I called it an overall bad design.

    That said, what I would like in a custom rig, considering I haven't had a chance to try a trailer, yak or otherwise.
    *Braze ons, lots of them, even ones I don't have a current use for because who knows what the future holds.
    *Stiff chainstays, I don't like pedaling caused flex.
    *Steep headtube angle, because I have a theory and I want to test it.
    *Along the braze-on line I want mounts front and rear for both canti/V-brakes and disk brakes. I also want downtube shifter braze-ons, not that I will shift with them but I can use them for backup or for setting up a disk break as a drag brake the way tandem riders do with drum brakes.
    *Average touring seat-tube angle, I see nothing wrong with it.
    *A basket on the handle bars because I know I will be grocery getting as much as touring.

    I just thought of this rear rack as part of the frame. I ran with a rear rack on my MTB for years on end and never even though about removing the rack, it was a mud guard and a handy device when used as a rack, didn't even notice it. So why not just build a rack right into the frame and take advantage of extra strength and stiffness.

    When it comes to the other components they are relitivly cheap and easy to change out to meet your preferences.
    Great list, thanks a lot.

    I thought about and rode a few recumbents, but physical therapist (bike rider to) said "No way dude"

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