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new sub-forum or sticky thread with info on custom bike builders?

Old 01-15-19, 10:59 PM
  #1  
GailT
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new sub-forum or sticky thread with info on custom bike builders?

When I was planning to buy a new bike and joined BF over year ago I was utterly clueless about small shops that build custom or semi-custom steel frames. I did test rides on Specialized, Trek and Cannondale carbon frames, and then spent several months trying to decide between the Diverge and Roubaix, and either a 2017 bike or waiting for the 2018 models. Fortunately, I went to Vecchios to ask questions about wheels, and discovered that custom, U.S. built steel bikes are available at prices similar to some of the carbon bikes I'd been test riding. I liked the idea of buying from a local bike store and supporting people building bike frames in the U.S. and ended up with a Waterford, which has been an excellent bike for me.

Since then, I've discovered that there are dozens of small custom or semi-custom shops building steel and titanium bikes, including several within 30 miles of where I live. I wish I'd known this when I was looking for a new bike - I'm happy with the Waterford, but I expect I would have been just as happy with a custom bike built by Mark Nobilette or one of the other local shops.

How about we start a sticky thread with info on small, custom bike shops, or maybe create a new sub-forum that includes separate threads on each builder. Something like this would have been really useful for me when I was shopping for new bike.

Last edited by GailT; 01-17-19 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:16 PM
  #2  
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Good idea! I feel I've been lucky as I have known of custom builders since my racing days more than 40 years ago. One was a member of my club and built my first custom which I still love and ride. In the many years since, two builders (and soon a third) have (will) worked on it. That third has already built me two bikes, 4 stems, two seatposts and repaired two others.

The builders (in the order they are mentioned) - Peter Mooney, Ed Litton, Mark Nobilette and Dave Levy/Ti Cycles. Oh, and another builder who built me a stem years ago who's name escapes me. All of these builders were local to me. (I've moved around a lot.)

Ben
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Old 01-16-19, 02:45 AM
  #3  
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I do believe there is a frame-building forum. I haven't been there in a while.

There are a lot of independent builders mentioned in various threads. It might be good to start a post here about "Post your custom frame experience."

I think it is @indyfabz who always posts pics of his beautiful custom frame ... but there are lots of others ... like that guy @79pmooney.

Mostly, as mr. @79pmooney notes, builders are regional, so Google will help---you can start a second thread about "Has anybody got a frame from any of these guys?"
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Old 01-16-19, 05:58 AM
  #4  
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https://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=113817

http://www.henryjames.com/custom-bike-builders.html

Pretty recent
https://www.usalovelist.com/american...e-source-list/
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Old 01-16-19, 08:19 AM
  #5  
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Guilty as charged. But Drew won't build you a frame unless you make at least one visit to the shop for a consultation and measurements.

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Old 01-16-19, 08:45 AM
  #6  
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A quick back-door to such a list can be found at sandsmachine.com under the Builders tab. These are the shops that are qualified to build an S&S coupled bike (great for travelling on airlines at normal second checked bag prices). I think all the builders also build un-coupled bikes as well.

Stephen Bilenky built my bike (and it's a lovely one).
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Old 01-16-19, 08:48 PM
  #7  
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I like the idea a lot however there are so so so so so so many custom builders just in the U.S. it would be tough but would be a cool project. A lot of shops can generally get you started on the path to a custom bike. Some may not know it but if you find the right person with the passion they can usually help make it happen. We have worked with Indy Fab and Moots in the past and some of our folks have come from shops that did Waterford/Gunnar and I have connections with some folks from my old shop. Stock bikes can be cool but going custom is the way because it will be your bike not the bike that tested well in marketing but a bike built for you with your specs or maybe not because you let the maestro/a do their thing.

Maybe we can start a thread in the Frame Builders sub-forum and have people contribute and turn it into a sticky. I am game to help as much as I can and maybe we can reach out to some of these builders and get them involved?
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Old 01-16-19, 11:19 PM
  #8  
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Thanks - this seems like a very comprehensive list, and I like that it is sorted by state an country. Maybe it would be enough to post a link to that thread in some visible place here, so that when new people join the forum looking for advice on a new bike, it;s easy for them to find, or to point them to it,
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Old 01-17-19, 03:12 AM
  #9  
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I just checked a few from the first link and received a number of errors or 404. Both links for my state were dead. That list is a number of years old. I do know I have seen some of the various sites recently, so if you know the builder name, or a name on a frame, do a Google search before assuming it is gone. ISPs, and webhosts come and go, as do custom builders, but it is good to check. I have seen beautiful frames from guys who were artists, but found that running a business and creating functrional art are not the same. What was fun as a hobby or passion, may turn hateful when you have to do all the small "stuff".

Also, searching for info on the Handcrafted Bicycle Association (sic) shows past websites should give a website and may, just may have a list of past vendors. I once saw a site with articles on the Eroica efvents that had sponsor/builder lists..
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Old 01-17-19, 03:22 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Stephen Bilenky built my bike (and it's a lovely one).
Lie we're going to take your word for it.





Pics, or you ride a Walmart BSO.
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Old 01-17-19, 05:59 AM
  #11  
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Framebuilding is a tough business and a lot of builders close up shop after a year or two, after learning the realities of business. It would be difficult to make a comprehensive list, because it would change very often. Most of us in the framebuilding community are familiar with who else builds frames. If you are looking for builders near you, you could post in the framebuilders forum and we could direct you to people in your area.
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Old 01-17-19, 07:44 AM
  #12  
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any list is constantly out of date. Many have tried to do this and I am not aware of anyone that really has done a comprehensive list and keeps it up to date.

Most framebuilders are part timers, and so they are building as a second job. That's not a good situation for a long-term business. To have a satisfactory experience, you have to find a builder that makes bikes that are like the one you want. That's not going to come from a list.
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Old 01-17-19, 07:51 AM
  #13  
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Rodriguez

Custom Bicycles | Rodriguez Bicycles and Tandems in Seattle

This is mine... https://www.pedalroom.com/bike/2018-...z-custom-37179
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Old 01-17-19, 08:15 AM
  #14  
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As mentioned, many framebuilders arent full time and the list would be continually changing.
A 1 man shop thats part time can still build a fantastic bike, so its not like full time building is a good way to determine if someone is a good builder or not.

There is a local builder who taught a class(3 of us) last winter and taught me to build a road frame. Its absolutely fantastic and his work is significantly better(significantly!) than what I built. He has built since the 70s, used to build full time back in the 70s, and did it part time up until retirement a few years ago.
He does full restorations, repairs, new builds, and has a paint booth.

No website though. No interest in one either.
This sort of builder is all over, from what I have learned. The guy went out to Portland(home of framebuilding) and won a best in show, but has no desire to promote.

A list would be neat, but also incomplete and slightly incorrect depending on the year.
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Old 01-17-19, 10:32 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Lie we're going to take your word for it.



Pics, or you ride a Walmart BSO.
(b) Hey, now, no reason to be insulting!

(a) I've got way more pictures FROM my bike than I have OF my bike. But here's one:
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Old 01-17-19, 01:34 PM
  #16  
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List https://bikeschool.com/index.php/res...industry-links

& Framebuilder List For S and S Machine Bicycle Torque Couplings (BTCs) you may not need the coupler but its a list of builders who offer the option..
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Old 01-17-19, 01:49 PM
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That S&S page is very interesting. They allow builders to put up a profile on the S&S website. That means there are no dead links, but there are pages of builders that are not longer in business

I recommend the OP start a thread asking for recommendations for the kind of bike that he is interested in. Listing any other criteria, such as location.
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Old 01-17-19, 09:26 PM
  #18  
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This website is interesting: https://theframebuilders.com/

I always enjoy a good map.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:12 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
(b) Hey, now, no reason to be insulting!

(a) I've got way more pictures FROM my bike than I have OF my bike. But here's one:
Simple, classic lines. I like the rack mounts.

Never seen a pump on the seat stay before ... never even thought of it.
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