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Old 10-16-02, 10:57 PM   #1
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Do you have a custom bike?

Okay....after much consideration...ive come to the conclusion that im going to custom build my bike. since i have no experience in putting one together, i figure that i could get my local lbs to do it for me. what are the logistics in this? is it a pain in the rear to shop for parts? What if i find something i like now, but when i do get it, something new and better comes out? Im sure it has happened to each and everyone of us. Any suggestions or tips that you can give me? Like where to get the best prices, guides on selecting parts, etc, etc.
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Old 10-17-02, 05:33 AM   #2
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OK-are you having a frame custom built, or are you talking about assembling a bike from a stock frame?

If you are refering to the former, expect to pay about $2000 or more, depending on your choice of components.

If you are doing the latter, expect to pay full retail for all the components, plus about an extra $100 for labor. This will usually add about $500 to the cost of a comparable package if it were standard to your bike.
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Old 10-17-02, 06:42 AM   #3
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I had a custom built bike made for me back in 1998. It's a Marinoni and I highly recommend it. However, if you are in a larger city or near a larger city with people who custom built bikes it is best to shop around for one there.

Here is the Marinoni website so that you can peruse

Don't concern yourself with "something better coming out later" that is going to be true no matter what you buy. Right now my 8 speed Shimano 105 components are 5 years old, but they work fine. Shimano now has 9 speed and look even sexier, but that is gonna happen with time. if you say something better may come out next year, then you will never get a bike, because that will be true EVERY year.

What I have below is not nessesarily advice but what I had to do to get a custom built bike. Some suggestions tossed in and what I have learned. You should be able to glean from this what to do and not to do.

_ First find yourself a LBS who deals with and has a good relationship with someone who custom makes frames. See what other people are riding, how they found the service and quality. See if they have a website. I went with Marinoni because the LBS I dealt with for 15 years recommended them, and I trust my LBS.

- I had to decide first what KIND of bike I wanted. I was going to go with a road bike, but should it be touring, racing, or a combo of both. I decided on a combo of both or what is called a Sport/Touring bike. Good for fast rides but I could also put some racks on it for touring.

- For a true touring bike, bar end shifters and V-Brakes would be best. But I wanted STI's and dual pivot brakes. This was under the advice of my LBS. Although for VERY heavy weight I could not use dual pivot brakes as they don;t have as much stopping power, but I figured that heavy loaded touring was not in my immediate future.

- My LBS measured my leg length, arm length, foot length, chest, back, etc so that the bike would have the best frame geometry, size, stem length, etc for me.
They said that when the bike is finished if the stem wasn't quite right they would switch it out for another and no charge. Any good LBS will do this.

- I had to choose many things I wanted on the bike such as - I decided on a triple crankset, as where I live has many hills, I wanted a tough set of wheels hence I got a deep dish rim from Campy, I wanted 23mm tires, 28-11T rear cassette, bosses for fenders should I wish to install a set on rainy days (although I admit this bike has seen rain ONCE).

- I wanted chrome on the chain stays to protect against chain slap.

- I had a price in mind of about $1500 they said that it IS possible, but where I am so fussy and picky about my bikes if I could go to about $1800 they would get better components (Shimano 105) and better wheels that would work much better and I would be happier with. I took there advice, and I am glad I did.

- Colour was the worst thing for me to decide on. They had colour swatches available of 30 differant colours that they could mix and match. I had so much trouble with this, but I eventually decided on 2 tone with airbrushing so as to fade from one colour into the next. I am pretty happy with what I selected. BUT if I get it repainted I might try something differant. One piece of advise here, if they have colour swatches it WILL make it easier.

- what i did to ensure I got exactly what I wanted i drew or traced a bike frame from a magazine and wrote where I wanted the colour, how I wanted it to look any detailing I wanted, I even got them to paint my name on the top tube. :-)

- I was told it would take 6 weeks, it actually took 10 weeks, and I was a tad PO'ed, but when I got the shiney new bike all that was forgotten, they did a GREAT job.

Here is a link to my website that describes my bike and shows a few pictures. If you have questions email me, I'd be happy to help. Post some pictures when you get 'er done so we can see it and ohhh and ahhhh and be jealous.

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Old 10-17-02, 07:22 AM   #4
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My wife and I both have custom built frames and bikes. But we have the advantage of living in a country where there are many places nearby that will do that.

We got steel frames which were essentially race frames modified to suit our needs, and sized perfectly for us. We also got the running gear we wanted. We went with the builder's recommendations on the stems and seat posts, which is why we don't have integrated headsets and the like. The more classic look is fine with us (even if the wife's bike has a sloping top tube).

One great benefit is that the builder is the third generation of his family in this particular business, and he has a wealth of experience and knowledge. He is also fairly local, so can make changes, do tune-ups (free), etc. easily. And then there is the price. They didn't cost any more than a lower-end name bike off the rack.

Here is our Web site - look at the Cycling pages to see them:


Last edited by gmason; 10-17-02 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 10-17-02, 07:23 AM   #5
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It sounds more like you are talking about buying a frame and assembling your choice of components as opposed to having a frame custom built. Is that correct? And what are you actually trying to accomplish? A bike with the components you want? The simplest way would be to buy a stock bike from your LBS but have select components upgraded. There are many ways to approach it. If you are going to have your LBS do the work, order everything from them.
If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!
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Old 10-17-02, 10:13 AM   #6
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I've built my last two bikes with a little instruction from this great resource call the Internet. I've also done an almost step-by-step pictorial of the process on
The first bike was a play bike the second one i just finished last Thursday and raced it on Sunday with only ONE ride on it.
I built some of my own tools, like the headset press and headset puller. I had the shop adjust my derailleur because Im not quite that good of a mechanic yet but did everything else myself. It's fun and interesting and now i have a UNIQUE bike that i built myself.
If your interested go there and do a search for "my first project bike" or "jamis dakar" and "bike build project 2.0" or "Jamis dragon".
it's lots of fun doing it yourself
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Old 10-17-02, 09:43 PM   #7
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If you are of reasonably normal size and proportions, you should be able to find an off-the-shelf frameset which fits you comfortably. I buy used bikes and freely swap components to get what I want (one all-Italian Bianchi and two other European frames with Japanese derailleurs).
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
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