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Strong vs. Gunnar/Waterford vs. Gordon

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Strong vs. Gunnar/Waterford vs. Gordon

Old 03-26-12, 09:41 PM
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oddtanlines
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Strong vs. Gunnar/Waterford vs. Gordon

The time has come that I can buy a custom bike. I am 6'10" and have been looking forward to this day for a long time. My 1986 27" Fuji has served me well, even though it has not been a great fit. A custom frame has been the dream for many years. But... there are SO MANY excellent choices out there. I think I have narrowed it down to Strong, Gunnar/Waterford and Bruce Gordon. I am aware that Strong and Gunnar are tig welded frames, whereas Waterford and Gordon have the lugged frames. Carl Strong has an outstanding reputation for customer service and solid frames. I have tried to contact Curt Goodrich (in my backyard), but cannot get a call back. Anyway, I would appreciate your first hand experience with any of these builders.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:52 PM
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You may know this, but Waterford builds lugged and welded frames in their own line.
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Old 03-26-12, 10:34 PM
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When I was looking to have my frame built as I have done my research and I choose Waterford cause I felt they are the cream of the crop, then the last minute I just ship and as I discovered that I wanted to go the Titanium route. Still today if I ever get a steel bike I would have a Waterford a Stainless to be exact as they are at the top of the echelon.
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Old 03-26-12, 10:55 PM
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If I had to choose from that list for someone 6'10", I'd probably have to pick Strong, particularly since he's the only one-man shop. Have you checked on his wait times?
Curt Goodrich seems to be working through some issues, I doubt he's taking orders.
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Old 03-27-12, 07:51 AM
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Waited 2 weeks for my Gunnar in 2006, but it is not custom sized. It now has over 30,000 miles and is a great all day ride and plenty stiff in the bb.
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Old 03-27-12, 08:05 AM
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I would think that someone as tall as you would need an OS tubed bike and possibly odd geometry. A TIG welded frame might be better suited for that combination. I like Waterford/Gunnar but don't know much about the others.

There is a framebuilder sub-forum in BF.
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Old 03-27-12, 08:50 AM
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[QUOTE= I am aware that Strong and Gunnar are tig welded frames, whereas Waterford and Gordon have the lugged frames. Carl Strong has an outstanding reputation for customer service and solid frames. I have tried to contact Curt Goodrich (in my backyard), but cannot get a call back. Anyway, I would appreciate your first hand experience with any of these builders.[/QUOTE]

We make all kinds of frames - TIGed, Fillet Brazed, and Lugged - Check them out>
Regards,
Bruce Gordon
www.bgcycles.com
www.sopwamtos.com
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Old 03-27-12, 09:04 AM
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6'8" here, worked with my LBS and Richard Schwinn at Gunnar to design a Sport based frame that'll run 210mm cranks, should have it built in the next week or two. Very impressed with the process thus far. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I really like the idea of buying local and have been a fan of the Waterford bikes for a long time. Or let me know if you're interested in a pre-loved 66cm Cannondale with Ultegra and more... ;-)
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Old 03-27-12, 09:10 AM
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My expereince with Waterford was very positive. My OS Paramount was built by Waterford. The seat tube cracked at the BB ( a problem with the original true temper tubing.)

Waterford, post Schwinn bankruptcy repaired by the bike for free, including a brand new factory paint job with original decals, even though they had no obligation to do so.

To muddy the waters, have you thought about Leonard Zinn? He specializes in bikes for tall people. Might be worth talking to him.
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Old 03-27-12, 12:30 PM
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Bernie Mikkelsen built me my custom steed, and I couldn't be happier. He's a super goofy guy, took a couple months, but I very seriously can't imagine changing one thing about the bike. His shop is himself, his wife/girlfirend, and an apprentice. These days they mostly do frame repair, but I may borrow some money to get another frame from him... just for kicks. My dad knew him in the 70's right when he started building bikes, and he hasn't stopped.

Just, you know, yet another option.
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Old 03-27-12, 12:50 PM
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https://www.andersoncustombicycles.com/index.htm Saw his work at NAHBS last and this year ... seems to be a good communicator and does nice looking frames ... He is in St. Paul and maybe worth a look if you don't already know about him
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Old 03-27-12, 01:00 PM
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I have a Waterford and love it. It's almost 20 years old and the only thing original is the frame. I even changed the 1" threaded fork and headset to threadless and had a Roynolds fork painted the orginal color my Waterford 6 years ago. The piant matched the orginal perfectly with absolutely no fading over the years.

I've laso heard great things about Carl Strong. I don'tsee how you can go wrong with him Waterford or Gunnar.

But being 6'10", your size puts some ususual stress and force of a typical frame that the traditional builders may not be used to. I would definately consider Leonard Zinn as well. Not only is he a big guy himself but building large frames is his speciality as merlin said
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Old 03-27-12, 01:02 PM
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Can't go wrong with any of the names mentioned here (...well, Goodrich might be problematic due to his current issues) but fwiw my wife & I had Carl Strong build us a pair of custom bikes back in 2010 and we were very impressed by the whole process of dealing with Carl -- very professional, very thorough, never left us wondering what was happening or when we could expect what, never gave us any reason to second-guess whether we'd made a good choice for a builder.

But we were especially impressed...in fact, it's safe to say we were completely blown away...by the final product. These bikes are 100% badass. Fabulous stuff. Look great, ride incredible.
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Old 03-27-12, 01:10 PM
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Whatever you get, make sure to post pics when you're done.
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Old 03-27-12, 05:23 PM
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There are lots of other local alternatives. The aformentioned Anderson (who did some excellent paint work for a friend), Bob Brown, Chris Kvale (my favorite) and many more.
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Old 03-27-12, 05:44 PM
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Mine's almost done...

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Old 03-27-12, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by laxpatrick View Post
Mine's almost done...

Geez that's a serious large over size frame! What's the top tube length on that monster?
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Old 03-27-12, 07:03 PM
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You might want to consider Dave Kirk who builds with both lugs and fillet steel.

https://www.kirkframeworks.com/index.htm

It just so happens that he's both tall and pedigreed as well.

https://www.kirkframeworks.com/jks_x.html

https://www.kirkframeworks.com/blog/

Good luck and enjoy the process!
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Old 03-27-12, 08:21 PM
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i bought my waterford in 2000, a lugged 2200. great bike and great ride.

just some other suggestions

steelman
desalvo
serotta
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Old 03-27-12, 08:52 PM
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Having been through the process over the last couple of years, I would say that the most important thing is communication. A custom builder -- especially a one-man shop -- will take some time, and needs to think through, with you, every detail...because it is a one-off. My neighbor, at 6'5 or so, has a Zinn, and they are known for expertise on frames for the tall; he loves it and rides Ragbrai every year. I personally went with Ira Ryan because of his style and what he was like on the phone (his recommendations made sense) and couldn't be happier. Get it from a company or a builder whose products speak to you, yes, but more importantly, get it from a builder you look forward to talking to, because it is a collaboration.
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Old 03-27-12, 08:58 PM
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I know a bunch of guys that have had multiple Strongs built up. They have nothing but praises for their frames.
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Old 03-27-12, 10:40 PM
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I road a Waterford for 7 yrs. / 30K--great bike. Still looked almost new until it got totaled in a crash. Wouldn't think twice about getting another one or recommending them.
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Old 03-27-12, 10:45 PM
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I have a Dave Anderson - highly recommended especially if you live close.
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Old 03-28-12, 12:13 AM
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Just over 60cm, I recall...

Originally Posted by speedemon View Post
Geez that's a serious large over size frame! What's the top tube length on that monster?
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Old 03-28-12, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by nauqneyugn View Post
I have a Dave Anderson - highly recommended especially if you live close.
I just committed to having him build me a frame. Now the wait begins.
Got a picture you can post?
Did you go with stainless or painted?
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