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EA120711
10-24-2013, 12:23 AM
Just curious to see what type of experiences they've had when getting a custom frame done . Interested to hear both the bad and good ! Mine is currently in the process but it hasn't gone as smooth as I thought it would, especially since you think it would with the type off $$ that's being spent . Any input is appreciated !

MattTuck
10-24-2013, 12:32 AM
You may find this thread useful. (http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=129689&highlight=custom+lessons)

Peter B
10-24-2013, 12:36 AM
Just curious to see what type of experiences they've had when getting a custom frame done . Interested to hear both the bad and good ! Mine is currently in the process but it hasn't gone as smooth as I thought it would, especially since you think it would with the type off $$ that's being spent . Any input is appreciated !

That's a pretty broad question. Kind of like asking what kinds of experiences folks have had getting food in a restaurant. There's plenty of opinions and experiences in the archives if you do a search. In general you will have a greater chance of a more successful outcome (communication + process + timeliness + optimized product) by selecting one of the more established builders. Again, the search function is you friend. This is not to imply there are not beginners satisfying customers it is simply a general answer to a very broad question.

Narrow your search in this post or broaden you personal search of the forum archives for best results.

vqdriver
10-24-2013, 01:53 AM
Agree with peter. Better yet, do a search for your specific builder.
What types of speed bumps are you running into?

gearguywb
10-24-2013, 06:23 AM
Need more info please....

Peter P.
10-24-2013, 07:26 AM
I agree with the others; the question is too broad.

I've had 6 custom frames in my history. All of them had glitches of one sort or another, ranging from minor to asking for a refund.

djg
10-24-2013, 07:52 AM
Just curious to see what type of experiences they've had when getting a custom frame done . Interested to hear both the bad and good ! Mine is currently in the process but it hasn't gone as smooth as I thought it would, especially since you think it would with the type off $$ that's being spent . Any input is appreciated !

I think that both expectations and experiences vary and that little delays or glitches can arise when you're dealing with a one-person shop. That's not to say that your issues -- whatever they've been -- are typical or normal.

If you want one guy's opinion on his one and only custom frame from one builder, I'll say that Tom K (Spectrum) is a good guy -- excellent to work with, delivered a great frame, and a gentleman. Busted his butt to get it painted and delivered in time for a pre-season camp, although he was injured at the time. If I were to spring for another custom frame I'd go back to the well (or the barn, actually), without hesitation.

fuzzalow
10-24-2013, 08:20 AM
In working with any builder on a custom bike, it helps immeasurably if you know what you are doing. Which at the very least, means that you know your own fit requirements, aesthetic taste and preferences. Those aspects you communicate to the builder. The rest you should leave to the purview of the builder.

I have no way of knowing what you know or don't know about cycling and the custom bike experience. I will say that your commentMine is currently in the process but it hasn't gone as smooth as I thought it would, especially since you think it would with the type of $$ that's being spent. sends a red flag in that there seems to be expectations that are not being met. And that can be any fault equally responsible to both a builder and a client. The $$ spent is a irrelevant as this project is already in flight and it is a mistake to assume that things should happen because $$ will buy expertise and satisfaction. The builder cannot read your mind so don't be shy - say what you gotta say. And if you are smart enough to know that there is a lot you don't know, ask and get answers from your builder. Good luck.

weisan
10-24-2013, 08:48 AM
Read what fuzz-pal wrote.

Then go back and read it again.

And again.:p

William
10-24-2013, 09:01 AM
Read what fuzz-pal wrote.

Then go back and read it again.

And again.:p


That (and a Happy birthday to the Fuzz-man as well!)!





William

carpediemracing
10-24-2013, 09:28 AM
The amount of money charged doesn't create a better ordering/purchasing process. The relationship is not causal because the experience isn't dependent on the money exchanged, it's dependent on the communication, expectations, etc between the customer and the vendor.

You can spend less money and get a great buying experience. You can spend a lot of money and be bitterly disappointed.

Keep in mind that the more you invest in a purchase (emotionally and financially) the more extreme your feelings may be on the transaction. You may really love it, no matter what happens (cognitive dissonance) or you may hate it. If you spent a lot of emotional/financial equity, more than normal for you, then it's very unlikely you'll feel neutral.

When I say "for you" it means relative to your world. I have a set of expectations etc that are pretty solid albeit hard to explain, meaning I know what I expect for a given transaction but the algorithm/permutations are pretty complex (grocery store, car dealership, bike shop, etc). You have the same complex set of "expectation algorithms".

It seems that the service didn't or hasn't met the expectation.

This could be a cognitive dissonance ploy of course :) The more sweat equity you have in a product the more you'll like it if you like it.

jh_on_the_cape
10-24-2013, 09:35 AM
I have had a first and last custom frame. People say the $$ doesn't matter, well it does. You have to compare with a production frame and that $$ and experience.
If you pay extra for custom and it has flaws which make it not as good as a production frame... and you had to wait... and go through the 'custom process' which is time consuming but some enjoy.
Unless someone has some really out there fit requirements, I would go for a production bike that you can see, touch, and ride before purchasing. And you can get within a reasonable amount of time.

That said, I love the craftsmanship of custom frames and look to purchase them used!

cfox
10-24-2013, 10:17 AM
In working with any builder on a custom bike, it helps immeasurably if you know what you are doing. Which at the very least, means that you know your own fit requirements, aesthetic taste and preferences. Those aspects you communicate to the builder. The rest you should leave to the purview of the builder.



I agree, but I think for some builders the above phrase in bold is another way of saying "pain in the ass customer." I think it helps; it seems to me they're will be less hemming/hawing and changes of mind. That said, I get the sense some guys want a deposit, color choice, and then for you to go away.

Joachim
10-24-2013, 10:23 AM
I'm sorry to hear that. Tell the builder that he is not living up to your expectations and tell him what those expectations are. I've had a really bad experience with a newer builder. In the end there are only a few (5 or so) builders that I will give my money to in the future. A LOT of builders can learn something from Dave Kirk. I agree with cfox ^^^, some builders want to build, but not deal with customers. Those builders should find another line of work.

FlashUNC
10-24-2013, 10:36 AM
Depends on what kind of bumps you're seeing. Is it lack of communication? Differing expectations? Deadlines being missed/blown? I'd agree with fuzzalow's sentiments 100 percent.

My two custom experiences this year were both overwhelmingly positive ones.

First, I had always wanted a frame built by Roland Della Santa. (Well, I also want a Kirk, a Speedvagen, a Crumpton, an Ellis, but you get the idea...) After years of dithering about it, I finally picked up the phone and called Roland. Actually, I emailed first, got a reply from Coot, then called as Coot instructed.

Roland works entirely by phone/snail mail. No email. We talked for a couple phone calls about what I wanted, his build philosophy (no fenders, no tubes or lugs beyond what he wants to use, custom geometry but he builds race bikes, full stop), custom options that I could get on the frame, his queue time, payments, the whole soup to nuts. He was gracious with his time and had some great stories to boot mixed in.

A couple areas made me anxious -- no email. Second, Roland asked me for all of three measurements to build the frame -- he'd take care of the rest.

But the experience was incredibly smooth. I mailed off the measurements he asked for, and got a call to confirm it was in his hands. He called to confirm the options we'd chosen for the frame (slight HT extension, Ossobucco stays, frame pump peg, braze on tab for the FD) before he fired up a torch. I got a call when the frame was built. He even called in between to double check what kind of headset I was going to use, as that would change the front end geometry he had in mind slightly. (Ended up going with a Cane Creek 110 that he preferred.) Before he shipped to the painter, we talked quite a bit about what I wanted (Gios blue was my goal, settled on a color similar that he called Della Santa blue).
He warned me throughout the process that he thought build time would be X number of weeks, but the painter was a bit of a logjam and could add a couple weeks to final delivery. His guestimate was accurate for final delivery within a few days.

One tidbit that assuaged my earlier concerns somewhat: Roland didn't take a deposit from me for the frame. Preferred I just pay it all at the end. Literally had the finished frame in hand, then mailed him a check.

Process couldn't have been easier, and the bike is perfect.

Second was a stem for the above bike by Eric Estlund out at Winter. Again, Eric put up with a couple phone calls from me about the function, the aesthetic I was aiming for and what would work best with the frame functionally. (I initially thought 31.8 would be the way to go, he steered me -- quite correctly -- back to 26.0.) His queue estimate was accurate -- in fact he finished early -- and what he delivered was beyond my expectations. Eric was great with emails and even sent along a couple photos of the construction process. Easily the prettiest bike part I own.

In my admittedly limited experience, I'd echo what others have mentioned. Talk to folks, seek out recommendations. Find someone who listens to what you want and works to deliver on that. And if you're at all uncomfortable, don't commit to the project and find someone who's a better fit. There's plenty of great builders out there who don't cause heartburn.

Course, it sounds like you're in a bit of a stickier wicket.

palincss
10-24-2013, 05:27 PM
That's a pretty broad question. Kind of like asking what kinds of experiences folks have had getting food in a restaurant.


An excellent analogy. Most of the trouble people have dealing with custom builders is very similar to the trouble you would have if you went to a Sushi restaurant, or perhaps a Korean or Ethiopian restaurant and asked for roast turkey with gravy or a hamburger. Step zero: know what it is you actually want. Step 1: find a builder known for making the sort of bike you want.

downtube
10-24-2013, 06:23 PM
I also had Roland Della Santa build a frame for me. It was absolutely a fantastic experience. I would 100% recommend Roland to anyone looking for a custom lugged steel racing frame. The whole experience went so well and I love the bike so much, I am about to do it all again and have Roland build my wife a surprise 30th anniversary present.
chuck

EA120711
10-24-2013, 07:00 PM
After using the search function and reading all of your comments, some of my so called speed bumps aren't really big areas of concern. Maybe I was overreacting due to this being my first custom . Whatever it is, I appreciate all of the help with this and I'll update later when the project is finished and built ! Thanks again !

Peter B
10-24-2013, 09:48 PM
After using the search function and reading all of your comments, some of my so called speed bumps aren't really big areas of concern. Maybe I was overreacting due to this being my first custom . Whatever it is, I appreciate all of the help with this and I'll update later when the project is finished and built ! Thanks again !

Hey great news and glad 'we' could help!

:)

pakora
10-29-2013, 08:49 AM
I've had a few of the "speed bumps" discussed here and the linked threads. First custom, first time spending this kind of dough, never had any nice stuff that's new, yadda yadda yadda.

Last night I just went over the final component spec with the builder. During that conversation, I was hemming and hawing in my head (am I dumb to go campy when all my other stuff is Shimano? Is the extra money for the stuff I picked worth it?) but kept the conversation to the technical details and timelines.

Until now, not knowing how any of these things go and not having the experience myself, I'd told myself "eh, at minimum the fit will be good, you can change components and you don't care about paint, don't sweat it."

This morning the painter sent me some pics of the final paint job (I'd only seen an interim) and I was just picturing the built up bike. After a long time of fretting over various things, I am TOTALLY PSYCHED. Not only does it look cool and totally suit my aesthetic and personality, but thinking about how we worked out the final components and my other bikes, it suits my sensibility - not really a retrogrouch, but preferring the tried and true and classic while also preferring modern tech (integrated brake/shift levers, threadless, etc).

In the middle of cross season when I will have no time to ride this bike, I'm suddenly all, "Oh no when will I get to take this beauty out for a hundred miles? I guess I'm going to have to take a weekend off racing!" :)

Bob Ross
10-29-2013, 11:04 AM
am I dumb to go campy when all my other stuff is Shimano?

At the risk of turning this into a Campy vs Shimano slugfest, I'm curious how you resolved that question, because I'm in the queue for a new bike that I keep telling myself will be Campy-equipped when it's finally delivered...despite the fact that everything else I own now is Shimano. Am I dumb?

plattyjo
10-29-2013, 11:22 AM
Between my husband and I, we have several custom bikes. Some were built by friends and others by acquaintances -- but all by people we know and respect in the Bay Area and Portland. So it's great to support friends' livelihoods and their craft. That said, being a small business owner/artisan isn't easy and it's tough to manage both a studio and correspondence. I think the happiest framebuilders are able to have someone else handle most of the business side of things, or just love dealing with customers. For others, it can be a trip to prima donna land or worse, radio silence for long stretches of time.

I always think it's worth it, though. In the end, you have a beautiful piece of art and if it's not up to your liking, you can always sell it and work with someone else.

And I had the opposite problem re: Campy and Shimano. When I built up my Ebisu, it was my first non-Campy bike and that freaked me out!

pakora
10-29-2013, 11:44 AM
At the risk of turning this into a Campy vs Shimano slugfest, I'm curious how you resolved that question, because I'm in the queue for a new bike that I keep telling myself will be Campy-equipped when it's finally delivered...despite the fact that everything else I own now is Shimano. Am I dumb?

It was twofold:

- complete brand new Campy stuff is never going to be cheaper and easier than when you get it from the builder

- Since it's custom and everything is "special" anyway why not go with the thing I'm curious to try and think looks good?

Logically though, I'm not much of a gearhead either, so when I thought about it, even though I have three Shimano bikes, since they're all different for different purposes (mtn, road, cross) there's not much swapping between them, except for stealing the wheels off the roadie as pit wheels for cross season.

palincss
10-29-2013, 02:22 PM
At the risk of turning this into a Campy vs Shimano slugfest, I'm curious how you resolved that question, because I'm in the queue for a new bike that I keep telling myself will be Campy-equipped when it's finally delivered...despite the fact that everything else I own now is Shimano. Am I dumb?

Only if you expect to go to any run-of-the-mill bike shop and find cables, cassettes or replacement parts for Campagnolo in stock.

pakora
10-29-2013, 03:45 PM
heh wow it never occurred to me that Campy took different cables.

#campynoob

FlashUNC
10-29-2013, 04:22 PM
heh wow it never occurred to me that Campy took different cables.

#campynoob

Jagwire makes a fine set. It isn't as if they're impossible to find.

vqdriver
10-29-2013, 09:28 PM
at my peak, i had four road bikes ready to go. (this has since been whittled down to one with a custom in the pipe). i had a full campy, full sram, a campy shimano mix, and a sram campy mix. you'd be surprised how infrequently you really need to swap parts between bikes. other than wheels, it's not something that comes up that often, and when it does, you'd be even more surprised by how much this stuff works with each other. with 11sp, you could argue that things have gotten even easier since cassettes aren't an issue anymore.....

other than keeping installation/adjustment quirks straight in your mind, it's no biggie to have a mixed garage.

rounder
10-29-2013, 09:53 PM
At the risk of turning this into a Campy vs Shimano slugfest, I'm curious how you resolved that question, because I'm in the queue for a new bike that I keep telling myself will be Campy-equipped when it's finally delivered...despite the fact that everything else I own now is Shimano. Am I dumb?

For me, I had only ridden Shimano when I decided to switch over to Campy. My newer bikes have Campy and part of the reason was for compatibility in case I ever needed to switch parts (never have). The bigger issue so far is differences in pedals on the bikes. Go with what you like.