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Reynolds 853.(13 posts)

Reynolds 853.DannyBoy
Oct 1, 2001 12:09 AM
I'm thinking of having a custom build in 853. How do you feel this stacks up against other materials, bearing in mind I'm in the UK and most custom builds tend to be made of steel (Columbus/Reynolds usually) and not alu/ti - although these are options.

I read on the USA Reynolds website 853 was a potential competitor for Ti??

Bear in mind a custom 853 could be mine for £500, and Ti would be about £1,000.
What happened to the Chas Roberts?zelig1
Oct 1, 2001 1:35 AM
I thought you had a Chas Roberts compact? What tubing was used in that frame? I'd talk to the builder about what you're looking for in a frame and it's also going to depend on the method of construction, lugs vs. tig'd, your size/weight and riding style. Based on the size of your frame, 853's probably a good choice and it was designed for non-lugged construction and strong riders (Viatel-Mercury rode 853 frames in Europe this season as were the Gazelle frames TVM Farm Frites rode in the 1998 Tour). As a lighter rider at a tick under 60 kilos, I find the ride a bit unforgiving.

What builder's are you thinking about? I'm still considering Chas Roberts as well as Corrado although the idea of driving to Liverpool for fitting is a bit discouraging. Corrado build with Reynolds, Columbus and Dedacciai. I think the latter two have been more aggressive in the development of newer tube sets although I find 725 interesting.

As for Al and I'm sure you know, a number of UK builders are making in Al. I was at Condor cycles last week and they had one of their frames in the window made of Columbus Airplane with Columbus monostay carbon seat stays although for some reason I think their Al frames are contracted out and not made in the UK.
I got the Roberts...DannyBoy
Oct 1, 2001 4:17 AM
I took delivery of the Roberts in May, it's posted on this site. Quite nice, made of Columbus Nivacrom with a Carve Carbon fork. Not as light as I'd have thought though. About 18.5lbs with Chorus t.out.

I'm looking at a second bike and was thinking of Bob Jackson as they seemed pretty cheap. I like the idea of a custom build which is why I'm not looking at off the peg. I think with VAT not included (I'm about to emmigrate to NZ) they indicated about c£510 for 853. I think 631?? came out at about £410 (again ex VAT).

I'm not too sure which way to go. I wasn't very happy with Roberts tho as I have fax'd them twice asking for my measurements and they've yet to turn up, and I'm also not too happy with the fit of my headset?? They think it's fine but I don't as it takes an age to adjust. Either it has play or it's too tight. It took the dude in their workshop about 45 minutes to get it right, which I think is wrong??? I've gone off them a bit since!!

I took a look at Condor, but like Roberts you're looking about £750+ for a nice frame and fork. BJ seemed a bit cheaper.

I've got to get my skates on though as I leave the UK in 4 weeks - I can't find a framebuilder in NZ and the range of bikes there was quite limited and fairly expensive.

Do Corrado have a website???
Corradozelig1
Oct 1, 2001 7:16 AM
Yes, I've seen the pictures of your bike. You've got me a bit curious now about Roberts. You note that you've gone off them a bit. As I live in Central London and can go to Croydon quite easily, do you think that being there in person would make a difference?

As for Corrado, their website is I'm not sure that the prices quoted include the fork. FWIW, I emailed them some rough information for a quote and they got back in a couple of days. It's operated by three guys who used to be at Cougar. Good enough for Boardman, good enough for me.

Kiwi bound. North or South Island? Usually it's Auckland, Nelson, Wellington or Christchurch if you need that day job. I spent a month there on holiday in 1990 and loved the place. Some great riding with very long climbs. Acquired a real taste for Steinlager that I've yet to lose. Just a note if you don't already know, metal roads are ones that don't have hard paved surface so read the maps carefully when going on that long ride.

Good luck
Roberts.....DannyBoy
Oct 1, 2001 8:11 AM
On one level they were very good, but on another not.

Long story short initially I called them, but found them a bit tough to talk to on the phone, I got the impression they thought I was wasting their time etc so as I lived in Streatham at the time I went in on a Saturday with a few questions, the main chap there was pushed for time and a bit reluctant to answer my queries.

At this point I felt a P'd off because I was talking about blowing up to a grand on a frame and fork and they didn't seem too interested, but because of their rep I got measured up, talked through the use of the bike etc etc and slapped down a deposit - it took ages as they kept getting interrupted.

When the bike rocked up I was delighted with it, although I was suprised it wasn't a bit lighter. that said, it fitted like a glove and I have enjoyed riding it.

I really went off Roberts when it came time to cut the steerer down. I took the bike back and they did it while I waited. I was p'd off that having told them I didn't want loads of spacers left in, they left em in anyway, and then charged me a tenner to cut down the steerer, something I think they should do for free after a spend of £900+ with a few bits ontop of the frame.

It was only when I was riding it home the h.set felt funny. Basically they'd well and truly over tightened it. I called and explained but was told they were 110% sure thay'd adjusted it ok??

I set about fixing the problem, and although I'm not familiar with a-head sets assumed it'd be a quick job (I did speak to their workshop about correct procedure). Basically I could only get it like they'd had it, too tight, or just about there - but with some play???

I took it back and really got the impression they thought it was my tinkering around that had tightened it - I only tinkered 'cos they'd over tightened it.

Anyway Brain - loverly chap - sorted it, but it took him ages, about 45mins and I don't think a correctly fitted a-head should take that long to fine tune. Brian was great and it now seems fine, but again, the service was a bit terse as the shop was busy and Andrew kept telling Brian to hurry up. After spending what I did I don't want the mech to rush????

Basically I have to replace a seal on the a-head lower race, and that'll involve removing the fork. If I can't adjust it properly I'll have to take it to someone for a 2nd opinion.

In summary, the service was ok, but I really felt like they were doing me a favour, and the after sales service was even worse - assuming the a-head isn't fitted incorrectly and F*&^%$d-up I'm still very very happy with the end product. In addition I've asked them to fax me some stuff, twice, and they haven't???

I'd go and see 'em, and they do build great bikes, but next time I spend big cash on a custom, I want to be treated like a customer - to be fairthey are very very popular and very very busy but.........
Roberts.....DannyBoy
Oct 1, 2001 8:19 AM
On one level they were very good, but on another not.

Long story short initially I called them, but found them a bit tough to talk to on the phone, I got the impression they thought I was wasting their time etc so as I lived in Streatham at the time I went in on a Saturday with a few questions, the main chap there was pushed for time and a bit reluctant to answer my queries.

At this point I felt a P'd off because I was talking about blowing up to a grand on a frame and fork and they didn't seem too interested, but because of their rep I got measured up, talked through the use of the bike etc etc and slapped down a deposit - it took ages as they kept getting interrupted.

When the bike rocked up I was delighted with it, although I was suprised it wasn't a bit lighter. that said, it fitted like a glove and I have enjoyed riding it.

I really went off Roberts when it came time to cut the steerer down. I took the bike back and they did it while I waited. I was p'd off that having told them I didn't want loads of spacers left in, they left em in anyway, and then charged me a tenner to cut down the steerer, something I think they should do for free after a spend of £900+ with a few bits ontop of the frame.

It was only when I was riding it home the h.set felt funny. Basically they'd well and truly over tightened it. I called and explained but was told they were 110% sure thay'd adjusted it ok??

I set about fixing the problem, and although I'm not familiar with a-head sets assumed it'd be a quick job (I did speak to their workshop about correct procedure). Basically I could only get it like they'd had it, too tight, or just about there - but with some play???

I took it back and really got the impression they thought it was my tinkering around that had tightened it - I only tinkered 'cos they'd over tightened it.

Anyway Brain - loverly chap - sorted it, but it took him ages, about 45mins and I don't think a correctly fitted a-head should take that long to fine tune. Brian was great and it now seems fine, but again, the service was a bit terse as the shop was busy and Andrew kept telling Brian to hurry up. After spending what I did I don't want the mech to rush????

Basically I have to replace a seal on the a-head lower race, and that'll involve removing the fork. If I can't adjust it properly I'll have to take it to someone for a 2nd opinion.

In summary, the service was ok, but I really felt like they were doing me a favour, and the after sales service was even worse - assuming the a-head isn't fitted incorrectly and F*&^%$d-up I'm still very very happy with the end product. In addition I've asked them to fax me some stuff, twice, and they haven't???

I'd go and see 'em, and they do build great bikes, but next time I spend big cash on a custom, I want to be treated like a customer - to be fairthey are very very popular and very very busy but.........
Yes butmuncher
Oct 1, 2001 8:18 AM
It's good stuff, and most really top customs will use a mix of tubes, but you need to know more about how your frame will be built, as the shape and taper etc of the tube will make far more difference than the material. Have a look on the Donnaghue site (don't have the link to hand) for some comparisons and information. The reynolds site itself is informative too (ditto).

There are NZ builders around - there was a guy selling a frame in LOOT that he had made our there - it was alu, so I guess they must do steel too.

Good luck.
One experience... www.donohuecycles.co.ukTimo Vennonen
Oct 1, 2001 11:20 PM
The Donohue site hasn't been updated in ages, but maybe you'll be able to find some info there.

I've got two of their bikes myself, a road rig and a mtb, both built in 853. They are excellent bikes, but I wasn't too happy with the customer service. Maybe the fact that I'm calling from Finland affects... it shouldn't.

The mtb frame purchase was pretty frustrating to say the least. I ordered it in early February and was told that the delivery takes 4-5 weeks, fair enough. I was going to use the new bike in an 24 hour event in the beginning of May and was convinced that my new bike would be ready to go by then. A big mistake. They claimed that the frame had been shipped in the late April, but it never showed up. Needless to say, I was calling them almost daily and always got a very symphatetic reply, though Paul never seemed to be available. He didn't reply my messages either. I never got a tracking number, nor the contact info of the delivery service, even though I repeatedly asked for them. The frame finally arrived in June, 11 weeks after the promised delivery date! I found a shipping date on the label... it was June 6th. I wonder how that can be the case if it was shipped in April. I also noted the it had been shipped to Helsinki, NORWAY in the first place.

As I stated before, the frame itself is superb, but Donohue has a lot to do in the customer service department. From the Chas Robert case I gathered that that's a more general issue in the UK frame building industry. Shame really.
NZ BuildersDannyBoy
Oct 2, 2001 12:27 AM
Don't have a name or a start point - I can't find anything on the web?? Then again IT ain't my bag!!

I concur about tube shape etc. I think I was hung up on weight etc. Despite the surly service my Chas Roberts rides like a dream, Chas picked the tubes i.e. Mega down tube, 1/ 1/8th fork etc etc specifically for me, my weight, type of riding etc. It really does feel like the bike's just 4 me!!!
NZ Buildersmuncher
Oct 2, 2001 7:34 AM
Sorry - can't help with the name - the guy was selling it in LOOT and I spoke over the 'phone and got the story, but didn't go and see it in the end as the components attached weren't what I was looking for. Someone out there must know.......?
NZ Buildersjim hubbard
Oct 3, 2001 11:14 AM
If you are interested there is a good builder in Auckland. A frame Altec2 will cost you about 300 pounds. If price is a concern buy in NZ as you can use the exchange rate to an excellent advantage.
NZ Builders Tell me moreDannyBoy
Oct 5, 2001 4:52 AM
That's what I was hoping to do, got any contact details? So far most NZ bikes look over priced. Had a few NZ lbs's e-mail costs of stock bikes and they're way over UK prices.

I'd still like to contact a local builder though!
re: Reynolds 853.Leisure
Oct 4, 2001 5:01 AM
I got 853 on a Gunnar bike (sourced from Waterford), and I love the ride. It feels more similar to Ti than Al, having a really forgiving and predictable ride, and the frame didn't cost too much. Ti feels immaculate, but boy the prices are high. My dream road bike would have been a Seven Alaris (straight guage) with Chorus; my Gunnar with Daytona feels like it's gotten 85% of the ride quality I wanted for significantly less. And Seven in my opinion feels markedly better than most other Ti companies. So, while 853 may not surpass the ride quality of Ti, it can certainly hold its own.
Aluminum as I'm sure you're well aware is fairly unforgiving, and people comfort-oriented enough to custom size a frame will usually opt for something else. Its just as well, because I suspect doing a custom frame on Aluminum would be much more difficult to do correctly anyway.