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Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.(32 posts)

Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.EricBH
Jul 25, 2001 7:00 AM
I'm in the process of planning a new bike (dream bike). I want the fit to be perfect and it turns out I can't fit stock sizes after being measured and sized on a size cycle. On a 57 cm frame, I need a top tube in the 59-60 range - long arms. I'd love to get a frame such as Pinarello but, these seem to have even shorter cockpits. Anyone have advice on custom (perhaps Euro) framebuilders? Anyone out there own or had experience with Casati?
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.jtolleson
Jul 25, 2001 7:01 AM
Want italian and want custom... Serotta, hands down.
Serrotta is not Italian..He's American(NM)Len J
Jul 25, 2001 7:22 AM
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.EricBH
Jul 25, 2001 8:34 AM
Thanks, I'll add em' to my list to check out.
Finest Italian frames, custom made...Cima Coppi
Jul 25, 2001 7:34 AM
Check out Antonio Mondonico. He builds spectacular frames in both stock sizes and custom sizes, and he has a model with carbon wishbone seat stays. For information on how to get an order in, go to:

Good luck!!

Thanks, I'll check em' out. nmEricBH
Jul 25, 2001 8:35 AM
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.jaybird
Jul 25, 2001 8:00 AM
I know you can get custom geometry from Merckx although it might take a couple of months and I thingk the same is true for Pinarello and Colnago. Dont forget to check out IF, Seven, Richard Sachs. Yes, I live in Beantown... I think Cannonwhale will even make a custom frame for you. But you will not go wrong with a Serrotta...
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.Dave Woof
Jul 25, 2001 8:01 AM
I have heard that Lemond bikes have longer top tubes - cause he has a long torso I guess.

Here are a couple....DINOSAUR
Jul 25, 2001 8:18 AM
Mendonico (as already mentioned), Torelli (who imports Mondonico), Tomassini. These are a few who have off the rack frames and also do customs. Stay clear of Colnago, you will have trouble with the short top tube. 57 with a 59-60 top tube? I don't think this will work. You might just have to go with an offset seat post.
Don't eliminate american frame builders, they make excellent frames and often at a reduced cost.
I'm not up on Casati bikes, GVH Bikes sells them over the internet.
If you are researching for a new bike, you will go crazy, the selections are endless and it will be mired by a lot of opionions.
Also a lot of the italian bikes (not including Colnago) import their frames unpainted and you can pick the paint job.
Here are a couple....EricBH
Jul 25, 2001 8:41 AM
Thanks, I'll check these out too. Yep these dims include offset post and 13 cm stem. I was thinking perhaps a sloping top tube would help getting the 57 size and 59-60 virtual length top-tube. I found a place that is the American rep for Casati which is from Arkansas. Yep, I'm doing alot of research right now and this will end up being a winter project.....
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.DKF
Jul 25, 2001 8:50 AM
I can't believe no one has mentioned Carl Strong;
I am extremely happy with my custom frame and his prices and practically unlimited selection of materials and options can't be beat.
re: Custom Frame Geometry Advice needed.EricBH
Jul 25, 2001 9:00 AM
Strong frames are on my list and definetly in consideration. Thanks,

You'll like Strongmike mcmahon
Jul 25, 2001 9:35 AM
I've had my Strong Foco for close to five months now and couldn't be happier with the bike or the process of ordering and having it built. Assuming you pick the right builder, going with a custom frame is a unique and rewarding experience. Happy shopping.
Marinoni: Best deal goingclub
Jul 25, 2001 9:55 AM
Italian builder in Canada, so no overseas hassles. Custom angles, lengths, tube specs, paint, etc. etc. Great prices, cheaper than some imported stock frames.
Second the Marinoni and my .02zelig
Jul 25, 2001 10:48 AM
I had a custom made in 1990 with Columbus TSX, ordered through their US distributor in Vermont. Great value and convenient if you're in the US. Pinarello does make to order provided you go through one of their authorized dealers or their store which is convenient to Venice. Colnago and Derosa do not except for rare exceptions which usually require a personal visit (both near Milan) and some advance planning. There are lots of custom builders in the UK with Chas Roberts in Croydon (London) being one of my favorites and from whom I will buy a frame later this year. I'm going to be in Milan for the next two weeks and I'm currently torturing myself about getting Alberto Masi to make a custom.

There are lots of builders in the US so you may want to find one near you. I think having a builder fit you is a great plus but not always necessary if they are experienced and you've been measured properly.

If you go custom one area that's rarely discussed, as the focus goes toward seat tube/top tube sizes, stand over height(!!) and angles, is bottom bracket height. It can have a big effect on stability and cornering (not when pedaling through). Most serious road bikes are currently built with 26.5-26.7cm height. My most stable bike and the one I favor for screaming descents has a 26.0cm BB height. Richard Sachs (whose bikes I've admired for 25+ years) discusses this matter much better than I can articulate so its worth investigating, remembering and specifying when ordering a custom.

Good luck in the selection process and enjoy the bike.
Marinoni: Best deal goingEricBH
Jul 26, 2001 4:35 AM
Do you have a website or contact? Thanks,

Marinoni: Websitezelig1
Jul 26, 2001 5:04 AM
Here it is:

some thoughts about customDMoore
Jul 25, 2001 10:56 AM
I have several bikes - stock, custom (but made for someone else and bought used) and custom made for me.

If you need a custom bike, I think the first issues are price and materials. How much are you willing to or want to spend? The old generalization of "you get what you pay for" is not absolutely true, but it's not often too far wrong. What materials or construction do you want? Some builders specialize in lugged steel, some may use the latest high tech steel or Al, with carbon stays, etc., or even a few who make custom Ti or carbon frames.

I think you have to resolve these issues before you can really choose a builder. All of the above bikes are available from US builders, and I'd really recommend that. Some bikes are "national" names, some are local. One real benefit of dealing with a local builder is the opportunity to be fitted in person, to sit and talk with the builder, etc. Buy a custom frame from Europe, and you may be in for all sorts of grief if you end up having a problem with it. Even if you get a big name custom bike from somebody far away, at least if it's someone in the US you'll have a better chance of having problems resolved.

I live in California, bought a custom bike from Connecticut. There are lots of builders in my area, but I wanted THIS specific bike, a Richard Sachs. I wrote to the builder, spoke to him several times on the phone. And got the perfect bike when it was all over. I wouldn't expect that level of service or communication if I was dealing with somebody on the other side of the ocean.

I'm into lugged steel. If you share that interest, look at Richard Sachs, Brian Baylis, Bill Holland, Spectrum (Tom Kellogg), J.P. Weigle. Calfee if you're interested in carbon. Custom Ti? I don't think you can beat Bill Holland. TIG'ed steel? Lots of people - Steelman, Anvil, Strong and many more. Scandium/Al? Simonetti, Chris Huber, Javelin and more.
Jul 25, 2001 11:13 AM
I've been researching buying a new bike for a year. On the custom idea, if you know your size and geometry of what you are looking for, you can find it in an off the peg frame. Custom can get expensive.
I'm pretty sure (99.9%) of what my next bike will be, it's an off the peg, and not to start any flames wars, I won't mention what it is. You have to go by your needs and preferences and not based on someones else's. Unfortunately that's what happens when you ask for advice, too much input can get confusing, but it's nice to get different ideas. Sometimes you might find out your first choice was the best and sometimes you might end up buying something you never considered.

The new bike is on the horizon, the old Mopar went on the blocks today, sniff, sniff....
If You're Serious....grzy mnky
Jul 25, 2001 11:02 AM
You'll find a Serotta dealer with a certified fit specialist. Most everything else is just guessing. Furthermore, if Serotta or the LBS gets it wrong Ben Serotta will make it right, period. Try doing that from across the Atlantic. Checkout and see what people have to say on their forum. You can even use the measurements to order your Italian cycle.
Olmo framesetsLone Gunman
Jul 25, 2001 12:43 PM
Olmo @ zona does custom work. Sweet lookin framesets.
get a second opinion....C-40
Jul 25, 2001 2:11 PM
I'm surprised that you've owned other bikes and just now figured out that you don't fit on a stock frame. Get a second opinion before you spend a lot of time and money going custom. If you're not an experienced rider who has optimized his knee-over-pedal position, there's a good chance that the perfect custom fit will later turn out to be less than perfect.

If someone put you on a size cycle and set your knee directly over the pedal spindle, this may later prove to be farther forward than you want. I consider myself to be a spinner (90-110rpm), but have always found that the best saddle position placed my knee about 1cm behind the pedal spindle. Some people place the knee 2cm or more behind the pedal spindle. If you happen to be one of these people, just the change in saddle position could make a stock frame fit fine.

Did the person who did the fit test find that a 130mm stem was too short? If so, how was this decision made? Did your knees and elbows overlap when pedaling in the drops?

Also note that you can't directly compare the top tube length of frames with different seat tube angles. A 74 degree seat tube angle will effectively lengthen the top tube by 1.25cm (in your frame size), compared to a frame with a 73 degree seat tube angle.

An accurate determination of seat tube angle requires the fit bike to have the same type of saddle and seatpost that you intend to use. Did yours? If not, you may be in for more surprises, when that perfect frame arrives.

Don't neglect the head tube length either. With the use of threadless headsets, longer head tube lengths are often desirable to eliminate the need for steering tube spacers. I've seen pictures of custom frames with lots of spacers and a high rise stem. Someone goofed when the frame was designed.
Well said...DINOSAUR
Jul 25, 2001 2:52 PM
I could not have said it better myself. After riding for a couple of years you should know what your frame size is, what is your effective top tube length, what seat tube angle works for you, what KNOP setting dials in with your pedaling style, what saddle you like, what your saddle height is, and what frame material you prefer. It all comes down to individual choice, and what works for you.
re effective top tube length vs. seat angleAD14
Jul 26, 2001 2:38 AM
I am confused. If I go to Colnagos website at and go to frame sizing I see the seat angle c1. If I then increase the seat angle it appears that I effectively shorten the top tube not lengthen it as your post indicates. I have always thought spinners liked steep angles because it placed them more directly over the bottom bracket as opposed to behind it where power riders prefered. Can you clear this up for me?
Jul 26, 2001 9:10 AM
For a given frame (already built), steeper seat tube angles require the saddle to be moved further back to place the knee in the same position over the BB. This saddle movement effectively lengthens the top tube by a little more than 1cm per degree, depending on frame size.

As an example, a 55cm Colango with a 74 degree seat tube angle and 54.3 TT will fit the same as a 55cm Litespeed with a 73 degree STA and a 55.5 TT, if the knee is positioned the same on both bikes. The main difference is the position of the saddle on the seat post and a slight difference in weight distribution, since the longer TT bike will most likely have a slightly longer wheelbase.
Jul 26, 2001 10:29 AM
Ahhh. The little light just went on. Thank you for the clarification.
get a second opinion....EricBH
Jul 26, 2001 4:33 AM
Thank you for the well written advice. I've struggled along for awhile with the stock geometry on several road bikes due to monetary concerns. I am a mountain bike racer and have a much easier time getting stock frames with mountain bikes with several companies offering longer top tubes.

I will definetly get a second opinion and would have liked them to have looked at knee over pedal position a bit more closely. They have a computrainer as well and I should have suggested we spend some time with saddle position and the spin scan. They also did not swap my seat post / saddle to the fit cycle which, only makes sense.

I definetly don't want the hassle of custom if I don't absolutely have to so, your advice is well heeded. Thanks,

Jul 25, 2001 5:56 PM
Custom geometry and paint scheme of any variation at NO EXTRA CHARGE. High quality lugged frames from the "original custom builder". Here are some sites to check:

Best wishes!
Marinoni and Cinghalegonzowest
Jul 26, 2001 4:15 AM
I've a similar build. Marinoni build me a bike with a 58 top tube and 56 seat. One of the stock bikes a was looking at was a Cinghale, which is built out of Seattle I think by Andy Hampstens brother. Top tubes are typically around 2 cm longer than seat on stock models.

Marinoni and CinghaleEricBH
Jul 26, 2001 4:38 AM
Thanks, do you have websites or contacts?

Marinoni and Cinghaleooh ooh
Jul 26, 2001 7:47 AM
do a search for crissakes
Marinoni and Cinghalegonzowest
Jul 26, 2001 10:10 AM