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Talk to me about customs...(3 posts)

Talk to me about customs...MikeC
Aug 14, 2001 10:21 AM
I've been wondering lately how much difference custom geometry makes when it comes down to "general" road riding. For example, I'm riding a 56cm frame, which is probably 2-3cm bigger than most fitters would say I should be using. Two years ago, when I first bought the bike, it felt too big. Now I've adapted to it, and it feels just fine.
Or take Seven Cycles. They sell stock sizes and geometry for the same price as the customs where you can pick everything from seat tube angle to bottom bracket height. If someone buys a 55cm titanium-and-carbon-fiber off-the-rack Odonata, are they going to lose 10% of the overall performance of the bike? 2%? 50%?
I know, it all depends on how "average" your body is, and whether you're going to spend your time riding crits, climbing Cols, or Racing Across America. But assuming you're an everyday road rider who does a bunch of short and middle distance training rides, the occasional charity event, and maybe a couple of races, does custom geometry make a big difference, or is choosing a bike with a suitable standard frame (and understanding things like the stretched-out LeMond concept vs the steeper Colnago approach) sufficient?
re: Talk to me about customs...DINOSAUR
Aug 14, 2001 4:03 PM
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know my ass from my elbow in this subject as there are two different thoughts. On a custom if you know what you want, you can sit down and talk with the guy who is going to build your bike in most cases. You can provide imput and the builder can decide what tubing and geometry he is going to use for your frame. You can have a custom frame built starting from around 1K and the sky is the limit. Then again frames can only be tweaked so far with angles. I've heard that nothing rides like custom steel, but I've never had the pleasure so I can't expand with comments. You can have a bike built just for you.

Then again if you don't have a big problem with fit you can usually find whatever you want in an off the peg bike, and some of these are not cheap in any regard.

I guess the deciding factor for me would be if I couldn't find an off the peg frame that fit me, I'd go custom.

On the other hand, guys say custom is the only way to go. If you go custom, have one built by a reputable frame builder.

What part of the country do you reside? Maybe someond can steer you in the right direction.

I dunno, if I knew what I wanted, and was willing to wait, I'd consider custom. Small independent American frame makers have an excellent reputation.

I've sat on this fence myself, there is no clean cut right or wrong answer.

Another factor is resale, if this is important to you. A custom made bike is hard to sell in some cases.

I know, clear as mud. My thought is as long as it fits, ride the crap out of it and think about what you want to try next....
dependsHank
Aug 14, 2001 5:33 PM
most people can fit fine on many stock frames. I had a bike built custom for me, it's great, but there are quite a few stock frames out there that would work just as well for me (as long as they have a 73STA and a 56tt I'll probably be happy). Some people (short people, tall people, women) often can't find any stock bikes that will fit properly--these people are good candidates for custom. Or, if you have the cash and want to check it out, it's kind of cool to get exactly what you want in a bike with no compromises. If you like riding bikes that are in the big side, check out Rivendell.