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Cancelled my Eisentraut on principle(36 posts)

Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlenotraut4me
Jan 24, 2002 11:10 AM
Ordered a frame from Albert Eisentraut. It was going to be the perfect fit. It was going to be beautiful. It was going to last forever. It was orderd in July. It was going to be done in October. It hasn't been started yet. It now will never be.
I am thinking about getting a Paul Taylor custom frame with carbon seat stays. Anyone have experience with Paul?

Thanks for the vent session,

art cannot be rushednm
Jan 24, 2002 11:36 AM
al's not known for being fast
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlegtx
Jan 24, 2002 11:43 AM
you sure it's not "at the painters"? ;) Welcome to the world of custom frames. I think it would have been worth the wait--Eisentraut isn't known for his wonderful personality or timeliness, but he is known for his framebuilding. The more famous the builder, the longer you generally have to wait. I assume you have another bike to ride?
maybe he should have sent you this shirt ;)gtx
Jan 24, 2002 11:44 AM
He must make nice frames. Oh well, there's always Trek. nmDog Breath
Jan 24, 2002 11:48 AM
Lots of good framebuilders starving for workNessism
Jan 24, 2002 12:14 PM
Just find someone else. A lot of framebuilders started doing lugged frames so it shouldn't be too hard to find someone.

If the name on the frame is important you could try DelSanta (not sure about the spelling) - he made frames for Lemond in his early years. A Dedaccici tubing distributer receintly told me that his orders were slow last year so maybe you could get one fairly quickly.

Or check out Dave Bahm
My understanding is that he does wonderful work.

That's Della Reno, last I heardcory
Jan 24, 2002 5:06 PM
Roland Della Santa built Lemond's early bikes in Reno, and was still here last year when I was shopping. You see a lot of his bikes around town, and I've never heard anything but praise. I talked with a shop about ordering one through them last year, but for a number of reasons (mostly money, nothing to do with DS) I wound up with an Atlantis instead. No regrets...but those are sure nice frames.
We share your pain but it was probably a mistake.MB1
Jan 24, 2002 1:10 PM
I imagine you have at least 1 working bike now so what is the rush.

It took about 6 months longer than Grant promised to get Miss M's Rivendell. What a nice bike! She gets complements on it wherever she goes-rides great too. The joy of ownership has long since overcome the hurt of delivery delays.

Eisentrauts are way up there in coolness, wish I had one.
no were right onDon Haulitz
Jan 24, 2002 1:18 PM
A builder is still a business and you are the consumer. If it was gonna take 6 months longer then say that up front! If they just keep stringing you along because they overcommit then that's bad business and they deserve to go out of business no matter how good they are. It's just plain rude to do this to a customer.
Jan 24, 2002 1:32 PM
I have had similar problems w/custom cuebuilders, and canceled. For me a quality product alone is not enough; it's also a matter of honoring promises - otherwise it resembles contempt for the customer. And yeah, why not give work to those struggling to start up?
Disagree (emphatically!!)Djudd
Jan 24, 2002 2:21 PM
Assuming you have at least one working bike owning and riding an Eisentraut has got to be worth the wait. When dealing with a small business, especially one that is as work-intensive as frame building, you have to deal with delays. Though delays are frustrating they are understandable (to some)

Good Luck
Reasonable delays maybe...Epic02
Jan 24, 2002 3:35 PM
Maybe they meant to say, "we'll start it on October and it will take 4 months from THEN". I don't know, but 6-8 months for a frame seems a LONG time. You can get a house built in that much time, or a ferrari (both are a bit labor intensive I'd say.) In my mind "delay" means a few weeks, maybe a month. More than that and I might take my money elsewhere too.

Of course, by the time you go through the whole mess with ANOTHER builder, you would probably be putting miles on your new Eisentraut already.
Reasonable delays...TJeanloz
Jan 25, 2002 9:18 AM
The mistake made here was in expectations. Somebody, probably Eisentraut himself, should have warned the buyer that it could take a while. He has a reputation for taking forever and a day to build a frame. It's part of the Eisentraut mistique- there's a certain cache to have made it all the way through the building process. You've got to be pretty dedicated to get to the point where you can ride one.

Richard Sachs is the same deal; you have to go in, get fit, and wait a while. It could be a year, it could be more. This doesn't float well with the 'customer is always right' theory that is so prevelant today. It is the 'perfection takes inspiration, and inspiration takes time' theory. I know quite a few people who have waited for these bikes, and I don't know one who didn't think it was worth it.
Sachs delayDMoore
Jan 25, 2002 9:55 AM
My Richard Sachs bike took about 7 months to receive back in '98. Richard had originally said 4, and was obviously distressed about the delay. I'd ordered a full bike, and he sweetened up the price and threw in some extras to compensate for the delay.

The wait itself was agonizing -- but now that I have the bike I'd have to say it was the best bike decision I ever made. It's a fantastic bike.

I think the large majority of bikes, even including many custom bikes, fall pretty much into the "tool" category. But if you want a bike from the true artisans - Sachs, Eisentraut, Columbine, Moon, and their peers - then you just wait as long as it takes.

Imagine the Pope telling Michelanagelo "Your job is cancelled - you've been taking too long on the Sistine chapel?" (Sure, that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea.)
Jan 25, 2002 11:03 AM
You compare brazing together a bike frame to true art.

The only real art involved is when some of these guys adorn the basic frame in some way. Fancy head tube badge, lug cutouts and shaping, add on ornamentation, ect.

I don't mean any disrespect to these expert craftsman, but building bike frames is not rocket science and not really art per say.

More like, highly skilled craftsmanship using time honored and proven techniques. And in Sachs case, using hand picked (and hoarded) not generally available fittings.
Bicycles as Art...TJeanloz
Jan 25, 2002 1:10 PM
I think that bicycle frame building can be an art, as done by Sachs, Mondonico, and others. It can also not be art, as demonstrated by Trek and Specialized et. al. It's the difference between having a poster of the Mona Lisa and having the real thing- they effectively show the same image, but they are not the same thing.

A bicycle is much more than weld quality or paint quality. Or the tubes it's built from. The real art of the bicycle builder is in mating the perfect tubeset to the perfect angles with impeccable attention to detail. Like the painter takes raw colors and makes them magnificent, the builder takes raw materials, and produces a true work of art.
art vs. craftgtx
Jan 25, 2002 1:31 PM
I'd say most of the better framebuilding, even that of Richard Sachs, falls into the "craft" category. Richard Sachs is a truly great craftsman, in the best sense of the word. Van Gogh and Faulkner were artists.
I agree...partlyNessism
Jan 25, 2002 2:15 PM
TJeanloz wrote:
"The real art of the bicycle builder is in mating the perfect tubeset to the perfect angles with impeccable attention to detail."

I agree with that statement with the exception of the art part.

The process of assembling a frame entails CRAFTSMANSHIP. Proper tube selection involves experience and the study of engineering principals.

All in all, I think it's fair to call the better framebuilders artisans. I just hesitate to call building a frame art itself.

A lot of what I say is because I build lugged frames as a hobby. I don't profess to have the knowledge or experience of some of the names being thrown about in this thread. I do know how to build a high quality frameset however. I've learned the difference between slapping together a frame and carefully assembling it. But make no mistake, selecting the proper tubes for a particular rider and assembling thoes tubes together into a frame is not art. Building a high quality frame entails attention to detail and know how. No more, no less.

Now, when Richard Sach designed the lugs for his frames, and thoes for Rivendell, there is some art involved. When Columbine crafts a one-off head tube badging, that envolves artistic expression. Sycip and Landshark paint jobs are known to be unique expressions that can be called art.

But building a frame, even with impeccable attention to detail, is not art in my opinion. Of course, you are entitled to yours.
It's bothAnvil
Jan 25, 2002 5:11 PM
But if I had to choose between the two, I'd say craftsman. Some guys build "art" bikes, Columbine, Moon, Bohemian, etc. Lots of those guys started out as jewelers and moved into bikes. Fine bicycles, but given their rein, they lean towards decoration. Then there are the craftsmen who build bikes with flair and a certain panache, but not adornment. I think it was Boyd Coddington, the famous hot rod builder, who when asked what his favorite color was for a rod, replied simply, "White." When asked why, he said, "White shows the fit and straightness of the body panels better." That's craftsmanship.

Art for art's sake is not craftsmanship, but craftsmanship is an art unto itself.

Don Ferris
how 'bout "artisan" ;) nmgtx
Jan 25, 2002 5:15 PM
No waydjg
Jan 27, 2002 11:08 AM
I've been riding, owning, and drooling over bikes for a long time. Got my first road bike--a Gitane Junior Racer--in 1973. It's not that I don't admire nice design, nice paint, nice welds, etc. And it's not that I don't find a certain level of sloppiness offputting. But the idea that Richard Sachs can do enough in, e.g., filing and shaping a lug to deserve comparison to, e.g., Leonardo (your example, right?) seems nuts to me. It's the sort of thing that reveals an ignorance of painting more than a love of well-built bicyles. Why not compare him to Mozart? Or Faulkner?
whatta bunch of crapolaDesi H
Jan 25, 2002 10:51 AM
If Eisentraut would just say it'll get done whenever I feel like it then maybe I'd agree, but he gave a date. He could have given a later date and then the customer would have the right to agree to the wait or not. To string someone along is just the sign of an a$$hole who doesn't care about honoring his word or is too sloppy to estimate how long it will take. How many frames has he built now? You'd think he has a pretty good idea of how long it takes. Mystique? what crap. I think you are suckers to wait for what is basically just a steel frame with his name on it.
you never knowLucy B
Jan 25, 2002 11:36 AM
Maybe the guy kept dogging the builder, then got rude ("where the hell is my frame?! you said it would be done on such-and-such date, blah, blah, blah..."). If that were the case and I were the builder, I'd let the guy twist in the wind, too.

PS, you don't know much about Eisentrauts, do you?
you never knownotraut4me
Jan 25, 2002 3:33 PM
"The guy" didn't call for six months. He has called twice.
Custome cuesnotraut4me
Jan 24, 2002 5:03 PM
You must be a serious pool player. I am having a billiard room built right now but can't play pool well at all. I've just always wanted a table!
Do places give lessons or are there good books?

Custom cuesCrankist
Jan 26, 2002 4:09 PM
Yes, lessons are usually available (call a pool hall); best to train properly before those bad habits become ingrained. Books can merely confuse.
does he work for Kmart or Enronga
Jan 24, 2002 4:51 PM
Never heard of him and I would have cancelled the order too. Doesn't matter if you have 123 working bikes. You were willing to lay the cash out for his workmanship....and his promise of a timeline for delivery...
never heard of Eisentraut???gaga
Jan 24, 2002 7:29 PM
WOW! Come out, come out, wherever you are.
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlenotraut4me
Jan 24, 2002 5:00 PM
Thanks for the comments. If Albert had said "sorry about that. I mis-judged the amount of work I have", or offered me a shirt, or something to show he cared, I might have said OK. But I feel like I'm being granted a priveledge to spend my $2200 on a frame from him. BS. I am the customer. I will be just as happy (perhaps more so since I now get carbon seat stays and save $450) with a Taylor and have it within 4-6 weeks.
Sure I have another bike. To me it's more customer service than time. I will continue to appreciate all the cool 'Traut frames out there. Mine will just be a cool Taylor frame.
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlenotraut4me
Jan 24, 2002 5:09 PM
Thaks for the recommendations on frames. One of my caviates is I want to be able to go to the builder to be fitted. Sure a shop could do it, but for the $ I want to whole experience. That's why I'm sticking to the Bay Area.
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlewalter
Jan 24, 2002 6:48 PM
Your money, your call. Valid points going both ways. The only thing in this thread that really surprised me is a cyclist who hasn't heard of Eisentraut? Come on now.
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principlegtx
Jan 24, 2002 6:51 PM
Bay Area? Also consider Steelman and Sycip and Soulcraft and Mikklesen. Good luck with it!
I am always looking for businessCharlie - Empire Cycle Craft
Jan 24, 2002 9:32 PM
Yes, I am throwing out a sales pitch here. I am a fairly new company that is quickly building a reputation for quality work and service. I have two very experianced builders working for and I pride myself on that. I like to say that I am a new company with decades of experiance. If you have any interest you can check out my website at, or call me at 720-652-0498. My lead times are typically 6-8 weeks. Also, being as how I am trying to get more bikes on the road, prices are always negotiable.

Charlie Weisel, Owner
Empire Cycle Craft
Colorado? Where?Desi H
Jan 25, 2002 10:55 AM
Isn't that a colorado area code? Curious where you are?
Hey, maybe I could make this sort of thing work for me ...tarwheel
Jan 25, 2002 11:25 AM
Let's see... I can't afford a new bike right now. But if I order an Eisentraut or Sachs, then it wouldn't be ready for 12 months or so, and surely I could save up the money by then. Or do you have to put up a big down payment?
re: Cancelled my Eisentraut on principleTroyboy
Jan 25, 2002 11:36 AM
I might suggest entering into a contractual relationship with these people. A simple sales slip indicating the deposit you lay down with a *finish* date on it would be sufficient.