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Custom frames(26 posts)

Custom framesDrSchu
May 2, 2002 6:17 AM
Just saw the 2002 editor's picks in Bicycling Mag, and read the feature on Richard Sachs...are these frames really this good? My LBC recommends Davidson or Seven...but what about Steelman and Rivendell? Any thoughts out there?
Simple Answer: yes...TJeanloz
May 2, 2002 6:25 AM
Sachs frames are often thought of as the pinnacle of custom framebuilding. All the others are great frames, of course, but Richard Sachs is widely regarded as the top of the heap.
Simple Answer: yes...DrSchu
May 2, 2002 6:32 AM
Thanks...sorry for what may have been a dumb question from a relative newbie, but after I read about these frames, I decided I wanted one for my 50th birthday (in 2.5 years), and just wanted to make sure the claims were for real, not just hype.
Simple Answer: yes...gtx
May 2, 2002 6:41 AM
I think a Sachs would be perfect for a 50th birthday--I was thinking the same thing for my 40th (still seven years away). Be sure to get on the list early--I think there's a 6-9 month wait.
Shacs questionJekyll
May 2, 2002 8:05 AM
How does his pricing compare to Steelman or IF/Serrota steel offerings?
Shacs questiongtx
May 2, 2002 8:28 AM
Steelman and IF are tig welded and I think they both run around $1400 frame/fork, more for custom. Sachs and the Serotta CSI are lugged--I think Sachs will run about $1000 more for the frame/fork, with the Serotta CSI being perhaps just a tad less.
like a ferarri.....Spirito
May 2, 2002 8:29 AM
if you have to ask a price you can't afford one.

prolly looking at a start # of $2700+ for a frame fork. expensive? not when you consider the quality and integrity of his work. a bargain actually.

every part of the build is undertaken by richard. he has a set of tried and tested design principles and your riding position and style and body measurements result in not only a unique built frame but something that is made to fit perfectly.

your measurements are the only ones taken into account so its rare that any 2 frames are the same. in fact he doesn't even have a protractor but uses the old fashioned measuring tape. ask him about angles and he could only guess. ask sachs owners about fit and they can only smile.

for that money you dont even get a frame tubing decal. but you do get the finest of hand picked ingredients and the best paintjob available by joe bell.

at 70 dd frames a year there is no such thing as a fast turnaround so plan well in advance. he is also the most down to earth and approachable man in the industry in my opinion. a true master with a wealth of not only experience but a catalogue of raving and happy customers.

http://www.richardsachs.com/rsachs2.html

if you want the best there is only one logo
maybeJekyll
May 2, 2002 8:54 AM
I keep wondering why I "need" another road bike. I keep playing with the idea of getting something kind of different from the typical Serotta, IF, Seven offerings. While there is hardly anything wrong with the aforementioned brands, at this kind of price its nice to have something different from the bikes half of the riders at every club gathering ride.
Price is not really the issue here. Motivation is more like it. Unfortunately the mind (probably erroneously) starts to equate price with results. I just find it very difficult to convince myself that I will like what ever a builder (regardless of how much of an artisan he/she is) will divine from his caldron of cycling wisdom, bat's wings and frogs legs on my behalf. This has kept me from going custom for some time.
I would never buy a Ferrari without a test drive (ever driven a Mondial? ugh). Same kind of logic always creeps in when looking at custom bikes.
With so many fine off the rack bikes like C-40's etc around I have a difficult time taking the leap of faith on a custom so for the time being I keep wondering.
think of it this way....Spirito
May 2, 2002 9:30 AM
which off the rack exotic will outlast perhaps 3 to 4 groupsets if not more.

that sort of quality is mighty cheap over the years and also keeps its value which is part of a sachs frame. indeed if you are tired of switching and trying it makes logical sense.
Test ride one from a friend the same size as you.Leisure
May 2, 2002 2:12 PM
I always thought Seven frames were pretty and rode nice, but my brief test rides were on frames that were too big and probably for heavier riders. The manager at my LBS is really close to my same dimensions, and when he went and ordered one for himself I took it for a test ride. All I can say is wow. I mean, WOW! It felt like a softtail but had this unnervingly easy acceleration. I can't comment on the handling because the fork was light and kind of flexy, but at low speeds the tracking was extremely true. Flopping the handlebar from side to side felt so smooth and predictable. My Waterford-welded Gunnar tracks nicely (for its price), but not like that.
I suppose some of this could be had on non-custom frames, but not that ride quality. Stuff like this is not important for everyone, but bottom line is, if (more like when) I get the cash aside to do a custom frame, I will.
don't think you can go wrong with any of theseColnagoFE
May 2, 2002 6:29 AM
Though the Rivendell might require a certain retro mindset all are top notch frames from respected builders. Not sure about Seven's steel offerings, but their TI bikes are well liked.
don't think you can go wrong with any of theseDrSchu
May 2, 2002 6:33 AM
yeah, I was kind of surprised when my lbc told me seven was now offering steel...
Rivendell: retro mindset optionalRay Sachs
May 2, 2002 6:35 AM
I've seen plenty of Rivs built up with all modern gear. It's a great riding and versatile frame and you can set it up any way you want. You do have to like longer than usual chainstays, slack seat angles, and low bottom brackets, but those things are not hard to like, believe me.

-Ray
Second the "optional" retro aspect of Riv...retro
May 2, 2002 8:02 AM
Grant has sort of created an image for himself with his catalog and writings about bikes, but retro is definitely not required to enjoy Rivendells. The only one in Idaho, far as I know, is set up with full DA, index shifting and all the stuff Grant questions (except for the Brooks saddle). I happened to see it outside the REI in Boise a few months ago. The guy loves it.
I don't have one yet (two kids to get through college), but I set my Atlantis up in what looks like Retro style but really isn't--it's just tested, proven stuff I can ride without having to fiddle all the time. When I win the lottery and buy my Riv, I figure Shimano will be up to about a 15-cog cassette, and I'm not going to go for it. But it won't be for retro purposes--I just don't NEED that many gears.
A plug for Steelman..DINOSAUR
May 2, 2002 6:46 AM
I came very close to ordering a Steelman. The only reason I didn't is because the owner of my LBS gave me a $600 discount on a new Colnago Master X-Light. From what contact I had with Steelman, they were very friendly and efficient and were will to work around their schedule to do a fitting on a Saturday. My only regret is that if I would have gone with a Steelman (back in Feb) I would be riding it, instead of finding out about the Italian time frame when ordering something that is not in stock.

If you order a Sachs, be willing to wait about eight months . Some frames you just order and forget about it. Another frame builder who does beautiful work is Richard Moon, in Folsom Ca. And don't forget about Anvil who is a frequent contributor of this forum. It was his opinion of the Master X-Light that got me thinking about that frame...
A second plug for Steelman..Mike Prince
May 2, 2002 7:04 AM
Unlike DINOSAUR I did order one last year and couldn't be happier. Awesome service and product, quick delivery and one mega-happy customer. Can't say enough about Brent and how helpful he is.

Another custom builder (especially if you love lugged frames) to consider is Peter Mooney in Belmont, MA (Belmont WheelWorks). I have never ridden one of his frames but have seen quite a few in the shop and they are absolute works of art.

Lots of choices out there.
re: Wonderful bikes!dzrider
May 2, 2002 7:08 AM
Living in Connecticut we see Richard Sachs' bikes more often than most places. People ride them and race them for years. There are many fine frame builders but none that I know of that are regarded more highly. I'd check out the frame builder in your immediate area with the best reputation which makes it easier to do the fitting in person. Compare his work and ideas with Richard's and see which produces the better response from you. At this level all the options are pretty damned sweet.
Strongterry b
May 2, 2002 7:54 AM
You might also consider Carl Strong. Great to work with. http://www.strongframes.com

I just had one built and it is a great bike. More importantly though, and you'll get this with whatever custom builder you choose, is the experience. It was a lot of fun picking the angles, paint, lengths, build kit, etc. It adds a whole new dimension to getting a new bike and makes that first ride even that much more rewarding.
Is Bob Jackson still around? (nm)t-bill
May 2, 2002 9:23 AM
Steelmanjc66502
May 2, 2002 7:44 PM
I've only seen a few Richard Sachs frames. Very beautiful, ornate without being over-done, and just a little bit old fashioned (but in a good way). Very expensive, but probably could be considered a lifetime frame.

Steelman is a little bit different beast. More pragmatic and functional than RS, more a tool than a work of art. I don't mean to imply that Brent Steelman is any less of an artisan than Richard Sachs, but Steelman frames have a more modern and industrial look and feel.

Which one is better? That's up to you. I think Steelmans are among the best made frames available from any builder for any amount of money. I love mine (a Manzanita mountain frame). If I were given the choice between an RS and a Steelman, I'd opt for the Steelman. Ask be again when I'm 50, and I might opt for the RS.
So which is more desirable, RS or ...Ride-Fly
May 2, 2002 10:48 PM
some fo the ITalian Steel builders like Pergoretti, Tomasini, or Mondonico?? Just like to stir the pot :^) I personally like the feel of good aluminum myself.
Not even a contest...TJeanloz
May 3, 2002 4:06 AM
Richard Sachs. (And I am a huge fan of Mondonico)

What's the difference? Pergoretti, Tomasini and Mondonico are all small shops that have high quality standards. But Sachs is a one-man show. And I think there's something to be said for one guy controlling and executing the entire process. The others have a dozen guys in the shop, and even if you got Antonio Mondonico himself to measure you, somebody else is going to be doing some of the welding, and another guy files the pins, etc. Sachs is a one-man shop, start to finish- and IMHO, that gives him the edge.
Not even a contest...bic
May 3, 2002 6:04 AM
My understanding of Mondonico is that he works only with his son. Only the painting is done by anyone else. Where do you get you info?
I don't think so,TJeanloz
May 3, 2002 6:15 AM
I sold the line at the shop I worked with, and had the pleasure to meet Antonio himself at one point. I know they don't work alone by the shear logistics of it- they produce ~1,000 frames per year, and when you consider that Antonio spends a fair amount of time on the road (at trade shows etc.), two men could not produce that volume. Bill at Torelli also told us that the Mondonicos didn't do any of their own aluminum work- another builder does it for them.
Maybe, but they're notdjg
May 3, 2002 9:29 AM
all trying to do the same thing. First, I think you're over-sizing the Pegoretti shop. Second, all Pegs are tig welded, whereas all Sachs bikes (if I'm not mistaken) are lugged. And the couple of Pegorettis I've seen (one in passing; one--owned by a friend--I've actually had a short spin on) are pretty distinctive in certain ways--big, beefy, stiff chain stays, for one thing. I also think that the two Italian builders you mentioned are--although they build handsome bikes--not really going for the jewel-like finish (or price) of a Sachs; it's really not what they're about. I'm not saying you're wrong about Sachs--actually, I have no opinion on the matter. I just think that folks might find different design/build philosophies more or less attuned to what they want.
Not even a contest...cycleguy
May 3, 2002 9:38 PM
"The others have a dozen guys in the shop."

I don't think they all do, sorry. Prove me worng, or you lose!!!