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Choosing custom builder.(4 posts)

Choosing custom builder.Len J
May 3, 2002 5:01 AM
First of all let me say that I am not looking to answer the question "Which is the best custom builder?"

Here is my question. There seems to be a number of quality custom builders of steel bikes and , while fewer in number, a reasonable number of quality cutom Titanium builders. How are they different? I know that Sachs is a one-man shop, and this is his "difference", but does anyone know what is uniques between Eisentraut, Waterford, Rivendell, Steelman, Spectrum, Strong, Anvil, Serotta, Seven etc etc? They can't all be the same can they? No Judgement here, I just want to know what their "Unique" slant is on bike building.

Or maybe they are all the same, maybe the choice is based on personality, or geography or something else. What do you know/think?

re: all the same?cyclopathic
May 3, 2002 5:40 AM
this would be pretty much like saying "all bike mfg are the same".

Granted the differentiation may not be as great and given specific request 2 bikes from diff builders would have similar feel still it may end up being completely different beast.

This is where I think you find differentiation:
- geometry (diff builders have diff views on what "ideal" geometry should be and it will influence end result)
- materials/lugs/tubing used
- methods and order of construction (tube metering, brazing lugs, welding, threading/drilling sequence etc)
- finish

this is my ignorant view of the subject
May 3, 2002 7:53 AM
it's all in the details. Decide your price range is, learn what you can about the builders in that price range, then contact a few builders who appeal to you the most (for whatever reason--they're local, you've heard nothing but good things about them, you like the look of their bikes, etc.), and take it from there.
May 3, 2002 7:57 AM
Custom fit is a great reason to go with any of these choices. But beyond differences in geometry, I think what you are really dealing with is the "mystique" factor, which is unmeasurable. Unless you buy one of each and try them out, I doubt you will ever get a useful, unbiased opinion. Who is going to say "I bought an Eisentraut, and I hate it." Serotta and Seven have well-developed fit systems, but for the others, I'd go with the builder who is closest so you can go there in person.