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what to look for in a custom steel builder(12 posts)

what to look for in a custom steel builderishmael
Dec 1, 2002 2:54 PM
I've already ordered one so it's to late now, but given that tig welded 853 steel gets stronger at the welded area(so they say) what do I have to worry about? If the bike comes perfectly aligned, the welds are clean, the paint is good, what more is there to concider(assuming I ordered the right dimensions)?
um ... nothingj-son
Dec 1, 2002 5:05 PM
I'm confused about what you are asking. You all ready ordered the frame, so assumedly you did your research and communicated with the builder to a degree that satisfied your curiosity. Hopefully, by now your doubts would have been allayed and your questions answered. If you worked with a reputable and established builder, I'd say there is nothing more to consider.

Who is the builder?
what's there to communicate..ishmael
Dec 1, 2002 5:11 PM
graham weigh in england is the builder..I asked if he was good and they said yes, ofcourse..i found that they did it cheapest so I went with them because I couldnt see a point in chosing based on anything else...they all seem good enough and tig welded 853 isnt too delicate..
what's there to communicate..53T
Dec 1, 2002 5:45 PM
Did you hire him to build you a frame, or simply fabricate to your specs? A frame builder does a lot more than weld, he makes sure you get a bike that you will ride in comfort for a long time. That has nothing to do with welding.
what does a frame builder do?ishmael
Dec 1, 2002 6:23 PM
I told him exactly what I wanted in terms of dimensions, what more is there to know? I told him I wanted an aero downtube and he said that would stiffen it but other than that there wasnt any discussion about my comfort or him deciding anything...and I really couldnt expect anything more in terms of deciding what I wanted, I think the decision is best left to the rider and I'd better have answers or risk getting churned in number crunching...but what about the frame construction itself? if the welds are smooth does that mean they are well done? the only specification on tubing is that its 853, so I'm assuming that he'll pick thickness of the tubes based on the size of the frame if that isn'tt already done for him..I imagine there isnt much that could go wrong other than the welding..I dont know what good welding is and if that's all there is to look for.
Just think, ishamael lasted for a whole day working in an LBS nmgogene
Dec 1, 2002 7:15 PM
I'm thinking about it....what about it..ishmael
Dec 1, 2002 7:46 PM
Good luck53T
Dec 2, 2002 6:15 AM
You have opted to cut the bulder out of the frame specing process based on your belief that these things are best left to the rider. Good luck. Another set of eyes and another brain, particully one that has built a lot more frames than you have, is always welcome in my world.

To answer your welding question, smoothness has absolutly nothing to do with the quality of the weld. The presence of cracks (CR), insuficient penetration (IP, LOP), slag (INC), porosity (POR) or other defects is best found through radiography. The surface of the weld contributes nothing to the strength or drability of the joint. In fact many builders file or sand the welds upon completion as an asthetic detail. I like the look of sanded welds, but some do not.

This begs the question, why does nobody specify radiography on frame welds? Do we really care about the integrity of each weld on our bikes? Couldn't a builder get set up for radiography and use it as a tool to diferentiate himself from the competition? At the very least, mag particle inspection should be used to screen out welds with small cracks.
Paint?? Unless it is a fairly unique or wild jobLone Gunman
Dec 1, 2002 7:54 PM
I think I would have gone with powder coat on steel. Tough stuff.
a little too late, perhaps, butweiwentg
Dec 1, 2002 8:22 PM
you can't go wrong with 853 unless you're a weight weenie. but if you are a weight weenie, and you want steel, then allow me to make a shameless plug (once again; this is already posted on hot deals) for the guy who built my cross bike:
Tom Teasdale (thomastet41@aol.com) is offering custom built frames made from True Temper S3 steel for $750 apiece. he told me that a 59cm compact weighed in just under 3 lbs. a 48cm compact (my size) would weigh in around 2.5 lbs. of course, I have no idea about durability. I don't expect it's very good, unfortunately.
the cross bike he built me is pretty darn good. I can't shoulder it, which is the fault of my short legs (and hence, small main triangle) rather than the builder. also, the paint is a bit flaky.
i have a deal for youishmael
Dec 1, 2002 8:30 PM
you especially...if it fits..check out the frames at deesidecycle.com..theres also one on ebay..I'm getting a custom geometry and custom paint 853 singlespeed with all kinds of fixins(bars stem etc) for 750!..shipping is a deal killer at about 150 but I'm getting most of it picked up and brought back by plane..thanks for the speedplay deal, theyre going on this one...oo and the shoe prices there are great also.
ish......yer a putz! nmgogene
Dec 2, 2002 5:10 AM