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Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold Setting(9 posts)

Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold Settinglifewillkillya
May 2, 2003 9:51 AM
Anyone out there riding a Crown Jewel Steel or Titanium? How do you like it? How good was IF at doing custom sizing?

I also have another question I hope someone can answer. I was surfing through IFs site and they take you through their production process. Seems like they do a lot of cold setting after welding (they have a couple shots in their process with someone torqueing the hell of a frame with a big lever arm), is that true of most builders or is the web page misleading me.

I had thought with Ti and thin walled Steel tubes the idea was to weld it together so it stayed straight and didn't require cold setting, which is effect is yielding the frame, in effect making the joints a little more brittle. A lot of other builders talk about weld sequences to minimize or eliminate the need for any cold setting. Is that why IF only has a five year warranty on their steel frames? Their Ti is still "lifetime" warranty. Please don't get me wrong, I think they have awesome bikes and am seriously considering getting one this summer but I'd like to know if anyone can shed some light on the matter.

re: Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold SettingIFTreedog
May 2, 2003 10:17 AM
I ride the MTB Deluxe and the road Club Racer. Both steel, both super. The MTB was custom sized and I lucked out on the CR and bought a floor model that fit.

Obviously, I was motivated by my experience with the Deluxe to pursue the company further. The Club Racer looks kind of like a cross bike, except that it's not as 'tall' in its geometry. It rides really strongly, and the time and effort put into a correct stem and sizing makes it dead on for me.

I can't help you on the warranty, other than to say that beyond paint damage to the MTB from 5 years of riding, I haven't had a problem.

Good luck.
I've had my Ti Crown Jewelcyclinseth
May 2, 2003 12:06 PM
for a year and 5 months. As far as geometry goes, I think that's more of bike shop/fittiing process issue. You supply the dimensions and they build it. I was measured and then put on a fit cycle to tweak some measurements. My bike fits like a glove. I had come off of a bike that was 3cm too big for me and when I got my IF I was stunned at how easy it was to ride and how well it responded. But that's a fit issue. IF can also tune the stiffness and other ride characteristics by selecting proper tubing diameter, wall thickness, custom tube butts.

I'm sure I could have fit well on a stock frame, but after spending 7 years on an ill-fitting bike I wanted to make extra sure. Just make sure you know what you want.

btw their welds are the cleanest I've seen compared to other ti frames.
Cold SettingNessism
May 2, 2003 12:25 PM
Cold setting is a normal part of framebuilding. Based on IF's website, it sounds like they try to control the building process as best they can. I would say don't worry about it.

Couple of IF's in the house ..IFRider
May 2, 2003 12:36 PM
I ride a '98 Deluxe hardtail and a '01 Club Racer. My wife also has a '02 Club Racer. Non of these bikes are custom, so I can't speak directly to that effect. I can speak to the quality of the work and ensuing ride.

I am extremely impressed with IF's work. Fit and finish are totally top shelf. I took an extremely bad crash a couple of year back and bent a chainstay really bad. Being local, I took the bike in for a "is it safe" trip. They looked it over and said not to worry, but if I wanted I could get the chain stays replaced. Well it bothered the hell out of me, so I had them fix it an repaint. They cut the old stays out, welded new ones in and repainted it (I added a new rigid fork). I cant tell it was ever worked on. I checked the bike on an alignment table a friend has and it is perfect. Looking at the welds, they are as perfect as before.

My understanding is that they only align if needed. I would call and ask IF directly for clarification. They are really nice about answering any questions on the phone.

I believe that the limited warranty has to do with people abusing the system. They are pretty strong in saying you need to Frame Saver the seat tube on a regular basis. People would ignore that and never empty the water out from rain rides.The bottom of the seat tube would rust out and argue about warranty.

Although a number of the founders of IF worked on the original Fat City Titanium frames, they really started to do Titanium when Merlin was bought by Lightspeed and some of the welders jumped ship to stay in Boston. So they have some serious experience in titanium. I have seen a couple up close and they are very nice. Not sure of the benefit of the shot peening other than it looks nice a creates a nice surface for paint.

re: Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold SettingBlue Crown Jewel
May 2, 2003 1:06 PM
I have had my IF Crown Jewel (in steel) for two years now.
I had it custom made. Like the other posters, I am amazed at
how well it fits. Not having ridden all winter I was hesitant
about how the bike would ride once the weather wramed up. Well
it rides like the very first time I straddled it.

My bicycle came with excellent fit and finish. The folks at
Sid's in NYC built it superbly and has required minor tuning
ever since.

As for customer service, I had called IF to request that they
send me stickers spelling "Chimera" so that I could put on the
top tube (call me vain). They send me not one, but four sets
in two different fonts and two different sizes.

Then last summer, I realized that when using 23mm tires, my
fork had minimal clearance between the tire and the brake
arch. No problem apparently, because the folks at Sid's
sent the fork back and IF sent a new fork to replace the
existing one at no charge. Can you say "Customer Service"?

Finally, I sent an email to IF asking if it would be safe to
use the bicycle on a Cyclops trainer. Matt Bracken responded
the same day, not with a simple yes, but with a reasonably
sized message in which he also suggested to use a coat of
wax to protect the top tube from rusting from the sweat.

So, Would I buy another? Yes, I would. Actually the next
one will be a single speed mountain bike in baby blue with
a red panel on the down tube. The current bike is dark
metallic blue with a white panel on the downtube and seat
tube. Very classy. Actually the folks at Sid's said that they
sold some more bicycles after customers saw mine.

So, fear not.

Let me know if you need other information.

Kind regards,
re: Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold Settingpeter1
May 2, 2003 8:35 PM
I've got a steel CJ, standard 56 cm size, bought last year with 1 1/8 head tube and steel fork. Love everything about it but am considering swapping the straight bladed for for a carbon one in the future if I decide to race...the steel fork seem a bit skittish under heavy braking. Just my impression...I had considered the club racer but for some reason, maybe vanity, convinced myself that I'd never mount fenders or wide tires. I'm most impressed with the bike's versatility and solid-feeling rear triangle. The chainstays were ovalized a few years ago.
I love My Steel Crown Jewel.Ambishawn
May 3, 2003 9:58 AM
I would buy this frame set again in a heartbeat if mine were stolen. The alignment of these frames are flawless. Coldseting is a normal process that frame builders do when a frames is initionaly tacked together . It insures that you obtain proper alighnment without a stackup of alighnment problems from heating and reheating the frame. I am most certainly an advocate of a custom frame and can't belive how comfortable and well handling My Crown Jewel is. I used the serrotta size cycle and the IF fit form to dial in My fit. I know a lady in a local club that has the Ti Crown Jewel and actually prefer it over My Moots YBB as far as the finish is concerned. Can't really beat Moots on the welds but I would say it's right there with them. Personally I would go with the steel over the Ti as I've already done.
re: Independent Fabrication Bikes and Cold SettingBituminous
May 7, 2003 9:52 AM
Below is a link to a discussion at where someone from IF explained the cold setting technique.

Unfortunately, the post was a reponse to a self proclaimed expert accusing IF of using improper building techniques, so some of it gets a little heated (totally understandable when you read the posts from "amused"). But it explains the necessity of cold setting to achieve straight,quality frames.

I encourage you to read the posts that led to this response so that you understand where Tyler was coming from.