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A question for those who have spent a lot of time abroad...(19 posts)

A question for those who have spent a lot of time abroad...Bonked
Nov 19, 2003 10:27 AM
and similar to some of the posts below: what are the names of some great, small, European frame makers? Some place you could get a great frame that doesn't cost a lot of money and that no one over here (in the US) has heard of?

Thanks!
the best framebuilders live in the USgtx
Nov 19, 2003 10:31 AM
Seriously. There's probably someone in your state or town who could rival anyone you might find in Italy.
I 2nd this.alansutton
Nov 19, 2003 10:40 AM
I lived in Italy for 3 years and spent more than half my life overseas. I've also been a bike geek my whole life, and I can tell you that US framebuilders build a highter quality product.
I 3rd thisbrad nicholson
Nov 19, 2003 10:53 AM
i live in europe currently and i think their craftsmanship is overrated as well. number one most of them are outrageously expensive for hand made frames, even the little shops that no-one has heard of...
the best framebuilders live in Bozeman...miposy
Nov 19, 2003 2:19 PM
...Carl Strong (Strong Frames), Dave Kirk (formerly of Serotta), Jason of El Camino (formerly of Titus). A veritable brain trust of very highly skilled titanium, steel, and aluminum bike builders in that town.
any Ibis welders wash up there, too? nmgtx
Nov 19, 2003 3:12 PM
Not specifically, but Carl built them for awhile...miposy
Nov 20, 2003 11:12 AM
...until the new owners stopped paying him, and tried to blame their problems on Carl's company. Carl is still buddies with Scott and John though, both of whom are great guys.
britts build good steel bikes..cyclopathic
Nov 19, 2003 11:00 AM
names like Mercian and Dave Yates come to mind. Even with unfavorable exchange rates and overseas shipping costs (- VAT), Campy equipped Mercian is a bargain comparing to Rivendell. This of cause if you into Rivendell/Waterford neo-retro lugs and steel. If you want steel/Ti welded bike, you have to look in US.
britts build good steel bikes..Welshboy
Nov 19, 2003 11:14 AM
Britts (sic) do build good frames but very few British framebuilders have moved on and tried to compete in the new world. Our local framebuilder, who used to make very good steel frames, just seems content to buy in cheap alloy frames, spray them up and sell them on as the latest 'must have'. They are reasonable value for money but the artistry and passion is no longer there.

U.S. framebuilders seem to fall into two distinct camps by either doing 'retro' better than anyone else (e.g. Rivendell) or doing modern tig-welded steel frames better than anyone else (e.g. Steelman).

Both of the U.S. framebuilders mentioned above get my vote although I think that Mercian will get my money next time I'm buying a frame as they do look good value for money.
they're also good bikescyclopathic
Nov 19, 2003 12:25 PM
I've spoken to several Mercian owners who had them (some for 20+ years) alone with Rivendells, and all they prize them, esp old 753 rode like magic.

US TIG steel frames are very good, many good builders, but I don't buy into "US neo-retro". Where Rivendells are retro pretenders, Mercians are, they've been around much longer. With all respect to Grant Peterson Rivendell is mostly marketing company, they always used someone to build their bikes, Marc Muller or Curt Goodrich now. So why don't you go and buy Waterford (at least there's Paramount legacy) or Anvil in first place?
re: A question for those who have spent a lot of time abroad...SteveCnj
Nov 19, 2003 12:02 PM
Although certainly not inexpensive, and also not from Europe is Nagasawa. Great custom steel frames available from Japan.

Check out:
http://www.yellowjersey.org/NAGASAWA.HTML
I'm not necessarily looking for a steel frame...Bonked
Nov 19, 2003 12:41 PM
(in fact, I'd prefer aluminum or, since we're talking about European bikes, aluminium) or even a custom frame. I was just curious about smaller frame builders that maybe aren't very well known in the US.

thanks.
Several that come to mind...Chicago_Steve
Nov 19, 2003 12:57 PM
I think small builders that work with aluminum are maybe rarer then those that work with steel...

Check out:

http://www.co-motion.com/ The new Ristretto looks sweet
http://www.russdennybicycles.com/ Known for some very light racing frames
http://www.ionicbikes.com/ Built by Dean and very affordable
Argh... Reading's a skillChicago_Steve
Nov 19, 2003 1:51 PM
That I don't have some days...

You're looking overseas and I listed US mfrs... Check out the Graham Weighs here:

http://www.deesidecycles.com/framesets.htm

BuffaloSorrow who posts over in the CX forum has one...
I'm not necessarily looking for a steel frame...Bonked
Nov 19, 2003 2:31 PM
(in fact, I'd prefer aluminum or, since we're talking about European bikes, aluminium) or even a custom frame. I was just curious about smaller frame builders that maybe aren't very well known in the US.

thanks.
There are a number of themboneman
Nov 19, 2003 3:39 PM
I've been over here now for five years. I travel a lot, both business and pleasure, primarily in Europe as one never knows how long this ex-pat assignment will last.

I've seen some very nice bikes from small shops made in France, Spain, Italy and the UK. Who makes better frames, the US or the ROW? Better in what respect?

I have a Corrado which is SAT 14.5 Tig'd and made by a very small builder in Liverpool and a Chas Roberts, filet brazed Columbus custom drawn nivachrome from a shop that makes about 400 frames each year. Roberts frames have been seen in the States for some time as the late father started the business. I've never seen another Corrado, started by a couple of ex-Cougar guys, in the London area. The Roberts is comparable to anything made in the States. The Corrado fits perfectly, is light and handles extremely well. Is the TIG the neatest I've ever seen? No but as long as it doesn't break, if it hasn't at this point it won't, it's not as important as the pleasure I get in riding the bike.

As one travels around Europe for work and holiday, you see a number of nice machines from small local builders. Like anything, research and references are the way forward. And yes, there are a lot building in Al.
I'm not necessarily looking for a steel frame...mapei boy
Nov 19, 2003 3:42 PM
Wilier may not be totally obscure, but it is a quality Italian brand.

Somec (you can google their website) is a quality Italian brand that's DEFINITELY obscure.

I saw a Nagasawa at a bike shop yesterday. Gorgeous.
I'm not necessarily looking for a steel frame...gtx
Nov 19, 2003 3:47 PM
If you want AL you'd want a decent warranty and good luck dealing with that from across the Atlantic. One of the best AL builders in the US if not the world is Sherwood Gibson of Ventana. He's big with mtbers but not a lot of roadies have heard of him. Apparently he built Cipo's bike for Specialized--so there's some Euro cred for you. He's also known for great customer service.
re: A question for those who have spent a lot of time abroad...slowmo1829
Nov 19, 2003 8:25 PM
I have a derosa and pinarello both of which I love,however my next bike will be custum U.S made frame.