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how do the custom frame builders survive?(3 posts)

how do the custom frame builders survive?cyclopathic
Jan 7, 2004 10:00 AM
with the prices on kit ~100-400 (add another 1-200 for lugs), cost of paint, braze materials, tooling, amount of manual labor going into quality build one could be surprized they charge so little. Hard to believe one can pay mortgage and feed family by building bikes. Is bike custom building a hobby?
re: how do the custom frame builders survive?davet
Jan 7, 2004 11:05 AM
I would suggest that the really good builders, Sachs, Kirk, Eisentraut, Vanilla et al, do nicely though not becoming rich. Doing something like custom frame-building has to be a calling and a labor of love more than a wealth builder. Sometimes designers/builders get purchased by major companies (Klein and Bontrager come to mind) and bucks are made there. In some cases the builder also has a retail bikes store (Strong, Oswald) where the cache of the name helps bring in money to the builder and customers to the store. The 'hourly wage' for most average small business owners often isn't any more than it would be for an employee, considering the hours they put in for the money they receive.
re: how do the custom frame builders survive?cyclopathic
Jan 8, 2004 6:40 AM
it takes about 30hr to build Vanilla. He is a new builder, granted, and filing lugs takes some time since he doesn't mfg own lugs like Sach. Still btw time on the phone, building, painting and pkging a few hundred bucks made per frame don't look like a fortune. They must be really dedicated people and love what they do.