Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

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ton
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by ton »

with being a pretty big a wide built bloke, i have always toyed with the idea of a custom frame. but also being a serial bike swapper in the past, i was always put off from doing so, thinking i would end up selling.
i now seem to have tamed the urge to sell and swap at random. and to be honest, since i bought my fargo, i dont think i would be gaining anything at all.
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johnnystorm
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by johnnystorm »

ton wrote: Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:10 pm with being a pretty big a wide built bloke, i have always toyed with the idea of a custom frame. but also being a serial bike swapper in the past, i was always put off from doing so, thinking i would end up selling.
i now seem to have tamed the urge to sell and swap at random. and to be honest, since i bought my fargo, i dont think i would be gaining anything at all.
Quoted for posterity! :wink:
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jameso
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by jameso »

I suggest building a fairly sturdy frame and make the ride more comfy with flexy seatposts/bars, rather than risking a wobbly frame to save weight.
Makes a lot of sense, I'd agree. I love how a skinny steel road frame can ride but anything that deals with bags or bumps firstly needs the stiffness to be right.
This is the main issue for me. A bike that rides really well lightly loaded is often too flexy when heavily loaded. If I put a rack and full panniers on my longitude it is quite ‘soft’ and almost impossible to ride no hands as it shimmys as soon as I my hands of the bars. It’s a delight lightly loaded.
I only started to realise this after understanding how the frames I preferred were stiffer than some others liked and maybe stiffer wasn't all beneficial to ride quality, but it is needed for loaded bikes. I rode a couple of more flexible frames and really liked them for some riding. Getting that loaded/unloaded balance worked out seems almost impossible though. The effect of attaching just 4-5kg across a frame can really change how it reacts to handling input or bumps, perhaps mostly so if it's panniers front and rear. It's a shame as what I like about my lugged steel road bike is how the sway and flex feels over a long ride and I'd like that feel in a loaded bike. Perhaps it's more about where the weight's packed, plus a realistic range you can pack to a bike that's based on its stiffness.
Tomwoodbury
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

Have we ever discussed Jan Heine’s concept of ‘planing’ on here? So based on discussions above basically you want to overbuild slightly so that you still have a spring in the steel when loaded? I guess tubeset plays a massive factor here.
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psling
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by psling »

I have a couple of DEAN ti bikes made 18 and 14 years ago. One of the main requirements was stiffness of tubes but for two totally different reasons, on one bike for off-road handling and the other as a light tourer. Still get great pleasure from riding them.
My most recent purchase though is an off-the-peg Kona uLTD. Have a look, might be just what you're after. It has been a revelation to me!
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stevenshand
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by stevenshand »

Tomwoodbury wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:44 pm So based on discussions above basically you want to overbuild slightly so that you still have a spring in the steel when loaded? I guess tubeset plays a massive factor here.
It would be interesting to hear James' thoughts on this when it comes to speccing tubes. I just don't think there are enough tubesets/tubes with differing characteristics to provide the level of granularity that would be needed to achieve this.
Tomwoodbury
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

And of course, if you spec it to ride great loaded, what would it mean the ride is compromised when unloaded, which for me is 90% of the time.

I’m glad you’ve joined the post Steven - perhaps this is one to take offline but do you think it’s possible to combine elements of your Bahookie and Stoater into a bike that can take 2.5” tyres and still be fairly decent on tarmac? I did own one of your frames previously- the Stoater FT that won an award at Bespoked (lovely looking yellow thing) but with 700c surly knards the toe overlap was just too much for proper off roading. I’ve been searching for the holy grail ever since.
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stevenshand
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by stevenshand »

Tomwoodbury wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 8:12 am I’m glad you’ve joined the post Steven - perhaps this is one to take offline
Drop me an email (steven@stevenshand.com) and I'll be happy to help.
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by jameso »

stevenshand wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 9:53 pm
Tomwoodbury wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:44 pm So based on discussions above basically you want to overbuild slightly so that you still have a spring in the steel when loaded? I guess tubeset plays a massive factor here.
It would be interesting to hear James' thoughts on this when it comes to speccing tubes. I just don't think there are enough tubesets/tubes with differing characteristics to provide the level of granularity that would be needed to achieve this.
You're right, I read Tom's comment and thought, before I make all this sound more complex than it needs to be (not my intent) I should say there's probably only 2 down tube ODs and 2 top tube ODs you're likely to be working with on a bike like this. And I've only worked on production bikes, not custom. It's identifying what a rider's after that I see as the tricky bit, much more so than the tube to suit the rider and frame size/type. Wall thickness and butting are such subtle tunes to ride feel over the OD that it's like a taste test or to some, more like trying new speaker cable. You could get into tapering and shaping but less likely with a custom frame from most builders.

Plus, Tom, you've done what I'd be doing for a custom bike like this.
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

Interesting stuff.

A mate of mine who has built a couple of his own frames has suggested before anything else I should have a bike fit. Given the level of investment I think I’m going to to do this first!
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Boab
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Boab »

If you pick the right bike fit place, they can also advise / design you a bike to a custom geometry that you can then send to someone to be built. Not cheap mind...

https://www.soigneur.co.uk/custom-geometry
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Rich3rd
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Rich3rd »

TheBrownDog wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:19 pm PM rich3rd who's currently running the most beautiful self-designed and custom built frame I can remember seeing. He's a bit of an engineeringy chappy, so knew exactly what he wanted, but I'm sure he'll gladly share his experience.
Thankyou sir :-bd .

I can highly recommend Andrew Madison, Spanner bikes, did a very nice job for me, very reasonable price too. I'd advise that you get to know what exactly what sort of geometry you want, key dimensions and what sort of riding you're going to do. Its a great journey though, you get to pick every little detail, right down to the bottle cage mounts! Here's the beauty he did for me: https://www.spanner.org.uk/2020/10/rich ... nner-bike/
Never knowingly under biked...
Tomwoodbury
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

Wow… that is a stunning bike. What sort of warranty do they offer? I’m a tad wary of ti bikes - would prefer steel
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Rich3rd
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Rich3rd »

Tomwoodbury wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 3:38 pm Wow… that is a stunning bike. What sort of warranty do they offer? I’m a tad wary of ti bikes - would prefer steel
A lifetime warranty (its effectively an insurance policy), but its very well built, slightly over spec'd on the tubing, I see it lasting well, its already had some real abuse.
Never knowingly under biked...
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stevenshand
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by stevenshand »

Rich3rd wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 3:27 pm
TheBrownDog wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:19 pm PM rich3rd who's currently running the most beautiful self-designed and custom built frame I can remember seeing. He's a bit of an engineeringy chappy, so knew exactly what he wanted, but I'm sure he'll gladly share his experience.
Thankyou sir :-bd .

I can highly recommend Andrew Madison, Spanner bikes, did a very nice job for me, very reasonable price too. I'd advise that you get to know what exactly what sort of geometry you want, key dimensions and what sort of riding you're going to do. Its a great journey though, you get to pick every little detail, right down to the bottle cage mounts! Here's the beauty he did for me: https://www.spanner.org.uk/2020/10/rich ... nner-bike/
At that price I assume it's a Chinese frame that he designs and orders for you? Not that there's anything wrong with that, just the website isn't exactly clear.
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Rich3rd
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Rich3rd »

[/quote]

At that price I assume it's a Chinese frame that he designs and orders for you? Not that there's anything wrong with that, just the website isn't exactly clear.
[/quote]

Yes, its Chinese built but I worked very closely with them on every little design detail, signing off on the final drawings. I rather enjoyed the whole journey, I got a completely custom unique frame (there's only so much you can do with 2 triangles!) exactly to my geometry and it was very well built, very tidy welds and everything fitted together perfectly. I've no vested interest in the Spanner Bike, just saying that I think the concept worked really well for me to get the custom frame I wanted.
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by jameso »

Tomwoodbury wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:44 pm Have we ever discussed Jan Heine’s concept of ‘planing’ on here? So based on discussions above basically you want to overbuild slightly so that you still have a spring in the steel when loaded? I guess tubeset plays a massive factor here.
Can't remember but I'm sure I would have commented on it if so : ) It's a really interesting point (to a bike nerd like me). I would love to spend a day or two repeating his experiments in that area. Planing appears to work for some riders where the frame suits their power/cadence, though I don't see how you can have a frame that works in that way under seated pedalling without it also being quite flexible and prone to shimmy (a fairly common discussion point around very lightly built rando bikes). Perhaps it rewards a very light touch and a subtle riding style, if so I can see the appeal in that on a long ride. I'd miss being able to let it loose from time to time, but I get it. Tempted to think/believe the low trail, front loading and light tubing all go together well for road/light gravel rando riding -would like to try a good example one day- but one aspect on its own just doesn't seem to work so well. He makes a good general point that frames aren't necessarily better because they're stiffer unless you sprint for wins on the road. There's a very good podcast on this topic with Jan Heine and Damon Rinard on Cyclingtips.com, https://cyclingtips.com/2017/06/cycling ... ss-matter/

I saw Richard's bike up close recently, it's really nice. No doubt there's some good value to be had there.
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

Thanks for the podcast link James. I love Bicycle Quarterly’s bike geekiness and the bikes I’ve owned over the 5 or so years I’ve read the magazine have been heavily influenced by what I’ve seen in there.

I really didn’t understand planing until I built my first bike where I felt it - it’s an all city Zig Zag and you really do feel the additional spring from the frame. Previously I owned a Kinesis Tripster ATR v1 which was lovely to ride but didn’t have the same effect, possibly because it was more geared towards all surface riding and carrying a load.
redefined_cycles
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by redefined_cycles »

Interesting discussions and really appreciated discussions/input from the folks in the know. That 'planing' phrase... Thanks for that link Jameso...

I started my bike-life always wanting the comfiest (not fastest) bike I could get. Especially since I managed my back pain (about 15 years ago and with the addition of raw milk and a few lifestyle changes) with riding bikes.

Not surprised that Cannondale has Damon Rinard working/worked for them as I found the Cannondale (f800) and Boardman Pro 5o be the comfiest for my back and reducing the back-breaking effect. Right at the start before experimenting with csripus frames I managed the harsh effect of some frames with a bouncy seatpost.

Anyway, before I go off on tangent and since I've owned 3 bespoke frames now - Indy Fab steel deluxe in a mix of 853 and other tubing, Indy Fab Crown Jewel with skinny 25cc tires and carbon front and rear ends and the Bertoletti Legend Fedaia in a mix of Columbus tubing with IMHO workmanship by arguably one of the best frame builders in the world ?? - and what I would add is that they've all been absolutely fantastical. Both the IndyFab CJ and Legend I've ridden on 24 hour - 230ish mile nasty roadie rides. No negative impact on my body or bones.

If you've not already gone bespoke, then IMO, do it. I never had the frame built around me as I can't afford such a thing. Instead I got ebay bargains which turned out to fit my 'glovingly'. I know enough about the character of what we're getting for individualised workmanship now that I would happily save up and buy from either of the above again.

But because I like to follow the KISS philosophy (Keep It Simple Stupid) I'd just keep the brief simple and allow Bertoletti or IndyFab to do their thing. For reference I've ridden both bikes fully loaded (though I do try to travel light) and unloaded and never noticed any difference in ride quality in both. Also for reference, the 200 milers have been routes I've drawn up myself with just enough gravel sections to keep the roadies I'd invited (self supported charity rides) stressed but at the same time getting some off road exposure. The 25cc tires on the IndyFab CJ I had been worried about before the ride as the sections were/are somewhat rocky for a roadie. But it handled it perfectly.

Bespoke frame builders who love their job and charge reasonable money and are reknowned for their workmanship (Bertoletti has worked for other handbuilt frame builders with which he has contracts to keep it secret and would have the pro-peloton folks coming to have him build their frames then rebadged with sponsor logos) are utter genius IMHO. I'd just give em a simple design brief and let em do their thing...
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by redefined_cycles »

Tomwoodbury wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 8:12 am And of course, if you spec it to ride great loaded, what would it mean the ride is compromised when unloaded, which for me is 90% of the time.

I’m glad you’ve joined the post Steven - perhaps this is one to take offline but do you think it’s possible to combine elements of your Bahookie and Stoater into a bike that can take 2.5” tyres and still be fairly decent on tarmac? I did own one of your frames previously- the Stoater FT that won an award at Bespoked (lovely looking yellow thing) but with 700c surly knards the toe overlap was just too much for proper off roading. I’ve been searching for the holy grail ever since.
Hi Tom... just to let you know there is a Shand (forget the name) gravel bike in the LFGSS at the mo. For about 1k. You might just get lucky if it fits you
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Tomwoodbury »

Thanks Shaf but the one for sale is a Rizello which is an out and out road bike. If I hadn’t recently got my all city I’d be tempted though.
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Kumquat
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Re: Bespoke frame - anyone done it?

Post by Kumquat »

Yes
853 wavelgranker
No toe rub!
High front end
No excess frame nipples
Grx810
Chose a lovely green colour. No one else has a pale pastel green bike right?
Rides lovely
Mmm
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