Who has had a frame made ?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Brucey
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby Brucey » 24 Aug 2020, 7:56pm

slowster wrote:What makes me want a custom frame now is the desire to have a light touring frame with narrow tubes, light steel forks without low rider mounts, a 1" threaded steerer and clearances for 32mm tyres with mudguards, or better still 35mm. In other words the sort of frame of which there used to be a wide choice available off the peg.....


one of my mad notions -which is a twist on something that has been done before- is that to meet a similar requirement, I should take an old 'road' frame, equip it with 584mm or 590mm sized rims and tyres, and use SA hub brakes in it. I'd even consider using 597mm rims and tyres except they seem to be busy going extinct.

cheers
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Brucey
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby Brucey » 24 Aug 2020, 8:01pm

greyingbeard wrote:...Next I shall ask - which steel does what ? What are the pros and cons of the different materials ??


in similar gauges, they all do 'about the same thing'. The main differences exist in the available gauges/sizes of tubes and in the kinds of joining methods that suit the tubing best.

cheers
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Pneumant
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby Pneumant » 24 Aug 2020, 8:05pm

What did you choose ?
both fast road framesets with mudguard eyes, 531c in 1994 and 531c in 1997

did you get what you wanted ?
1994 frame nicely built with cast lugs/BB etc but angles too steep and top tube overly short, bike was too twitchy. 1997 frame a Lemond copy with slack angles and a long top tube, really nice to ride.

Did you know what you wanted ?
I did after the 1994 frame proved to be exactly what I did not want.

Is it the best bike you've ever ridden ?
Sadly neither were but the 1997 frame came close

What would you do differently next time ?
I would not purchase another handbuilt frameset

Who made it ?
1994 - Cobra Cycles, 1997 Hewitt Cycles

Have you since changed your mind and ordered something else ?
Would not do this.

how has it stood up to use ?
Cobra sold on, Hewitt cracked at seatstay/seat lug point and was repaired/repainted. Sadly it failed again in 2002 so I scrapped the frame. Would not do that these days but it felt the right thing to do at the time,

Was it worth it ?
Yes and always nice to ride something that is to your spec and unique

what was the process like ?
Slow but that was/is the case with many hand built frames.

Any advice ?
For a road bike frame buy Used, good condition, steel, horizontal top tube. Lots of choice out there.
Last edited by Pneumant on 25 Aug 2020, 10:07am, edited 1 time in total.

slowster
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby slowster » 24 Aug 2020, 8:10pm

greyingbeard wrote:Next I shall ask - which steel does what ?

It used to be that 531 does everything, but theres a lot of choice these days. What are the pros and cons of the different materials ??

The pros are that if you go to a very good custom builder they will be able to recommend a tubeset, or a mix of tubes, possibly even from different manufacturers, with tube profiles that will result in the best bike for you.

The cons are that a lot of customers go to a custom framebuilder having already decided that they want a frame made from XYZ, usually because they perceive that tubeset as being 'the best' because it's at the top of the Reynolds or Columbus hierachy and is the most expensive, and they must have 'the best', even if actually it happens not to be the best for their particular needs.

I think quite a few customers of Dave Yates have gone to him with the intention of ordering a frame in one of the more expensive tubesets, such as 953 or 853, and have been persuaded by him instead to have a less expensive tubeset, e.g. 631, as being more suitable for them and for the type of bike they wanted.

The most important questions to begin with are:

- what sort of bike do you want/what will you be using it for? *

- do you have a bike already that fits you and which you use for that type of riding? If you already have a bike that is a good fit and good for the type of riding you do, and which you and the framebuilder can use as a starting point, it's likely that you will end up with a better frame for you compared with starting with a blank sheet of paper.

* Brucey has commented in the past that probably one of the most important decisions, if not the most important, is what tyre width do you want to be able to use, and I think he's absolutely right.

tatanab
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby tatanab » 24 Aug 2020, 8:40pm

Modern material - All custom, I have two very similar frames, both lugless (bronze welded not TIG) in 853 built in 2003 and 725 with 631 forks built in 2012. Both are used for general club riding duties and also for cycle camping touring. To be honest, I detect no difference due to tubing. I also have a lugged frame in 725 which I seldom use - nothing wrong with it, I just prefer some of my others. Differences in the weight of the different steel tubes is trivial and swamped by small changes in the build up of the machine. My 725 is very slightly lighter than my 853 - I'm talking a few ounces in the complete machine.

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geomannie
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby geomannie » 24 Aug 2020, 8:51pm

I think quite a few customers of Dave Yates have gone to him with the intention of ordering a frame in one of the more expensive tubesets, such as 953 or 853, and have been persuaded by him instead to have a less expensive tubeset, e.g. 631, as being more suitable for them and for the type of bike they wanted.


That was me :D . I had notions of fancy tubing, but Dave convinced me that if comfort were my objective then 631 were my friend. Was I disappointed? A fancier tubing might have been a little lighter, but the final frame gives the comfort that was my primary criterion. Not disappointed at all. I went to Dave precisely for his experience and suggestions like this. Another builder might have given me exactly what I asked for, which could have been a horrible mistake.
geomannie

Des49
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby Des49 » 25 Aug 2020, 8:37am

Had 3 frames made for myself, all by Roberts.

What did you choose ?
1987 a SPX racing frame. 1990 a SLX training frame as previous but with rack and mudguard eyes. 1992? MTB White Spider frame for racing, rigid forks.

did you get what you wanted ?

Yes, only thing was the SLX frame did not come (as requested) with separate eyes for carrier and guards on rear dropout, or a means of securing mudguard at bottom bracket as no bridge there.

Did you know what you wanted ?

Yes, visited Roberts for first frame to be measured but left the geometry and tubing to builder. Did say that the Vitus 979 frame I raced on until it was stolen fiited and felt good.

Is it the best bike you've ever ridden ?

Yes! All 3 bikes still feel just right.

What would you do differently next time ?
Really not sure as things have changed (tubing diameter and materials) and frame builder has retired! I suppose my training frame at the moment has 25mm tyres and mudguards, clearance is barely adequate, should really use 23mm tyres, but things were different 30 yrs ago when we raced on 20mm tyres (even 18mm for some!) If I needed a new frame built I wouldn't know who to go to now.
Find modern paints not very tough and may be tempted to go titanium to avoid paint damage, but no material is perfect and steel still has lots of advantages.

Who made it ?
All by Chas Roberts.

Have you since changed your mind and ordered something else ?
No. Well I do now "race" on a 2nd hand 2011 Giant TCR.

how has it stood up to use ? All 3 bikes still in use, MTB now a hub geared tourer/commuter (glad I asked for rack eyes) needs a respray but touch it up myself, had new forks built by Winston Vaz last year (he most probably built the frame when working at Roberts). SLX training frame in almost daily use, needed a cracked dropout welded a few years ago but this may have been caused by a broken rear axle. SPX racing frame was still raced up to 2 yrs ago when had it resprayed, still awaiting rebuild.

Was it worth it ? Yes.

what was the process like ? Fine, just don't expect things quickly.

Any advice ? Know what you want. Trust an experienced builder to know what tubing etc to use.

greyingbeard
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby greyingbeard » 25 Aug 2020, 9:46am

Des49 wrote:Find modern paints not very tough and may be tempted to go titanium to avoid paint damage, but no material is perfect and steel still has lots of advantages.


Ive been wondering about modern paints too. Subject for another thread probably. They might tick boxes for low solvent, low nasty chemicals, but if they dont last and dont protect the metal then they arent any good. Better to use a nasty paint and keep the item that let it fail prematurely and the item goes to the bin or scrap. I like things made to last. Bikes always used to last almost forever but I bet half of this years production will be useless in ten years time

pwa
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby pwa » 25 Aug 2020, 9:54am

greyingbeard wrote:
Des49 wrote:Find modern paints not very tough and may be tempted to go titanium to avoid paint damage, but no material is perfect and steel still has lots of advantages.


Ive been wondering about modern paints too. Subject for another thread probably. They might tick boxes for low solvent, low nasty chemicals, but if they dont last and dont protect the metal then they arent any good. Better to use a nasty paint and keep the item that let it fail prematurely and the item goes to the bin or scrap. I like things made to last. Bikes always used to last almost forever but I bet half of this years production will be useless in ten years time

Anyone got any views on this Imron stuff? Used by Thorn and others.

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531colin
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby 531colin » 25 Aug 2020, 10:31am

greyingbeard wrote:
Des49 wrote:Find modern paints not very tough and may be tempted to go titanium to avoid paint damage, but no material is perfect and steel still has lots of advantages.


Ive been wondering about modern paints too. Subject for another thread probably. They might tick boxes for low solvent, low nasty chemicals, but if they dont last and dont protect the metal then they arent any good. Better to use a nasty paint and keep the item that let it fail prematurely and the item goes to the bin or scrap. I like things made to last. Bikes always used to last almost forever but I bet half of this years production will be useless in ten years time


Not if you work in the paint shop it isn't.
The laws on poisons are there to protect the people who work with them, not the general public.
For example, I'm quite happy to use silver solder which contains cadmium, because I only use it the odd occasion in a year.
Its not made any more, because you can't expose the workers to it for 40 hours a week.

I also don't mind doing the odd bit of work with asbestos....but I'm 73, I won't be exposed to the stuff for 40 hours a week, for 30 years.

PH
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby PH » 25 Aug 2020, 10:52am

pwa wrote:Anyone got any views on this Imron stuff? Used by Thorn and others.

I have a Thorn painted with it, it's good stuff, if I were to have a frame re-sprayed I'd see if I could get the same. It's as glossy as any enamel I've seen, and seems to be as tough as the powdercoat frames I've had. I expect, as with all paint finishes, the preparation and application are critical, but Thorn seem to have got this one right.

PH
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby PH » 25 Aug 2020, 10:58am

greyingbeard wrote:Ive been wondering about modern paints too. Subject for another thread probably. They might tick boxes for low solvent, low nasty chemicals, but if they dont last and dont protect the metal then they arent any good. Better to use a nasty paint and keep the item that let it fail prematurely and the item goes to the bin or scrap. I like things made to last. Bikes always used to last almost forever but I bet half of this years production will be useless in ten years time

Probably is subject for another thread, maybe this one will get split...
There's a trend for steel frames to be ED coated, something I'd never heard of a few years ago and now it seems almost universal. I don't know a huge deal about it, though the claims are it offers a good degree of protection under the paint.

PH
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby PH » 25 Aug 2020, 11:30am

I had an titanium custom frame made for me by XACD in China, mainly because I couldn't find what I wanted OTP and it was at the time considerably cheaper than a custom steel frame. I chose every dimension and angle, the tube diameters and gauges, all the fittings, the custom cable runs for a Rohloff and the design of the EBB. Based on what I liked and disliked about the other bikes I'd owned and their geometry, plus a reading of Tony Oliver's book, plus some help with understanding how to transfer what I liked about my steel frames to titanium. A unique bike, yet nothing on it that hasn't been seen many times before, there isn't much that's new, wherever you go. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, the bike turned out exactly as I was expecting, though if there'd been a MKII I'd have made a couple of minor changes. My favourite bike of all time, not sure it was the best, I think unless there's something wrong with it you get used to whatever you're riding. The only thing that let it down was that after nine years of almost daily use it developed a crack... I nearly replaced it with another custom, but the price had jumped up and there was more OTP choice, so I chose one of those, which was pretty close.
Many of the custom frames I see are not really what I'd consider that custom. They're the frame builders standard design, made in your size (Often in standard increments), in the same tubesets, with a choice of fittings and finish. There's nothing wrong with that, plenty of nice bikes made that way, but IMO it often offers little beyond what can be had OTP.
The other thing is that custom builders don't have the same R&D - a big thing in frames at present seems to be tube manipulation, I don't know how many frame builders, or anyone else, thoroughly understand it, there's no prototypes with a one off. Another thing is the fittings, for example - Thorn's Rohloff frames use dropouts and EBB's that they've had made in a quantity that a custom builder couldn't economically do.

pwa
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby pwa » 25 Aug 2020, 12:16pm

PH wrote:
pwa wrote:Anyone got any views on this Imron stuff? Used by Thorn and others.

I have a Thorn painted with it, it's good stuff, if I were to have a frame re-sprayed I'd see if I could get the same. It's as glossy as any enamel I've seen, and seems to be as tough as the powdercoat frames I've had. I expect, as with all paint finishes, the preparation and application are critical, but Thorn seem to have got this one right.

It was Thorn that put me off powder coating. I have a tandem from them that has needed repeated touch ups after powder coating blistering off. Probably poor prep as you say, but that was bought after reading all their guff about how well their frames are protected against rust. All that blurb about etching primers, various coats of this and that..... It was the worst paint job I've ever had on a bike and that includes some cheap ones. It put me off steel, really, because I took trouble to buy from a place that made a thing about tube protection and durability of the finish and it counted for nothing in the end. I hope your Imron finish gives you a better experience.
Last edited by pwa on 25 Aug 2020, 3:10pm, edited 1 time in total.

greyingbeard
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Re: Who has had a frame made ?

Postby greyingbeard » 25 Aug 2020, 12:24pm

Paints are a huge subject - paint is a huge subject

Ill start a paint thread