New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

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Samuel D
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Samuel D » 10 May 2019, 12:01pm

You’re doing everything right.

Hopefully they’ll do the right thing too, after a moment of reflection. Give them time and scope to do that.

As noted, debating the reasonableness of the angle with them may not be productive. It’s your opinion against theirs and even if the entire industry is on your side as appears to be the case, that doesn’t make us all right and them wrong. Rather, they should follow Lord Denning’s advice about this unusual seat-tube angle on their website and every communication with the customer.

srb88
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Joined: 21 Jun 2017, 6:21pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby srb88 » 10 May 2019, 12:24pm

Thanks,

I've responded and will see how it goes.

The Lord Denning advice is useful - I do vaguely remember that coming up at University.

In criticising the value of the knowledge held by forum users and life-long cyclists, the maker gave the example of a patient going to the doctor their whole life without the patient being an expert on medicine. This example actually supports my point - it is normal to make assumptions that your treatment will be consistent with industry-wide practice without having to know the details and science. You would assume that the doctor was providing treatment consistent with wider practice, without you needing to know the exact details. But if you subsequently found out that they were not, and this was causing you problems, you would be well within your rights to read up on a particular aspect of medicine, discuss it with others, online or otherwise and challenge them on it until you found a satisfactory outcome.

In any case, I have suggested that a refund less a fee up to but not exceeding the deposit paid would be reasonable, as well as dismantling and posting at my cost.

Cheers.

slowster
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Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby slowster » 10 May 2019, 12:38pm

srb88 wrote:I also mentioned that I had sought advice on a forum, without naming the company. They have been fairly insulting about this, referring to 'so-called experts' and that good cyclists don't make good builders.

Well they're right, the internet is full of opinions, and opinions are just like ++++++++s - everybody's got one.

Which is why I think that the bike fitting aspect might be worth investigating further. I think most of the bike fitting methodologies require getting the saddle height and setback correct before addressing the position of the hands on the bars. That makes the seat tube angle critical to the fitting process. If a seat tube angle is so far out of the normal range that the average proportioned rider simply could not get the 'correct' saddle setback using any of the recognised fitting methodologies, then that would be fairly compelling expert evidence (unlike opinions on an internet forum).

In your shoes if I went to small claims court I would print off as many geometry charts as I could find for off the peg audax/sportive type frames. If you can provide 10 or 20 geo charts all with seat tubes within the usual 72-74 degree range for your frame size, that should show the court that your builder is providing a frame that deviates substantially from what is widely accepted as a typical seat tube measurement, and crucially has done so without giving any forewarning (screeenshot, save and print off copies of their website, as well as your email correspondence). You would probably also need to provide some evidence of the impact of the seat tube angle, i.e. either the sort of bike fitting evidence I mention or some text on frame building on how it relates to bike fit (otherwise the court might take the view that a couple of degrees could not be all that significant).
Last edited by slowster on 10 May 2019, 12:40pm, edited 1 time in total.

srb88
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Joined: 21 Jun 2017, 6:21pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby srb88 » 10 May 2019, 12:40pm

In your shoes if I went to small claims court I would print off as many geometry charts as I could find for off the peg audax/sportive type frames. If you can provide 10 or 20 geo charts all with seat tubes within the usual 72-74 degree range for your frame size, that should show the court that your builder is providing a frame that deviates substantially from what is widely accepted as a typical seat tube measurement, and crucially has done so without giving any forewarning


This is essentially the approach I took in my first request to them.

To their credit they have now offered a couple of reasonable options, which I will have to consider. They don't accept that the item was wrong, but seem to be willing to try to resolve the issue.

Thanks.
Last edited by srb88 on 10 May 2019, 12:42pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jezrant
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Joined: 14 Dec 2007, 8:11pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Jezrant » 10 May 2019, 12:41pm

I'm afraid you are making a false assumption about some 'industry-wide' standard. Traditionally, many framebuilders in the UK actually used steep seat tube angles on small frames for the reasons Brucey explained up-thread. It was the exception who found another way of dealing with toe overlap on small frames. Of the very few that are still making frames in the UK today, I imagine it's quite likely some are still building frames more or less the way they have always done. There used to be a well-known framebuilder down south who was a true master craftsman, which meant the frames were not only beautifully built, but he also always knew better than his customers in terms of what they wanted. Good luck trying to change their practices! Anyway, do hope you get your money back. Next time, go to Spa who have designed small frames without resorting to steep seat angles and where you can try the bike before buying.

srb88
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Joined: 21 Jun 2017, 6:21pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby srb88 » 10 May 2019, 12:53pm

Jezrant wrote:I'm afraid you are making a false assumption about some 'industry-wide' standard. Traditionally, many framebuilders in the UK actually used steep seat tube angles on small frames for the reasons Brucey explained up-thread. It was the exception who found another way of dealing with toe overlap on small frames. Of the very few that are still making frames in the UK today, I imagine it's quite likely some are still building frames more or less the way they have always done. There used to be a well-known framebuilder down south who was a true master craftsman, which meant the frames were not only beautifully built, but he also always knew better than his customers in terms of what they wanted. Good luck trying to change their practices! Anyway, do hope you get your money back. Next time, go to Spa who have designed small frames without resorting to steep seat angles and where you can try the bike before buying.


Hi,

I don't think there is an industry standard - I've not stated as such. However what there is, is a consistent set of parameters across commonly available products of the same nature, on the market today. It is incumbent on a seller to provide better information if their product differs significantly from what else is currently on the market. Indeed, if they are being stubborn and continuing to make things this way in the belief that it is the better way to do things, why not state this, even as a selling point.
Many more traditional makers still use 1 inch fork steerers, non-oversized tubing, non-compact handlebars, etc, and positively rave about the merits of these features as compared to modern designs.

I'm not trying to change their practices re. building and in offering me a resolution they have suggested they won't do so. Fine, but why not publish charts and a little info on the reasoning behind the numbers, and possible implications, to allow consumers a better-judged choice.

The frame is indeed very nicely built, and the paintjob is excellent - better both in colour choice and finish than many production-line models I've seen/owned. I disagree with the design, and believe both the evidence of the wider industry and other, experienced users and designers supports this. I would still, despite my experience, recommend them for their value and swift turnaround, but would urge them to provide better information as discussed, and buyers to not be afraid to ask every question imaginable and check the info with others!

Brucey
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Brucey » 10 May 2019, 1:08pm

fastpedaller wrote:
Brucey wrote:
However when buying a frame of OTP geometry it is probably incumbent upon the purchaser to ask what the geometry is, exactly, and the vendor to supply that information on request. In this case I can see nothing but an argument arising, since it presumably can't be proved that the question of geometry ever arose, or that their 'standard geometry' might not fit some folk or indeed vary from other people's 'standard geometry'.

cheers


That's all very well, but (and it's not often I'll disagree with Brucey's opinion), surely (excepting a TT usage) a 76 degree seat will only be suitable for a very small percentage of riders, I'd say about 3% at a guess. The maker should (IMHO) be making it clear to any prospective purchasers that the seat angle has been made steeper in order to prevent toe overlap with the front wheel. This seems to me to be a 'compromise too far', and I wouldn't expect the customer to have to ask.


My point was not that a 76 degree seat angle is likely to be suitable for the task in hand, more that the company in question are going to say it is. They will undoubtedly claim that they have been making frames this (to them, 'standard') way for years and 100% of their customers must be happy with them etc etc etc. You can see that line of argument beginning to emerge in their response thus far; the net result is likely to be as productive as what is colloquially known as a "p****** match".

All OTP frames are made to slightly different geometries, and this can be of great advantage to a buyer; it allows an almost custom-fit to be obtained if you know what you are doing, you just choose the OTP geometry that best suits you. In the normal run of things it is up to the customer to choose an OTP geometry that fits them; however this is only possible if the information is available.

For my money the crux of this argument is that

a) the OP enquired about geometry and was only told it was 'standard road geometry' and
b) it isn't; firstly there is no such thing and
c) their geometry is quite unlike that of other similar frames.

If there are any communications in writing re a) then this would be useful ammunition. Otherwise you are left trying to prove b) and/or c). They are bound to disagree with this, after all they designed their frame this way; this is 'standard' to them.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

srb88
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Joined: 21 Jun 2017, 6:21pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby srb88 » 10 May 2019, 1:20pm

Well, they've offered me a couple of options now, at mine and their cost, so I'll cogitate on what's best going forward. I do appreciate the advice and other discussion. Part of the reason for discussing it here has been to gain perspective and to help me come to a fair outcome - I would rather do it that way. Not to gain from the situation unfairly, but to return as closely as possibly to the pre-purchase situation. While I think my view and request is valid, I'm not in the business of brazenly (pun!?) doing over small companies.

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horizon
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby horizon » 10 May 2019, 1:30pm

We don't know the name of the firm (and I think that's right) but I did look at the website of one well-known builder. There were no frame dimensions or angles listed. I just don't see how you could buy on-line or indeed in any circumstances without knowing this crucial information. Sitting on a built-up bike in the shop might be OK but not otherwise.

On a parallel thread, I argued that with good research and asking questions you should get close to what you want. But without this information, you are no nearer. Spa might not be the biggest name in world cycling but the luxury of what we get from them in terms of information, discussion and test riding is now becoming clear. Thorn are good too and there may be others - even the multi-nationals list basic frame information.

One other thing: if the frame is indeed "standard" then the firm ought to be able to recover their costs with a clearance sale or whatever.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

srb88
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Joined: 21 Jun 2017, 6:21pm

Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby srb88 » 10 May 2019, 1:47pm

horizon wrote:One other thing: if the frame is indeed "standard" then the firm ought to be able to recover their costs with a clearance sale or whatever.


That was a point I made, although not strictly relevant to the more formal claim. Part of the offer they have made to me involves deducting costs for returning the frame to 'off the peg' specs by adding braze-ons, etc. Whether they will do this or not, I can't prove, but it seems fair-ish in getting the matter resolved quickly.

I did seek the tube lengths, bb drop and headtube length as not all horizontal frames of a given seat tube length are 'square', and BB drop and headtube length (related to each other) do vary with notable impact on riding. So I was buying with information which would have allowed for comparison to existing bikes, i.e. getting within a cm of the same dimensions, which can be adjusted easily with saddle fore-aft, stem height and length, providing the angles were within (already broad) common parameters. Seat tube angle so rarely ventures outside of common parameters for a given type and size of bike, that this was completely unexpected.
Last edited by srb88 on 10 May 2019, 1:48pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jezrant
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Jezrant » 10 May 2019, 3:11pm

I almost feel sorry for the poor sods. :lol:

Somebody should start a sticky listing the 'do's' and 'don't's' of buying a frame.

Samuel D
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Samuel D » 10 May 2019, 3:33pm

DOs:
1. Beg for every detail of the geometry before ordering, even if that means half a dozen frustrating emails and three telephone calls to the harried, customer-loathing, barely literate builder (who may be a master with the torch).
2. …

DON’Ts:
1. Buy a frame from an old-school British builder without knowing the history of British frame-building that led to the remarkable assumption that short riders want steeper seat tubes than professional time trialists.
2. …

•••

Meanwhile, it would be so easy for builders to avoid all of this by using the web for what it is good for: free dissemination of information to a large audience, effortlessly. Spending a few hours to describe your product clearly and concisely, once, is tremendously more efficient than writing emails and answering phone calls from every potential customer. It also beats taking back frames with 76 degree angles from astonished customers.

But if you ask, none of these people have the time or money to make a good, informative, well written website. Oh no! Not with customer enquiries taking up half of their day and a waiting list of frames to braze …

The mind boggles.

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hondated
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby hondated » 10 May 2019, 4:45pm

srb88 wrote:
Jezrant wrote:Unfortunately, for some old-school framebuilders who made their name mainly building racing frames, steep seat angles on small frames is, for them, indeed the standard geometry. I rode frames like that for many years without realising there was a problem. If you have no joy with the framebuilders, I'd sell it and take the hit as life's too short, etc. Just my 2 cts. :)


Although this maker has made their name building non-racing bikes - mostly touring and audax from what I can see in recent years, and their old catalogues - available online with some searching - don't indicate anything steeper than 74 degrees, even on race models.


Surely here's your evidence to pursue a claim !

Jamesh
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby Jamesh » 10 May 2019, 11:45pm

I know that for cars where there is a dispute then an agrieved owner would employ a expert motor engineer to produce a report on the particular issue.

I don't know whether such a thing exists. I doubt it with such a small pool of bike designers and more so steel ones.

Cheers James

fatboy
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Re: New frame. Steep seat angle. Unrideable.

Postby fatboy » 11 May 2019, 11:45am

76 degrees is ridiculous IMHO! A 21" frame is not that small so don't understand this at all. I went down the Spa route for my Audax bike as I wanted a shallow seat angle.

I wish you luck in your negotiations.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly