Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Anything specific to off-road riding.
tad
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Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby tad » 13 Nov 2010, 9:21am

Hi All,

The title pretty much says it all. I'm after some feedback on custom frame and fork builds for a 29er. The usual suspects, Roberts, Yates et al have great reputations for regular 26" MTBs. Is there anyone out there that you'd recommend for a 29er?

I'm looking for something special, just for me. A Rohlof hub and eccentric BB/sliding drop outs so it's not going to come off the shelf. I have received a small inheritance from my grandparents and rather than spend it on day to day stuff or something that vanishes after a couple of weeks like a holiday I want something that will last for (with any luck) the rest of my life to remember them by. My grandfather was an engineer, so he'd appreciate an artisan built frame and be fascinated by the Rohlof.

Don't mention Thorn, I've seen how they behaved over replacing a riding buddies cracked frame and my view of what a frame waranty is differs wildly from theirs.

Cheers.

Richard
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007, 5:01pm

Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby Richard » 13 Nov 2010, 12:28pm

Not my bike and not a Not a 29'er - but a tale (of woe!) for a custom build. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=3525&v=6i

tad
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby tad » 13 Nov 2010, 2:22pm

Thanks.

I have heard more tales of woe regarding off the shelf bikes as well. It is why I am doing some research first before committing myself. Thanks for the link, that is one frame builder to cross off my list.

gilesjuk
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby gilesjuk » 13 Nov 2010, 2:50pm

Singular do pretty good steel frames. Off the shelf ones. They have an eccentric bottom bracket and for the Rohloff you can fit the speedbone disc brake adaptor.

They race their own frames (and win sometimes) so they know how they perform.

http://www.singularcycles.com/

The problem with custom frames is the geometry, how are you going to know you're getting something that will perform well? Many 29er designs are just upscaled 26" designs and they don't perform.

A singuar swift with a Rohloff:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/singularcycles/3048713628/

tad
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby tad » 13 Nov 2010, 4:41pm

gilesjuk wrote:The problem with custom frames is the geometry, how are you going to know you're getting something that will perform well?


By doing some research, posting here and other forums to find a frame builder that comes recommended as having built decent 29ers :wink:

The singular looks good, I have come across them before. One of the things that puts me off is things like the rear mech hanger just left there out the back. I could always get a frame builder to copy their gemetry.

gilesjuk
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby gilesjuk » 13 Nov 2010, 9:00pm

It's a good frame and the forks are good off road for rigid forks.

Steel frames aren't all equal, I had a GT Peace 9r and it wasn't as good.

I like the look of these people:

http://www.burls.co.uk/index.php

PW
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Location: N. Derbys.

Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby PW » 14 Nov 2010, 3:21pm

A good artisan builder can make any type of frame and do it well. In my area there's a choice of Edison Cycles, Clowne N Derbyshire, (01246)812878 or Vernon Barker in Dronfield, just S of Sheffield, (01246)411759 Mon & Fri only.
Either will do a good job, personally I use Edison.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

gilesjuk
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby gilesjuk » 14 Nov 2010, 8:10pm

PW wrote:A good artisan builder can make any type of frame and do it well. In my area there's a choice of Edison Cycles, Clowne N Derbyshire, (01246)812878 or Vernon Barker in Dronfield, just S of Sheffield, (01246)411759 Mon & Fri only.
Either will do a good job, personally I use Edison.


On the road yes, there's plenty of proven well known geometry, cinelli geometry and so on.

29er mountain bikes are still quite a recent thing and since the bigger wheel can be tricky on tight turns there are many different opinions on geometry, fork trail and so on. With rigid forks you also want some that are strong enough to withstand the abuse, but that have some flex in the steel so that they smooth out trail chatter.

While custom is nice, you are risking having something built by a frame builder who has no experience of 29er MTBs.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby hubgearfreak » 14 Nov 2010, 8:17pm

if you google antbikemike / alternative needs transportation, you'll see examples of what you're after. shocking prices but nice pictures and maybe some ideas/pointers for you and/or a UK framebuilder?

http://antbikemike.wordpress.com/bicycl ... /fireants/

PH
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby PH » 14 Nov 2010, 9:55pm

Shand cycles, a small, one man builder in Scotland seems to have a lot of experience with both 29ers and Rohloffs. I have no experience, I came across the website while looking for a new Rohloff frame. Bad news is, he's so busy he isn't taking on new orders for a while. That could be a good sign, would he be that busy if they weren't good?
http://www.shandcycles.com/

If I was in your position and had the money and time I'd be tempted to enroll on a Dave Yates frame building course. There's a bit of a waiting list, time to do the research and go knowing exactly what you want. I can't think of a better way to honour your engineer grandfather.

tad
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby tad » 15 Nov 2010, 10:09pm

gilesjuk wrote:While custom is nice, you are risking having something built by a frame builder who has no experience of 29er MTBs.


That's why I'm doing my research and asking for recommendations rather than picking a frame builder at random.

hubgearfreak wrote:if you google antbikemike / alternative needs transportation, you'll see examples of what you're after. shocking prices but nice pictures and maybe some ideas/pointers for you and/or a UK framebuilder?

http://antbikemike.wordpress.com/bicycl ... /fireants/


Thanks for the link :D

PH wrote:Shand cycles, a small, one man builder in Scotland seems to have a lot of experience with both 29ers and Rohloffs. I have no experience, I came across the website while looking for a new Rohloff frame. Bad news is, he's so busy he isn't taking on new orders for a while. That could be a good sign, would he be that busy if they weren't good?
http://www.shandcycles.com/

If I was in your position and had the money and time I'd be tempted to enroll on a Dave Yates frame building course. There's a bit of a waiting list, time to do the research and go knowing exactly what you want. I can't think of a better way to honour your engineer grandfather.


I've heard great things about Shand from a few people, likewise that he's flooded at the moment, he is on my "watch" list at the moment.

I have considered a Dave Yates course and have to admit that it is very tempting... However I am aware of my limitations and I'm not sure that I want to risk it all one one frame that may go horribly wrong!

Does anyone know if Overburys have ever made a successful 29er? I love their Pioneers from the 80s

rigmarole
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Shand Cycles - Mór Dearg

Postby rigmarole » 1 Jan 2011, 6:21pm

My Shand Cycles 29er has been absolutely beautiful. It fits perfectly, rides wonderfully and is the first bike I've had that truly fits. Also, unusually for such a large bike, it is aesthetically pleasing (subtle touches like a higher placement of the down tube on the steerer tube, removing the 'open-mouth' look seen at the front of of some larger frames - see photographs of Mór Dearg on Steven's website - http://www.shandcycles.com/2010/08/15/mor-dearg/), as well as in the general construction and finish.

Steven helped me through the build and explained things I didn't understand and other things I didn't even think of. He also listened when I was trying to explain my requirements without being patronising or difficult.

I went for a somewhat unusual build, a 29er, with a Rohloff, Gates Carbon Drive, S&S Couplers (for packing into small spaces) and 215mm cranks (and a somewhat higher bottom bracket). The latter (high bottom bracket), Steven advised against , which I can completely understand, but I resisted (for clearance) and fortunately I still find the bike very stable (I just have to get my buttock down lower on the technical stuff).

Before building my bike I looked, in great detail, to find a frame-builder that was willing to deviate from the norm to fit all 6'9" of me, without creating a bike that looked like it was destined for the circus. Looking at his website (and being a bit of like a crow) I liked his use of shiny stainless steel parts, genuine interest in all aspects of bikes and appreciated that he took pride in his work.

It was a long process from start to finish (about a year, including the waiting list), which some may not like. However, not being particularly financially well off, this allowed me to make the most of sales at bike shops, eBay and wherever else, to source quality parts as inexpensively as possible.

I've used it non-stop since getting it and love it. With hindsight, there are a few minor things I would change. However, one of the main build requirements was that I didn't have to mess about with the mechanics (the belt drive was an educated guess!) and could just get on and ride, so far it has fulfilled it's role.
Last edited by rigmarole on 1 Jan 2011, 8:49pm, edited 1 time in total.

PH
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby PH » 1 Jan 2011, 7:10pm

That looks fantastic.
I can see why you haven't had time to cut the grass :lol:

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby hubgearfreak » 1 Jan 2011, 7:23pm

it does look fantastic.
but the grass doesn't need mowing till it gets taller than that, whatever PH says

Woodsman
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Re: Any one had a steel framed & fork 29er custom built?

Postby Woodsman » 10 Jan 2011, 5:34pm

A 29er eh Tad - interesting!

I'm currently having a few problems which is a bit of an understatement, with the Croydon based builder mentioned here. I would scrub that one from the list - is the primary piece of advice I would offer.