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  1. #1
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    Custom built SS...Who creates nice bikes

    So...looks like I'll be starting a new job soon, which means I can put in motion the plans for a custom SS. Which frame builder will create a nice SS that "fits" me (I'm short with long legs and longer arms, think Kermit the Frog on a bike)? At the moment I'm not set on any frame material, but I think I would like to run a Lefty up front. I have no problem going too whoever I end up choosing too have the proper measurements made, and I would also like too make a few pieces (I'm a prototype machinist with access too machine tools) that end up on the bike. Any input on builders is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Just out of curiosity, what pieces are you wanting or planning to make yourself?

  3. #3
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    ^^ I was thinking rear drop outs/ adjusters, maybe the BB to integrate the proper angles that ties everything together (5-axis mill), proper clamps for the Lefty, and of corse a head badge (laser) to top it off. I can make more pieces if needed, but I don't weld.

  4. #4
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    Perhaps you should get into the chainring and cog business
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  5. #5
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    Co-owned a machine shop for 5 years...not sure I want too make parts for other people anymore, just some nice bits for myself. Sorry.

  6. #6
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    Not sure it these guys would work with you on the custom parts, but if I was able to afford a custom frame this would be my choice. Lugged 953 stainless with one of their rigid forks and stem. Their work is incredible.

    Engin Cycles

  7. #7
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    My only experience is with Siren...they will do at least semi-custom, not sure about full custom. I haven't ridden my frame yet but I can say it's a very nice looking frame.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jettore View Post
    Not sure it these guys would work with you on the custom parts, but if I was able to afford a custom frame this would be my choice. Lugged 953 stainless with one of their rigid forks and stem. Their work is incredible.

    Engin Cycles
    WOW! The attention to detail is amazing with their work, they're definitely on my short list now. Thank you very much!


    The Siren website didn't seem too like the iPad, I couldn't really take a look at their work, so they're off my list. I'm not saying anything is wrong with their bikes, but if I can't see what's going on, I'm not willing too drop $$$$ their way. Thank you for the response, I'm looking forward too pictures of your build when finished.

  9. #9
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    I've always wanted to get a black cat frame.

    black cat bicycles

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fryed_1 View Post
    I've always wanted to get a black cat frame.

    black cat bicycles
    Once again, very nice bikes! A friend that I ride with has a Black Cat that Todd built for himself (SS), and somehow Fred ended up with it. It's a nice handling bike that inspires confidence. They're on the short list also. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Not as nice as Black Cat IMO, but I've kept an eye on Cysco Cycles as well: cyscocycles.com | Custom Steel Bicycles. Built one at a time in Tennessee. They do some interesting top and down tube twists, though I've never actually heard from anyone who's ridden one.

  12. #12
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    By:Stickel

    Definitely Check out Steve Stickel, I'm sure he'd be cool with you making parts for the build too. By:Stickel - Handcrafted Custom Bicycles
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALBM View Post
    WOW! The attention to detail is amazing with their work, they're definitely on my short list now. Thank you very much!


    The Siren website didn't seem too like the iPad, I couldn't really take a look at their work, so they're off my list. I'm not saying anything is wrong with their bikes, but if I can't see what's going on, I'm not willing too drop $$$$ their way. Thank you for the response, I'm looking forward too pictures of your build when finished.
    Not that I really care which builder you end up with, but it seems odd to discount a builder because your iPad doesn't support Flash. Just check out their site on a computer.

    But yeah, those Engin bikes look awesome! Glad they were mentioned.

  14. #14
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    The options just keep rolling in...thanks guys! I like the fact that Cyscocycles has some experience with the Lefty, because I believe that is the route I want too take with the fork options out on the market. I noticed that By:Stickel has built 650B bikes, which may end up my wheel size choice. His work has a very industrial look to it, but a very clean industrial look...it works. One thing that I'm beginning too realize is that this won't be an easy decision on who I choose.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyk View Post
    Not that I really care which builder you end up with, but it seems odd to discount a builder because your iPad doesn't support Flash. Just check out their site on a computer.

    But yeah, those Engin bikes look awesome! Glad they were mentioned.
    I was going to buy an iPad but when I realized I couldn't check out the Siren website, I quickly marked it off my list.
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  16. #16
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    +1 on the Engin.

    Drew's good people and makes a great ride!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Custom built SS...Who creates nice bikes-engin-ss.jpg  

    "Ride what you love, love what you ride"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I was going to buy an iPad but when I realized I couldn't check out the Siren website, I quickly marked it off my list.
    Funny, like I said, no disrespect, but if I can't view it, I won't invest in it. I don't care if I have $8000.00 into this bike by the time I'm finished with it, and if I can't find someone too make what I want, I'll build it myself. But people in business need too understand that the tablet market is dominated by the iPad, you don't have too like that, it's just a fact. If your website uses Flash, you're loosing customers, and that's bad for business. Have a nice day, and I'm still looking forward too seeing your build when finished.

  18. #18
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    SnakeDriver has got my eye 44 BIKE CO.

    Or you could always talk with Walt - Waltworks Custom Bicycles

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALBM View Post
    Funny, like I said, no disrespect, but if I can't view it, I won't invest in it. I don't care if I have $8000.00 into this bike by the time I'm finished with it, and if I can't find someone too make what I want, I'll build it myself. But people in business need too understand that the tablet market is dominated by the iPad, you don't have too like that, it's just a fact. If your website uses Flash, you're loosing customers, and that's bad for business. Have a nice day, and I'm still looking forward too seeing your build when finished.
    Not that I'm pushing Siren, I just think it's silly to discount a potential anything just because you can't view the site on your pseudo-computer. Anyways, I can view the entire site on my iPhone. Certainly if you have an iPad, you have a smartphone that you can use. Regardless, they make good frames and get great reviews. You don't want to consider them, no skin off my teeth, it's your potential loss. As far as my frame, not sure what I'll end up doing with it. It's for sale at the moment so its future is up in the air. GL with your search.
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  20. #20
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    Nice options already listed. You can also check out Carver Bikes for Ti and Calfee Design if you want to go green and ride Bamboo.

  21. #21
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    Not that it matters much, but where are you? As you can imagine, with you providing bits for the frame it could make the process much more fluid if you had the opportunity to sit down with your builder.

    I have a friend who owns a small frame company and he makes delicious bicycles. He just moved his shop from Yakima, WA to Portland, OR. Simple Bicycle Company is the name. He doesn't get much press but I've seen him turn out everything under the sun that takes two wheels. He has been working as a machinist/frame builder for 20+ years and even makes/sells a brand of frame jigs. He started out in the BMX industry and has evolved from there. As he has worked in several machine shops as a welder/fabricator on top of working in the bicycle industry he might be a good person to talk to.

    Here's my dedicated SS he built for me last spring



  22. #22
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    $1200 (base price) for a custom, Ti frame is pretty darn good with the Carver Bikes. I really want to try a Ti frame someday to see if it's something worth pursuing. I really like the looks and feedback on the Titan Ti frames too. Wait list on them is like 4-5 months though. But they are 100% custom starting at <$1000.
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  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    I can see I won't be getting ANY work done today! Thanks everyone for the feedback, I am checking out everything that you're throwing my way. I'm located in SoCal, so just about no matter who I choose I'll be buying a plane ticket to go have a sit down to discuss the build, and probably a second ticket for a proper fitting.
    Just a heads up, I lack computer skills. I can use the programming and design software that I need for my work (a computer to me is nothing more than a tool), but outside of that...I don't get them. I don't Facebook, don't tweet, have never downloaded a song, I can honestly say I hate the things, just need them for work. I don't own a smart phone, TV, iPod/mp3... I like too ride bikes!LOL
    I have no I'll will towards anyone, I'm going too try and not get into any arguments with anyone, I'm just looking for someone too help me build my dream bike. Thanks!

  25. #25
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    No ill will towards you either, I just hate to see you miss out on a potentially good bike frame because of something like not being able to see a website. But, there are lots of other great recommendations given so even if you don't consider Siren, I don't think you can go wrong with the other choices.
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  26. #26
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    I'm just ill you keep using the wrong to. To is for most cases, too is sort of like also and to mark quantity in the most basic sense; too much, take me too.

    I'm joking about being ill. It's my sense of humor. Since you don't know me particularly well I'm adding this disclaimer, you're fine in my book.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I really like the looks and feedback on the Titan Ti frames too. Wait list on them is like 4-5 months though. But they are 100% custom starting at <$1000.
    If you order now, the frame will probably be done before your chainring arrives. Might want to wait another month .

    Done with the hijack .

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by monzie View Post
    I'm just ill you keep using the wrong to. To is for most cases, too is sort of like also and to mark quantity in the most basic sense; too much, take me too.

    I'm joking about being ill. It's my sense of humor. Since you don't know me particularly well I'm adding this disclaimer, you're fine in my book.
    Ha! Thanks for the sentence structure lesson (I was always better at math, that's why I'm a machinist), I'll try not too use the word to too much any more (was that correct?), LOL

  29. #29
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    look for local builders with good reps - supporting your local businesses is always good. my .02

    Also check into lead times. They can range from 8 weeks to years.

    And I'll throw a plug in for Rick Hunter - local to Santa Cruz.

    I LOVE mah bike.

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  30. #30
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    I think first you should decide on a material.
    You have steel, True Temper, Reynolds etc.
    Then you have Stainless steel..very boutique right now I believe thats 953 Reynolds due to tube diameter availability to include headtubes, dropouts, and bottom brackets.
    Then you have Titanium..which is IMHO the best material for the money
    Aluminum and then Carbon..which probably didn't make the list..and rightly so.

    For Titanium..I found Form, DeSalvo, Eriksen, Generic, Potts, and Independent Fabrications to be among the best.

    For Steel...the one that caught my eye the most was an Aussie company called Baum.

    I ended up with a Lynskey due to the price I paid on a Leap Day sale package..but it is pure love!
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  31. #31
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    Victoria?

    Just in this for the vicarious thrill (I WILL get a custom frame someday...) but this guy's work looks pretty: Home

    Someone may have more input...

    That to me would be a very nice bike, 650b SS rolling on a Lefty, mmmmm...

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_ben View Post
    That to me would be a very nice bike, 650b SS rolling on a Lefty, mmmmm...
    That's the kind of bike I'm thinking about, made out of Ti. However, because this will be my 1st custom build, I'm open to (is that the correct one? Lol) options. The cost is not an issue, and I understand If it takes between six months to a year for the builder. I just want something special for me.

  33. #33
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    There are so many great builders out there..maybe looking for one thats local to you?
    Mine is just a stock frame..but still a looker!

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  34. #34
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    Roll more porn for an informed decision...that hunter is sweeeet. Lynskey too...

    Someone mention these guys yet?
    MOUNTAIN

    Ti, lefty, 650b, check...

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_ben View Post
    Roll more porn for an informed decision...that hunter is sweeeet. Lynskey too...

    Someone mention these guys yet?
    MOUNTAIN

    Ti, lefty, 650b, check...
    Ef me...I need a smoke after that! Ef'n ell! THAT'S NICE!!!

  36. #36
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    I mentioned Form in my first post.

    I honestly think in the custom segment, a 650b isn't going to accel as much as a 29er, especially since you have a good size bike fund. Because the builder can custom tune the tubing and geometry to fit you best..frame weights are going to be the same. With frame builders like By:Stickel pushing the boundaries of frame design (slack head angle and extremely short stays..you can really dial the frame for your type of riding.

    With wheel weights for high end wheelset for 29ers in the 1400g range..and thats not even venturing into carbon...Lefty Forks...the weight really isn't going your focus. The comfort, ride quality, and piece of mind of the bike being "all you" is.

    The current problem with 650b which is promised to change is tire and rim options. I think it will be a few years before it expands to that of a 29er or 26in. Since (or I presume) you are looking at a hardtail..the most anticipated segment is going to be transparent (all-mountain).

    Ultimately you are going to choose what best suits you, but if you talk to Darryl (head of Form) he's going to build what ever you want, but if you ask what most of his bikes are..and where most of his business is...its going to be 29ers.
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  37. #37
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    For ti with no cost and time issues check out blacksheep. Love mine.

  38. #38
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    Soulcraft

  39. #39
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    Oh also vertigo. Vertigo Cycles :: Home

  40. #40
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    Thank you everyone for the responses, now the fun begins!

  41. #41
    That's REEAAALLLL Nice
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    I agree with CHUM, Rick Hunter makes a nice frame. I've been riding a Hunter frame for 7 years. Just had it repainted by Circle A cycles in Providence.

    In the past I've ran gears, but I'm in the process of building 'er up 1x1.

    Good Luck!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Custom built SS...Who creates nice bikes-hunterframe.jpg  


  42. #42
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    Attachment 704279
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSteel View Post
    I agree with CHUM, Rick Hunter makes a nice frame. I've been riding a Hunter frame for 7 years. Just had it repainted by Circle A cycles in Providence.

    In the past I've ran gears, but I'm in the process of building 'er up 1x1.

    Good Luck!
    Not to nitpick but I don't quite understand the odd number of cable stops..maybe I am looking at it wrong...but this is what I see...does this look odd to any of you as well? Of course if you are going to go SS..not so important.

    Just seems like a design flaw when visualizing.

    I would also like to see an additional zip-tie miter further down the seatstay to keep the cable from possibly moving around..after all, it is steel and exposing metal will result in corrosion.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Custom built SS...Who creates nice bikes-hunt.jpg  

    Last edited by dubdryver; 06-16-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    Attachment 704279

    Not to nitpick but I don't quite understand the odd number of cable stops..maybe I am looking at it wrong...but this is what I see...does this look odd to any of you as well? Of course if you are going to go SS..not so important.

    Just seems like a design flaw when visualizing.

    I would also like to see an additional zip-tie miter further down the seatstay to keep the cable from possibly moving around..after all, it is steel and exposing metal will result in corrosion.
    I think you need to visualize full length cable housing. If I had any computer skills, I would have depicted that in a drawing. So I am positive repping you for my lack of computer skills!
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  44. #44
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    lol So those aren't cable stops?? Thats why I asked if it looked weird to anyone else. I was just trying to portray what I was seeing in my mind.

    thx for the rep man!
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  45. #45
    That's REEAAALLLL Nice
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    Yep, full length cable housing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Custom built SS...Who creates nice bikes-new-098.jpg  


  46. #46
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    Thank you sir!

    I get it now....but now you are in SS violation! :P
    Did you change it over to commuter duties? Hinting the tires.
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  47. #47
    That's REEAAALLLL Nice
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    Thank you sir!

    I get it now....but now you are in SS violation! :P
    Did you change it over to commuter duties? Hinting the tires.

    The bike is in transition. I'm running Surly Open Bars and skinny tires, so thinking about leaving it as my family/commuter bike, and getting myself a 29er SS - probably the Unit.

  48. #48
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    Nice!

    Also look into the Soma Juice...they are priced pretty similar, unless of course you are buying local.
    Tange Prestige and butted CrMo in the rear with stainless sliders!
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  49. #49
    What day are we riding?
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    I will throw out Vulture Cycles - Wade does great work. But like others have mentioned your best bet, especially if you want to make some parts, is to find a good one that is local.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    My only experience is with Siren...they will do at least semi-custom, not sure about full custom. I haven't ridden my frame yet but I can say it's a very nice looking frame.
    Order placed in mid january and i have now sent my SECOND frame back. Neither built up and too say im frutrated would be an understatement.Both frames arrived and were not worth the 2k at all. Hopefully Brendan does the right thing and gives me my money back(still waiting for an answer from today). Anyone thinking of a Siren can PM and I will fill you in on the details. If he plays more games and doesnt give me the dineros back, then I will give details of the entire debacle!!!

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