Custom Ti, Strong or Seven?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Custom Ti, Strong or Seven?

    Iím in the market for a custom high quality Ti frame. A few weeks have research has narrowed my list to two. Either Seven or Carl Strong fit my requirements. My main criteria are durability, stiffness, and weight. Basically I want a light wait frame, which is still stiff and durable.

    Both Carl and Seven could build a beautiful frame. There is no doubt in my mind I would be very happy on either frame. Iíve been in touch with both Carl and Seven and both have said all the right things. Iím sure both Carl and Seven can appreciate I want to do a little further research before making up my mind. After all we are talking about a lots of money for a frame.

    My concern right now is with custom sizing. Every so often people pop up and complain about the fit of their custom bike. I am passionate about riding, but canít pretend to be an expert on fit. Has anyone had issue with the custom sizing by either Carl or Seven? Is there anything I should be aware of while dealing with either frame builders?

    Right now I canít make up my mind on which company to deal with. I really like the fact that Carl is a one-man show. Even though heís busy building frames heís taken the time to answer my questions and talk to me on the phone. Seven has also taken the time to reply to me. The fact they are a larger company is slightly reassuring incase something goes wrong with the frame down the road. Seven is more likely to be around building frames in 10 years.

    Anyway, I would appreciate any information, which would make my decision easier. Both positive and negative feedback would be very helpful. Please keep brand loyalty to yourself; Iím looking for facts not band bias. Anything which would help me make an informed decision is welcome.

    Thanks,
    Greg
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
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  3. #3
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    What about IF and Moots?
    I'll probably be in the same boat as you in a year or 2.
    Maybe you could save me and the rest of us all the research trouble and tell us why you aren't considering all the other custom Ti makers.
    Thanks.
    Lenny

  4. #4
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    I was in the same boat as you when I was deciding to get a ti frame built. I went with Strong, mainly because Seven is so expensive and I couldn't see much of a difference. Carl is great, you send him all your body measurements and then you talk to him about what you expect, your riding style, etc... and he builds you an amazing frame. At least with Carl you know exactly who is building your bike, Carl Strong. If you want to see some pictures of my bike checkout the strong thread...

  5. #5
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    What about IF and Moots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny
    What about IF and Moots?
    I'll probably be in the same boat as you in a year or 2.
    Maybe you could save me and the rest of us all the research trouble and tell us why you aren't considering all the other custom Ti makers.
    Thanks.
    Lenny
    Yes I did consider IF and Moots. If you read my initial post you can see I'm using three criteria to make my decision, durability, stiffness and lightweight. While the Moots Rigor Mortis is durable and stiff it's unfortunately too heavy. Moots told me to expect a frame weight of approximately 4.1 to 4.2lb. While Moots does make beautiful frames something over 4lb is too heavy.

    I also took a look at IF. Unfortunately I didn't research them as much as the other frame manufactures. A friend of mine has a few custom bikes. He told me he looked into IF when buying each of his frames. Apparently they were always slow to respond to emails and came off as snobs. This turned me off of IF.

    If I'm going to spend thousands on a frame then the company should be thrilled to answer all my questions and be happy to do so. Both Carl and Seven have taken lots of time with a potential customer. I haven't spent a dime yet, and they are happy to spend time answer my questions. This type of service is exceptional and makes me want to support them.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
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  6. #6
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    There are several other choices out there for custom Ti
    Kish (www.kishbike.com) I got a kish steel road frame and am very happy with it. He is the ti welding teacher at UBI.
    Desalvo
    Quiring (He has got to be one of the absolute best values in a custom Ti frame around. And he has a very strong racing background if that means anything to you)
    Black Sheep

    It's rare that you ever here anything but praise for Carl Strong so it's good he is on top of your list.

  7. #7
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    "Light, Stiff and Durable"?

    Sorry Greg, but that's akin to the old addage "Light, strong, cheap. Pick two". If you called us up and said that, alarm bells would go off and the security shutter would dramatically close like a bad B-Grade movie.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too. That's just the way it is. A straight guage 3-2.5 Ti frame built for XC will weigh about 1500g (3.2lbs), give or take depending on size. It will be as light an durable as a good Ti frame can be.

    The only way to go lighter and not less durable is to perhaps use a few Reynolds double butted tubes in the mix, but then your price goes up expedentially and you've already indicated you don't want to spend top dollar.

    If we didn't fit your criteria and you insisted on just the two choices you've give us here, my nod would have to go to Carl simply because I'm biased towards smaller shops as they flat out give you better value. Having said that, like ashwinearl says, you should also take a look at Kish, Black Sheep and while you're at it, Kent Eriksen.

    I can't comment on their design quality as I think we have the edge or I wouldn't be in business, but in terms of build quality and bang-for-buck, those guys are all doing great work.

    Give Love to the Little Guy!
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  8. #8
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    I have both. A Strong single speed and a Seven geared bike. Both ti. They are both great bikes and you can't go wrong with either one. I think Carl communicated more with me. I talked and emailed back and forth with him a number of times during the build. With Seven I had one conversation and that was it. I told them I was going to run a reba fork with a pop lock and when the frame came it didn't clear the downtube. They made another frame and it was fine. Good luck!
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  9. #9
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    Kish

    My 17" titanium Kish single speed frame is 2.98 lbs. It's very stiff, and I've beat the h#ll out of it, and it looks as good as the day it arrived... I go 200 - 210 depeding on how many doughnuts find their way to my plate. I would highly recommend him. I've also heard that since Stong went back to being a one man show, his stuff is good again. Seven makes nice stuff, but I'm always leaning toward the one man shop... support the little guy.

  10. #10
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    It seems to me that the whole point of going custom is to get the handiwork of a singular craftsman/ artist whose work is consistently great, unique and special and somehow 'jives' with your personal aesthetics and expectations.

    If it were my money-I'd only seek out the Individual master builders (Carl Strong, Ted Wojcik) and probably less so the small boutique fabrication plants (Seven, IF, Soullcraft)--though, by all accounts they all make wonderful bikes and have legions of satisfied customers--

    Have Fun-

    Liam

  11. #11
    Why so uptite?
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    I currently own 2 bikes from Strong and i am getting ready to place my order for a 3rd one in 1-2weeks. I highly recommend Carl as he will listen and help you pick and design the right bike for you. I just talked to Seven because i was considering getting a frame from them this fall instead of going back to Carl. But after 2 conversations with them, i decided that Carl Strong was going to be a better bet for me.
    Collection of fun carbon & titanium bikes

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  12. #12
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    Seven makes great frames, but they seems to have trouble to make a rear frame with enough clearance for FAT tires.


    Espen

  13. #13
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    You might give Kent Eriksen a call. I got my first ride in on mine yesterday and I love it. Kent is fabulous to work with too.

    www.kenteriksen.com
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  14. #14
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    Eriksen looks killer! How much does he charge for his frames?


    Espen

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocheese
    You might give Kent Eriksen a call. I got my first ride in on mine yesterday and I love it. Kent is fabulous to work with too.

    www.kenteriksen.com

    now that's what i call a Moots with soul!!

  16. #16
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    The bike certainly has some good mojo going on. I'm loving it!

  17. #17
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    Strong

  18. #18
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    Strong

    Well I decided I want to go Strong. Unfortunately the logistics of the strong might not work out for me. Looks like I can't get a Seven either. I'm a little disappointed, but that's just they way she goes sometimes. I'll update once I've decided which frame I've gone with. Right now my hands seem to be tied between Lite Speed, Moots and Titus. The Moots weighs 4lb which is a little chunky for my taste.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
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  19. #19
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    logistics?

    Please explain?

  20. #20
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    logistics

    I have to work with a retailer for this sale. This shop is going well beyond what is expected of them to get me what I want. Unfortunately Seven won't sell him a frame since there is a Seven dealer within 60miles of this shop. Carl Strong doesn't deal with retailers so the Strong option is out. This has narrowed my list, but it's not the end of the world. I'll be just as happy on a Titus or Litespeed Ti frame. They might now have the bling factor but at the end of the day the ride quality is what matters. Also I sand to have a couple extra dollars in my pocket.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

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  21. #21
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    hmmm

    I called Carl, we talked, I ordered.

    I'm in New Zealand, but I knew my angles and critical tube length numbers - so it was easy. If the "fit" is your concern, many high end shops can do a fitting for a nominal charge - then send the numbers to the builder of choice.

    Here is my custom Stong Ti 29er. Good luck.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Espen
    Eriksen looks killer! How much does he charge for his frames?


    Espen
    You might give Kent a call and talk about it. They are each different since they are all custom. Pricey, but worth every penny and then some.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregz12
    I have to work with a retailer for this sale. This shop is going well beyond what is expected of them to get me what I want. Unfortunately Seven won't sell him a frame since there is a Seven dealer within 60miles of this shop. Carl Strong doesn't deal with retailers so the Strong option is out. This has narrowed my list, but it's not the end of the world. I'll be just as happy on a Titus or Litespeed Ti frame. They might now have the bling factor but at the end of the day the ride quality is what matters. Also I sand to have a couple extra dollars in my pocket.
    this sure blows... for ride quality and craftmanship, my vote goes to Strong and Seven. their frames come with free custom geometry, tube selection and tweaks. if you choose to go Titus/Litespeed, you're dealing with stock frames around the same price bracket. custom options will cost more, that case you're better off with the first 2 builders in fact. also with Titus, you'll get a mono-rear. not that it sucks, it's just a different ride quality that you need to know if you'll prefer over the conventional 'A' rear. if you must, my vote is Titus over Litespeed.

    as for Moots, i believe they can build a SL(butted) version for rigor mootis, so it won't weigh a hefty 4+ pounds. but i can't say about the stiffness and durability. that said, Thylacine can build a large straight-gauge at 1.5kg, all i can say is amazing! worth checking out http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=189449

    as Thylacine mentioned, light, stiff and durable ti frame. that's kinda hard. going light=butted tubes=less stiffness=less durability. unless you reinforce strategic areas with gussets, or stronger BB, shaped tubings (if G.E.T is your cup of tea/or if it actually works?). else i can only think of 6/4 ti throughout to achieve your goals. Litespeed and Merlin come to mind. but i think most independent builders like Strong, Desalvo, Kish also work with 6/4...maybe Thylacine as well. but 6/4 aint cheap!

    but i was thinking, if you're buying ti why do you want it stiff? isn't the 'zing'/compliance the whole beauty of ti? if you're concerned about the lateral stiffness, i'm sure all ti builders build stiff enough frames else they'll be ruining their own business by building noodles so no worries there. there are plenty of other good builders around, do think about it. a ti frame is a lifelong investment, don't settle for less!

    good luck in your hunt,hope it works out for you

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