Do Any Custom Builders Actuall Build Anything??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Do Any Custom Builders Actuall Build Anything??

    Yes that's sarcastic!

    However it's true from my point of view. I've contacted a dozen small builders over the last three months and only heard back from one. Frustrating to say the least! I have money in hand and didn't mind waiting but if I can't even 'get in the que' what's the point. Clearly some of these guys are busy...busy enough apparently not to have to sell another frame...but is it that hard to answer the phone? return a phone call? answer an email?

    Perhaps this is the sign that I should just build it myself. I guess all I really need is a few more tools and a tubset.

    In the meantime I guess I'll give the boys at Waterford a call and get a more traditional frame. They always hook me up right!
    *** --- *** --- ***

  2. #2
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    I found email to be the best and quickest. They can respond at any hour without worrying about me being at work or asleep. Fred at Wolfhound got back to me within 48hours while answering all of my questions. Maybe someone to add to the list if you are still in the looking phase.

  3. #3
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    Curtlo/Englis

    Both responded to my emails and were very helpful but I decided to stay with my current ride

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    I've contacted a dozen small builders over the last three months and only heard back from one.
    And who are they?
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

  5. #5
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    I'd Rather Not Say

    Mostly because I know some of them read this site and others are close friends of regulars here....and I dont want people getting back to me out of guilt or for good pr.

    I will say that most (75%+) are regularly discussed/mentioned on mtbr and seem to be held in high regard.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  6. #6
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    Carl (Strong) responds to my emails

    within 24 hours, he's on the otherside of the world and always takes time to respond even if I'm just telling him where I've been riding or what I've been doing.

  7. #7
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    Two Words

    Carl Strong*






    *best time is early Mountain Time, like 8:00-9:00

  8. #8
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    hey, it's summertime. they're out riding. call in the winter if you want a new bike.....

  9. #9
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    It takes him a while but Doug Curtiss at Curtlo does...

    Curtlo/Ventana 29 FS

  10. #10
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    i'm going to have Carl Strong build a bike for me later on this year, first and only time contacted him i got his e'mail back within one day !
    the same with JJ.

  11. #11
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    strong

    I initially contacted Blacksheep last winter, and he has a guy whose job is supposedly to take care of sales. Heard nothing from the sales guy or from James. Carl Strong got my business.

  12. #12
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    Sherwood at ventana

    Everytime I call with a question I talk to Theresa and then she forwards me to sherwood who is happy to talk tech with me.
    He does custom work as well and with great turn around.
    Their customer service is the best. Check the ventana board.
    I was fast once, but then what fast was changed...

  13. #13
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    Sherwood at ventana

    Duplicate post.
    Last edited by notsofastanymore; 07-16-2006 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Redundant post
    I was fast once, but then what fast was changed...

  14. #14
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    I Would Add to the...

    Carl Strong tally. I just traded a Rick Hunter Cross rig for a Strong 29er. i had some questions and while I was somewhat hesitant to bother the guy about a frame I didn;t buy, he has been incredibly willing to answer everyone of my half dozen e-mails very promptly. Thats going the extra yard in my opinion. If I like this 29er thing, I am going to have one built to fit next spring and Carl is already at the top of the short list just based on my experiences over the last two weeks!!
    MTBDad
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  15. #15
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    Walt Wehner

    Walt always responds to my emails within a few hours -- not even 24. I sent him one on a Friday afternoon at like 5pm EST and he had responded by the time I checked email that evening.

    Curtlo.....hmmm....it took Doug a week or so to get back to me when I was trying to get with on a frame earlier this year. (sorry Doug if you read this, but it's true). Honestly, that's why I stopped writing / calling.

    Shayne, I'll agree with you to a point. If I'm calling so I can give you $1000 to build me a bike, then you can spend the couple dollars and a few minutes of time to talk with me. At least respond to an email and say I'm busy but I got your message. I do understand that these guys are busy trying to make a living just like the rest of us. My philosophy with bike folks is simple: I come to you not neccessarily for the bike you have, but your customer service. That's what sets shops apart, that's waht sets builders apart, IMO.

    That's why I like Walt. (btw, Walt, I got the new fork yesterday! thanks!)
    Charles Myrick
    33North Adventures | Owner
    Bike | Climb | Hike | Paddle
    New trips: Tibet & Bosnia!

  16. #16
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    Geez, you can chat to us via AIM, iChat or Skype right now. Order a pizza, jump on the computer, have a chat about the prospect of a new custom ride....doesn't get any easier.

    The problem with the guys who are trying to do everything themselves, is that you spend all day building, then attempt to answer a barrage of e-mails after dinner, and find some time inbetween to actually design bikes. Then the wife says "You're not spending enough time with the family".....yadda yadda....you know how it goes.
    To do customer service right takes a lot of time and a lot of people skills, and there's a big gap between doing everything youself and affording to pay someone else to do all the other stuff, like keep customers.

    Another issue I find out there is that customers have increasingly higher expectations, but many don't want to pay for it. Designing other bike parts for other clients, the going rate is anywhere between 80-120 bucks an hour. With the 12 AIM sessions, half a dozen phonecalls, 10-50 e-mails and 2-4 design revisions we do for each client, (and that's before a tube is even cut) there's no way you can give the level of service and quality we think is worth having for bottom dollar.

    You pay peanuts, you get monkeys as they say, and monkeys aren't that great at using computers or answering phones. I mean, their fingers are much too fat to begin with....
    Last edited by Thylacine; 07-20-2006 at 03:18 AM.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  17. #17
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    when i went bike shopping i contacted thylacine, kish, blacksheep, IF, seven & desalvo. every single one of them got back to me within a reasonable amount of time. two of them, thylacine & IF, got back to me during a weekend.

    i'll happily admin that thylacine got my business because of warwick's customer service. he is 100% accurate when he describes the massive amount of communication between him and his clients. i have a mountain of AIM logs and dedicated email folder full of replies as proof.

    my bike will be in my hands within the next few weeks so if you're interested in pictures or would like to chat just shoot me a PM.

    also, i know you said this have been over the last 3 months but keep in mind that the last 3 months is probably the busiest time of year for bike builders. at least one's in the northern hemisphere.

  18. #18
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Hey Warwick!
    Right on. You are the only person that got back to me.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  19. #19
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    Oldschool Welding, Riverside CA.
    (951) 956-9498

    [email protected]
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthewelder
    Oldschool Welding, Riverside CA.
    (951) 956-9498

    [email protected]
    So... are you saying that you are offering up frames Rick?
    What are you charging for the hardtail?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    So... are you saying that you are offering up frames Rick?
    What are you charging for the hardtail?
    Yes I am, and it depends on what kind you want.
    RTW.

  22. #22
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    Hope

    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    Yes that's sarcastic!

    However it's true from my point of view. I've contacted a dozen small builders over the last three months and only heard back from one. Frustrating to say the least! I have money in hand and didn't mind waiting but if I can't even 'get in the que' what's the point. Clearly some of these guys are busy...busy enough apparently not to have to sell another frame...but is it that hard to answer the phone? return a phone call? answer an email?

    Perhaps this is the sign that I should just build it myself. I guess all I really need is a few more tools and a tubset.

    In the meantime I guess I'll give the boys at Waterford a call and get a more traditional frame. They always hook me up right!
    Carl S. @ www.viciouscycles.com btw I will get you the pictures of the Mantis XCR and Pro Floater

  23. #23
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    Here's a link to my blogger where you can see the work Chris Dekerf does, I know by dealling with Chris I get the answer to my emails within hours if not minutes yet he still finds time to build these beautiful bikes. Take a look at the custom 853 full build, with fillet brazing, that thing is hot!

    http://dekerfcyclesuk.blogspot.com/

    J - a customer and a fan!

  24. #24
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    Hi Shayne

    Just wondering what frame did you want built?

  25. #25
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    Carl Strong [www.strongframes.com] gets my vote and money.

    Currently working with him.

    Warwick is right on and he is very much worth looking into.

    I bet DEAN was one of the builders you called.
    Grand claims demand grand proof.

  26. #26
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    ¿Habla Inglis?

    Curtis Inglis of Retrotec & Inglis Cycles is quick on email and phone.
    He gets my vote. My frame will be done this week, then off to the painters.

    [Edit]

    Adding Curtis' website: https://ingliscycles.com/

    And a photo of his handy work:
    Last edited by meat tooth paste; 09-20-2006 at 07:33 PM.
    I'd rather be riding my bike...

  27. #27
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    Chris Herting at 3D Racing

    You might wait for the frame, but he responds to phone calls. Try in the morning. He built a beautiful bike with some weird request for my wife.

    Also, he is truly a one man operation. He doesn't farm out the welding, like some other "Custom" builders. He does send out for paint.

    It is nice to think that your frame is the only one he is working on until it is done.

    http://v2racing.com/3dracing/

    Good Luck

    W. Ritter

  28. #28

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    you should call mike at ahrens bikes or email

    http://ahrensbicycles.com/

  29. #29
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    i've send back my old beat up sycip dd for a powdercoating love and they found the seat tube rusted badly that they need to replace the seat tube and that was 5 mths ago

    patience, patience.

  30. #30
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    The amount of time and fiddling it would take to replace a seattube, you may as well buy a new frame.

    They're probably hoping you forgot the frame so they don't have to do the repair!
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilhelmritter
    Also, he is truly a one man operation. He doesn't farm out the welding, like some other "Custom" builders. He does send out for paint.
    OMG! He farms out the paint! What a sellout! Next you'll be telling us he doesn't draw his own tubing from ingot or program his own CAD packages!

    Mate, there's this thing called 'Specialisation'. It's amazing. See, what it did is allowed us to get out of the caves and make Boeing 777's, and the computer you're sitting in front of and also really cool bikes.

    Don't get me wrong, you could be a caveman or Amish for all I know, but one thing I learnt early on? Don't try and do everything yourself.

    It's a simple concept. I mean, I'm guessing you don't do everything yourself in your job. I'm guessing you don't do all the housework. I'm guessing you didn't build your car singlehanded from a lump of Bauxite and iron ore.

    Or maybe.....you do?
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  32. #32
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    eh forgot my frame? no way ;p. but i wish they speed it up a bit.

  33. #33
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    Lordie
    I am checking into your frame for you, sorry for the delay

  34. #34
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    Thank you for sharing your wisdom regarding specialization. Just as soon as I don't include the information that Chris farms out paint, some smart guy, probably much like yourself, would point out that glaring omission.

    Chris at 3D builds one bike at a time, by himself. I simply wanted to point out that is not what all custom frame companies do.

    Something you apparently did not "learnt" early on is how to use a spell checker, or is proper grammar and spelling too specialized for you.

    Now go spend some time with your family instead of posting to web forums.

    W. Ritter

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtkkz
    Lordie
    I am checking into your frame for you, sorry for the delay
    thanks. its a white DD. my lbs, bike boutique, send it to u guys a few mths ago. to get it powdercoated to frosty pink. but than u told them that there are holes on the seat-tube and need to get it replace, etc... its been mths now. i send it early in year. i called the lbs and they told me that he cannot get hold of u

    thanks for looking into it, i know u guys are busy.

  36. #36
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    lordie
    they have been in contact with the bike shop who sent in your frame. unfortunately the delay is on ventana's part we are waiting for the rear mounts.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtkkz
    lordie
    they have been in contact with the bike shop who sent in your frame. unfortunately the delay is on ventana's part we are waiting for the rear mounts.
    thanks tons. did not know the rear mounts need to be change ;p. oohh... was out of loop for a while.

    thanks for checking on it, will bug the lbs for more info.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilhelmritter
    Chris at 3D builds one bike at a time, by himself. I simply wanted to point out that is not what all custom frame companies do.
    That's nice, but what does it mean? Is that good or bad or irrelevent? And why? Otherwise you might just as well say "Chris packs his own lunches" and we'll all stand around, nodding as clear indication he's a fine framebuilder (Which he is. I have a frame built by him myself).

    Quote Originally Posted by wilhelmritter
    Something you apparently did not "learnt" early on is how to use a spell checker, or is proper grammar and spelling too specialized for you.
    "Specialisation" is spelt with an 's', and "Learnt" is also a 'real' word, but thanks for the tips. I come to bike forums specifically to be pulled up by Primary School teachers.

    Yes, I am slouching.

    ---

    So Shayne, have you found a builder yet or wot?! (that one's just for you Wilhelm).
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  39. #39
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    "Specialisation" is spelt with an 's', and "Learnt" is also a 'real' word, but thanks for the tips.
    Oh, that depends on where you are from.
    I've been told that our American friends have difficulties understanding written text if you use British or Oz spelling.

  40. #40
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    That reminds me of last time I was in Vague-A$$.

    I went up to the woman behind the Buffet breakfast Bain Marie and said "Hey, howzit goin'? I'll have some scrambled eggs, some mushrooms and a couple of hash browns please."

    She just looked at me.

    My American friend then pushed me aside and said "One of those, one of those and one of those right here!"....

    ...and she started serving up my food!

    True Story.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    That reminds me of last time I was in Vague-A$$.

    I went up to the woman behind the Buffet breakfast Bain Marie and said "Hey, howzit goin'? I'll have some scrambled eggs, some mushrooms and a couple of hash browns please."

    She just looked at me.

    My American friend then pushed me aside and said "One of those, one of those and one of those right here!"....

    ...and she started serving up my food!

    True Story.
    You didn't tell her you were "gonna thro it on tha barby" did you?
    Last edited by Just J; 10-04-2006 at 02:48 AM.

  42. #42
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    Curtlo?

    I am currently having Doug Curtiss build up a SS frame/bike for me....but, MAN! the guy is REALLY slow to get back to you on anything! I have seen his work and appreciate it and that is why I wanted one....but he has got to be a little more attentive to his customers. He seems a bit ambivalent to any e-mails or calls....Just a heads up for future Curtlo customers. I like the dude, but maybe he is a little TOO laid back. It's driving me crazy!

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mootinator
    I am currently having Doug Curtiss build up a SS frame/bike for me....but, MAN! the guy is REALLY slow to get back to you on anything! I have seen his work and appreciate it and that is why I wanted one....but he has got to be a little more attentive to his customers. He seems a bit ambivalent to any e-mails or calls....Just a heads up for future Curtlo customers. I like the dude, but maybe he is a little TOO laid back. It's driving me crazy!
    Yes. I had a similar experience with Doug about seven years ago and I still can't let go of it. He was quick to say "sure, I can do that" and take my deposit, but NINE MONTHS LATER I got a frame that wasn't even close to what I had asked for...except for the BB drop and color. Then I broke the frame within three months (only frame I've ever broken in my 15 yrs of riding)

    I've seen that he can do good work and I know he has a loyal following though. I was probably one that slipped through the cracks.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtkkz
    lordie
    they have been in contact with the bike shop who sent in your frame. unfortunately the delay is on ventana's part we are waiting for the rear mounts.
    gosh the wait is killing me its been more than 7 mths wait, and i got a thailand northern trails trip to go end of Dec. and still no sign of Sycip.... i wanna cryyyyyyyy.. and i still have yet to train for it. been off bikes for 7 mths, my fitness is shits.

  45. #45
    Why so uptite?
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    if you haven't made your purchase you really should call Carl Strong up at Strong Frames. He is building me a new frame right now and has always returned my calls within a couple hours, most times he actually answers the phone. I wonder when he actually gets any work done. He has built frames for me in the past and you can't beat his service, support or his communication.

    I called a few other builders last month when i was getting ready to make my purchase and they were trying to tell me what i wanted. Carl actually let me tell him what i wanted. That is key when you are building a custom frame.
    Collection of fun carbon & titanium bikes

    @tgi_cycling

    .

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtkkz
    lordie
    they have been in contact with the bike shop who sent in your frame. unfortunately the delay is on ventana's part we are waiting for the rear mounts.
    hi,

    i got the DD back and it looks good, any idea what causes the seat tube to rust and having a huge hole in it?

  47. #47
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    Hello
    Do you ride in wet / rainy conditions a lot?
    After riding do you wash / hose down your bike?

    If you do all this, which is fine, you may want to consider spraying some frame saver once a year. This may help avoid rusting issues.

    I have been riding my same steel bike since 1993 and have ridden it in rain in the past numerous times, hosed it down etc... but it had never rusted. In the 13 years, I have had it stripped and repainted twice, I stopped riding in the rain completely though...

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtkkz
    Hello
    Do you ride in wet / rainy conditions a lot?
    After riding do you wash / hose down your bike?

    If you do all this, which is fine, you may want to consider spraying some frame saver once a year. This may help avoid rusting issues.

    I have been riding my same steel bike since 1993 and have ridden it in rain in the past numerous times, hosed it down etc... but it had never rusted. In the 13 years, I have had it stripped and repainted twice, I stopped riding in the rain completely though...
    i usually hose it down, usually and sometimes heavy torrential rain did the inverted bike and remove all access water.

    but its tropical weather here and rain is very common with high humidity, prolly need to do frame save every year or every 6 mths or so.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    That's nice, but what does it mean? Is that good or bad or irrelevent? And why? Otherwise you might just as well say "Chris packs his own lunches" and we'll all stand around, nodding as clear indication he's a fine framebuilder (Which he is. I have a frame built by him myself).



    "Specialisation" is spelt with an 's', and "Learnt" is also a 'real' word, but thanks for the tips. I come to bike forums specifically to be pulled up by Primary School teachers.

    Yes, I am slouching.

    ---

    So Shayne, have you found a builder yet or wot?! (that one's just for you Wilhelm).

    Oh. You are English. That explains everything. Never mind then.

    W.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilhelmritter
    Oh. You are English. That explains everything. Never mind then.

    W.


    No, I'm not English, so not only do you suck at spelling but also Geography, and come to think of it, replying to a post over 10 weeks old makes you a Truant as well.

    Happy Holidays everyone!
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

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