Tom Teesdale vs. Vanilla, or... $600 vs $1600- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tom Teesdale vs. Vanilla, or... $600 vs $1600

    I am looking to buy my first fully custom steel frame (EBB w/ der. hanger) and I am having a super difficult time deciding. I was sure, for 4 months, that I was going to get a Sycip... then I saw a Rick Hunter and fell in love. Now I look at TET cycles and see I can get a really nice custom bike with good/great reviews for under $700... or, I can get a Vanilla (that makes me change my underwear every time I look at it) for over twice that.

    So in the end, the question is why should I spend well over a G on a custom frame when I can get one (of equal ride quality???) for well under that mark?

    Cheers, Oliver

  2. #2
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    You're Not Going to Go Too...

    far wrong with any of those chocies! I am a huge fan of the small builders! I have custom Rick Hunter cross rig. Risk is a real artisan who takes an enormous amount of pride in the fact that he still fillet brazes every frame. I gatehr there is no real structural advantage (or disadvantage) to fillet brazing vs. TIG welding, but the end result is really amazing. The precision that is required in terms of the tube mitering is quite high. I also have a Vanilla Rigid fork for my SS. Sacha is another real craftsman! Both guys bring new meaning to the term 'laid back' !!! Rick rides about 30 hours per week and as such, getting one of his frames (at least this was the case 3 years ago) is an investment in patience. Sacha's work is now in such hgh demand, you're looking at another long wait time. I'd cll and talk to them both, can;t go too far wrong with either. If I were building another rig and opted for steel (i've become a bit of a Ti fetishist lately), I'd probably have to say Vanilla. Its the extra little bits, like the stainless steel dropouts on the fork, the SS disc tabs. The custom rear disc dropouts that would puch me in his direction.
    MTBDad
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  3. #3
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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Fit, function, little details, how the builder works with you, delivery time, etc. all go into your choice.

    No doubt, Vanillas are in a class with some of the top custom builders like Columbine, Sachs, Brian Baylis. But as I am sure you know, you are going to pay quite a bit (not saying it isn't worth it, given the amount of time he puts into each creation) and wait quite a while.

    The Teesdale as with many other custom MTB bikes is built to your specs and to your body but without any fluff. Straight up high end steel for flying on the trails.

    Depends on how you want to be parted with your money, I'd say. Either, as well as many other custom builders, will give you a sweet ride that will fit and function awesome. But honestly, I'd be upset the first time I dinged up my Vanilla on a rock garden, and even though I'd be bummed, probably wouldn't feel as bad if I did it with a Teesdale.

    I went the lugged classic steel with my road bike, and a custom TIG for my mtb. Best of both worlds.

  4. #4
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    True, I might just want to end up hanging the frame on my wall and staring at it all day- I got a nasty ding on my SC Chameleon and was bummed, but not super pissed off. As for the wait time, that is not much of an issue as it is winter here in Long Island (mostly commuting these days, plus I am new to the area and have not found many trails) and I do not have a single part for this new bike (though I do want it done by May).
    OT, but can someone explain to me how lugged frames work? I take it the luggs are welded to the frame and the tubes are separate from each other? Thanks.

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    Where on the Island Are...

    you? I am in Centerport, if you'd like to see some of Rick or Sacha's work let know. I'd be happy to oblige.
    MTBDad
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  6. #6
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    I am in Cold Spring Harbor, not far I think. That would be great to check out their work, drop me a PM when you get a chance and we can work something out. -Oliver

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuMex
    Now I look at TET cycles and see I can get a really nice custom bike with good/great reviews for under $700...
    I've always been a big fan of Teesdale's bikes. Very nice work and low key looks. Nothing but a rock solid bike made just for you. Great builder.
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    My Vanilla Fork...

    is back with Sacha having the canti studs removed and a disc tab added. Should be back any time now. I'll holler when its in and figure out how to get you a viewing. I never asked, but what is your pain threshold with respect to wait time?
    MTBDad
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  9. #9
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    Teesdale visit

    A friend of mine just came back from a trip to Iowa and stopped into the Teesdale shop while he was there.

    Apparently, for many years, Tom used a pedal-powered tube mitering machine. He only converted it to electric when a big production run came in from Fisher during the MTB explosion.

    How could you not buy from a guy like that.

    Besides, you'll be too old to ride by the time your Vanilla arrives. Kidding, kidding.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBDad
    is back with Sacha having the canti studs removed and a disc tab added. Should be back any time now. I'll holler when its in and figure out how to get you a viewing. I never asked, but what is your pain threshold with respect to wait time?
    That sounds great... as for the wait, it won't be an issue for me as long as I order before the end of Feb (I figure I can wait 3 months at the most as I am planning a trip to Vermont in mid-June). Anyone have an idea as to how long any of these three frames would take (i.e. TET, Hunter, or Vanilla)?

  11. #11
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    My Hunter...

    took about 9 or 10 weeks if memory serves. Rick said to count on 8, so a +/- of a couple of weeks for full custom build not bad. Can't comment on Tom's wait times, but i think he will be quickest. Sasha at Vanilla will be the longest, if you have a deadline, he is probably not your guy. I will say, he does AMAZING work, but its not fast work. Having dealt with both Sasha and Rick i can safely say they are great guys!! I also spoke with Brent Steelman when i was shopping for the crosser and you should throw him into the mix.
    MTBDad
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  12. #12

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    TET observations

    I got an 853 SS from Tom Teesdale and am satisfied.

    Turn-around time was good - about 8 weeks if I remember right. Tom was very
    good about working with me on geometry. He sends detailed drawings to you
    and is great to work with in this aspect. The frame was 4.3 pounds with the
    EBB - more or less a 19" frame.

    The downsides - the bike is clean looking, but is not and never will be a beauty
    queen. The welds are functional, not aesthetic. The paint is poor. I touch it
    up often to stave off corrosion and will eventually have it powdercoated. Nobody
    is going to come up to my Teesdale and swoon over it's beauty.

    So anyhow - if you're buying custom for geometry and want a good practical
    rig, then the Teesdale is hard to beat. If your looking for art on wheels, you will
    want to look elsewhere.

    All that being said.... you can have my TET when you pry it from my cold dead
    hands. I appreciate aestheic artisanship and wish I could afford it, but I can't.
    The TET does exactly what I want it to, no more, no less.

    Good luck !

    ZB

  13. #13
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    JuMex - Have you thought about a bike from Kish???

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMFT
    JuMex - Have you thought about a bike from Kish???
    I have considered Kish but I don't know much about his steel bikes (I hear he makes nice titanium frames though). Originally I was going to get a local bike; being in the Bay Area I was debating Sycip, Hunter, or Jericho. But now that I have moved to NY "local" has lost a lot of meaning and now I am overwhelmed with options- hence the question of the expensive "eye candy" vs. the less expensive "utility" frame. As of late I have thought of checking out Vicious Cycles- pretty local (a few hours) so I could check out the frames in person and be fitted at the shop. Any suggestions/comments?

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