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  1. #1
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    Custom bike return policy

    hey all, ive got few days ago a new frame and fork from a custom bike builder, it didnt meet my expectations.. the fork has very narrow clearance and same thing about the rear, he can align the rear but it probably will weaken the steel, im not interested in that.
    wanted to ask if anyone had experience with that situation? i pay for that a lot of money, what is the usually custom frames return policy?
    thank you

  2. #2
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    The return policy for any item is agreed to prior to purchase. I would imagine different frame builders would have different policies. You must have some type of contract or bill of sale that states the policy.

  3. #3
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    If you instructed the builder to construct the frame and fork with clearance for x.xmm width tires and (s)he didnít deliver to your specs, Iíd say youíve got right to recourse. If you didnít discuss or specify room for tire width, then Iím guessing youíre out of luck.

    Iíve purchased several custom frames in my time. Everything ó EVERYTHING ó should be considered, discussed, agreed to in advance. With custom frames, as with life in general, non-verbalized expectations = future disappointments.
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  4. #4
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    we didnt speak about that, i guess its my fault also, had to be more prepared for this.
    in his website it says there is a life-time warranty..

  5. #5
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    Was it discussed (in writing) what width of tire the frame would accommodate? If so, does it accommodate that width but without much clearance?
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  6. #6
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    yes, you are so right, i wanted to speak with him about that but i didnt, i trust him, this is so frustrating right now... i regret i didnt do it

  7. #7
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    i was telling him im going to use 29X2.1 tyres, we didnt speak about the actual inner width diameter, but its too narrow, it will be ok for road bikes, but not for bikepacking bike(my use).
    there is a clearance of 6-7mm in the rear and fork, a little bit of mud and wheel go untrue and im out, im planning to ride the great divide next year, it will be a a bad decision to go there with this amount of clearance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Was it discussed (in writing) what width of tire the frame would accommodate? If so, does it accommodate that width but without much clearance?
    exactly, there is 6-7mm clearance.
    it will not be good for my bikepacking trips

  9. #9
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    I've had four custom frames built by three builders. Two were full suspension so the clearance was locked in but at the time, long, low and slack wasn't a thing yet so I had to convince one builder that yes, I did want those "goofy" geo numbers. The two other frames were discussed heavily. I didn't sign off on the design but we were on the same page considering tire clearance. The rest of the geo was straight forward.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Was it discussed (in writing) what width of tire the frame would accommodate? If so, does it accommodate that width but without much clearance?
    This. If it's not in writing, it didn't happen. Hard lesson.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This. If it's not in writing, it didn't happen. Hard lesson.
    i told him i want 29X2.1 clearance we just did not speak about inner diameter numbers, i think its obvious that a bike for off-road touring as to have more then 6-7 mm clearance, damn it!! painful lesson.

  12. #12
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    real quick: warranty would be for a failure not a preference

    As noted, unless specified you are at the whims of the builder.

    However, personally I'd take him up on the cold-set re-spacing for the rear. You should be fine. Maybe just resell the fork.

    Best of luck.
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  13. #13
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    I'm surprised the builder didnt do a mock up with the chainstays tacked up and an actual sized tire mounted to a wheel. My builder does this and posts pics on his blog and FB. Also if the frame is fillet brazed the stays can be moved although there goes the paint.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  14. #14
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    I've never done a custom frame but I would expect the frame builder to use "best practices" and "industry standards" when it comes to things like tire clearance. I'd also expect the builder to be the expert and guide me through the process and raise any flags and point out limitations in the frame design. If this didn't occur than your builder isn't that great.

    Having said that, I consider 6-7mm enough frame clearance for a 2.1" tire on a 25mm internal width rim.

    I can sense your disappointment and feel for you. Worst case scenario is to resell the bike immediately. The bike market is still hot, and while you may not recoup what you've spent, the bike will sell. This will bring you closure and you can move on with your life.

  15. #15
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    I agree with others, you asked for 2.1 clearance and that's what you got. The frame builder can't read your mind, if you weren't specific enough about what you wanted it's your mistake. No refund possible.

    "warranty" policy would only cover a defective frame that fails or something.
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  16. #16
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    Every detail should have been a topic at the beginning. Requesting clearance for 2.1 is heavily limited in options for rim/tire choice. That should have been one of the first topics covered following frame size and purpose.
    As mentioned previously, sell it off while you can or build it out for another purpose. Start saving the coin and get your mind wrapped around what you are truly interested in. Write down the important things and features. Think very carefully about the geometry that you would really like to have.

    Frankly, if you do not know enough about geometry and related items, custom is not in your wheelhouse. To get into custom, you really need to know precisely what to request and how to convey what your end result is intended. Study! Study! Study! since this is a pricey endeavor with no recourse for errors o.n your part. Errors on the builder are another story.

    Every custom I have had others build, I supplied the blueprints and callout sheet. My own customs, that was done in CAD or on paper prior to CAD, well before a tube was mitered.

    Bottom line, a custom is very challenging to craft and meet expectations when expectations do not exist.
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  17. #17
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    Really sorry to hear about an unhappy custom frame purchase. I'm a huge fan of going custom. Unfortunately being able to balance good communication, interpret what someone says vs means, internalize best practices, and CAD-in-your-head is really difficult. And they're skills a custom builder has to employ simultaneously on-the-fly to best serve the customer. I admire successful builders; they could make more money doing something else with that skill set.

    I've built a couple frames myself, so i can hypothesize what happened.
    2.1" tires are skinny enough you can make some great compromises. You can run a CX fork crown. You can run straight stays (lighter and stiffer) and/or stays that will accommodate a stupidly large chainring. These are great tradeoffs for the hypothetical dude who specifies 2.1 tires for his custom frame, and fosho he wants you to optimize the frame around his preferred rubber, right?

    I've done my own frames with less than 6-7mm of clearance for my anticipated 'big tire.' More like 4. I build wheels too, so i know they're sturdy enough for my application and won't turn to trash if i break a spoke. ...but i'm not a bikepacker or selling frames, so again it's just another perspective.


    Again, i'm really sorry you're in this pickle. I know how it feels to get a custom frame in your hands that isn't what you want; it's like popping a bubble of joy. I think you're both a bit at fault, and a good framebuilder will work with you to find a mutually amicable solution.
    Post-build dimpling is a totally reasonable solution if the frame is steel, was well designed around your application, will afford you your needed clearance, and will be performed by an expert with proper dimpling tools. It's absolutely worth considering and has some advantages over a nondimpled frame. In this case double bonus, since the worst-case scenario is a failure that's unambiguously covered by warranty. ...But don't get railroaded because it's a convenient solution for the builder.

    It can be really helpful to address this like the two of you are working together to solve a problem, rather than adversaries. 'WE had a miscommunication, let's figure out how to fix it.' You can always walk away from being nice, but you can't be nice later.


    FWIW the oldest/highest mileage mtb in my fleet has some stupidly excessive dimples (that i literally hammered even larger hahaha), and it's the only production mtb frame i've owned that has lasted longer than 3 years. It's 15. Tube spec matters.

    Best of luck moving forward.
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  18. #18
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    Thank you all, ill let you know whats going on with that.

  19. #19
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    ok so ive talked with him, its a steel frame, he told me he can widen it 1-1.5 cm, this should be good.
    about the fork, he said he will make me a new one because he cannot widen the fork.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy22 View Post
    ok so ive talked with him, its a steel frame, he told me he can widen it 1-1.5 cm, this should be good.
    about the fork, he said he will make me a new one because he cannot widen the fork.
    You should send some love his way. If you didn't negotiate an additional fee, at least send him some swag. Otherwise he's basically making you two for the price of one, and stuck with one that probably cant do anything with. Maybe he feels a little bad for the communication problem, but from all the other posts too, the opinion is that he wasn't any obligation to adjust it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taroroot View Post
    You should send some love his way. If you didn't negotiate an additional fee, at least send him some swag. Otherwise he's basically making you two for the price of one, and stuck with one that probably cant do anything with. Maybe he feels a little bad for the communication problem, but from all the other posts too, the opinion is that he wasn't any obligation to adjust it.
    i need to fly there and give him a kiss
    youre right, he is very nice.
    still, he also should have asked me about that, he is the professional that aware of all the small details, im the customer, if he was planning to go that narrow he should tell me, consider that i was telling that its for bikepacking and not a road bike that the clearance is not that important.
    but not many will act like that and i appreciate that.

  22. #22
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    2.1 is pretty darn big, that's actually XC mountain bike size. I'm running 2.1 Ground Controls in my Cross bike, barely fits, actually rubs chainstay a tiny bit when I stand on pedals. I use it on single track, guys are pretty surprised seeing me on trails with people on their 5" travel duallies, lol.
    Glad it got sorted out for you!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taroroot View Post
    2.1 is pretty darn big, that's actually XC mountain bike size. I'm running 2.1 Ground Controls in my Cross bike, barely fits, actually rubs chainstay a tiny bit when I stand on pedals. I use it on single track, guys are pretty surprised seeing me on trails with people on their 5" travel duallies, lol.
    Glad it got sorted out for you!
    thank you very much

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy22 View Post
    ok so ive talked with him, its a steel frame, he told me he can widen it 1-1.5 cm, this should be good.
    about the fork, he said he will make me a new one because he cannot widen the fork.
    That's a great response from the builder. Glad to hear it. Hope the frame offers you decades of cheerful service.


    Pics when it's built?
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    That's a great response from the builder. Glad to hear it. Hope the frame offers you decades of cheerful service.


    Pics when it's built?
    hope so too, thank you.
    sure, i will upload.
    but seems there is a long way till then, i figured out that the fork is not straight.
    the wheel turning to one side a little bit more, the problem is in the dropouts, one is higher then the other.
    i hope he didnt see that and still send it(it happened to me with one frame builder in the past that send me not aligned chain stays, in this case i recieved all my money back).
    jesus, seems like i have a bad luck with custom frames builds...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy22 View Post
    hope so too, thank you.
    sure, i will upload.
    but seems there is a long way till then, i figured out that the fork is not straight.
    the wheel turning to one side a little bit more, the problem is in the dropouts, one is higher then the other.
    i hope he didnt see that and still send it(it happened to me with one frame builder in the past that send me not aligned chain stays, in this case i recieved all my money back).
    jesus, seems like i have a bad luck with custom frames builds...
    Sounds like this frame builder is going way out of his way to accommodate you after your poor communication. Not his fault but he's fixing it.

    Before you accuse the fork of being off I would check the dish on the wheel. Even if the dropout is off a hair it can be corrected with a file.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Sounds like this frame builder is going way out of his way to accommodate you after your poor communication. Not his fault but he's fixing it.

    Before you accuse the fork of being off I would check the dish on the wheel. Even if the dropout is off a hair it can be corrected with a file.
    yes, ive checked the dish and the if the hub is centered in my lbs and the wheel is good, i put him on my other bike and he is totally straight in there.
    what does it mean corrected with a file? i will give it a try.

    but i gotta be honest, do you still go with his side even after i say there is a problem with the fork? ive checked the dish, its the fork, if you paid 1800Euro for a frame you will be happy that you need to fix this kind of problems?
    Last edited by Guy22; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:43 AM.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy22 View Post
    yes, ive checked the dish and the if the hub is centered in my lbs and the wheel is good, i put him on my other bike and he is totally straight in there.
    what does it mean corrected with a file? i will give it a try.
    6-7mm doesn't sound too bad. If you had, let's say 10mm clearance with 2.1" tires, then the frame should easily clear a 2.3, but you didn't request a frame that will fit a 2.3, you requested a frame that would fit a 2.1. I don't think that'd stop me from using it on the gdmbr. That route is mostly gravel anyway. Use strong rims, brass nipples, make sure they're well tensioned, and carry a few spare spokes. Truly sticky mud that'll bind you up would probably have you walking anyway, regardless of clearance.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    6-7mm doesn't sound too bad. If you had, let's say 10mm clearance with 2.1" tires, then the frame should easily clear a 2.3, but you didn't request a frame that will fit a 2.3, you requested a frame that would fit a 2.1. I don't think that'd stop me from using it on the gdmbr. That route is mostly gravel anyway. Use strong rims, brass nipples, make sure they're well tensioned, and carry a few spare spokes. Truly sticky mud that'll bind you up would probably have you walking anyway, regardless of clearance.

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    yes, im still waiting for my 2.1 tyres to arrive, checked them with 2.0, so lets see, i told him do not make the fork yet, let me check it with my 2.1 tyres and we can see from there whats the situation.
    but now im aware of the unbalance of the fork, so i will had less then 6-7mm and its a problem anyway..

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