Author Topic: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced  (Read 15607 times)

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Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Custom touring bkie vs. mass produced
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2018, 09:32:40 am »
That would be the case no matter the bike. I can't budget to replace it, so I will protect it.

Inasmuch as Gordon has retired from the biz, the bike is irreplaceable. Sounds like you got your just in time.  8)

Indeed!  Ours were two of the last he made. We ordered them, and then he had a wreck on gravel, hurt his knee, and was unable to work for months.  It took almost a year to get our bikes, from the time we ordered them. And he announced his retirement soon after. Fortunately, we weren't planning to do our first long tour until this year, so we weren't freaking out about the delay!  (our only worry at the time was that he wouldn't be able to make them at all....)   Well worth the wait.  For me, knowing that Bruce went over every detail of this bike gives me great peace of mind and confidence.   Plus this bike is a sweet ride. Fits like a glove.
I talked to Bruce back in '99 in preparation for my first tour. His former associate, Robert Beckman, was having some trouble delivering my custom racks and panniers so I was exploring alternatives. Seemed like a very nice guy. Fortunately, Beckman came through after I gave him a drop-dead delivery date, which was only three weeks before the start of my tour.

Offline fastrog

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2018, 03:19:58 am »
Well, I think a custom built bike is an unnecessary luxury. But over-the-counter bikes may not meet your needs. As some people alluded to above, I went with something in-between, after a lot of research. An excellent frame from Surly, and them working with my regular bike-shop guys on the build. Got the major components on-line, for best pricing, and saved by using things like my REI 20 percent off member coupon. Ended up with a great bike, with better components than the stocky Surly. Spent more than a stock Surly, but think I got a bike comparable to the  customs -- for less money.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2018, 12:28:21 pm »
Well, I think a custom built bike is an unnecessary luxury. But over-the-counter bikes may not meet your needs. As some people alluded to above, I went with something in-between, after a lot of research. An excellent frame from Surly, and them working with my regular bike-shop guys on the build. Got the major components on-line, for best pricing, and saved by using things like my REI 20 percent off member coupon. Ended up with a great bike, with better components than the stocky Surly. Spent more than a stock Surly, but think I got a bike comparable to the  customs -- for less money.

I don't think anyone would every buy a custom bike for its equipment, you buy one because there is something worthwhile in the frame.  Part of what makes a custom bike so expensive is cost of equipping it.  You can almost always buy a finished stock bike for what a build kit costs, based on the the same components and wheel set.  There are 3 ways to buy parts:  at list price, in a build kit ( where you save 10% or 20%, it has been a while so I don't remember exactly, other than being disappointed on the discount for a build kit), or attached to a bike.  When you buy a new stock bike, most better bike shops will give you a credit for the parts that you don't like as long as you buy the replacement parts from them.

There are lots of reasonable reasons for getting a custom bike.  I went that way because at the time I did not believe that I could get a stiff enough frame from any of the stock bike makers.  I did indulge myself with a lugged frame, but I did not get hand carved, stainless steel lugs from Italy.  I have a friend with a long torso and short legs, and he has fit issues outside of what can be done with a set back seat post and a longer stem.  Most of his bikes are custom, just to get the fit issues right.   Many women have a hard time getting a bike to fit them.  The big guys seem to have walked away from women specific bikes.  I know of a local bike shop whose business plan seemed to be fitting petite Latinas on Gunnar (Waterford's budget line) frames.  If you are tall and thin, there is a stock bike for you.  Everyone else has fit challenges. And most small frames are designed for adolescent males, not women.
Danno

Offline Goodaches

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2018, 11:26:18 pm »
When I couldn't find a production bike equipped and geared as I wanted I began to fantasize a bit on how I'd like to spec a custom bike. But, having had 4 locked bikes stolen over the past four decades I didn't want to be that commitment to a bike not readily replaceable.  So, I was delighted last fall when I saw the 2018 specs for the Surly ECR 27+. It exactly met my very practical specs including gearing that makes sense for loaded touring. Wife and I got a matched pair in Octobef and we'll use them on GDMBR this year.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2018, 03:33:55 pm »
Perhaps you could consider a semi custom.  I second Emily G's sentiments about the BG Rock and Road quality.  If you find one, used, that fits you will have a lifetime treasure.  One further consideration, the Beckman pannier choices that fit the BGs are superb, pricey, but superb.
Good luck

Offline Ryld

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2018, 04:22:06 am »
If you fly the best custom bike add on to get is those socket collars that let you split the bike in half. I think you can pay them 600+ and they will take a frame and put on the coupling collars but if you are going to pay that much is is better just to start with a coupled frame from the start.

Offline DaveB

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2018, 09:25:01 am »
If you fly the best custom bike add on to get is those socket collars that let you split the bike in half. I think you can pay them 600+ and they will take a frame and put on the coupling collars but if you are going to pay that much is is better just to start with a coupled frame from the start.
They are S&S Couplers and, while they can be retrofit to an existing steel or Ti frame, they are a very expensive addition.  I agree, it's better to get a frame factory equipped with them to begin with.

Also, unless you fly with your bike frequently, the extra cost of the couplers may not be worth it as the airlines now charge for all checked baggage so the ability to have the bike fly free is gone.  Finally, you have to have a place to store the packing case while you are on your ride so if you are doing a point-to-point tour the case will be a problem. 

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2018, 09:50:26 am »
In addition to the $600 the S&S couplers will cost, you'll want the case ($250-$400 IIRC).  You'll want to get the bike repainted, if you start with an existing bike (maybe $200). 

Of course, custom bikes already come painted, but they start pricey and go up.  Cheapest custom I know of with S&S couplers is about $3,000 now.

OTOH, it does fly as a second or third piece of checked luggage.  That's currently $35 per leg, $70 round trip.  Stinking airlines charge $150-$200 per leg for a normal bike.  I've had my S&S coupled bike for about 10 years now, and while I don't know if it's paid for itself in reduced airline fees yet, I've enjoyed the ride.


Offline netdomonz

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2018, 04:44:28 am »
it's your money, up to you

Offline ghh@me.com

Re: Custom touring bkie vs. mass produced
« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2019, 03:12:32 am »
And lastly, let me put in a plug for United Bicycle Institute in Oregon.  (https://www.bikeschool.com/index.php/classes/frame-building). You can go to one of their classes and build your own frame in either steel or titanium.  I built a Ti frame (having never welded anything in my life) that weighs 3.5 pounds, has a super low BB and loooooong chainstays and slack head angle and steep seat angle (all my preferences).  The Ti class costs about $3k and takes 2 weeks.  If you paid a custom Ti builder that same amount of money, you might get a little lighter bike (the Ti tubes I used arent butted) but I think you'd probably have to spend a lot more.
Wow, considering the extensive training that competent commercial Ti welders go through, I'd be very leery of trusting a bike frame welded by a complete neophyte.  I'd watch and inspect those welds carefully and frequently.


I have now ridden said neophyte welded bike about 2000 miles of mountain biking.  So far so good.  The UBI class teachers are super involved in the build process.  And you learn lots of tech savvy sayings.  The one that stuck with me the most is this:   a good titanium weld will last forever.  One that is too cold will fail catastrophically.  One that is too hot will fail gradually. 


It is just so satisfying to ride a bike you welded together.  Insert plug for UBI here again!  (https://bikeschool.com)

Offline dim

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2019, 03:46:23 pm »
my first post (great forum!)... im UK based

I've recently bought a 1985 Miyata One Thousand touring bike in mint condition ....

I ride Audax but want to do some touring (wild camping/fishing) and my 1st trip planed is a 650km fishing/camping trip along the south coast of Ireland

I'm 5'7 and looked carefully at the geometry and the most important critera was the top tube length ... My other bike is a Trek Emonda Sl6 with Dura Ace Di2 and that is a 52cm ....

top tube length of the Miyata in 50cm is alsmost identical to the 52cm Trek

bought the Miyata and I went for a bike fit from a local LBS who was recomended by several cyclists in my area

the price was not cheap (£200) and what I can say is that before I had the bike fit, I set the bike to what I felt was correct ....

after the bike fit, things were set up a lot differently .... hard to explain the difference, but the easiest way to describe it is that before the bike fit, I was sitting 'ontop' of the bike, where as now I'm sitting 'inside' the bike (if that makes sense)

the fit that I had took over 2 1/2 hours, was amazing as it was in 3D and the computer automatically gave all the angles and highlighted the problems in red (amazing software) ... cleats were also properly set, I needed insoles in my shoes, arse measurements were taken to ensure that the saddle is suitable, handlebar width was checked etc etc

the fit I had was with software called STT 3DMA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx_tkGUtYTY

so what I'm saying is that you don't have to get a custom frame built because even that might not fit you properly if the people making it don't have the correct software to check each and every angle as you cycle

get a bike that has the correct top tube length..... go for a proper computerized 3D bike fit .... you amy need to change the stem length, handlebars, saddle  etc, but you will have a bike that fits proper, and which is comfortable for long distances



« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 03:54:26 pm by dim »

Offline hikerjer

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2019, 01:51:14 am »
Thanks for the input. As you alluded to, fit is everything. Like boots, the most finest, most expensive bike is worthless to you if  it doesn't fit.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2019, 07:16:48 am »
Just me, but...

The biggest and best reason to get a custom bike is if there is some bio-mechanical fit reason and an off the shelf frame doesn't offer what you need because of your body characteristics.  I think it is a fairly rare case where it really makes sense for that reason.  If it makes sense for that reason then absolutely go for it.

The next best reason is probably because you want the braze ons, do dads, and finish just so.  Personally I think that it will usually be a pretty steep price for not much in return, but if it is important enough to you, and you can afford then it go for it.  Me, I figure that stuff can always be worked out well enough on an off the shelf frame.

Last if you just want the bragging rights of saying you have a custom bike and can afford it, it is your money.  This last one seems like a lame reason to me unless there is some pretty good support for it in the first two reasons, but it isn't my bike or my money.

I am not rich, but am well enough off that I could buy whatever bike I want without too much pain and I always subscribed to the "good enough is good enough" philosophy.  I like to buy and enjoy riding bike in what I consider a sweet spot of price vs functionality.  On the other hand everyone needs to decide where on the scale between the cheapest walmart bike and a top of the line $$$$$ bike is their sweet spot.  So one rider's sweet spot might be under $1000 and another's might be over $5000.

BTW, a really nice bonus of having a bike and gear well within your means is that there is far less worry about theft, loss, or damage during shipping or on tour.  It is really nice to think that even if every bit of my stuff went missing on a long tour I could replace it all and keep going without worrying about how I would pay the bills.  On a shorter tour obviously I'd probably go home if my bike and gear went missing, but if I was in the middle of a coast to coast trip I could be rolling again pretty quickly if I wanted to.


Offline hikerjer

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2019, 11:03:34 pm »
Truly a well thought out and informative response. 

Thanks.

Offline froze

Re: Custom touring bike vs. mass produced
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2019, 10:02:42 am »
I can't take the time to read all the posts so this may have been already brought up, so sorry if it has.

If you have been able to ride off the shelf bikes with no fit issues that a fitting couldn't resolve then you will be able to ride an off the shelf touring bike.  Most people can ride off the shelf bikes, in fact most touring people ride off the shelf bikes without any issues, sure you may have to get a fitting done if you don't know how to do that on your own, but spending a couple of hundred plus maybe parts plus the cost of the off the shelf bike is way cheaper than going custom.

Sure custom is nice, you do get a fancy paint job, but touring is rough on paint so do you really want to scratch up a fancy expensive paint job?  Unless you have some odd physical dimensions I wouldn't go custom...ever!  And according to Grant at Rivendell he said some time ago that his factory off the shelf sized Atlantis was 95% as good as his custom Rivendell's but the price was about 50% more; odd guy Grant is, it's like he was trying to sell more of the Atlantis bikes?  Regardless I see any advantage to spend a lot more money on a bike vs an off the shelf bike, in fact for touring purposes I don't see spending more than around $1,500 for an off the shelf touring bike because the components that comes on those bikes at that level are very reliable and easy to field repair, and cheap to replace if it ever got to that point.

I need to get a new touring bike myself since I crashed mine, another reason not to get a custom job, I've looked at a bunch and for my needs I settled on the Masi Giramondo 700c because it comes with a 3 sets of water bottle braze ons on the frame and two more sets on the fork, this means I can carry 5 bottles of water, which when touring you'll discover water is important not only to drink but to cook food with; plus it came with the right gears for climbing mountains when loaded, Tubus racks which are the best in the business.  There is also some other good bikes as well like the Salsa Marrakesh, Kona Sutra, Surly Long Haul Trucker (which I dismissed immediately due to no water bottle bosses on the fork), Fuji Touring (I think they've now may have stopped making this one?), Trek 520 which I dismissed immediately because it was overpriced with lessor components, Jamis Renegade Escapade (which I dismissed immediately due to price and no grannie gear for climbing while loaded).  Those really represent the bulk of the off the shelf bikes, you just need to check out the specs and see which one checks most if not all your boxes...unless of course you're going for something more expensive like the Miyata Koga World Traveler or the titanium Van Nicholas Deveron.

So the choice to go off the shelf vs custom can really only be answered by you, but I hope I gave you little food for thought