Friday, October 14, 2011

Handbuilt Frame

Do I need one?
Do I deserve one?
More importantly, will it make me faster?
Why are you, the reader, laughing?
Everyone knows that if you got a custom frame you gotta be fast!
Okay let's break this down.
By hand built, I mean tubes cut to size, not an off the rack build.
I mean you can get frames that are hand built to stock specifications, not exactly custom.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, I've been reading that the only time you need a custom frame is when your body has some odd dimensions and stock geometry doesn't work.
Well I am of small stature but with massive thighs, but I don't know if that counts.
I don't study myself in the mirror and check my proportions, though maybe I should.
After all this fooling around on the two bicycles I have, it seems like I would fit a 49 or 50, but the top tubes still feel a bit long.
Using a short stem helps, but I don't want to start running anything shorter than 80mm. since the drops get awfully close to my knees.
Then there's the other thing.
Is a custom frame really worth it?
Of course it is, but is it really?
The frame sets I've been looking at run from about $2200 to $3500, and that's just for steel.
It also happens to be around the same price if I were to say order a stock size Italian frame set.
As you can see, I'm going for the Mother of All Frames here.
Wile E. Coyote Acme Frame set, guaranteed to run down pesky Roadrunners and little girls with pink bicycles.
Anyways, I'm having trouble justifying the cost of one of these custom frames.
I mean seriously, it's a bicycle frame.
On the other hand, I sell pottery and it's just well, pottery.
So I sort of know where these frame builders are coming from.
Besides the cost, I'm having trouble narrowing down a specific builder.
Again, it's just a bicycle frame so there's not too much extra frou-frous to add on and make it different.
So what it sort of comes down to is the name on the down tube.
Or in the case of Dave Kirk, some funky looking seat stays:

I gotta admit, when I first saw Kirk's Terraplane stays, I didn't like them.
Now, they are sort of growing on me despite the fact that there are only a few online reviews available.
Those stays alone are an additional $300 bucks, so they better do something.
Dave Kirk is on my very long short list, but his frames are like at the outer edge of what I want to spend.
I suppose if I part out the Ciocc I'll make some of that back, but lemme tell you, it's pretty extravagant even for me and I'm pretty extravagant.
If you know what I mean.
Maybe I just haven't found something I really like yet, though I do like what the folks at Signal are doing:

Those have to be the sexiest stays I've ever laid my eyeballs on!
The two guys who are Signal also happen to be artsy folks so they made my list too.
The thing is, I didn't think it would be that difficult to part ways with my hard earned cash on a bicycle frame.
If it was under a grand, I think I'd have no problem for that's sort of where I see the value of a frame, but when you're talking two large or more, that sort of gets me thinking.
We're only talking frame here, not even group and wheels yet so now the cha-chings don't sound so bright and friendly.
They sound sort of dark and hollow, like what my wallet is going to feel like.
Okay, I want a blingalicious bicycle, but since I ride at super sonic speeds, no one is going to be able to see it anyways.
Of course I'll know.
So what it's sort of coming down to is aesthetics since all of these frame builders know what they're doing and well, a frame is a frame is a frame.
Maybe it's knowing that I can only afford one of these beauties and it will be the only one for some time that's making the decision difficult.
Or maybe I'm just still wondering if it's all really worth it.


Mark said...

Without a doubt you need a custom hand built frame. Not only will it make you faster, rumor has it, it will make you more attractive.

Why else would anyone get one?

Trevor said...

Just think how your image will improve if you have a custom frame...

anyway you know the mantra - say it with me- '*m*ge is everything'.


johnnytrashbike said...

that's a lot of frozen pizza and cream soda. besides, you want to be able to go FASTER?!?! those poor pink-bike-girls are trembling as it is.

limom said...

Valid reasons!
I especially like the one about it making me more attractive.

Steve A said...

Kirk makes a cyclocross frame, so you ought to get it!


limom said...

I already have someone in mind for a cyclocross type bicycle.
Kirk may be outta my league, budget wise.