Monday, October 31, 2011

Putting It All Together

Image is everything.
Oh yes it is.
The way I figure, when it comes to a hand built frame, technically they're all the same.
I mean the builder is limited by the technical aspects of a bicycle.
Geometry, type of tubes, etc.
When choosing a custom frame builder, I think it would be nearly impossible to make a wrong choice.
So what's it all come down to?
Well in looking at the offerings of a bunch of builders, I think it comes down to aesthetics.
How it all looks when it's all put together.
For instance, I keep going back to look at them sexy seat stays over at Signal Cycles:

A few other builders do S bend stays, but no one does the Coke Bottle figure better.
I'm a bit particular about that Coke bottle shape, I use it in my own work and you gotta admit, it's a lot better than looking at some straight stays.
I like the stays on the thin side, the thicker stays for some reason just don't appeal to me.
Straight and thick.
Thin and curvy.
The finish also needs consideration.
I mean some folks just seem to do stuff right, like Dave Kirk and how he attaches the seat stays to the seat tube:

That's some signature work right there.
I mean I don't look down at the seat tube seat stay junction while I'm riding around, but it's pretty nice to know that it's there.
If you know what I mean.
Then there's all the extra blingness, stuff like Eric Estlund is doing over at Winter Bicycles:

The extra head tube work is done using what he calls bi-laminate construction.
Now that's what I call custom work!
Of course all this steel goodness does not come cheap.
More on this later.
The trick here, is to find someone who can put it all together.
I seem to want a little bit of this and a little bit of that to make my dream frame come together.
Or not.
I mean I'm not looking for some bicycle with like a GAGILLION hours of work in it.
In fact, I'm finding that my needs are running more on the subtle side.
We're talking about a bicycle here, not something to hang on my wall.
On the other hand, seeing what some of these folks out there can do with a frame is pretty amazing, elevating a craft to an art form.
Thing is, I'm not really sure I want to ride around on a piece of art.


Mark said...

You are making me jealous. All of them look like pretty nice bikes. Can you just get one from each?

limom said...

All this frame talk is hypothetical, highly speculatory, and very suspect.
You are correct in that looking at all these frames, it's difficult not to want one from each builder as all offer something a bit different.
I need to do more research.
This may take a while.

Steve A said...

You'd have to order them more or less all at once, or else you'd die of old age before you went through all the builders and their respective lead times