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So let's say price was a factor, but you still wanted a sweet riding ti road bike. I am wondering if someone like Davis Carver at Carver bikes can have built for you a bike that rides as sweet as a Moots? Does he have access to tubes that are as good as Moots tubes? Does he know enough about selecting the right tubes? I know exactly what geometry I want so I need someone to select the tubes to match my weight and preferred steel feel road feel in a nice ti frameset.
 

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I don;t know about Carver's tube sources nor how their bikes ride but I have seen them in person along with Sabbath which are also MIC in my LBS and they are very well made frames.
 

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No, Airborne were Chinese. Or maybe I'm thinking of Habenaro ... I recall one issue with them was the bottom bracket shell being made of commercially pure titanium instead of a more desirable titanium alloy. I really doubt that something made to sell in the "budget" market is going to be up to the same quality as something like Moots which is the other end of the market. If you want a Moots, why not look for a used one? Titanium bikes aren't in big demand these days. You can geta nice used frame at a pretty reasonable price.
 

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I need a custom for the geometry that works for me. And I am trying to separate marketing hype from reality. And maybe save a couple of thousand dollars at the same time. On the other hand, don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish. Somone in China who has made a few hundred frames should be able to do it as well as someone in the US who has made a few hundred frames. And Davis Carver seems to have done some effective designs...and I still want to know what I am buying.
 

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<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Short answer is No, it won’t ride as well as a Moots. Close, maybe if you’re lucky. Not because Carver Bikes are not capable of building such a frame but because they have chosen to build a $1200 Custom Ti frame.


Regardless if someone “can” produce a quality frame, what matters is if they actually pursue the details to the degree that the result is a top quality frame regardless of price. Further that they employ sufficient quality control to consistently produce such a product. Frames that are built down to a price have corners cut, they have to. Frame alignment usually being the first to go, followed by bottom bracket and head tube facing. All affect performance and component durability and those are just the first three that spring to mind.


Producing a precise quality frame takes time and not settling for ‘good enough’. Understanding the nuances of road bike geometry across the wide sizing spectrum takes experience. Moots, Serotta, Seven to name a few have done a consistently excellent job for years. Not by trying to build the most expensive frames but by pursuing the best quality they can offer and then pricing them fairly. The quality of the tubing is but one small component in the total recipe. As an example, the quality of the cutting tools, and how well they are maintained, can easily alter the precision of the tubing miters. A tiny change in the miter shape will alter the geometry from what the builder intended. And on and on, it’s all the details that go into building a frame that separate the best from the less so. Building down to a price and using cheap labor puts added pressure on the process. Here’s a bit of food for thought. Do you think a laborer who is paid a low wage and required to produce high volume product will consistently put the same effort into their work as valued craftsmen in a low volume setting? The answer is no doubt difficult to come by with certainty. Historically, many laborers do only that what is required, and it’s common that speed is the number one performance measure. It is natural that quality suffers in such circumstances.


Interesting that you speak about ‘marketing hype’, the promise of high quality at a low cost is hype as well.


Not to knock Davis Carter, he’s a good guy; he has run a good shop and web site. I like Carver bikes. Inexpensive Ti has a place in the market. I would consider one for trail use or off-road. Not sure I’d be inclined to use one as a road bike. For me, the speeds involved along with the repetition of the physical movement over time on the road dictate a precisely built frame, both for an accurate fit and for handling performance. Personally if I was in a position to require a custom geometry road frame, I’d pursue a less costly frame material to obtain the highest build standard I could afford. Mountain Bikes have been the focus of Davis for some time, he may well be able to match the understanding of road bike design as well as someone like Serotta. He doesn’t yet have the decades of proof in his resume though.


My personal experience with a few Chinese manufactures has been that they offered good initial quality but struggled to maintain consistent high quality over time. When tools and machinery become worn they were slow to replace the items prior to the wear affecting the end product. These same failures have occurred in other countries as well. I don’t mean to imply that Chinese manufactures are all like this, won’t improve or can’t. Only to say that when building down to a price it is very hard to build in volumes and reduce price without impacting quality over time.


The bigger question is; will a Carver custom Ti road frame ride well enough for you to be satisfied with it? That is for you to decide. The answer depends on what your reference for a sweet riding frame is. If you are expecting the same ride as a Moots, Serotta or Seven Ti you may be disappointed in a price point frame such as the Carver. If on the other hand your reference is a lower end bike the Carver may just amaze you.


Good luck with your choice, I hope you find what you are seeking.
NM
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<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Short answer is No, it won’t ride as well as a Moots.


If you are expecting the same ride as a Moots, Serotta or Seven Ti you may be disappointed in a price point frame such as the Carver.



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This is not necessarily true for everyone.

A friend I have been mtn. biking with for about 10 years recently purchased a Motobecane Fly Titanium 29er, in order to poach the Sram XX parts group, and put it on his Mooto X, and then sell the Motobecane frame.

He decided to take it out for a 18 mile trail/road combo ride before removing the parts, and was shocked at the similarity in ride quality. He actually preferred the geometry of the Motobecane, and has posted several faster lap times on it than his Moots.

His Moots does appear to have a nicer finish on it, so no argument there. I actually prefer Ti frames that I can polish with Scotchbrite pad anyway.

So with the right geometry, and a skilled craftsman assembling the tubes, there are many companies that can easily match the ride quality of Moots ... whether it's road or mountain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I appreciate your detailed response. I am seeking the middle ground. In the US there are customs ti frames available in a range from $2500 to $4500. I don't think sharper tools or better welds could possibly make the difference. It is good quality, an incredible level of detail, long wait lists, builder reputation, and disposable income that probably contribute more than anything else. I want a good looking/good riding bike and don't think it is rocket science to make that happen. Just doing my research before pulling a trigger. One of my other bikes is a Speciailized Roubaix made in Taiwan and not a custom from a US builder. It is an f-ing road rocket and would love to find it in ti at a sensible price.

This is a nice sample from Carver. IF it rides as good as it looks then he might be the guy:

View attachment 276189

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Short answer is No, it won’t ride as well as a Moots. Close, maybe if you’re lucky. Not because Carver Bikes are not capable of building such a frame but because they have chosen to build a $1200 Custom Ti frame.


Regardless if someone “can” produce a quality frame, what matters is if they actually pursue the details to the degree that the result is a top quality frame regardless of price. Further that they employ sufficient quality control to consistently produce such a product. Frames that are built down to a price have corners cut, they have to. Frame alignment usually being the first to go, followed by bottom bracket and head tube facing. All affect performance and component durability and those are just the first three that spring to mind.


Producing a precise quality frame takes time and not settling for ‘good enough’. Understanding the nuances of road bike geometry across the wide sizing spectrum takes experience. Moots, Serotta, Seven to name a few have done a consistently excellent job for years. Not by trying to build the most expensive frames but by pursuing the best quality they can offer and then pricing them fairly. The quality of the tubing is but one small component in the total recipe. As an example, the quality of the cutting tools, and how well they are maintained, can easily alter the precision of the tubing miters. A tiny change in the miter shape will alter the geometry from what the builder intended. And on and on, it’s all the details that go into building a frame that separate the best from the less so. Building down to a price and using cheap labor puts added pressure on the process. Here’s a bit of food for thought. Do you think a laborer who is paid a low wage and required to produce high volume product will consistently put the same effort into their work as valued craftsmen in a low volume setting? The answer is no doubt difficult to come by with certainty. Historically, many laborers do only that what is required, and it’s common that speed is the number one performance measure. It is natural that quality suffers in such circumstances.


Interesting that you speak about ‘marketing hype’, the promise of high quality at a low cost is hype as well.


Not to knock Davis Carter, he’s a good guy; he has run a good shop and web site. I like Carver bikes. Inexpensive Ti has a place in the market. I would consider one for trail use or off-road. Not sure I’d be inclined to use one as a road bike. For me, the speeds involved along with the repetition of the physical movement over time on the road dictate a precisely built frame, both for an accurate fit and for handling performance. Personally if I was in a position to require a custom geometry road frame, I’d pursue a less costly frame material to obtain the highest build standard I could afford. Mountain Bikes have been the focus of Davis for some time, he may well be able to match the understanding of road bike design as well as someone like Serotta. He doesn’t yet have the decades of proof in his resume though.


My personal experience with a few Chinese manufactures has been that they offered good initial quality but struggled to maintain consistent high quality over time. When tools and machinery become worn they were slow to replace the items prior to the wear affecting the end product. These same failures have occurred in other countries as well. I don’t mean to imply that Chinese manufactures are all like this, won’t improve or can’t. Only to say that when building down to a price it is very hard to build in volumes and reduce price without impacting quality over time.


The bigger question is; will a Carver custom Ti road frame ride well enough for you to be satisfied with it? That is for you to decide. The answer depends on what your reference for a sweet riding frame is. If you are expecting the same ride as a Moots, Serotta or Seven Ti you may be disappointed in a price point frame such as the Carver. If on the other hand your reference is a lower end bike the Carver may just amaze you.


Good luck with your choice, I hope you find what you are seeking.
NM
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Carver custom road ti arrived

Just took delivery of a Carver custom titanium road frame and then built up my bike. A few introductory comments for those of you who wonder about ti from the East. The welds on my bike are not just ok, they might be considered as good as some of the best from the U.S. The frame matches the CAD design in every way I can measure. The brushed finish as applied by Carver back here in the US is subtle and has a unique luster. The bend and shape of 22.2 chainstays are works of metal art. I especially like how the chainstays are welded to the flat dropouts. This was a bike purchasing adventure with every facet turning out as good or better than I expected. Oh, maybe not. The wait was a bit longer than I expected and a watched bike will never arrive :)
 

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Daft Punk built my hotrod
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A simple rule of thumb: never judge a bike or its rider by the name written on the frame. I've gotten smoked by riders on heavy steel frames and have easily dropped riders on Serottas, and I'm nothing special on the bike. I have always been partial to companies like Time and Moots, but I'm fully cognizant of the fact that some companies can make superb frames at a fraction of the cost.
 

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170 Posts
AFAIK Carver source from XACD. I have commissioned 4 custom frames from XACD in China in 8 years - 2 for me and 2 for others. If you know exactly what you're looking for and can read a technical drawing, then it's a great way to buy custom. You can specify all angles, tube sizes and thicknesses - weld quality and finish is good.
 
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