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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
without getting all heated. i was curious of the main advantage, if any of going with say an s works, (insert name/company here) top end bike compared to a crumpton, parlee etc?

naturally to me it seems like a no brainer to get a crumpton/parlee built to my specs for around the same price as an off the shelf s works?

i didnt see how much the crumptons were but looked like a top end bike might run you $13k or so with all top end components?

im new to the road game so dont hang me over it.. :) just wanted to wrap my head around it a little bit. possibly dream/plan for a future build? ;)
 

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Notice how good racers (and race teams) change bike sponsors with no real change in results?

Work on the motor, the chassis doesn't much matter.
 

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Not talking about the motor here....

After having owned and ridden several "off-the-shelf" top end framesets, I'll never ever buy another. They're all sold. I ride a custom Guru Photon and a steel custom Cyfac. Both bikes fit better, ride better, handle better, and feel better than anything else I've ridden. My wife is looking for a new bike this year, and she's likely to get a custom Cyfac Gothica. OTS, just say no.

You won't beat the ride of a bike that was built to fit, and for your personal riding style.
 

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It is a mystery. If you have the funds for a "top end" big name, you've got the funds for a top end custom. With the (possible) exception of a TT-specific frame*, I can't think of the reason why you'd pay for the stickers instead of the customization.

*The TT exception is possible because the custom geometries are harder to work with when the absolutes of slippery profiles is the primary design consideration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Notice how good racers (and race teams) change bike sponsors with no real change in results?

Work on the motor, the chassis doesn't much matter.
as the other guys said... im not worried about the motor and i understand "high end" bikes arent needed etc. the reason for my post was the whole IF factor. If i wanted to ever spend some major $$ on a bike purely because i wanted to,i.e. got me off. i was basically asking custom or big name .....
 

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If you're new to the road cycling game, you're going to have a hell of a time telling a custom builder what you want...In terms of fit as well as riding characteristics. When I got fitted for my custom Ti bike, even after having owned 2 roadie bike-one retail floor model and one I built myself from frame/fork, as well as a nice NOS upper-tier hybrid...I had little idea how to respond to some of the rather simple questions asked. You can get a bike made however the hell you want by some very great guys, catch being you have to know what you want in order to get what you want out of the exercise.

All else being equal, if you have the dough get the custom.
 

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Buy whatever appeals to you. Big name doesn't mean it's not a great bike, and custom isn't always the dream you'd think it is.

Ideally, you'd buy one or two of each!

Your preferences are different from mine, so make a list of the factors you deem important and go from there.
 

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Buy whatever appeals to you. Big name doesn't mean it's not a great bike, and custom isn't always the dream you'd think it is.
That's about it, they're all pretty much the same. There's only so many ways to make things out of composites. Making carbon bikes is more about composite engineering than cycling knowledge.

I don't see much difference between a guy in Italy cutting out a piece of fabric and placing it in a mold, and a lady in Taiwan cutting out a piece of fabric and putting it in a mold. The guy in Italy puts the frame in the oven just like the lady in Taiwan.

One thing about big brand names is they generally have better warranty service. I once broke a Trek and had a replacement within a week. That probably wouldn't happen with a Cyfac/Colnago/Pinarello. That's why I keep a spare Pinarello handy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you're new to the road cycling game, you're going to have a hell of a time telling a custom builder what you want...In terms of fit as well as riding characteristics. When I got fitted for my custom Ti bike, even after having owned 2 roadie bike-one retail floor model and one I built myself from frame/fork, as well as a nice NOS upper-tier hybrid...I had little idea how to respond to some of the rather simple questions asked. You can get a bike made however the hell you want by some very great guys, catch being you have to know what you want in order to get what you want out of the exercise.

All else being equal, if you have the dough get the custom.
i hear ya. i wasnt particularly taking about now or anytime soon really. i was just more curious than anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's pretty much it.

One thing about big brand names is they generally have better warranty service. I once broke a Trek and had a replacement within a week. That probably wouldn't happen with a Cyfac/Colnago/Pinarello.
i thought the big names, (trek, spesh etc.) were getting more "corporate" about theyre warranty approach these days? i could be totally wrong but i think someone like crumpton might be more apt to make the situation right. where the big name will give you the "sorry warrantys over, tough luck" type thing.....
 

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I will give you my own strong opinions about highend customs versus highend off-the-shelves (OTS).

1) If you're looking for a "race craft", the highend OTS (eg, Specialzed, Cervelo, Cannondale, Trek, Colnago, Pinarello, etc..) will in most cases beat the pants out of most SMALL custom builders, and yes, that include Crumpton, and easily beat the "one-man-shop) individual custom builders. The reason is very simple. The Big's simply have more input from their teams or riders and from the huge user base. They for the most part know what geometries work, and what don't. I'm always a bit baffled when I hear guys say that their so-and-so custom handles better than OTS bike.

Unless you have a very unusal anatomy, or a petite person, chances are, you can easily find an OTS bike that fits you in a way that will give you the handling you want. If you can't, then perhaps it's time to question your skillset.

2) Regarding value. This is where I believe customs start to shine. Think about this. A $10,000 mass produced bike somewhere in Asia will have a very LOW cost of production compared to another $10,000 bike produced by a custom builder or by a boutique builder (eg. Cyfac, Parlee, etc). In other words, the INTRINSIC value of the $10,000 mass-produced is much lower than that of a custom. So you are actually getting a LOT more value by buying a custom.

3) the craftsmanship. Most great customs (eg, Cyfac, Parlee, Serotta) will have the paint and finishes far more superior to that of a highend OTS (eg, Swork, Evo, etc). Custom wins in the craftsmanship.

I'm of normal proportions. I can pretty much buy any OTS bike with a 51.5cm effective top tube and make it fit me. But most of my bikes are custom because I believe in #2 and #3 above.

However, I'm not under any illusion that somehow my custom frames have that "magical geometry" that somehow enable me to handle the bike better than an OTS bike. I don't believe in any special geometry, because in order for a geometry to be truely magical, the frame would have to be tested on the rider, have the rider put in his real world input, then the builder would need to build another frame based on the rider's input. It's a refinement process that NO rider and custom builder will have the resource to carry out. Yet, I hear a guy getting a custom and immediately claim he's a better bike handler already. Wow, maybe his builder can go work for a MotoGP team and get the setup right the first time; MotoGP teams will be willing to pay him much bigger bux than he can get from building bicycles.

I generally prefer highend boutiques (Cyfac, Serotta) over a one-man-shop custom though.
 

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If you are looking at a bike as a status symbol (which is fine, no judgement) or just want something unique, go with the boutique bike. But uniqueness is sometimes a regional phenomenon. A buddy of mine got a Parlee several years ago when nobody ever heard of it, but a local shop has been pushing that brand and now they are almost as ubiquitous around here as Treks.

Unless you are oddly proportioned, you shouldn't need customized geometry - just about any off-the-shelf bike has enough adjustability. As for performance and ride quality, that's highly subjective, but my feeling is that anything good enough for the pros is probably good enough for me.
 

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That's about it, they're all pretty much the same. There's only so many ways to make things out of composites. Making carbon bikes is more about composite engineering than cycling knowledge.

I don't see much difference between a guy in Italy cutting out a piece of fabric and placing it in a mold, and a lady in Taiwan cutting out a piece of fabric and putting it in a mold. The guy in Italy puts the frame in the oven just like the lady in Taiwan.

One thing about big brand names is they generally have better warranty service. I once broke a Trek and had a replacement within a week. That probably wouldn't happen with a Cyfac/Colnago/Pinarello. That's why I keep a spare Pinarello handy.
+1^^I'll have to agree with this guy. Spot on, Cinelli! :thumbsup:
 

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The most boutique I'll ever go, will be ordering a Ti bike from either MOOTS or Lynskey. Perhaps, I'd even order a frameset from SOMA and build it up with an Ultegra gruppo. However, other than those options, it's OTS for me all the way. Boutique and custom, just seems to be a tad OTT for me. Perhaps, if it weren't for SOMA, Raleigh, or Masi, I'd consider ordering a custom lugged steel frameset from Waterford.
 

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I don't see much difference between a guy in Italy cutting out a piece of fabric and placing it in a mold, and a lady in Taiwan cutting out a piece of fabric and putting it in a mold. The guy in Italy puts the frame in the oven just like the lady in Taiwan.
That's hardly the end of the manufacturing process and know-how. Unless we get even more specific such as, Taiwan vs China.
I think most failures with Chinese bikes are not the carbon, but the bonding prosesses.

I'm sort of thinking out loud here.
 

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These top name bike brands are not exactly churning out tens of thousands of frames.

Consider that ALL models of the Specialized 2012 and 2013 Tarmac SL4,
2013 Crux and 2013 Secteur Disc bicycles and framesets only totaled 12,200 in North America.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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I will give you my own strong opinions about highend customs versus highend off-the-shelves (OTS).

1) If you're looking for a "race craft", the highend OTS (eg, Specialzed, Cervelo, Cannondale, Trek, Colnago, Pinarello, etc..) will in most cases beat the pants out of most SMALL custom builders, and yes, that include Crumpton, and easily beat the "one-man-shop) individual custom builders. The reason is very simple. The Big's simply have more input from their teams or riders and from the huge user base. They for the most part know what geometries work, and what don't. I'm always a bit baffled when I hear guys say that their so-and-so custom handles better than OTS bike.

Unless you have a very unusal anatomy, or a petite person, chances are, you can easily find an OTS bike that fits you in a way that will give you the handling you want. If you can't, then perhaps it's time to question your skillset.

2) Regarding value. This is where I believe customs start to shine. Think about this. A $10,000 mass produced bike somewhere in Asia will have a very LOW cost of production compared to another $10,000 bike produced by a custom builder or by a boutique builder (eg. Cyfac, Parlee, etc). In other words, the INTRINSIC value of the $10,000 mass-produced is much lower than that of a custom. So you are actually getting a LOT more value by buying a custom.

3) the craftsmanship. Most great customs (eg, Cyfac, Parlee, Serotta) will have the paint and finishes far more superior to that of a highend OTS (eg, Swork, Evo, etc). Custom wins in the craftsmanship.

I'm of normal proportions. I can pretty much buy any OTS bike with a 51.5cm effective top tube and make it fit me. But most of my bikes are custom because I believe in #2 and #3 above.

However, I'm not under any illusion that somehow my custom frames have that "magical geometry" that somehow enable me to handle the bike better than an OTS bike. I don't believe in any special geometry, because in order for a geometry to be truely magical, the frame would have to be tested on the rider, have the rider put in his real world input, then the builder would need to build another frame based on the rider's input. It's a refinement process that NO rider and custom builder will have the resource to carry out. Yet, I hear a guy getting a custom and immediately claim he's a better bike handler already. Wow, maybe his builder can go work for a MotoGP team and get the setup right the first time; MotoGP teams will be willing to pay him much bigger bux than he can get from building bicycles.

I generally prefer highend boutiques (Cyfac, Serotta) over a one-man-shop custom though.
There's no one "right" way for a bike to handle, hoss. If you start from a known bike geometry e.g. a ______ 2011 in 52CM, and tell the builder you didn't like how it slow cornered-they can probably do something about it. It of course isn't "magical" it is someone making a bike handle how you want it to, for the given body build you have. Further, the big frame labels over time have been decreasing the number of sizing runs for maximum profit margin for decades now. Used to be frames came in 1CM increments, then it was 2CM, now it seems to be 3CM....for a while I was hearing about only having 3 sizes-fit-all, which from a fit/handling standpoint is pretty insane even given the fairly normal range of human body sizing. Any advantage in sponsoring a team insofar as knowledge of fit is moot due to the increasingly limited size runs.

The other advantage that comes to mind that hasn't been thrown out there yet....road cycles have gotten obsessed with being racing-team bike analogs for fair weather only. Not practical every-day machines that get dirty and ridden on non-perfect roads. Unless you go boutique/custom you will not find a nice bike with frame clearance for anything larger than a 25mm tire. Period. Which is simply stupid. And you can absolutely forget about fender mounts.

It is funny...for how much effort teams have to go through making their bikes heavy enough for the UCI weight limit....you'd think they could spring for some fenders on those rainy shitty days (like the entire 2013 Giro) to keep the spray down. Hell, fenders would probably make the bike more aerodynamic and save a few watts :)
 
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That's hardly the end of the manufacturing process and know-how. Unless we get even more specific such as, Taiwan vs China.
I think most failures with Chinese bikes are not the carbon, but the bonding prosesses.

I'm sort of thinking out loud here.
You're talking about no name Chinese brands then. If you take a Giant as an example, Chinese made but they own their own factories and processes, you don't have that problem. Since we're talking about high end here, not some websites on alibaba selling frames.
 

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You're talking about no name Chinese brands then. If you take a Giant as an example, Chinese made but they own their own factories and processes, you don't have that problem. Since we're talking about high end here, not some websites on alibaba selling frames.
Giant contracts with lots of frame labels to build their bikes.

The problem you're going to have with this discussion, is that most of the time on carbon fiber bikes the label on the downtube is just a label and has no bearing on who actually made the bike...the frame manufacture was outsourced to either Merida or Giant or etc. Lots of threads on the "Made in ____" sticker. There's no magic to laying up carbon fiber, most of the big frame labels don't even do it themselves anymore-and tell someone else what they want and leave it to them. The only major exception to that "most" is Treks very top-shelf line, last I knew.
 

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1) If you're looking for a "race craft", the highend OTS (eg, Specialzed, Cervelo, Cannondale, Trek, Colnago, Pinarello, etc..) will in most cases beat the pants out of most SMALL custom builders, and yes, that include Crumpton, and easily beat the "one-man-shop) individual custom builders. The reason is very simple. The Big's simply have more input from their teams or riders and from the huge user base.
I don't necessarily disagree that a big company can make a better bike than a small operation but I think you're reasoning is off.

-Input from pro teams is useless for the body and riding of the average Joe looking for a bike. The average Joe doesn't have the power and flexiblity of a pro. That's why, often, a pro bike is not the same as the same model purchased off the shelf.

-Input from a huge user base, while valuable, results in the mass produced bikes being perfect for 'averages' not individuals. If you're average then great.

Anyway, bikes are either good or they are not. Both large and small operations are capable of making very good bikes and very bad bikes.
 
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