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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Within the last year I have been looking to purchase a road bike (moving from mountain bikes), and due to my size I have encountered many problems with fitting stock bikes.

I'm 5'1", with a 69 cm inseam, torso 59 cm (I'm told this is long).

First off I was hoping for some bike suggestions that I have not looked at yet, think up to 3700 CDN or so (3300 in US given current exchange). I have checked the usual popular bikes just wondering if I missed some quiet or underground company.

For example the Specialized Ruby is one bike I've begun to look at.

I had been trying to avoid WSD bikes until I exhausted all other possibilities and it seems now like I'm there. (I'll explain in a bit).

The second situation I was seeking opinions on is my experience so far with my lbs.

Upon their suggestion that I would have to go custom, they suggested that I get a Marinoni. After doing my research for a few days I decided to place an order. When I paid my deposit for the bike they told me it would be a 5-6 week build time, since then I have informally been told 6-8 weeks and 8-10 weeks because they are busy this time of year.

I don't trully know how busy they get but I feel it is taking long having placed my order in the first week of April. Up until last week I wasn't even sure if I was getting 700 or 650 wheels. At that time my lbs made a preliminary drawing for me of what the bike would look like which I rejected because the rear stays came above the sloping top tube (minor aesthetic perhaps but I don't like it, the stays not the sloping top tube). The reason that happened was because I had a carbon rear end that cannot be adjusted in size, I have since changed it to aluminium and to this day have not heard back.

In case there are any doubts as to it taking longer then expected my lbs did apologize to me for the time it's taking and cited the fact my measurements have never been seen by Marinoni before in combination. Although one would think that a custom bike company with 30 yrs experience would hardly be troubled by having to uniquely customize a bike.

Okay, here is my question. I'm a bit of a push over and I was wondering how I should discuss this problem with my lbs as of today I have said nothing of my disappointment. Simply put if they were to give me a smoking deal to compensate for the delays I would accept that, as an vapid apology does nothing. Should I demand such treatment when it comes to negotiating the price (since I lost the carbon rear end I no longer have a quote for the bike I'll be getting).

Do I accept these delays and just look at the footprints on my back in the mirror or should I go and make a scene (perhaps not to that extent)?

Feel free to play devil's advocate and tell me why I am wrong or if I'm right, what my lbs perspective might be as I am having difficulty identifying with it.

Thanks
 

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Custom can take quite a while and it is rare to get a custom on time.

IMHO custom builders are more artisans and less business people. For what ever reason they never seem to be able to give real delivery dates.

Unfortunatly this makes the buying experience a pain and takes away some of the initial joy of ownership. It doesn't do you much good to hold the LBS to the fire since it isn't their fault that they are passing along incorrect information from the builder (although the shop should have told you what their experience has been with delivery times from that builder).

When the frame finally arrives is the time for you to carefully check over everything to make sure it is exactly what you want. Before it arrives you just have to be patient.

FWIW I work in a shop that sells a lot of custom frames and delivery dates are always a trial-even with the quality builders we work with.

FWIW2 My wife also requires custom sizing and her favorite 2 frames were delivered very late. She was upset to the point of being ready to ask for her money back (I talked her out of it). Knowing what she knows now after several years of riding these frames she would willing wait twice as long and pay twice as much for them.

Good luck.
 

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I am currently going through a custom build process. The best thing to do is go into it not really 'needing' your new frame. I have a perfectly capable roadbike, so the new one is not a pressing need.

It sounds like you don't have that option as a new road rider with unusual geometry needs. Is it possible to find something cheap and used on ebay or craigslist to hold you over?

I would say if you're not completely happy with the process or the builder, cancel it now before they start cutting tubes. Do a search on 'custom' here and in the Frames forum. You'll see plenty of recommendations and eye-candy.

One more thing - if you're going custom, consider steel (dons Nomex suit). :p

Jim
 

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I had to wait

nine months to get my Schneider. Hans has his own clock and it's ready when it's ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks

Thanks for the response, to some extent you have successfully talked me off the ledge, sort of speak and saved me from showing what a jerk I am. While this info does not alleviate all of the frustration it is a little better knowing that these delays are common, as is the frustration.

So, I guess I will attempt to wait patiently.

Thanks again.
 

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I had two Marinoni's

The first one was promised in 6 weeks, actual delivery was over 4 times that. I too was ready to ask for my money back.
I ordered the second one in the slow season. I was told 4 weeks. It took them 8 weeks this time. I was in Montreal on business and was able to stop in for a tour when. It is a much bigger operation than I imagined.
Marinoni is more than capapble of building what you want, but it just might take a little longer.
My last Custom was built by Carl Strong. A much more pleasant experience.CArl personally called and we had a nice long chat.Ne told me it would be 6 weeks and it was less than 5. On the day of the build Carl phoned to be sure we were on the same page and wanted to be sure I didn't have any last minute questions. later that morning he e mailed pics of my just welded frame, the next day he sent pics of the powdercoated finished frame. IMO ...thats the way to run a business.
 

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I've been waiting over 3 years; virtually ZERO progress

I ordered a new frame from a builder in April of 2003. He said "two years." It's a custom steel frame, lugs and all. The builder is a HUGE name within the very small confines of the top level, custom-lugged frame world.

Progress to date: he spent 1/2 (I watched) drawing a rough outline onto the lugs. No file has touched metal, nor has a torch been lit.

And that's it.

The bike, if it's ever built, will be an eclectic mix of new and old technologies; lugged steel frame, threaded steel fork, and carbon 10-speed components. There's enough there to offend both the purists and the modernists!


I was lucky enough to order my Richard Sachs back in the 90's, and it only took 8 months to receive the frame. It seemed like an agonizing delay back then, but little did I know. At this point, I'm hoping I'll still be able to ride a bike by the time I get this one!
 

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I think a lot of this is due to the inexperience of the particular custom builder you chose. I had a custom Ti bike built and delivered to me within the five-week period I was originally quoted by the builder, Independent Fabrication. And I hear very similar stories from folks who ordered Serottas and Sevens. These are companies used to building custom bikes. They know how long it takes. They can anticipate when the busy seasons fall. With rare exceptions, nothing delays delivery. And they are only too happy to chat directly with the end customer to answer questions and recommend paint schemes. I have to say, buying my Indy Fab Ti Crown Jewel was just about the most pleasant buying experience I've ever had.
 

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i like whiskey
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In fairness to MyDogWally, those names you mentioned are "large" custom bike houses. They have more of an assembly line mentality to their custom builds, unlike boutique builders like Sachs or Strong or Kirk, etc. They have people who schedule the work and deal with the customers and answer emails, etc. Boutique builders generally do most, if not all, of that themselves, so it's easier to see why their timelines are more fluid.

When I had my custom track frame built, the builder said that the only time he gets into his shop is afterhours. The rest of the day is spent dealing with the day to day business of running a business.

A custom frame is something you are going to have for a long time, so as frustrating as it may be to see your timeline slipping, you've got to cut the builder some slack. You'll be glad you did.
 

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It is the nature of the custom build business to take variable, unpredicatable times. I had already received my custom carbon Calfee Tetra Pro and was able to ride it one week, but there was a fasterner for my rear fender in the wrong place. It was sent back to the factory for what I thought would be a quick turn-around of two weeks or so. Five weeks later I finally got my bike back. Apparently the painter screwed up two or three sets of decals when he was applying them to the bike after it was repainted.

My first carbon custom bike took about ten weeks. It was uneventful.

There are dozens of custom builders around. They range from one-man shops to moderately large factories. Build times vary based on how booked up they are. Some people who get their frame fast were lucky that their geometry is stock or very close to stock. For unusual geometry it can take longer.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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A couple of observations......

good observations from MB1....it always takes longer and is usually worth the wait.

That being said, in reading your post, it sounds like part of your delay is the way your LBS has "taken his time"in working up the specs. I could bemisunderstanding, but if the LBS has been slow in getting the info to the builder, this could be adding to your time.

With most high end custom builders, you put a deposit down to "get in line" (I put my Sachs depsosit down in August 2004, My Kirk Deposit in Oct 2005) as you get closer to the build, the Builder contacts you for more discreet sizing and option information. (I should go up to Sachs later this summer, Dave Kirk called me in Late Jan 2006) once you both (and your LBS if necessary) agree on the final specs, then he builds the bike and sends it off for paint (unless he does his own paint)......that is an entirely new set of specs and a second wait. (In the case of the Kirk it was sent to Joe Bell on Feb 2 2006, and was shipped back to Dave on April 13, 2006...I got it the next week). But the wait is worth it.

Len
 

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i like whiskey
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Len J said:
(I put my Sachs depsosit down in August 2004, My Kirk Deposit in Oct 2005) as you get closer to the build, the Builder contacts you for more discreet sizing and option information. (I should go up to Sachs later this summer, Dave Kirk called me in Late Jan 2006) once you both (and your LBS if necessary) agree on the final specs, then he builds the bike and sends it off for paint (unless he does his own paint)......that is an entirely new set of specs and a second wait. (In the case of the Kirk it was sent to Joe Bell on Feb 2 2006, and was shipped back to Dave on April 13, 2006...I got it the next week). But the wait is worth it.
Len
Once again Len J scoreboards us all with his Sachs and his Kirk with the Joe Bell paint job. :prrr:

Color me jealous!
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Blush.......

innergel said:
Once again Len J scoreboards us all with his Sachs and his Kirk with the Joe Bell paint job. :prrr:

Color me jealous!
that really wasn't my intent.....I wanted to give some real life examples for the OP.

I'm just lucky and my kids are out of college.

Len
 

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eminence grease
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Len J said:
that really wasn't my intent.....I wanted to give some real life examples for the OP.

I'm just lucky and my kids are out of college.

Len
Was talking to Dave yesterday, his queue is now 12 months. Glad to see the business going his way.
 

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Picshooter said:
My last Custom was built by Carl Strong. A much more pleasant experience.CArl personally called and we had a nice long chat.Ne told me it would be 6 weeks and it was less than 5. On the day of the build Carl phoned to be sure we were on the same page and wanted to be sure I didn't have any last minute questions. later that morning he e mailed pics of my just welded frame, the next day he sent pics of the powdercoated finished frame. IMO ...thats the way to run a business.
Cool, I'm waiting on a Strong. There is a backlog at the powdercoater, so I'm probably still a couple of weeks out. Can't wait to hold the finished project.

Agree it's a very good experience working with Carl.:thumbsup:

Jim
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Yup.......

terry b said:
Was talking to Dave yesterday, his queue is now 12 months. Glad to see the business going his way.
only goes to show you that if you take care of your customers, and have a great product.......business will grow.

Len

PS..Did you put a deposit down?

len
 

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eminence grease
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Len J said:
only goes to show you that if you take care of your customers, and have a great product.......business will grow.

Len

PS..Did you put a deposit down?

len
No, I was asking his advice on what to do concerning another builder who has apparently ripped me off.

Dave's a great guy, wastes his time listening to my sob story free of charge. I'll certainly be sending him some additional business in the coming years.
 

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Len J said:
that really wasn't my intent.....I wanted to give some real life examples for the OP.

I'm just lucky and my kids are out of college.

Len
I know you weren't bragging Len J. My lame attempt at humor didn't come though very well in my post. That's why I'm jealous! Those are some lovely bikes. I remember the pics of your Kirk = droolworthy. Good for you.
 
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