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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking at carbon frames lately and will be getting one soon. I am having trouble choosing between the custom options such as Crumpton and Parlee as compared to stock offerings such as Look, Colnago, or Pinarello. I'm not the kind of rider that has 50 bikes in his stable as this will likely be one of my three bikes. I currently have a custom Ti bike which I like, but I'd like something lighter and more preformance oriented. Trouble is I have kind of freakish dimensions that keep me from fitting some bikes comfortably. I am 6'1" and have a 36" inseam. Sometimes it is tough to get a headtube that is long enough to work for me. I feel that the custom bike I own now really addresses my geomettry needs and am leaning towards a custom at this point.

Any thoughts?
 

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Sounds like we are similar in terms of weird fit issues - tho I'm a couple inches taller.

The thing I find is similar to you - for me the HT is never tall enough for the effective TT on stock bikes. I'm loathe to play games with spacers and stem length but that is an option.

The key thing to figure out - assuming you have a fit you like and want to keep - is what needs to be done to the stock bike to put you in the same position - butt relative to cranks (both hz and vt dimensions), and then the resulting reach/drop to the bars. Do you have to do dumb stem games or add spacers to get the same reach/drop as your preferred? Do you end up clamping the seat rails of your saddle in some weird position in order to get your butt in the same position relative to the cranks or use a seatpost with unusual setback? These are signs that you are "pushing" the fit from the ideal of the bike designer... might be fine but I always wonder... (I have busted a seat rail after a summer of riding I think in part because of a dumb clamp position)

Also, be sure to check the geometries out carefully as there is definitely variance from manufacturer to manufacturer, and in some cases bike to bike. For example, I was once considering a Fondriest at least in part because a 60cm frame had a STA of 72.5. I know this is ideal for my seat position.... never followed up on the HT/HTA tho and that brand is a bit scarce so it wasn't like a test ride was likely...

My view is that stock bikes are great these days. If they fit you are one lucky devil because its a bike buffet out there. But... if you have need to go custom in order to get an ideal fit - and you have the means - there is no more important feature to focus on than fit... so go custom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
nwfanatic said:
Sounds like we are similar in terms of weird fit issues - tho I'm a couple inches taller.

The thing I find is similar to you - for me the HT is never tall enough for the effective TT on stock bikes. I'm loathe to play games with spacers and stem length but that is an option.

The key thing to figure out - assuming you have a fit you like and want to keep - is what needs to be done to the stock bike to put you in the same position - butt relative to cranks (both hz and vt dimensions), and then the resulting reach/drop to the bars. Do you have to do dumb stem games or add spacers to get the same reach/drop as your preferred? Do you end up clamping the seat rails of your saddle in some weird position in order to get your butt in the same position relative to the cranks or use a seatpost with unusual setback? These are signs that you are "pushing" the fit from the ideal of the bike designer... might be fine but I always wonder... (I have busted a seat rail after a summer of riding I think in part because of a dumb clamp position)

Also, be sure to check the geometries out carefully as there is definitely variance from manufacturer to manufacturer, and in some cases bike to bike. For example, I was once considering a Fondriest at least in part because a 60cm frame had a STA of 72.5. I know this is ideal for my seat position.... never followed up on the HT/HTA tho and that brand is a bit scarce so it wasn't like a test ride was likely...

My view is that stock bikes are great these days. If they fit you are one lucky devil because its a bike buffet out there. But... if you have need to go custom in order to get an ideal fit - and you have the means - there is no more important feature to focus on than fit... so go custom.
Thanks for the info. Well, to give you a little more info about my current frame... It was designed by a guy in Seatle and built in Colorado. I could not be happier with the way it turned out. (58.5 m ett and 192 mm ht) It just feels like an extension of myself, very natural and no monkey business with saddle rails and mass amounts of spacers. I have the same issue with mountain bikes and went with a custo mthere too. I love it. I guess if it works for me, I should think about doing it again. If I go custom, i may get the same designer to work on this bike as well. (Zac Daab at Cascade Bike Studio in Fremont) He was a pleasure to deal with. I also have a bad left knee and fit is very, very important for me, probably moreso than the average rider with healthy knees. My knee really revolts at the slightest changes in setup..
 

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If you are willing to commit the extra $1-3000, custom is the way to go.

I have a Look 595, a Parlee Z2 and a Crumpton. All three are fantastic bicycles and if pressed I would have a hard time explaining in rational terms why I like one more than the other. The Crumpton is my favorite, and probably only because it was made for me.

It's honestly a price decision. Parlee has gone through the roof in my estimation and if I hadn't bought the one I have when I did, there would not be one in my future. Setting that one aside, you're really looking at about a grand between the Look and the Crumpton. If you feel you have fit issues, that might be a $1000 well spent.

Pinarello, great bikes, a lot of money for something from Asia in my mind. Colnago, I also have a C50 and it's another good one, just not in the same class as the other three. You might also consider Calfee, full custom in your price range, particularly for the Tetra. I have a ten year old Tetra Pro and it really gives nothing away. It's a nice ride, just a bit dated.
 

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If you're looking at custom carbon, I'd also consider Guru up in Montreal. I'm currently lusting after a Geneo, although I'm not sure I can justify the price (I'm considering some of the Cervelos as an alternate). In any case, I've done a good deal of research into Guru, and I've been very impressed with the company. The handling of the bikes is supposed to be great, and the finish and paint are outstanding from what I have seen in person.
 

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Ahhh,another Seattle'ite. Agree re Cascade. I got my wife's bike from Zac and mine from the gentlemen who preceeded him.selling Sevens in the area, John Gallagher. We both love them!

A possible consideration - my fit has "evolved" since I bought the Seven. Sounds like this won't be an issue for you but I got my first custom bike maybe 1.5 years into riding "seriously". 3 years later I am a stronger rider - and am comfortable in a different and more aggressive position which was the basis for a 2nd custom bike. I could probably get the reach/drop to be the same on the Seven as the new bike, but just did the seat position which was easily tweaked. I'm too lazy to buy a new fork and maybe stem to try and make the bikes clones. I'm still comfortable riding it so figure it isn't worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
haydos said:
Sounds like custom is the way to go.

Crumpton would be my pick. Amazing product and at a better price than Parlee.

Good Luck!
Yeah, I'm thinking the same. Custom will be the best thing for me at this point. Crumpton is down in Austin too. I'll be there in November, so maybe he can fit me there? Agreed on the price for Parlee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
terry b said:
If you are willing to commit the extra $1-3000, custom is the way to go.

I have a Look 595, a Parlee Z2 and a Crumpton. All three are fantastic bicycles and if pressed I would have a hard time explaining in rational terms why I like one more than the other. The Crumpton is my favorite, and probably only because it was made for me.

It's honestly a price decision. Parlee has gone through the roof in my estimation and if I hadn't bought the one I have when I did, there would not be one in my future. Setting that one aside, you're really looking at about a grand between the Look and the Crumpton. If you feel you have fit issues, that might be a $1000 well spent.

Pinarello, great bikes, a lot of money for something from Asia in my mind. Colnago, I also have a C50 and it's another good one, just not in the same class as the other three. You might also consider Calfee, full custom in your price range, particularly for the Tetra. I have a ten year old Tetra Pro and it really gives nothing away. It's a nice ride, just a bit dated.
The shaman has spoken! :) Thanks for weighing in Terry! :thumbsup: The pics of your bikes have always fueled the fire for me.

Right now I am thinking seriously about the Crumpton. I saw his bikes at the handmade bike show and they are works of art more than bikes. On the aesthetics side, I must say that I prefer the smoother look of the Crumpton to that of the lugged Parlee. I agree that the extra money spent on custom is well worth it. The custom bike I have now literally feels like an extension of my body. I have a custom Eriksen mountain bike which feels good, but not as good as the Black Sheep road bike I have now. The fit is dialed in just right.

Thanks for the heads up on the Pinarellos. One assumes that these fine Italian bikes are made in Italy. Nothing against things made in the east but if I am going to be paying that kind of money for something, I'd like to have the full pedigree. How cool is it to have a U made custom carbon bike? Ok, stick a fork in me. I'm done! :p

I'll keep you guys posted.

Thanks for the help! :)
 

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I have the same fit issues as you (6'2", 37+ inch inseam). You may want to consider the Cervelo RS in a 58cm frame. It has a 580 ett with a 200mm HT.

Not to bore you with my details but, FWIW, I have had similar fit issues as you describe and some knee issues as well related to "cookbook" fitting by bike shops. I have switched to 180mm cranks and they just feel better to me with such long legs. Also, a big part of my knee heath is related to hip flexibility and strength. As I have improved those issues along with my back/hamstring flexibility, my Bianchi 928 is now not fitting as well as it used to (the 180's helped the fit). While I have considered custom frames in the past, I won't be getting one any time soon because bike fit is dynamic. If you know you will have the same flexibility and strength 5 years from now, go custom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
otoman said:
I have the same fit issues as you (6'2", 37+ inch inseam). You may want to consider the Cervelo RS in a 58cm frame. It has a 580 ett with a 200mm HT.

Not to bore you with my details but, FWIW, I have had similar fit issues as you describe and some knee issues as well related to "cookbook" fitting by bike shops. I have switched to 180mm cranks and they just feel better to me with such long legs. Also, a big part of my knee heath is related to hip flexibility and strength. As I have improved those issues along with my back/hamstring flexibility, my Bianchi 928 is now not fitting as well as it used to (the 180's helped the fit). While I have considered custom frames in the past, I won't be getting one any time soon because bike fit is dynamic. If you know you will have the same flexibility and strength 5 years from now, go custom.
That is an interesting suggestion. I have been told by others that I should switch to shorter cranks because it would lessen the degree of bending at the top of the stroke. Well, I may try some longer cranks at some point as see how it goes. My knee is pretty finicky (spelling?) and it will certainly let me know if it does not like something. I got some Sidi shoes and Look Keos and it was killing me in about 3 miles. When I went back to my regular setup, it was fine.

My current frame has a 192mm headtube and I have a couple of spacers on that as well. I think I can take at least one spacer out now and would be fine. When I have my hands on the tops, it's too upright really.

I had my current bike designed by a local frame designer, custom built to those specs, and then I was sized by a cycling-specific physical therapist who specializes in bike fittings for riders with issues. I guess you could say that I really threw the book at it as far as customizing it to my needs. In the end I got the results that I wanted.

I don't think that going custom negates the ability to make tweaks to the setup through time. That is one of the reasons that I am getting another bike. My current bike is great, but I think I'd like something with a bit shorter headtube nd slightly more agressive geometry. My take is that I can always adjust the stem, bars, saddle, post, and pedals to fine tune the fit. I just think that a custom bike gets you closer to that right spot right out of the gate. Well, that's the way it has worked out for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
nwfanatic said:
Ahhh,another Seattle'ite. Agree re Cascade. I got my wife's bike from Zac and mine from the gentlemen who preceeded him.selling Sevens in the area, John Gallagher. We both love them!

A possible consideration - my fit has "evolved" since I bought the Seven. Sounds like this won't be an issue for you but I got my first custom bike maybe 1.5 years into riding "seriously". 3 years later I am a stronger rider - and am comfortable in a different and more aggressive position which was the basis for a 2nd custom bike. I could probably get the reach/drop to be the same on the Seven as the new bike, but just did the seat position which was easily tweaked. I'm too lazy to buy a new fork and maybe stem to try and make the bikes clones. I'm still comfortable riding it so figure it isn't worth it.
I'm in Port Angeles actually, but venture to Seattle for civilized things. Zac was great to work with. I'd recommend him to anyone. I really appreciate the extra effort that he brings.

One of the reasons that I am going with another custom frame is because of what you mention about the fitness level changing. I have bee riding much more seriously for the past couple of years and things have certainly changed from a strength and flexibility standpoint. I'm not going to jam myself into some kind of racer-boy position. I still want something all-day comfortable, but I'd like something a bit more performance oriented.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I decided to go for a Crumpton SL. I just sent the deposit in this morning. 8 months from now I should have a super sweet custom carbon frame and fork. I'm really jazzed about it. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm into delayed gratification. If I could order this thing and it were ready in two weeks, it just wouldn't feel right. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to spec the parts and wheels. By then Shimano and Campy will have their new flagship groups released which will be a fun choice. 11 speed or not?

To top it off, I will be in Austin for a wedding in November and will have the opportunity to meet with Nick for a fitting and consulation.

Anyway, thanks for the help guys. I'll keep you updated as the process moves along. :thumbsup:
 

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Similar dimensions, 6'0, 36" inseam a cervelo soloist 61cm fits really well (although it took 12months of riding to get fully accustomed) but may be a bit too aggressive a position for some (14cm saddle to tops), although i think the RS would certainly make a 61cm a more viable option. Good luck in the search, i'll consider custom after a few more years but as mentioned by others, fitness and flexibility can change drastically if you really get into it.
 

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tyro said:
Well, I decided to go for a Crumpton SL. I just sent the deposit in this morning. 8 months from now I should have a super sweet custom carbon frame and fork. I'm really jazzed about it. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm into delayed gratification. If I could order this thing and it were ready in two weeks, it just wouldn't feel right. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to spec the parts and wheels. By then Shimano and Campy will have their new flagship groups released which will be a fun choice. 11 speed or not?

To top it off, I will be in Austin for a wedding in November and will have the opportunity to meet with Nick for a fitting and consulation.

Anyway, thanks for the help guys. I'll keep you updated as the process moves along. :thumbsup:
Excellent choice! I met one of the guys that works at Crumpton on a club ride one Sunday, and I couldn't stop admiring his bike. They ride out of Freewheeling and they're a good bunch to ride with.

Keep us updated.
 

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tyro said:
Well, I decided to go for a Crumpton SL. I just sent the deposit in this morning. 8 months from now I should have a super sweet custom carbon frame and fork. I'm really jazzed about it. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm into delayed gratification. If I could order this thing and it were ready in two weeks, it just wouldn't feel right. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to spec the parts and wheels. By then Shimano and Campy will have their new flagship groups released which will be a fun choice. 11 speed or not?

To top it off, I will be in Austin for a wedding in November and will have the opportunity to meet with Nick for a fitting and consulation.

Anyway, thanks for the help guys. I'll keep you updated as the process moves along. :thumbsup:
Excellent choice. The statement above in bold would have made the choice for me.

I'm not really a big carbon fan, but I could be talked into a custom Crumpton pretty easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
stevers said:
Excellent choice! I met one of the guys that works at Crumpton on a club ride one Sunday, and I couldn't stop admiring his bike. They ride out of Freewheeling and they're a good bunch to ride with.

Keep us updated.
Cool! I lived in Austin for a year back in 1998. I lived out on the 360 loop by the Arboretum. I wasn't into road biking at the time, only mountain. Lance used to ride by my house. He would apparently repeat a certain hill out there in that area as a part of his training. The hill was so steep that cars had trouble getting up it. I bet it's a great town to ride in, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
innergel said:
Excellent choice. The statement above in bold would have made the choice for me.

I'm not really a big carbon fan, but I could be talked into a custom Crumpton pretty easily.
Agreed. That fact that I was going to be down that way anyhow was one of the things that swayed me over. This will be my first carbon bike, so that's kind of exciting on it own. I've been all Ti up to this point.
 

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2 Days Ago:
tyro said:
I have been looking at carbon frames lately and will be getting one soon. I am having trouble choosing between the custom options such as Crumpton and Parlee as compared to stock offerings such as Look, Colnago, or Pinarello.
19 Hours Ago:
tyro said:
Well, I decided to go for a Crumpton SL. I just sent the deposit in this morning.
Elapsed time, 29 hours. Okay, clearly you weren't having that much trouble choosing!

(and an excellent choice, btw.)

tyro said:
8 months from now I should have a super sweet custom carbon frame and fork. I'm really jazzed about it. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm into delayed gratification. If I could order this thing and it were ready in two weeks, it just wouldn't feel right. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to spec the parts and wheels.
Don't talk to me about delayed gratification: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=115520
 
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