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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks -

I am investigating a custom road bike. I am trying to get a good feel for costs. (A friend recommended a couple of builders and I am trying to benchmark their prices.)

I am not looking for the cheapest option, btw. I just want to know what's normal/appropriate.

This will be a woman's bike if it makes any difference.

Thanks!
 

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is riding in MOPP4
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This could be a difficult question to answer because there are so many options available to you. Different tube sets will affect price, as will the method of the build (TIG welding, fillet brazing, lugged). Factor in the variability in pricing amongst the different manufacturers and you will have quite a large range. If you have an example of a frame and price, we might be able to offer alternatives of equal or near equal quality at a lower price point. For example, I was about to purchase an Independent Fabrications Steel Cross Planet ($2300 frame and fork), but ended up going with a Japanese brand for about $1700.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Got it. To tell you the truth, I don't know exactly what I need (and hence am probably not at a level where I truly need a custom frame, but that being said, I am a bit on the small side and I want to have S&S couplers put on this bike. So, I want something that fits me well and will travel. Not that easy to get off the shelf... and I really do want something that fits me.)

My requirements are: comfortable, light as possible, have to have round tubes so that the couplers will fit, more of a bike for doing 3-4 hour rides as opposed to racing, tough build (so it can fly and take a beating from TSA) (and still light)

I had been looking at something that was fillet brazed, Reynolds 853, steel forks, and it was running about $1800. This price does not include the couplers, for which there is a charge of $750.

Is that reasonable?
 

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Yes, those numbers sound reasonable, even cheap. I have a custom steel frame bike without couplers, and the frameset was a little over $3k. I would expect to pay between $2000 and $3500 for just the frameset (frame, fork, headset) and then add in the couplers.

Just because you haven't been riding long, doesn't mean a custom frameset is unreasonable. Proper fit being so important to long term comfort, and with the needs you've described (couplers, steel, etc.), it may be the only option where you'll get what you want.

I would suggest that you go through a reputable shop or use a very reputable builder. Getting the right custom frameset can be a bit tricky, and you need to work with someone that can pries out the information they need from you, and can design the right frame.

Where are you located? Perhaps some of us can recommend specific shops or builders?
 

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Got it. To tell you the truth, I don't know exactly what I need (and hence am probably not at a level where I truly need a custom frame, but that being said, I am a bit on the small side and I want to have S&S couplers put on this bike. So, I want something that fits me well and will travel. Not that easy to get off the shelf... and I really do want something that fits me.)

My requirements are: comfortable, light as possible, have to have round tubes so that the couplers will fit, more of a bike for doing 3-4 hour rides as opposed to racing, tough build (so it can fly and take a beating from TSA) (and still light)

I had been looking at something that was fillet brazed, Reynolds 853, steel forks, and it was running about $1800. This price does not include the couplers, for which there is a charge of $750.

Is that reasonable?
Yes. For Reynolds 853, that sounds like a very good deal!
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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Hi folks - I am investigating a custom road bike. I am trying to get a good feel for costs. (A friend recommended a couple of builders and I am trying to benchmark their prices.)
I am not looking for the cheapest option, btw. I just want to know what's normal/appropriate.
This will be a woman's bike if it makes any difference. Thanks!
The only material I would consider over steel is titanium.

If you could fit their standard sizes Lynskey has several Ti frames at $1099 but then they charge $1500 for the couplers, wow.

Carver Bikes sells custom Ti frames for $1200. They're imported from China and I don't know what they charge for the couplers.

Just something to consider.

Edit: I was just looking on the Carver site and they charge $400 for titanium couplers.
I'm really considering ordering from them. A full-custom Ti CX disc frame with their carbon fork is $1500.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Those prices are reasonable.

Just also remember that, in addition to the cost of the couplers, you may need the case, the tube wrapping material, the case spreaders and the TSA net.

Good luck.

Len
 

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Agree about the Ritchey, if it will fit you. Where do you live and what local builders have you talked to. I live near Seattle, so there are lots of builders to talk to. I had a Curtlo built about five years ago and it is great. Unfortunatley I never got the face to face interaction with him (which was my fault). To me getting a custom frame is about the face to face interaction with builder and working through the process of getting a frame built that is exactly what you want.
 

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After years on the fence, I finally ordered a custom Planet X from Independent Fabrication last fall. IF is local for me (about 30 minutes away), and Jesse Fox spent a lot of time with me, not just measuring me but also asking about my riding style, type of riding the bike would be used for (lots of gravel roads), geometry, etc. I ended up with a very nice bike that fits like it was made for me - which it was. If custom is really what you want, then my advice would be to go local if you can (nice in my case, though it certainly wasn't necessary), and spend as much time as you can with the builder to make sure you get across - and that they understand - what you are looking for.


My bike:
View attachment 281797
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for your input. I tend to travel a lot for work, so the options are (loosely) - Deep South, New England, and England (as in the UK). The original quote was from a British builder.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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OP, IIRC simply adding s&s couplers will add several hundred USD. When I ordered my custom Seven years back, their upcharge for couplers was $500-700usd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Smaller, I think... I am 5'2". I have one bike with an effective tt of 480 and another around 500...I think that might be too big...

(I know it's more complicated than that, but I'd probably need to get on it to be sure.)

That is a good deal, though.
 

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You might also want to explore buying a used steel frame that fits and having that frame retrofit with the S&S couplers. I know Bilenky in Philly does this work beautifully. I had a Jamis Quest (853 steel, carbon fork) chopped and converted and it was beautiful. You couldn't even tell they chopped it with the re-paint. Should have never sold it. Rode well pre and post procedure. That could save you a ton of dough. I think he charged in the neighborhood of $400 to install to couplers.
 

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is riding in MOPP4
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After years on the fence, I finally ordered a custom Planet X from Independent Fabrication last fall. IF is local for me (about 30 minutes away), and Jesse Fox spent a lot of time with me, not just measuring me but also asking about my riding style, type of riding the bike would be used for (lots of gravel roads), geometry, etc. I ended up with a very nice bike that fits like it was made for me - which it was. If custom is really what you want, then my advice would be to go local if you can (nice in my case, though it certainly wasn't necessary), and spend as much time as you can with the builder to make sure you get across - and that they understand - what you are looking for.


My bike:
View attachment 281797
Beautiful bike. I nearly pulled the trigger on one of these.
 

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I would not buy a custom frame if you are a new rider. Your position (fit) will probably change as you become more experienced and fit. You will also get a better feel for the kind of bike you want, which could likely be something different than the custom bike you bought.

I second the Ritchey or adding couplers to a regular bike. I know Lynskey does this from when I bought a frame from them. You will also need a case for the bike.
 
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