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So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do here, but here's my dilemma. I've got a chance to pick up a sweet reynolds 853 handbuilt road frame (custom fit) by a local builder. I can build this frameset up myself with a nice component group (Probably ultegra with easton circuits) and probably make a 19 lb steel bike that will last for years...

or

i can get a closeout on a new road bike (Orbea, Trek, Giant are avail among others) at a local bike store for about the same price, carbon framesets with better components, wheels, etc...

I plan on riding but not racing, but am afraid that I'm going to want a more technologically advanced bike than the steel... any thoughts would be great...
 

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I say...

bikerboy337 said:
So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do here, but here's my dilemma. I've got a chance to pick up a sweet reynolds 853 handbuilt road frame (custom fit) by a local builder. I can build this frameset up myself with a nice component group (Probably ultegra with easton circuits) and probably make a 19 lb steel bike that will last for years...

or

i can get a closeout on a new road bike (Orbea, Trek, Giant are avail among others) at a local bike store for about the same price, carbon framesets with better components, wheels, etc...

I plan on riding but not racing, but am afraid that I'm going to want a more technologically advanced bike than the steel... any thoughts would be great...
I want to throw a vote in there for both of them actually. Maybe not at the same time of course. Start with the steel frame. If you're just going to be riding and not racing (although you could race the steel bike very easily as well of course), the steel bike is going to be rider friendly. A little forgiving, less harsh, and custom, so it should fit you like a glove.

Once you've got bitten by the bug that are nice bikes, you can go back and get one of the other ones later, next year, or the year after maybe? And start building the stable of bikes.
 

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bikerboy337 said:
So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do here, but here's my dilemma. I've got a chance to pick up a sweet reynolds 853 handbuilt road frame (custom fit) by a local builder. I can build this frameset up myself with a nice component group (Probably ultegra with easton circuits) and probably make a 19 lb steel bike that will last for years...

or

i can get a closeout on a new road bike (Orbea, Trek, Giant are avail among others) at a local bike store for about the same price, carbon framesets with better components, wheels, etc...

I plan on riding but not racing, but am afraid that I'm going to want a more technologically advanced bike than the steel... any thoughts would be great...
853/Ultegra at 19lb is entirely respectable. With a light pair of wheels you could be looking at 18lb.

The other advantage is you can spec the bike exactly as you want it, so no compromises on saddle, bars etc.

Cutting edge frame technology is great but an 853 frame is likely to outlast any alloy of carbon frame and is repairable in the event of a crash. The only carbon manufacturers who I've seen offer repair options are Calfee & Parlee.
 

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Once you ride the custom fit 853 handmade bike the big-box bikes will feel like you're on something made of plumbing pipe.
Steel is real ........and a handmade steel frame is a dream
 

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Who had 10:28 AM in the "steel is real" cliche bingo contest?
 

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I've got a Masi built with 853. It is such a great ride. Its not the lightest bike out there but made really nice. (from the last year they were US made) I've put over 10k miles on it and race on it as well. The build kit is pretty old, 600 and some 105 and it comes in at 21lbs.

I told myself if i were to upgrade to SM3 i'd buy a new bike but i still haven't. I might by the end of the season but time will tell. Even then, it will be a race day bike and my masi will still get the most miles on it. Who knows, someday i might get an ultegra 10 kit for it. That frame will last me a while.
 

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Hard to tell.

bikerboy337 said:
So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do here, but here's my dilemma. I've got a chance to pick up a sweet reynolds 853 handbuilt road frame (custom fit) by a local builder. I can build this frameset up myself with a nice component group (Probably ultegra with easton circuits) and probably make a 19 lb steel bike that will last for years...

or

i can get a closeout on a new road bike (Orbea, Trek, Giant are avail among others) at a local bike store for about the same price, carbon framesets with better components, wheels, etc...

I plan on riding but not racing, but am afraid that I'm going to want a more technologically advanced bike than the steel... any thoughts would be great...
I'm going to be the first to try to pop the "handmade custom steel is real" bubble in this thread. First of all, your question is ill-conditioned. How good is the local builder? How good is the custom fit? Do you have strange proportions? Do you have special needs due to physical condition or injury?

A poor-fitting bike, custom or not, is going to be bad for you no matter what. There are many examples in other threads about customization gone awry. A poorly-built or poorly-designed bike is also going to be bad for you no matter what, handmade or not. I'm not trying to dock on your local custom builder but you have not given any indication on his/her reputation and ability yet.

Another reason why I think that your question is ill-formed is that you didn't say what the cost comparison is. You did make a good point about getting better componentry to make the overall ride nicer. This is an underappreciated aspect of building up a complete bicycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ted Wojcik

Ok, looking at a Ted Wojcik. From what i know, his stuff is great. He's a legend in the northeast. I'd say he'd definately reputable and I have the utmost confidence the bike he will build will be absolutely beautiful. Everything i've seen has said nothing but the best. I've only seen 2 of his in person, and they were truly beautiful bikes.

I'm looking to spend about 1200 or so on a build kit (not including fork) so that will get me ultegra 10 with easton circuits and some so so bars, stems, etc...

if I go production bike i'd be looking at about $2000 total... so Orbea Lobular and trek 2200 are ones i've been looking at, nice, but the Wojcik keeps calling my name...

I think at this point I'm going to place an order with Ted this week.... It will take a month or two to get the frame, but i think it'll be worth it...
 

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bikerboy337 said:
but the Wojcik keeps calling my name...

I think at this point I'm going to place an order with Ted this week.... It will take a month or two to get the frame, but i think it'll be worth it...
You made the right choice IMHO. Post pix when you can!
 

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A friend at work just spend around the same amount ($2300) on a new road bike after much time considering his options. I really pushed for a custom steel from some of the smaller, less expensive builders (Curtlo and Landsahrk comes to mind) but the other racerboy types have him convinced he needed Carbon. He ended up with a Felt F4. No question it will serve his needs and the 20 mile test proved he is faster on it than his ill fitting tri bike.

My point (if I have to have one) is that any bike in that price range will serve you purpose.

It really comes down to what turns you on. If you want a racey, modern looking bike than go with the production ride. If you would rather show up and be the only person on the ride with a particular brand than get the custom.

Don't get caught up in weight or needing the latest/greatest groupo.
 

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my friend's wife has a Wojcik touring bike that's probably 10-15 years old. lemme tell you i was shocked when i visited one day and saw that sitting in their garage. never expected her to be the type that would own such a nice bike, but i guess before she got married and had a couple kids, she rode a bit more. pretty much hippies, the both of them.
 

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Custom all the way. You can always hang better components and wheels on it as you go, for, if done correctly, it will fit you like a dream and stay in the stable for a long time to come.

(That said, Ultegra is more than enough, I think)
 

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bikerboy337 said:
So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do here, but here's my dilemma. I've got a chance to pick up a sweet reynolds 853 handbuilt road frame (custom fit) by a local builder. I can build this frameset up myself with a nice component group (Probably ultegra with easton circuits) and probably make a 19 lb steel bike that will last for years...

or

i can get a closeout on a new road bike (Orbea, Trek, Giant are avail among others) at a local bike store for about the same price, carbon framesets with better components, wheels, etc...

I plan on riding but not racing, but am afraid that I'm going to want a more technologically advanced bike than the steel... any thoughts would be great...
I doubt the Orbea, Trek or Giant frames will weigh more than a pound less than the custom steel frame. And how do you get "better components" with these bikes? What exact bikes and how much would you have to spend on parts for the steel frame?

I personally would go custom steel with Chorus or DA (or a DA/Ultegra mix), with handbuild wheels.

Edit--just saw you answered my qs above. So nevermind. Have fun with the new bike.
 

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I already bit the bullet once on a custom serotta....and frankly the whole thing has completely turned me off to going through the process again.

My next bike is going to be a properly fit light stock machine.
 

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Other benefits

It sounds like you've made a decision but I'll throw in my $.02. I'm a fan of steel and a bit of a retro-grouch, so I'd probably go that route. However, I've got nothing against the modern, lightweight carbon models you mentioned. I think one of the big decision factors relates to the kinds of riding you plan to do. If you are just doing fast training rides, solo or with groups, the race orientation of the non-custom bikes might suit you well, and they would be a lot of fun to ride. On the other hand, since you say you don't plan to race, you could get something more versitile from a custom builder. You could specify more of a "sport" design with longer stays, clearance for wider tires, maybe eyelets for fenders, racks. You could put together a frame that would be comfortable for long rides, suitable for dirt roads or trails, but give up little in terms of performance on pavement. Along with getting the right fit, I see that as one of the main advatages of going custom.
 

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awesometown said:
I already bit the bullet once on a custom serotta....and frankly the whole thing has completely turned me off to going through the process again.

My next bike is going to be a properly fit light stock machine.
I, for one, and only speaking for myself, would be very interested in hearing what your build experience with the Serotta was and why you were disatisfied in the end. I believe your experience would be a valuable lesson since I believe buyer's remorse happens to more people than you would realize based on opinions you read about custom bike-building experiences.

Everyone has unique circumstances, as well. This is why I would like to know yours: because I have a custom built full-carbon bike which I should have in my possesion before the end of this week. For me, it was about learning how I was evolving for this is my second custom-built bike.
 

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but the Wojcik keeps calling my name...
this is the question and the answer. no other wisdom is necessary. why is this one calling your name? who knows? who cares? if you get the one calling your name, you'll be happier for it.
 

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I have never owned a steel bike but have ridden one here and there. I would go with the custom fitted route. A builder of that reputation cannot be a bad choice. Enjoy...:)
 
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