If you're reading this you likely understand the distinction between factory produced frames and a true custom frame. That establishes you're ahead of the game. Beyond the names of popular manufacturers like Specialized, Trek or Giant, Australia's riding members remain, in general, unaware of what a custom bike can do for your performance. Riders are even less likely to know who master builders like Gianni Pegoretti, Passoni, Cicli Barco or Zullo are.
From the marketing noise that saturates our bike buying experience, its not a wonder that custom frames get drowned out. But here you are. Wanting to identify your best options, your best bike, and how you can enhance your ride experience.
A custom frame as you will have noted, presents a vastly different buying option. While we also build Factory frames with customisable builds, the custom frameset offers a huge array of potential. The many options and details can be endless and so we want to discuss the main considerations before you begin on your custom buying journey.
We established in our first article, "What is custom." As you'll have read, the true sense of the word involves a frame builder who engineers the geometry to fit your body measurements and ideal riding position. The frame is designed in accordance with your riding goals and aspirations. This way your ride is synchronised with the frame or, as others note, you become part of the machine.
The experts will decide on the tube proportions (length, width, relational angles) to create a geometry. This in turn will define how you ride. The feel of your bike and the potential use of a bike will be dictated by the geometry.
But while the technical details are influenced by the experts, there are plenty of details, large and small, that you as a potential custom bike owner can decide.
Buying a custom bike can be daunting so its best that the process be reduced to steps. As we know with many large decisions in our lives, overwhelm can be debilitating. We don't need to read "The Decision Book" by Mikael Krogerus, Roman Tschäppeler, to know that in order to make a decision we need to ask questions. But with so many variables to study when it comes to custom, its no surprise the confusion stunts the decision process for many riders. Worse still, they buy an alternative generic complete bike because its a seemingly simpler buying process.
But why prolong the decision, or buy substandard bikes, when you can be supported by experts throughout the step by step process?
Here we list the variables so you can start your questions. The list is by no means exhausted. Each brand will have its own unique possible variations. Cicli Barco likely has the highest rate of variables to provide an incredibly detailed tailored frame. But we manage each enquiry with a one on one approach. The result means every client owns an incredible unique bike to serve their exact purpose. It also fits like a glove and enhances their ride experience.
Where to start?
This is a simple but effective list to start your custom journey. Of course, you can contact us and we can establish many of these details with a "best bike" form. However, even the most basic of educations places you in a better position to make decisions. Hence the following list.
Let's now look at key variables custom frames provide which you'll be endeavouring to choose.
Badges : materials, size, style
Brakes : Disk or Rim
Cabling : Internal cabling, external cabling choices
Component colours : matching or?
Colours : Graphics, metal finish, painted finish (matt, satin, gloss), colours
Drop out designs
Fork : Design or Brand
Headset Design : External, Integrated, Semi Integrated
Labels and their location : labels include names, tags or quotes.
Seat post clamp systems
Seat post design : Particularly integrated but also may be material
Tubing Materials : Titanium, Steel, Stainless Steel, Carbon, Alloy or a Combination
Tubing : Width (usually the builders decision but can be variable), Finish
As mentioned, each brand will specialise in particular variables. Most frame builders specialise in particular materials.
To find out more about how a custom bike can benefit you, please read here.