The benefits of a factory frame / custom build at Chainsmith
When preparing to buy a factory frame / custom road bike you may think it'll be as convenient as entering a store to buy a pair of dress shoes. Of course, if you don’t care about look or function, buying shoes is a breeze. But if you have a left foot larger than the right, you need a soft kangaroo leather in an opulent dark red and want the heel 2 cm in height, you’ll quickly realise individuality narrows the generic options. Lets convert that to biking terms to understand how factory frame and custom build will allow individuality and why that offers great future benefits worth the investment.
Bikes have over a hundred parts installed. With so much variety its no surprise they’re a a source of confusion. Thats why most riders buy generic bikes, and suffer consequences not long after.
Of course there are also positive results gained from generic brands. These bikes tend to be made in relation with established component manufacturers like Deda Elementi for bars, stem and seat post, Selle Italia for saddles or Shimano for the group set. These are accomplished and professional brands supplying exceptional components. However, when it comes to generic bikes you’re without options. The bike isn’t made for you specifically, your body or your riding needs. That means you need to be fitted to the bike.
Instead, a factory frame with custom build offers a range of components according to your needs.
Problems avoided by Factory Frames / Custom Builds
Sitting on a bike can place many stresses on the body. There are three contact points, and if any of these are bearing too much load or incorrect load the consequences can be pain and or injury. The saddle, the pedal and the bars offers an array of problems which can be avoided with the luxury offered by choosing components.
The largest issues caused by incompatible components of a generic bike? Pain or injury, reduced motivation, improper position on the bike and consequential issues in handling that can cause unsafe riding practices. When weight is not placed on the bike correctly the bike can in worst cases develop unmanageable tendencies like speed wobbles or vibrating through the frame. For most riders, its not too soon after they begin spending money on bike fit and pay for new components, upgrades and parts to compensate.
All these reasons are useful to know before buying a bike, and the education should have a rider asking an expert about options in building a factory frame.
Where to begin?
How do you start if you aren’t educated in bike components? An exceptional bike shop will ask you a good amount of questions to best suit you and your aspirations. The frame is the heart of the bike and that’ll be the most integral choice to make.
While there are clients we believe deserve and require full custom geometry and tubing, many riders are enamoured by larger manufacturers. There are good reasons to purchase frames from reputable frame manufacturers like Cipollini or Basso. Firstly, these particular bikes are 100% made in Italy, they are built with expert knowledge in geometry and can engineer an exquisite frameset. Other brands like Pinarello or Wilier use manufacturers from Asia but the standards are maintained through stringent quality controls. This is much the same as mass manufacturers TREK or Specialized.
The financial support of large companies ensures innovation in materials and technology. Most will equip professional riders with their bikes and understand the extreme needs during Pro Tours. This means stress tests are important and no product enters the road without their conducting rigorous analysis. Factory frames are expected to offer warrantees and after services. In short, we recommend custom builders over factory when a client has specific individual needs, wants something unique or is investing in a bike to last forever. Otherwise we've stable faith in the factory branded framesets we supply.
Everything else beyond the frame geometry is important but will be secondary.
Beyond the frame : Components
Having establishing the frame best suited for your riding you'll be considering the groupset (mechanical parts). There are several brands, but the overarching question remains - mechanical or electronic? For riders with electronic gears its rare to return to mechanical. The convenience and ease of the shifters and the programming makes it a no brainer. However its an expense that riders especially new to cycling may not be willing to take.
There are a variety of options in both measurements and gear ratio. Again, a decent bike shop will recommend correct parts based on experience.
The bars and stem are definitely important to individualise. Your measurements and your flexibility will contribute to this decision and if you’re served by experts the choice will be specific. Things such as the width and drop of the bar as well as the shape matter. The length of the stem certainly can alter your position and therefore should be accurately chosen.
The saddle is likely the first thing a generic bike buyer will change. A majority of riders fit neither the long nose nor thin style brands installed on generic bikes. Measuring your seat bones in relation to understanding your position on the bike is the best practice when fitting a saddle.
When it comes to wheel sets you can start with carbon or alloy options. Is it also important to have tubs, tubeless, or tubes? Do you want the rims wide for better cornering. Do you want tyres with slick tread, gum walls, thicker walls or race ready? Is the hub a ceramic bearing or standard and are the spokes aero bladed or rounded and easily replaceable? While the theory is great and you can likely find the answers online, its better to know from the word of experienced riders. A best practicing bike shop will certainly have staff who’ve personally tested the product and can ensure you decide on options to suit.
There are many more considerations that offer better performance or feel which can be further discussed in another blog, but these listed above are certainly the most popular considerations. In summary, the benefit of the factory frame / custom build is long term comfort proven an effective ingredient for increasing performance the longer time you remain on the bike.
Find out the options available for Factory Frame / Custom Builds here