Realism: The practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frame Builder Issues

I have had discussions off list with three different parties who are frustrated customers of established name frame builders who take a 50% down payment, with a promised delivery date. Time drags on with promises unkept, sometimes dragging on for two or three years. This is from Jack Gabus today: 

"Oh!  don't get me started.  This would be a good blog discussion with the troops.  I love all the frame builders that collect up front money from their clientele.  Then there is some up in the air time that the frame has been promised to the unsuspecting rider.  Do the words Madoff or Ponzy come to mind?  The frame builder has the cash, the econ goes in the tank and the frame builder has spent the money on his supplies and life style without building a damn thing.  The frame builder has basically put himself on a MARGIN call without knowing it.  They are artisans not financiers.  Would be interesting to see what the gang has to say."


Mimbres Man said...

You want quality, but willing to wait for 10 months. Call Steve Garro at Coconino Custom Cycles in Flagstaff, AZ. He'll hook you up. Part of the Frame Builder's Guild he's one of the best. He specializes in fillet brazing, mostly mountain bikes, but if you want a totally ultimate killer touring bike...he's the man!
I've known Steve for more than 20 years. He's the toughest guy I know...and the best cyclist I've ever seen or ridden with.

Masini said...

Some recent surfing led me to discover that so many US builders are located in AZ... is this a new phenom? It really threw me. Maybe they've all escaped CA.

Regarding the OP, the frustrations don't just apply to US builders, trust me! I think this mode of "scheduling" may be Italian in nature and just imported much like the componentry found on these bikes!

Anonymous said...

something else to blame on the Italians?

I would, rather, blame it on the internet. It's like computer dating, for those of you who have tried that--you never know what you're going to get. Patronize your local bike shop--that's the answer. Human relationships.

Anonymous said...

that last post was me. Michael White.

Anonymous said...

As much as I would love to purchase a newly built custom frame, the relatively plentiful supply of well constructed vintage bicycles that typically only need a new paint job has always kept me from buying one. My favorite frame right now is a 1982 Merckx that I picked up from a local seller for $125. Very low milage, Super Record equipped, I'm tempted not to get it painted because the patina is so nice! Its hard to put down thousands of dollars up front to wait several years for a new bike when there are deals like this to be had if your willing to spend a month or two looking around! -Tony

Gunnar Berg said...

Got pictures of the Merckx?

I love to look and post pictures of interesting bikes. They don't have to be show bikes - new, old, daily user, etc.

reverend dick said...

Rick Hunter, Hunter Cycles.

Todd Ingermanson, Black Cat Cycles.

Sean Walling, Soulcraft Cycles.

I've had nothing but good experiences with these builders.

Gunnar Berg said...

Thanks. I'm certain that there are good, honest local builders all over. It seems the problems are with some of the nationally recognized names. They can't say no, the list gets too long and I suspect, even know, that special projects get pushed in near the top of the queue.