Blog:

New Frame Options and Kit Pricing:

I’m excited to add two new frame options.  The first is a post mount rear brake attachment for both steel and titanium bikes.  The post mount will be set for your choice of rotor between 140-203mm.  This will require no adapter to run your selected choice of rotor.  If you decide to upsize your rotor later, you can use a standard caliper adaptor.  This is the same caliper adaptor that is used on a suspension fork.  The post mount has replaceable threaded insets.  If you strip an insert, it is easily replaced and the frame remains undamaged.

Here is a post mount that I just finished retrofitting onto another companies titanium frame.

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The next option is for titanium bikes only.  This year, I will be offering 1 inch untapered chainstays for road, allroad, and cyclocross bikes.  My standard offering has been 7/8ths inch chainstays in various wall thicknesses to tune the ride.  The advantage to using 1″ stays over a thicker walled 7/8″, is weight savings.  1″ chainstays also have a very distinct look that really evokes a modern feel to the frame.  In most applications, I will be combining the 1″ chainstays with a small diameter seatstay to maintain a nice ride.  The seatstays will also have a reduced wall thickness for most designs.  This will further increase weight savings.  I’m envisioning a double butted front triangle with the new rear stays for the ultimate in modern ride characteristics for my titanium bikes.  If tire clearance or short chainstay length is your top priority, I suggest staying with the 7/8ths chainstays.  I don’t believe in excessive dimpling to gain tire clearance.  the 1″ material can be dimpled for allroad/cyclocross frames, but I’m not willing to heavily “smash” the chainstays for tire clearance.  My standard hooded dropout will be the only option for 1″ chainstays.  I recommend 1″ chainstays for big guys, people who love a responsive burst when the power is applied, or bikes that require a longer chainstay length for the design.

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I’ve also updated my road and mountain kit pricing.  Per usual, substitutions are allowed and I’m more than happy to build a kit from scratch.  Shimano XT and Ultegra 6800 continue to be the value leaders.  For my money, it’s what I would pick if pricing is a concern.  A steel road frame with an Enve 2.0 and Ultegra will set you back $3,865.  Even compared to production bikes, that’s a hell of a deal.  Keep in mind that price includes a fully custom frame and complete assembly of the parts.

I try to be very competitive with online retailers on my kit pricing.  I’m right on the mark with most of the big names, and manage to come in lower than a few.  The addition benefit that all of your parts will fit your frame can be invaluable.  If you’ve ever had to return parts, you’ll know it can be a time consuming and expensive process.

Many preassembled kits cut costs on parts like the handlebar, stem, seatpost, tires, and wheels.  I could lower the prices on my kits substantially if I used second or third tier seatposts, handlebars, and stems or cheap oem tires and wheels.  In the long run, it’s cheaper to buy quality parts, so upgrading isn’t necessary.  As you’ll notice, the top tier kits have hand laced wheels.  Hand built wheels have never been cheap, and they are never going to be cheap.  Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that out of all the framebuilders out there, only 10-15% offer wheels laced by the builder themselves.  I lace my own wheels, because then there is no guessing if the spoke tension is right, or that there wasn’t an issue with the rim on initial tensioning.  It’s time consuming, and the smarter business decision would be to not offer wheels laced by myself.  At the end of the day, rider selected wheel components add value to the finished bike.  I lace the wheels for the same reason I build the frame.  I’m particular, and I want it done my way if I’m going to put my signature on the toptube.  So why not do hand laced wheels on every bike if they are so great?  Well, because I need different levels of pricing, and there is no way to hand build a wheel at the price I can buy a preassembled wheel.  With that said, most of my customers who buy Ultegra, Force, and Chorus level kits opt for hand built wheel upgrades.

Ok, Ok, enough on the dang wheels already.  On another note, my Sram mtb kits have a slightly elevated price as I’m not spec’ing Sram brakes.  I’ve selected Hope Race X2 brakes, because I think the Sram brakes aren’t of great quality.  Hope Race brakes are in the price range of XTR, so I understand if somebody would like to use something else to lower the price.  Shimano XT would be a good substitution, if you don’t mind the brand mixing.

Lastly, the Ritchey items are far from a cheap, even in the alloy options.  I’ve gone back and forth on which brand to use.  The truth is, the high end Ritchey carbon seatpost and handlebar are about the same price as Enve.  The problem is that the Enve stem is better suited as an upgrade, than as a standard offering in the kit.  A similar cycle continues with each other brand, whether its the seatpost setback not being right, the bar shape not being a good fit for most people, or the parts are just flat out ugly.  I decided to use Ritchey because they are one of the few companies that make a nice stem, seatpost, and handlebar.   Most companies only do one or two of those things well in my opinion.  I like the multiple seatpost setback, stem length, and handlebar width options for both the road and mountain kits.  Ritchey offers the same components in both alloy and carbon which keeps the cockpit items consistent through the kit tiers.  I think the branding is some of the least offensive out there.

That’s probably more than you needed to know on my kits, but now you have some perspective on how the choices are made.

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Design/Programming: todd@consumedesign.com