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Why do custom bikes have to cost so much?

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My wife has a bad neck that's been operated on and her 50th is coming up in early September.  I wanted to buy her a custom bike to get her the perfect fit with probably a more upright position as the current designed bikes are putting pressure on her upper back and neck.  So I look into a well know maker Davidson here in the PNW and entry bikes are $5,500 for a titanium frame.  There are other custom frame bike outfitters in the area but Bill Davidson is probably the wowsa of custom bikes. around here.  

 

http://www.davidsonbicycles.com/custom

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In 2012 a friend of mine bought a custom Independent Fabricators in Ti w/ DA, and paid ≈$7500 IIRC. Nice bike. I didn't think it was "that much" considering a top level Cannondale SuperSix EVO was about $10k.  I think these are sweet rides http://gaulzetti.co/interclub

 

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20 minutes ago, TrentonMakes said:

I'm not sure what kind of rider she is but does the frame have to be titanium?

No. She has been riding steel.

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I believe they have merged with Erickson. We don't want or need racers. But an exact for long distance riding would be sweet. I think it would be great for her.

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Owner of our LBS used to builds custom bikes. Part of the price is because the custom bike doesn’t usually fit the templates. Part is because many (not all) custom buyers are a PIA! It’s a surcharge for dealing with their pickiness! 

John told me of one guy he could never get the shifter adjustment right. Bike had been in many times and he was out of ideas on what could be wrong. Next time it came in, he played a hunch. Told the customer to come back in 30 minutes. Didn’t touch a thing. The customer took it for a spin and came in “now you adjusted to far the other way!” John told him what he had done and asked him to go somewhere else. 

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1 hour ago, Dottie said:

the current designed bikes are putting pressure on her upper back and neck. 

Have you tried flipping the stem?  That has helped me and my back and shoulder problems.  It's not huge difference, but it is enough for some.

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32 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

Have you tried flipping the stem?  That has helped me and my back and shoulder problems.  It's not huge difference, but it is enough for some.

That's a great idea. We have thought of that and certainly it the cheaper option. The most visible anyway. Definitely worth a try.

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2 minutes ago, Dottie said:

That's a great idea. We have thought of that and certainly it the cheaper option. The most visible anyway. Definitely worth a try.

I'd also consider speaking to this Davidson character :D and seeing what exactly he would suggest in a non-custom bike.  I assume your wife is neither super small nor super tall, so what would a custom FRAME bring to the game that would be different from a non-custom frame?  Davidson would likely already use a stock fork, stock handle bars, stock saddle, stock stem, stock components, so, if given his expertise, he (or any bike fitter worth their credentials) ought to be able to lay out a normal bike build with X,Y, & Z mods.

So, maybe a $500 fitting appointment and follow ups instead?

Just to further emphasize, look at that pretty bike below. I know nothing about Davidson bikes, but I can identify almost every brand of component on there except the frame.

CustomDavidson.thumb.JPG.d81971dc8685df9b17601bd3792def80.JPG

Tom

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13 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

Just to further emphasize, look at that pretty bike below. I know nothing about Davidson bikes, but I can identify almost every brand of component on there except the frame.

Who did the bottom bracket bearings?  😛

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It's a little hard to see, but look at this stem. 

My GF rides an old Lightspeed. The geometry is a like a time trial bike. We put a new high rise stem, wider tires, and I double wrapped the bars. It is so much more comfortable for her. 

 

Image result for ben witt pofahl fatbike

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I think your question was pretty much answered but my question is does she need a custom made bike or would a custom fitted off the shelf bike suffice?

Maybe work with a fitter in addressing her neck issues before going the custom bike route.

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3 hours ago, Dottie said:

My wife has a bad neck that's been operated on and her 50th is coming up in early September.  I wanted to buy her a custom bike to get her the perfect fit with probably a more upright position as the current designed bikes are putting pressure on her upper back and neck.  So I look into a well know maker Davidson here in the PNW and entry bikes are $5,500 for a titanium frame.  There are other custom frame bike outfitters in the area but Bill Davidson is probably the wowsa of custom bikes. around here.  

 

http://www.davidsonbicycles.com/custom

...there are less pricey custom frame guys.  Here's a link to Kimo Tanaka near me out in Yolo county.

You really don't need to go custom to get a more upright position on the bike.  You know that, right ?

 

Here's one I put together to ride when my back was in worse shape.

The basic principles are to go with something with a shorter top tube, then use a stem that angles up steeply or one of those Nitto Technomic's.

 

Raleigh Competition 001.JPG

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2 hours ago, Dottie said:

Even @Page Turner has heard of Davidson.

...I think the purple one cost me $800 and the blue one $600.  They show up used from time to time, but not to custom measurements.

Davidson used to make and sell "off the rack" standard bike frames back when he still had his own shoppe.  I think he just got tired of the grind.

'78 Davidson Signature 001.jpg

Bkue Davidson 1.jpg

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While it appears from Davidson's site they only do Ti bikes, Carl Strong does both steel and Ti. https://www.strongframes.com/frames-and-pricing/road/  While that is Montana, more to the east coast is, of course, Tom Kellog with Spectrum Cycles.

And as far as pricing, considering it is a one off manually built, components is really a non issue other than no big quantity discount on the groupo that mass manufacturers enjoy (and why everything is Shimano in a bike shop) it comes down to the frame. The custom frame is not really that more costly than a high end frame like Colnago Master, DeRosa Corum, or on the Ti side Moots Vamoots, Seven Axion, or IF Crown Jewel (Ti and steel versions) etc.

 

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My question was a bit rhetorical and a bit frustration. I wanted to do something really nice for my wife. But getting a higher stem is probably the first step in this process.

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4 hours ago, Tizeye said:

While it appears from Davidson's site they only do Ti bikes, Carl Strong does both steel and Ti. https://www.strongframes.com/frames-and-pricing/road/  While that is Montana, more to the east coast is, of course, Tom Kellog with Spectrum Cycles.

And as far as pricing, considering it is a one off manually built, components is really a non issue other than no big quantity discount on the groupo that mass manufacturers enjoy (and why everything is Shimano in a bike shop) it comes down to the frame. The custom frame is not really that more costly than a high end frame like Colnago Master, DeRosa Corum, or on the Ti side Moots Vamoots, Seven Axion, or IF Crown Jewel (Ti and steel versions) etc.

 

Good prices indeed.  https://www.strongframes.com/frames-and-pricing/road/ 

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4 hours ago, Dottie said:

Golly, I just don't have 4 grand laying around.

...generally speaking, buying a custom bike frame is an extravagance that the majority of people don't need to do.

 

There 's a custom guy over in Nevada, De La Santa, who actively discourages custom orders,

and says that 90% of the people in the world can fit fine on a standard frame in the proper size and configuration.  If you really want to try to solve her back and neck issues, start experimenting with different bar and stem combinations on the bike she has now, until you get something that seems like it's workable, then fine tune it some more.

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11 minutes ago, Page Turner said:

...generally speaking, buying a custom bike frame is an extravagance that the majority of people don't need to do.

 

There 's a custom guy over in Nevada, De La Santa, who actively discourages custom orders,

and says that 90% of the people in the world can fit fine on a standard frame in the proper size and configuration.  If you really want to try to solve her back and neck issues, start experimenting with different bar and stem combinations on the bike she has now, until you get something that seems like it's workable, then fine tune it some more.

I know and agree. It's just not that 50 year birthday splash.  🤗

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9 hours ago, Dottie said:

My wife has a bad neck that's been operated on and her 50th is coming up in early September.  I wanted to buy her a custom bike to get her the perfect fit with probably a more upright position as the current designed bikes are putting pressure on her upper back and neck.  So I look into a well know maker Davidson here in the PNW and entry bikes are $5,500 for a titanium frame.  There are other custom frame bike outfitters in the area but Bill Davidson is probably the wowsa of custom bikes. around here.  

 

http://www.davidsonbicycles.com/custom

Did she say "bad neck" or "pain in the neck"?

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42 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

Did she say "bad neck" or "pain in the neck"?

I'm a great guy.  She knows it.  I know it.  I'm surprised a man of your wit does not know it.  🤣🤣🤣

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16 hours ago, Dottie said:

Golly, I just don't have 4 grand laying around.

This is all the incentive I would need to look for another gift and start trying to help the bad back in other ways. How about buying her a new fishing pole.:whistle:

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