The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Project Sleipnir - The Search

Now that I know what I want I have to figure out where on earth to get it.

There's a few manufacturers that I love, but quite frankly could never really afford. Firefly, English Cycles, Baum Cycles, and a bunch of others that start at about $5000-8000 for a complete bike.

From there I looked towards people that met the following characteristics:

  1. Knew or understood how to design bikes for tall people
  2. Was a good value
And if I could find somebody local that met the above two, then that would be preferable as I could be more involved in the design process.

Based on those qualifications I started with the following builders:

  • Zinn Cycles
    • This guy is the king of tall. He's my height, used to race professionally, but was put off by the terrible design of tall bikes (like me, but his life was at stake).
    • Unfortunately because of the more experimental nature of the geometry I was aiming for his pricing was a bit outside of the range that I could really justify, plus the bikes aren't really that cool looking. Definitely function over form:
  • Curtlo Cycles
    • Found out about this guy via some internet forums. Also fits the tall bill well, and is very affordable. Plus his bikes are a really good value as he does them all in a big batch. 
    • Unfortunately though, it's hard to know when he's going to do a batch, so you could easily wait 3 weeks or a full year for your bike to be made. Also a function over form builder.
  • Alchemy Handmade Bicycles
    • Local builder that makes some absolutely beautiful bikes, the welds on their frames are amazing. They also do a really good fit process to guarantee a great fit. I even went so far as to get a fitting from them.
    • Unfortunately they fired their welder and are currently making the move to be a bigger company with higher volumes. Add to that there was some crossed communications between us and it just seemed like they were more interested in building their bike for me than building the bike I was looking for. 
  • Tue Fabrication Bicycles - 
    • These guys are local. VERY local, as in the builder actually works on the same floor I do and just 3 rows of cubicals down. They do a wide spectrum of bikes, that are a good balance of form and function on a broad spectrum of bikes. One thing I really loved is that they liked some of my ideas and didn't just say "No, you don't want to do that" instead they seemed excited and interested. That meant the world to me, add to that they are a very very good value and they quickly went to the top of my list.
Based on price, location, and desire/willingness/ability to make a bike for a tall person TRUE fabrication was who I selected to do my build.

Once I put down a deposit we were ready to go. They had a few other bikes before me in the build queue, so I had a couple months to really refine what I wanted. 

And it turned that waiting was actually fairly key in being able to get some of the pieces that I would need.

1 comment:

The Wise(guy) Owl said...

Ah-Ha! A reason to check the cob-web-site (clogged Blog) again... Yuppers, I'd say the willing friend & co-worker in the nearby "box-office" sounds like your best bet... Might take him to lunch every so often & stay on his good side. Having someone close by & handy for this project is worth its weight in gol....Carbon-Fiber! (That's the ticket, alright...My best basses are the "Modulus" ones that are built with a Carbon-Fiber neck - holds a tuning in any weather; lightweight, tough, - perfect!) Y'know, I never thought of acquiring a bicycle requiring a Phd in advanced calculus & metaphysics... I'll stick to my SUV that only requires a high-school degree... Looking forward to the rest of the series, even if it is Greek to me (bankrupting my mind, in a classical sense). The title of this odyssey is appropriate for the hour, as I near the end of my workday, I project "Sleep-Near." Well, as the buzzards say,... "Carrion!"