Working with a customer on a new frame can be a balancing act: will the customer accept the type of frame or whole bike we like to do or will they want something different? Will they “get” it? Will I understand what the customer wants? Our ideas change, the market changes, and what our builders are willing to do for us can change. With these points in mind…
Paint: we like single color paint jobs. We like the lug cutouts – if we’re using lugs – to be filled a contrasting color. Single color paint schemes are our favorite. We’re loving panels less and less as time goes by: hey, we’ll do it if you ask but we’re not wild about that look for these bikes. And we don’t offer lug striping. We eschew fades and silver or purple; Team 7-Eleven paint is the only multi-color scheme we’re liking these days.
We don’t offer chrome or nickel plating of frames nor do we polish stainless – sorry. We don’t offer custom carved lugs: Sachs “Rene Singer” is standard for Tournesol, “Issimo” for Cinghiale Team Pro. Peter Weigle, Curt Goodrich, and Sacha White are good sources for frames with carved lugs if you can deal with the wait.
We’ve pretty much given up on shaped tubing (Columbus MAX being the current exception) and carbon rears. Remember those lovely fillets on the UltraLight and Alpe d’Huez frames? Gone. TIG welds are the new fillets and IF, 333fab, and Co-Mo do some of the best.
Like our decals? Great, ’cause that’s what we use and we have several strong versions to chose from. We don’t make custom decals and we prefer to not use yours. We’ll put your name on the top tube if you kick and scream, maybe. Decals on head, down, and seat tube generally.
Boy, this makes me sound like a grump – I dislike being so negative but I’ve had a few cases over the years where I wish I had laid all this out before we started talking. Some builders invite you in, pour a cup of coffee, and ask you what you want and try to build it for you. Others sit down, crack a beer, and say: “This is what we do. We build great bikes and if you can work within our parameters then we have a deal.”
We’re the second type of builder (especially the beer). We have a vision and we want customers who understand that vision. There is nothing wrong with wanting something else, whether that be shiny lugs, purple-to-gold fade, or carbon chainstays; we’re just not going to be the builder you want in that case.
Hey, thanks for reading this far!