Do you need a custom frame?

DO YOU NEED A CUSTOM FRAME?

Short answer: Well…. sort of.  This is a little like asking whether you need ceramic bearings, tubular tyres or a carbon frame…. sort of.

Every human is different and aside from the obvious differences in height and inseam length, when you take into account factors including rider weight, relative flexibility, fitness level and training intensities, you start to get a unique picture of every rider.

When frame manufacturers don’t know who’ll be riding their frame (and how can they), they make assumptions as to what will work for the largest number of people.  This for most frame manufacturers is a simplified small-medium-large or 50cm-54cm system.  Each rider can be retro-fitted to the same basic frame by changing stem lengths, head tube spacers and saddle adjustments.  Of course attempts are made to ensure the frame fits but does this work?  Well yes it certainly can.  On the most part, these standardised frames can be made to fit almost anyone however you won’t always be making the most of your body and bicycle. 

If you’ve spent $$$$’s on a new road frame, you want it to be responsive and fast yet comfortable and stable to suit your individual body and riding ability.  Retro-fitting yourself to a bicycle may make it comfortable but these adjustments mean the frame may handle differently at high/low speeds and affect overall performance.  Some manufacturers offer semi-custom – for instance two head tube lengths for each standard size.  This is by no means custom and just allows you to reduce the number of spacers needed and it certainly doesn’t help much with handling and efficiency.  A true custom bike has every tube carefully selected to suit your riding style and ability, cut to a specific length based on your body and then assembled to your custom requirements.  The tube junctions are adjusted to you by adding/removing material (carbon frames can have more layers of carbon-fibre cloth added).  Custom frames will cost a bit more than their standard counterpart (25% would be a good starting point) but there is a lot more work involved in every stage.  Bargain or rip-off, you make up your mind.

Cyfac offer custom and standard geometry frames that are designed to fit the rider, not the other way round.  It’s not marketing, it’s how bicycles were made decades before “big business” got involved and a formula Cyfac still stick to.  They were the first to craft a lugless custom carbon frame (which takes the longest and is how all the best frames are still made) so you know they have the experience.  When you scratch below the surface of a shiny paint job, you need to see quality materials, experienced craftsmanship and most importantly, geometry that works.  It’s not rocket science but some builders are fantastic with paint and struggle with the basics.

Does a custom frame mean you’ll ride faster or love riding more?  Will you even notice the difference?  Who says the custom geometry is right?  Whilst all valid, ultimately the answer to all these questions involves TRUST.  Trust that the frame manufacturer has the skill and years of experience necessary.  Trust that the best quality materials are used.  Trust that the fit is done properly and that only your individuality is factored in.  Trust that by purchasing a custom frame you are investing in yourself and investing in a high-quality durable product that will stand the test of time.

If you trust the frame builder and don’t want to make any sacrifices, then yes a custom frame is necessary…. sort of.  And no choosing your paint does not constitute a custom bike.

Read more at Cyfac’s blog – http://www.cyfacblog.com/leblog/2012/1/13/cyfac-makes-custom-frames.html

Have any questions about how a Cyfac frame is made?  Email: info@artisancycles.com.au or call 03 9078 4753

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